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April 1, 2010

You Can Blog It Up

Dead Player of the Day and Other Notes #4

by Steven Goldman

Dead Player of the Day

In which I pick a page from the encyclopedia at random and riff on what I find.

Bill Bevens-RHP-1944-1947 (1916-1991)

Robyn Hitchcock has a song called “Sinister But She was Happy.” Floyd Clifford Bevens’ song might have been “Snakebit But He Was Happy,” although I have no idea of knowing how happy he actually was. Bevens was Bobby Witt if Bobby Witt had thrown the most famous game ever but lost it. Everyone knows that the Yankees’ Bevens took a no-hitter (albeit with eight walks and a run allowed on a fielder’s choice) into the ninth inning of the fourth game of the 1947 Yankees-Dodgers World Series only to lose his 2-1 lead and the game when Brooklyn’s Cookie Lavagetto doubled with two outs, chasing home two runners—one on base as the result of an unintentional walk and a stolen base, the other there because, with two outs and first base open, Bevens’ manager, Bucky Harris, ordered (on a 3-1 count) a free pass to a barely-ambulatory Pete Reiser, a call that put the winning run on base. You probably also knew that the Lavagetto game was the last start of Bevens’ major-league career and his penultimate appearance, the final chapter coming in Game 7, when he pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief. But did you know that on April 30, 1946, Bevens also lost this game?

 

 

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

BFP

 Feller

9

0

0

0

5

11

0

32

 Bevens

9

7

1

1

5

5

1

36

 

A hard thrower, Bevens had pitched extremely well for the Yankees in 1946, his 2.23 ERA equating to a 155 ERA+. (5.5 WARP). His 249.2 innings clearly affected him, as his walk rate jumped from 2.8 per nine to 4.2 in 1947, although it was only after Game 4 that Bevens said his arm was hurt. After his arm ruined him for the majors, Bevens kept pitching in the minors through 1953. In a 1951 profile of him for Collier’s magazine, Tom Meany wrote:

The extent of his subsequent slide downhill is beast measured, perhaps, by something that happened in Salem. When Bill returned to his home town in the fall of 1947, a World Series celebrity, he was given a six-hundred-dollar-a-month job by a beer company as a good-will ambassador. His duties were not exactly arduous, since they entailed merely standing around and letting potential customers gape at him.

When Bevens came back with his dead arm after the 1948 season, the same firm hired him—at half the price—for the backbreaking job of loading beer on trucks.

Unanswerable Question

Could the Blue Jays, who will finish last in the AL East, win the NL Central? That seems unlikely given the depth of the Cardinals' starting rotation. However, second place seems very reasonable.

Chat Today

I'll be chatting today here at BP at 1 PM EST. Submit your questions now if you'll be too busy to attend live, though I can't imagine what you would be doing that would be more compelling than one of my chats.

Steven Goldman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Steven's other articles. You can contact Steven by clicking here

8 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

BP staff member Will Carroll
BP staff

A) Why is there a giant BP cover?

B) Why is there Chip or Dale standing behind it?

Apr 01, 2010 09:19 AM
 
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

Because this is the surreal world I live in?

Apr 01, 2010 09:49 AM
 
Shaun P.
(676)

What's the logo on the hat? At first glance, I thought it was a Mets' logo (forgive me for thinking that), but looking closer now, its clearly not.

Apr 01, 2010 09:55 AM
rating: 0
 
ddanyc
(837)

The 249 innings in 1946 surely didn't help but he had been piling up huge innings totals in the minors since he was 20 years old. I find it odd that although he pitched in the minors throughout the war years and was clearly a guy with major league ability he wasn't called up until late in '44.

Apr 01, 2010 09:26 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

Washington Senators, somewhere in the 1930s IIRC.

Apr 01, 2010 10:01 AM
 
eighteen

Hey, who's the guy wit' the cap standin' nexta Goldman?

Apr 01, 2010 10:06 AM
rating: 5
 
John Carter

Blue Jays -

Yeah, If Vernon Wells & Shaun Marcum have nice comebacks, Brandon Morrow recovers and learns to pitch, the rest of the pitching staff doesn't vanquish without Arnsberg coaching them (and it is already starting to disapear - I had high hopes for Rzepczynski), they drop Encarnacion to the minors and keep Ruiz in the line-up, and everyone else meets expectations - including a solid all-around performance from Travis Snider, Toronto could possibly win any of the other A.L. divisions except the one they are in.

Apr 02, 2010 01:10 AM
rating: 0
 
fawcettb

Stop storing those nuts in your cheeks. Just because the BP mascot does it, doesn't mean you're obliged to.

Apr 02, 2010 08:41 AM
rating: 0
 
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Baseball Therapy: Case... (04/01)
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