Monday, July 1, 2013

Middle of the Jelly Series

After two games its a good time to look at the state of the Grape Jelly Series.

Smokies ate up game one
Game two was buttered in extras

One game each so far, the first game was the Blowout victory for the Smokies and the Skitz could do little to stem the bleeding.

Game two went the other direction, the low scoring game gave the Biscuits late life. A nice string of at bats in the ninth and tenth innings is what gives Montgomery fans reason to stay after the YMCA.

Cameron Seitzer had a big night, and may have turned the corner on hitting in the Southern League. He shows alot of great skills around the base for a player who just skipped High-A ball, and all that was missing was the hitting. Well, its not missing anymore.

Jeff Fassero was nice enough to sign a baseball for me and I got to ask one of the questions that I have for members of the 1994 Montreal Expos - Was it tough to vote to go on strike? I never ask how they voted, but I get the impression that the Expos team wasnt unanimously in favor of the walkout.

Fassero said it was a tough meeting, worse than most and noted that at the time, the players were being told that it was only expected to last a few weeks.
He also agreed with my assertion that it was pretty much what killed MLB in Montreal. He seemed to not be aware of the current efforts to bring baseball back to the city, but said he supported the concept and said that it was a great city to play for.
Thanks coach!

Anthony Giansanti tweeted that he was headed to DesMoines in the morning, sent to triple-A and blessed to have the opportunity. Very cool for him, its a great step in his career, good luck Tony!

Also cool that I already had him sign my Smokies team-signed ball! haha

Wonder who they will get in his place?


I know at least one faithful blog-reader said they didnt finish the Pepe info from yesterday, so I included the end of the Macon info from yesterday - with the two most interesting guys for the 1906 Macon Brigands that would have been an influence on our rookie infielder, Joe Pepe.

Photo of Bob Spade
Bob Spade - 1906 Macon
Bob Spade is the best player on the '06 Brigands in terms of being a rising prospect.

Spade won 16 games for Macon in 1906, then moved on during the season to log another four victories in Akron. Less than a year after he was winning games in C-League lots for Macon he was tossing a shutout for the Cincinnati Redlegs.

Debuting in 1907, Spade would pitch in 62 major league games over the next three seasons, compiling a record of 25-24 with 36 complete games, 4 shutouts and a career ERA of 2.96.

Bob Spade.jpg
In 1908 Bob is with the Cinci Redlegs as they play Negro and Latin teams in the very first Cuban-American Major League Clubs Series which takes place in 1908. Each year from 1908-1913 an invitational winter series would take place involving one MLB team, one Negro league team, one team from Cuba and one team from Mexico in a pre-WBC international competition. Spade is 2w-3L in this series, which is considered "Negro League" level games by Baseball Reference but is in actuality the height of international baseball competition in the first twenty years of the 20th century.

Jack Quinn - 1907 Macon
In '07 Jack Quinn is a rookie pitcher, but at age 23 is already seven years older than Brigands shortstop Joe Pepe.


Jack Quinn is a man of mystery for baseball researchers who look to Macon as the start of the career of this unsung legend. No two sources list the same birthdate, the city of his birth is in dispute and even his birth name is up for debate. This is one of the most fascinating players in baseball history, and very little is known about him, though much is conjectured.

Born around 1883, perhaps in Slovakia, perhaps Russia, Greece, or even Pennsylvania and likely arriving in the states as a child, he found work in the coal mines of Pa. at around the age of 12. He changed his name from Johannes Picus/Joannes Pajkos to Jack Quinn.

After working in the mines for a few years, as an eager teenager he heads west to seek fortune. He doesnt find it, and returns home to Pennsylvania in 1900. One afternoon that summer he is watching as teams warm up for a semi-pro game. A ball rolls toward him and he is asked to throw it back - which he does with such velocity the manager offers him to pitch that very day, five dollars for a win and two-fifty even if they lose.

Photo of Jack Quinn
Jamie Moyer's role model
He won, got the five bucks and began a career as a pitcher, winning more major league games than Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal, Whitey Ford, Dizzy Dean and a host of other Hall of Famers. Known as a spitballer with control, Quinn tossed a "dry spitter", fastball and changeup. During his career he developed a reputation for being a control pitcher, always among the leaders in fewest walks per game.

Debuting in 1909 and pitching his final game at the age of 50 in 1933 Jack Quinn had 247 wins, a fantastic 3.29 career ERA. He is credited with 57 saves as well as 28 shutouts, mopping up as a reliever between his own starts. He appeared in three world series, one with the Yankees and winning two with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1929 and 1930.

Pitching until the age of 50, his name is the one often referenced when Jamie Moyer did anything significant because of his age. Quinn was the oldest person to throw a shutout, oldest to hit a homer, oldest to start a game, etc etc etc.

Overlooked to this point by Cooperstown, partly due to Quinn's own quiet nature and avoidance of the spotlight, its probably just a matter of time before Jack Quinn is given a plaque at the shrine of baseball.

Joe Pepe spends two seasons with Macon, 1906 and 1907, learning from veteran players like these guys.

1906 Macon Brigands, Pepe's first team

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