Wednesday, May 20, 2009

DMB World Series Replay - a historical baseball blog

The next blog I'll be covering is the DMB Historic World Series Replay, written by Kevin Graham, a native of Pennsylvania, and doing historical replays of the the World Series using Diamond Mind Baseball.

Kevin's take on what he's doing:

A baseball blog asking the question: What if? What if the World Series was
played in the 19th Century? What if they played the World Series in 1904? What
if the 1919 White Stockings played to win? These answers and more will be found
on this blog. It's not time travel, but it's the next best thing.

Right now, Kevin is in the mid-1880's, so we'll cover 19th century baseball this time around.

Kevin gives us box scores, game recaps, analysis, and timelines of the years being played, as well as a review of the league(s) that year.

Kevin has only been at this for a couple of months, but I think he will be here for awhile.

It gives a good example of what might happened if the Series had been played back then, and what might happen with a new manager calling the shots.

1. Tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Northeast PA. and have lived here all my life. I have been married to my wife Kathy for 26 years, and I have 2 children, Jessica(25) and Adam(20). I have been a fan of baseball since I was 9 years old. I am a voracious reader, with interests in history, especially Roman history as well as biographies, science, Star Trek, but not Star Wars. I have been known to read Shakespeare as well as Stephen King, and of course baseball.

2009 is the International Year of Astronomy, and they have a website:, that was looking for people to submit podcasts that would be played, 1 per day, for the entire year. My inner geek forced me to submit a podcast, and I was surprised when they accepted it and played it on Jan 27.
I even managed to get a small baseball reference into an astronomy podcast. How’s that for an atypical alliance?

2. Why did you start the DMB World Series recap?>

I didn’t have a computer until about 11 years ago, and the 1st thing I did when I got onto that internet thing, was to type in the word baseball in the search engine. 25 million + sites came up! I think I actually heard angels singing. There was definitely a rainbow!!!!

I started looking at baseball history websites, and eventually started looking for a baseball simulation game that I could play on the computer. I had Stratomatic when I was a kid, and I was looking for something that would be similar, that would allow me to play older seasons. I found the Diamond Mind Baseball website and I was hooked.

I got involved in some online leagues that were replaying different years and one of them was set in 1885. The league eventually folded, but I wanted to continue replaying seasons in the 19th century and I started to play the What If game. What if they had a World Series back then, who would win? So I started goofing around with that.

3. What was your interest in 19th century baseball before?

I didn’t have a lot of interest in the pre 1920’s game of baseball, but when Ken Burn’s BASEBALL came out in 1994 I was really drawn in by the early years of the game and started reading up on it. It’s really an interesting time in the game.

4. Which team has been your favorite so far, and why?

The Boston Red Caps.(77, 78, 79) They had the unbelievable pitching of Tommy Bond, and some of the players were on the 1869 Cincinnati team, such as George Wright, Harry Wright and Andy Leonard.

5. Who has been your favorite player so far, and why?

Tommy Bond has been the most dynamic player in this replay so far. It’ll be interesting to see how someone like Christy Mathewson compares to him during his World Series appearances.

6. What is your favorite classic ball park, and why?

Most of the parks in the 19th century were big, and wooden, and not unlike an open field. So there’s not a lot to admire there. I’ve been to Yankee Stadium, and Fenway, and I still need to get to Wrigley, but I wish I could have gotten to the Polo Grounds, Ebbett’s Field and the Baker Bowl before they were demolished.

7. What is your all-time 19th century team?

The Baltimore Orioles of the 1890’s were dominant, and had a bunch of great ballplayers. John McGraw, Wee Willie Keeler, and local favorite Hughie Jennings among others made for an interesting cast of characters. I can’t wait to see how that team shakes out.

But my sentimental favorite would have to be the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. The worst team in the history of the game. They had a 24 game losing streak, they won 2 games in a row only once during the season, finishing with a record of 20-134, a mere 84 games out of 1st. How do you not love that team? When I get to 1899 I might have them challenge the winners to a best of 7. I wonder how that will turn out?

8. What is your all-time 19th century DMB replay team?

This is similar to question 4.

9. What comes next?

I’m going to continue to move chronologically through the seasons, with a goal of reaching 1994. I don’t think I’ll go later than that, because that was the year the players and the owners took away the World Series, and I’m still PO’d about that. It will be interesting to see how many World Series turn out differently.

10. Why did you start the blogging about the replay?

I didn’t even know what a blog was until 6 months ago. But when I started looking into them there didn’t seem to be a lot that focused on baseball history. I thought about doing strictly a baseball history blog, but then I thought I could have the best of both worlds and combine the history with the replay. On the DMB forums there are a lot of guys doing replays that they’re discussing on the forums but I didn’t know of anybody doing it in a blog format, so I figured I’d be the 1st. I have since come across a couple of other replay blogs: and both of which I highly recommend.

