Tag Archives: Washington Senators

MAY 23 – Senators start poorly & go downhill from there

*1901 | The Washington Senators were one of eight charter members of the American League when it began play in 1901. The Senators were also the image of futility during most of their 60 years in the nation’s capital (the franchise moved to Minneapolis in 1961 and became the Minnesota Twins). They spent 60 years in the Washington, D.C., winning one World Series**.

A game on this date in 1901 gave their fans a glimpse of how difficult it would be to love the Senators. Washington had a 13-5 lead over the Cleveland Blues (today’s Cleveland Indians) in the bottom of the 9th with two outs.

The Senators needed one more out. They couldn’t get it. Cleveland scored 9 runs after two outs with nobody on-base and beat the Senators 14 to 13.

Contributing Sources:
retrosheet for May 23, 1901
Chicago Daily Tribune, May 22, 2017,

 

 

 

MAY 21 – Don’t Blink

*1943 | CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – The Chicago White Sox beat the Washington Senators (today’s Minnesota Twins) 1-0, on this date in baseball history. The game took 1 HOUR and 29 MINUTES – the quickest night game in American League history. Sox starter Johnny Humphries beat Senator starter Dutch Leonard.

The National League has the American League beat in the quickest night game category, however. About a year after the above referenced Senators/Sox game, the Boston Braves (today’s Atlanta Braves) beat the Cincinnati Reds 2 to 0 in an hour and fifteen minutes in Cincinnati. And these are just night games.

The times for the quickest day games are startling: 51 minutes in the National League (NY Giants-Philadelphia Phillies September 26, 1919) and 55 minutes in the American (St. Louis Browns-NY Yankees, September 26, 1926).

It’s remarkable that a game could be played in less than an hour and a half. What’s even more amazing is that 13 of the first 26 games the St. Louis Browns (today’s Baltimore Orioles) played in 1943 took less than 2 hours. Only one took more than 3.

The same was pretty much true for the White Sox. By their 26th game, 13 had been under 2 hours. None took more than 3 hours.

There are probably several reasons games are longer now, one is relief pitchers – there are more of them, and complete games by starters – there are fewer of them. In 1943 Chicago White Sox starters completed 70 games. In 2005, Sox starters completed 9, and that was the year they won the World Series.

Commercial breaks add to the length of games. And you can’t ignore the fact that pitchers and hitters do a whole lot of nothin’ between pitches.

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES:
May 21, 1943
BASEBALL ALMANAC

See my Opinion piece, “Why Baseball Needs a Pitch Clock.”

FEB 21st in baseball history-Ted Williams returns

1969 | WASHINGTON, D.C.Ted Williams was lured back to baseball on this date in 1969 to manage the Washington Senators . The greatest hitter of all time was going to lead a struggling expansion franchise that had yet to finish a season with a winning record.

The Senators lost at least 100 games in four of its first eight seasons. Remember this was the new Washington Senators, a 1961 expansion team after the original Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins.

Williams knew it would be a difficult task, telling the Associated Press (AP), “This may be a long, hard grind for a while.” And what about when he has to deal with a young player wound as tight as he was in his younger days? Would he tolerate a player with a temper, “If he can hit like Ted Williams, yes.”

Williams’ presence brought immediate results. The franchise had its first winning season in 1969, Williams first year as manager. They finished the season 86-76, but it was back downhill after that.

They lost 92 games in 1970, lost 96 in 1971. Attendance got so bad the team moved to Arlington, Texas in 1972 and became the Rangers.

That first year in Texas the Rangers finished with a record 54-100, the worst year of their history. Williams retired after that season and went back to fishing and hunting.

Contributing Sources:
Chicago Tribune, February 22, 1969, “Ted signs to manage Senators for 5 years”
Washington Senators 1961-1971
Year to year results
Ted Williams