For those not familiar with baseball history, Merkle’s Boner refers to the most infamous error ever committed not just in a baseball game but arguably in any major sporting event. Keith Olbermann took time on his TV show this week to mark the anniversary with a helpful lesson on what happened and why this muff took on a life of its own (hat tip Rob Neyer)
A couple of points Olbermann doesn’t bring out that are worth considering:
There were only two umpires working this game. In fact, for most regular season games it would be normal to only have a home plate umpire. Despite all the controversy surrounding this incident, multiple umpires would not be used in regular season games on a normal basis until 1920.
Merkle’s mistake was magnified in large part because…
Baseball’s official historian John Thorn has a fascinating article about the origin of batting average. I didn’t know until reading it that the origin of this statistic can be traced all the way back to Henry Chadwick:
Did you know that slugging average is older than the batting average, and was tossed aside in favor of it? And if so, do you know why? I did not, until I came upon Henry Chadwick’s “The True Test of Batting,” in The Ball Players’ Chronicle of September 19, 1867. (I was rummaging through old newspapers, looking for something else in another early baseball weekly; more on that soon.) Chadwick’s article is a genuine crossroads in the history of baseball statistics.
Bases on balls were still uncommon events, having been introduced for the 1864 season, and no one thought of them as batters’
One of my favorite things about watching baseball is the ability to keep score. A good scorecard can reveal much to a baseball fan that is not obvious to the casual observer of the game. ESPN’s Jim Caple has this to say on scoring:
You can keep score in sports such as basketball, bowling or golf, but it amounts to little more than marking down numbers. There is no creativity involved. Scorekeeping in baseball, however, is an art form, individual expression that makes you feel you are part of the game. It personally and precisely records every moment of the game, allowing you to replay and relive it forever.
This is the thing I love most about scorekeeping. I can look back in my scorebook and relive games that I watched years ago. It becomes a lasting memory of…
Great historic photos.
The HalfLiner is here! The HalfLiner Scorebook is the newest scorebook design from the Eephus League. It scores a full half season of 81 games. It is a sturdy Double Wire-O bound book, with great writing surfaces. While the first Eephus scorebook had a lot of extra materials aimed at teaching people the art of scorekeeping, this book is designed for people who want a more fleshed out scorekeeping experience and don’t need the extras. There are more innings, more substitution slots, and more stat columns in the HalfLiner scorebook. The scorekeeping grid is larger to allow more space for scorekeepers to work.
At 7.5” x 9.75”, the HalfLiner is smaller than a standard letter-sized scorecard. The more petite profile is meant to make the scorebook less cumbersome to bring to the ballpark.
This is a 12×18 poster, offset printed on a beautiful steel grey French Paper stock with an image of the great Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander and a foil stamped ticket graphic taken from the a detail inside the HalfLiner.
Brian Lindstrom of the Bases Loaded Series has created an illustration representing the “Eephus League” of teams. Fans of every team will find something special in the details of the illustration.
Shirts are soft and light but cut true to size, similar to a beefy T
The Eephus League brand intercut with scorecard elements. Show your pride!
NOTE: The shirt tends to photograph blue-ish, but in person it’s a brown color, so keep that in mind when you’re ordering.
Shirts are soft and light but cut true to size, similar to a beefy T
This set of 9 pinback buttons is for the fans who are not satisfied to just wear a ballcap or jersey to show their rabid baseball fandom. They require stylish fashion accessories, and the Eephus League is here to help them spread the gospel of baseball.
Hi Eephus-leaguers, this is a free iPad app version of a book of poems I wrote about baseball, Philadelphia, and the Eephus. It features collages by artist Randel Plowman and recordings by a slew of contemporary writers. If you like art and poetry, please check it out.
It’s happening! I’ve just kicked off a kickstarter campaign to try and fund the larger scorebook design that’s been in the works for 2 years now. It’s a half season, double-O wire bound scorebook that has a larger scorekeeping grid and has more goodies like additional substitution slots, pitching lines and stat columns.
– It scores 12 innings
– There are 2 substitution lines per lineup slot
– There are 7 pitching lines
– Due to popular request, the boxscore is also now in this design!
– And it has the things that made the first scorebook unique, like places to note where you sat and who were the MVPs of the game.
The HalfLiner scorebook has a chipboard back, giving it a nice, solid writing surface.
I’ve made a promotional…
I wanted to make sure everyone saw this lovely letterpress print by Jeremy Reiss. It’s a continuation of his Diamond Dictionary series, and this one focuses on pitching lingo. I’m particularly fond of the Backdoor illustration.
See more photos and get your own here!
Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was the first African American to play Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when the Brooklyn Dodgers started him at first base on April 15, 1947. As the first major league team to play a black man since the 1880s, the Dodgers ended racial segregation that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues for six decades. The example of Robinson’s character and unquestionable talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation, which then marked many other aspects of American life, and contributed significantly to the Civil Rights Movement.
WWoooooooo! So, I’ve finally got the dummy of the scorebook in hand, so I can make sure everything is legible and see how the scale of everything on the scoresheet holds up. I’ve got some comparison photos between the new scorebook and the original smaller scorebook so you can see the difference in size and scale. The new scorebook is basically the size of a large moleskine notebook and the wire binding is a little less than a half an inch thick. Everything is larger on the grid now, except for the first columns for the lineup. I sacrificed a bit of space there in order to give three substitution lines per position (plus the three extra at the bottom).
Part One of Three, my methodology and notation for counting pitches!
An interesting graphic on color usage by MLB teams.
This is a piece of artwork that I created of my favorite player on and off the field, Roberto Clemente. Clemente was the NL MVP in 1966, 2X World Series Champion and his #21 has been retired by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to delivery much needed supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua on December 31, 1972.
Thank you for viewing my artwork.
-Brent Naughton Sports Artist
Ok guys, I’m hoping to start a kickstarter to fund the creation of a new, larger scorebook! *confetti* I got a dummy made to I could check on size, shipping costs, etc, and the pictures are below. It’s going to be a half season scorebook-81 games, wire O bound and about iPad size in terms of width and height. 12 innings, more data columns… the idea is that this is for hard-core scorekeepers who need a little more than the pocket scorebook can provide.
Instead of trying to rush things for opening day, I think it’s better to shoot for a mid-season release, or to even wait till winter. There are some mistakes I made with the first scorebook’s kickstarter that I don’t wish to repeat, and trying to rush orders out and get shirts and caps produced without…
Going to your first ballgame is a rite of passage, as much a part of growing up as a first kiss or a raging case of poison ivy after a game of manhunt.
Here are my memories of my first glorious afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
(Photo courtesy of Peter Adams)
Oakland A’s shirts inspired by the good ‘ole dot-matrix jumbotron scoreboard at the Oakland Coliseum!
Check ‘em out – thanks!
I stumbled across this on Tumblr and then found the store where you can buy it and several other cool prints.
Of all the scattered, eclectic memorabilia I own, this sweatshirt takes the cake- here’s to commemorating the most infamous championship that never was.
An ongoing pictorial celebration of the greatest wind ups and deliveries in the history of the game.
Click here to see more of the series and other work…
Awhile back I created jumbotron art of players from the 70′s & 80′s and decided to apply the style to pre-war and Golden Era players as a different way of looking at these baseball legends. This is an ongoing project.
Nearly every self-respecting baseball fan I know would list 1997′s A League of Their Own
as one of the best baseball films ever made.
Now via BuzzFeed comes a gallery of twenty photos taken from the heyday of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League along with excerpts from the player’s manual. Be sure to check out these wonderful pictures.
Hat tip: Jason Brannon
I love keeping score, but I always bring a spare Eephus book with me for autographs…they look AMAZING on the pages. Here is what I was able to collect while on a recent vacation to Cleveland (well, the first of three parts…I got a ton!).
On April 18, 1946 Jackie Robinson stepped onto the field at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey in a Montreal Royals’ uniform, breaking the color barrier in professional baseball.
In his first game, he displayed the kind of play that would make him a hall of famer: he drove in four runs on four hits, including a home run and stole two bases.
The stadium was only blocks from where I live now. Here is my painting of Jackie’s first moments on that field.
In Miller’s rookie season he played with Honus Wagner. The story goes Wagner was approached by an opposing player or a reporter or a fan in the stands who pointed to Miller and asked, “Who’s that?” or “Who’s the new kid?” or “Whose playing second?”, Wagner replied “That’s Miller.” But, from Wagner’s German accent whoever it was, and what ever question they asked, heard “Dots Miller”.
He died in 1923 from TB. In 1948 he received his single vote for inclusion into the 1948 Baseball Hall of Fame
For a long time the only radio calls I would hear replayed of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run were those of the Braves play-by-play announcer Milo Hamilton. It turns out that Vin Scully was also covering the game on the radio and made his own amazing call:
The best part of the call to me is the fact that he let the crowd roar tell the story (for almost 2 minutes) before saying anything else. Just one more example of why he is the Voice of the Game.
Hat tip: Grant Brisbee
The Eephus League Magazine has been a long time coming. It began as a project in the MFA program at MICA, and I had every intention of expanding it into a real part of the Eephus League. Several months, a new city and new job later, I’ve decided to re-imagine the magazine as an online reading experience. The online format allows me to explore new web techniques as well as making it easier to distribute. I have to credit Edits Quarterly for the beautiful format inspiration.
