It is my great regret that I am going to bed before the video of a ground ball knocking Ramiro Pena backward and then ricocheting to Eduardo Nunez so he could throw it directly into the ground is available online for me to gif. [Monday a.m. update: River Avenue Blues has it.]
This week’s topics are:
Let’s do this:
A few months ago on Hang Up And Listen*, Mike Pesca said this:
I have to invent that app, where you plug in the modern injury, you know, “Oblique” and it comes up “1930: He was drunk.” “Turf toe equals: Stabbed by a mistress!”
Ha! Great idea. And it got me wondering how injuries actually were reported 80 years ago. So I went through the New York Times’ archives for the season and read the game-and-notes story for every day between the start of spring training and June 30. And I did the same for the 2011 Yankees. These are all the injuries each team dealt with in the first half of the season, or at least all the injuries that were reported:
|1931 Yankees||Note||2011 Yankees|
|Sore leg muscle (Johnson)||A||Sore left oblique (Chamberlain)|
|Pneumonia (Ruffing)||B||Spasms in his left hamstring (Dickerson)|
|Badly wrenched muscle above the left knee (Reese)||C||Flu-like symptoms (Rodriguez)|
|Appendicitis (Pipgrass)||D||Right internal oblique strain (Granderson)|
|Hurt his shoulder (Maguire)||E||Injury to a back muscle (Ayala)|
|Bruised left leg (Chapman)||F||Blisters on pitching hands (Banuelos and Betances)|
|Stiff neck (Ruth)||G||Sore right oblique (Rodriguez)|
|A cold that has settled in his back (Ruth)||H||Torn posterior capsule, receiving platelet-rich therapy (Feliciano)|
|Running a fever (Sweeney)||I||Jammed right shoulder (Teixeira)|
|Severely strained ligament in his thigh (Ruth)||J||Fractured left foot (Cervelli)|
|Severely wrenched ligament in his shoulder (Cooke)||K||Shoulder inflammation (Hughes)|
|Shoulder injury (Hoag)||L||Rib-cage injury (Rodriguez)|
|A heavy cold that is making his voice more rasping than heavy sandpaper on a rough plank. (Dickey)||M||Bruised left hand (Cano)|
|Fine case of the flu (Ruffing)||N||Stiffness in right hip (Jeter)|
|Under the weather (Pipgrass)||O||Hit on helmet, CT scan negative (Cano)|
|Bad turn on his ankle (Lazzeri)||P||Right elbow inflammation (Soriano)|
|Charley horse (Dickey)||Q||Deep bone bruise by the fifth metatarsal (Chavez)|
|A game leg (Chapman)||R||Concussion (Dickerson)|
|A pain in his right shoulder (Ruth)||S||Sore big toe (Martin)|
|T||Back locked up (Martin)|
|U||Torn medial collateral ligament in his right elbow (Chamberlain)|
|V||Sore elbow (Amauri Sanit)|
|W||Strained left hamstring (Colon)|
|X||Strained right calf muscle (Jeter)|
Basically: In 1931, everybody got the flu. But in 2011, everybody has a bad elbow. There were no elbow injuries mentioned in 1931. Instead of medical terms, 1931 reporters preferred adverbs. And in 1931, they hadn’t yet mapped the human leg, so anything that was leg-related was simply a game leg.
Team Doctor: Where does it hurt?
Player: Round about the leg area.
Team Doctor: Uh oh. Sounds like it’s the leg.
Manager: Thank God. I thought he had the flu.
Newborn baby Willie Mays: Waaaaaaaaaaaaahhh. Waa waa waaaaaaaaaaaah.
Other stuff I found interesting from the game stories:
March 4, Babe Ruth in the Best Shape Of My Life!:
“The Babe stepped on the clubhouse scales when he came out of the shower and totaled a shade over 227 pounds. This is about seven pounds lighter than last year this time.”
One fan here does not think much of Brick Owens, who is umpiring games for the NYY on the Spring training jaunt. “That fellow takes all the fun out of the game,” said the fan, referring to Owens. “He’s so good you can’t make fun of him, or swear at him, or throw anything at him.”
April 18: Every year, the Yankees played an exhibition scrimmage against West Point. Gehrig played, but Babe Ruth skipped the event. If it happened today, Heyman would never let us forget it.
Recovering players were quite frequently described thusly:
“All sound in limb and wind again.”
When Ruth returned from one injury,
“he hobbled out to right field. He walked with a limp and could scarcely run at all.”
“Gehrig’s longevity record appeared to be seriously threatened in the second inning when the Yanks’ iron man pulled up lame at second after exploding a grand smash that bounced off the bleacher wall in right centre. But by the third Lou was convalescing nicely, and by the fourth there did not seem to be a thing the matter with him.”
Best worst headline:
GEHRIG ON RAMPAGE TO MARK NATAL DAY
Some teams keep a super-utility guy around who can play shortstop — Sean Rodriguez, Maicer Izturis, Juan Uribe, that sort of guy. But with Derek Jeter at shortstop, the Yankees have never had to bother keeping a decent shortstop in reserve. So what happens is Jeter gets a calf injury and Eduardo Nunez has to play. Actually, Nunez isn’t so so bad, but a lot of the non-Jeters who have played shortstop for the Yankees have been. Here the whole list, from 1996 to 2010:
- Enrique Wilson (55 games at short)
- Ramiro Pena (39)
- Luis Sojo (37)
- Erick Almonte (34)
- Miguel Cairo (27)
- Wilson Betemit (16)
- Alberto Gonzalez (16)
- Rey Sanchez (12)
- Cody Ransom (11)
- Andy Fox (10)
- Alfonso Soriano (9)
- Felix Escalona (8)
- Clay Bellinger (7)
- Eduardo Nunez (7)
- Jerry Hairson (7)
- Nick Green (6)
- Wilson Delgado (6)
- Andy Cannizaro (4)
- Alex Rodriguez (3)
- Mark Bellhorn (2)
- Jose Vizcaino (2)
- Homer Bush (2)
- Alex Arias (1)
Jeter has hit .313/.384/.450 as a shortstop. His replacements in those 15 seasons have a combined 843 plate appearances, and they have hit .226/.267/.324.
This year, with his calf injury, Jeter will play the second-lowest number of games in his career. Next year, if he doesn’t overcome the suck, he just might play the lowest.
* You mean you don’t listen to Hang Up And Listen, the best sports podcast going? For shame. Do it.