The site is a unique reading experience. The entire issue loads into one page, so give it a few moments to load in. The up and down arrow keys will allow you to cycle through “pages”, there is a table of contents at the beginning of the issue that will zip you to…
The White Sox commemorated Phil Humber’s perfect game with this poster. All fans who attended Humber’s next start after the perfecto were given this poster. Note the beauty of the scorecard – 27 up, 27 down. Congratulations to a classy guy.
You guy HAVE to check out this animated Baseball Graphic Novel that Ryan Woodward is creating. It’s gorgeous!
“A game of great charm, in the adoption of mathematical measurements to the timing of human movements, the exactitudes and adjustments of physical ability to hazardous chance. The speed of the legs, the dexterity of the body, the grace of the swing, the elusiveness of the slide — these are the features that make Americans everywhere forget the last syllable of a man’s last name or the pigmentation of his skin.”
– Branch Rickey
“Nothing in our daily life offers more of the comfort of continuity, the generational connection of belonging to a vast and complicated American family, the powerful sense of home, the freedom from time’s constraints, and the great gift of accumulated memory than does our National Pastime.”
– Ken Burns
Few things are as truly American as baseball. More than any other sport it has permeated our culture. It is intertwined with our history. It celebrates what’s great about our country. Countless books and articles have been written about the beauty of our game. But it’s not often that we get to hear the perspective of immigrants who have come to this county about our
There was a time that baseball players promoted tobacco products. Stanford University School of Medicine has assembled the images and the stories behind them in a unique research project. The gallery alone is amazing to look at.
Hat tip: Baseball Think Factory
One of the main features of any ballpark is its scoreboard. It’s a focal point for the spectator and provides a wealth of information to the fans. Most scoreboards are electronic. However, in the two oldest ballparks in use (and by far the best parks to see a game) Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago there is a more antiquated method for keeping score: the manual scoreboard. This year marks 75 years that Wrigley has had their scoreboard and it has a fascinating history as this Chicago Sun Times article explains.
Hat tip: Baseball Think Factory
Unlike any other sport, baseball has a connection to the people that cover the game. Vin Scully has had that job longer than any other announcer. He’s entering his 62nd year and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s had the opportunity to witness more history than any other announcer. In this GQ profile, Scully recalls some of his most vivid memories and demonstrates why he is one the greatest announcers the game has ever known.
Hat tip: Steven Hayward
A very cool collection of spring training photos courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
Hat tip: Grant Brisbee
Chicago Tribune urging restraint. This feature is an occasional comic that lists rules for sports fans. It always ends with a ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ frame. I fear that this time, I might be that guy, as I suspect many of the Eephus League faithful are. Score on, ladies and gentlemen, score on.
It’s not the obvious answer, tradition. Actually if you look back at history there are very practical reasons that managers wear uniforms. Mental Floss has the whole story.
1. I removed the little circle next to the diamond to allow for more space for people to keep score they way they want.
2. I brought back the Home and visiting MVP awards.
3. I added icons for indoor games and for watching at home.
4. I rearranged the pitching stats to follow traditional box scores.
As pitchers and catchers get ready to report, enjoy this lovely poem by Jack Buck.
A one-woman operation making a series of clever, creative, faux-primitivist postcard packs full of puns and fun factoid riffs on some of our favorite ballplayers.
Baseball has an interesting and albeit complicated history when it comes to cheating. For example, Pete Rose had more hits than any other player in baseball but is excluded from baseball because of his gambling on baseball games. But Gaylord Perry who was renowned as the most proficient spitball pitcher of his day (which was of course by that time illegal) is in the Hall of Fame and revered as one of the heroes of the game. And Perry is not alone among Hall of Fame indcutees that were practitioners of baseball doctoring during their careers.
Jonah Keri has a fascinating history of the lost art of doctoring pitches. Defacing a baseball was one a necessary skill to be an effective pitcher. But it wasn’t rule changes that ultimately made the spitball and its illegal cousins extinct. Check out the article…
I am moving forward with plans for a larger scorebook! The plan is for it to be spiral/ring bound, fit 100 games, and be about the height and width of an ipad or a larger moleskin (7.5×9.75 inches). I’d love for you guys to take a look at what I’ve got mapped out and critique it. I know a lot of people wanted more innings, an RBI column, more sub spots and more pitcher stats, so those are included as well as spaces to jot down the umpires. The grid itself is larger as well. Do you guys prefer the diamond graphic inside each square to be big or small? Would you guys want to see the foldout references for scorekeeping included in this, or should it be straight to the point, no frills?
Once I get the design nailed…