11. What do you hope to accomplish with it?

One of the wonders of the internet is how it let’s you communicate with people all over the planet that have the same interests as you do, people that you would never have the chance to get to know otherwise. I’ve been involved in several online leagues that have had members that were from Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and a US ambassador that switches countries every 2 years(Hey John L.) That’s pretty cool. I was in a league with David Nemec, the author of several baseball books including The Great Encyclopedia of 19th Century Baseball, How cool is that?

While on business in St Louis I had the opportunity to eat at Ozzie Smith’s restaurant with one of the GMs in an online league(Hey Jim, thanks for the meal) That’s pretty cool.

2 months into this blog and I’m doing an interview with somebody that lives in the UK. That’s pretty cool.

I’d like to see the blog continuing to grow in readership, so that I can get to converse and exchange ideas with all kinds of baseball fans.

I’d like to continue to improve the blog, and hopefully come up with some different ways to keep it interesting so that people will continue check it out. I’m trying to add a little humor to the blog as well. I thought some of the headlines for the Beaneaters’ series were hilarious……to me anyway, but I’m easily amused!!!

12. What current team do you support?

I have been a Yankee fan since 1967.

13. What is your first baseball memory?

In the 5th grade at St Patrick’s Elementary, I snuck my transistor radio into school so that I could listen to the 1968 World Series through a set of earphones. If the nuns found out they would have killed me. This was when they still played day games. The Cardinals were my favorite NL team, and I was a big fan of Bob Gibson and Lou Brock. I was crushed when they lost that Series to Detroit.

14. What is your favorite baseball memory?

Unfortunately, you might not want to here this Ron. But being a Yankee fan, beginning in 1967, I went through some pretty horrible Yankee seasons. Bobby Murcer was their only saving grace. So when Chris Chambliss hit that home run off Mark Littell to send the Yankees to their 1st World Series since I started watching them, will be something I’ll never forget.

15. What do you hope to take away from your experience of doing this?

I look forward to the research that will be involved. I look forward to learning about some of the more obscure players that I’ll run into. I look forward to getting to know people from all over the planet that share the same passion for baseball and it’s history.

16. A lot of people particularly sabermatricians, criticize 19th century ball and don’t consider it to be ‘Major League’ baseball. Your response?

The National Association formed in 1871, and was pretty much a train wreck. There were a lot of growing pains in that league. I can understand why a lot of people don’t consider that a Major League. A ton of different teams, no set schedule, teams folding in the middle of a season, players jumping from team to team were among many of their issues.

But in 1876 when the National League was formed, these problems were addressed, and it became a pretty good progenitor of the league we see today. It was definitely a Major League.

When they finally get around to building that time machine, we’ll be able to go back to the 1880’s and watch a baseball game that is very similar to today’s game. A lot more errors, a lot less home runs, but definitely a firm example of what Major League baseball was in it’s infancy.

17. What aspects of 19th century baseball would you like to still see in the game today?

No steroids, more triples, more inside the park home runs, and definitely more day games.

18. What aspects of 19th century baseball amaze you in that it happened/was allowed/was part of the game?

Early on you were allowed to “soak” the runner(hit him with the ball) in order to make an out. That must have been painful. Catching a ball on one bounce for an out must have been very frustrating for the hitters. The abuse of the umpires was amazing, as well as all the dirty tactics that were used on the field. The number of times that games were forfeited because teams would just walk off the field was incredible. Also the segregation of the game was just terrible. There should never have been a need for a Jackie Robinson. The amount of talent that was never witnessed on the ball field must have been enormous.

19. What’ is/are the most interesting things you’ve learned from doing this?

I didn’t realize that doing a blog is a lot of work. Fun, but a lot of work.

20. What else would you like to say, on any baseball subject?

If you are a fan of the history of the game of baseball, you have to get to the Hall of Fame. Do not go during an Induction Ceremony(way too hot, and only about a billion people to rub elbows with) But go in April or May when it’s not too crowded. The museum is great, and the village of Cooperstown is fantastic. And bring lots of money.

Thanks Ron for the opportunity to ramble on about myself and baseball. Good luck with your blog, and here’s hoping for a lot more readers.

Kevin, thanks very much for taking the time to do this. Except for being a Yankees fan, and some comments about Chris Chambliss we won't print here - I like the way you think about baseball.

We'll come back in the future, after Kevin has gotten a few more seasons in.


Kevin said...


Thanks for the write-up. It was fun.

Kevin G.

The Common Man said...

Great minds, Ron. I've been thinking about 19th and early 20th century ball for a while now. I'm excited to check out Kevin's site and some of the additional resources here. Great work.

Ron Rollins said...


It was a pleasure. Look forward to getting back with you farther down the road/through the years.

Ron Rollins said...

Thanks, TCM. There's lot of good sites out there. I recieved a lot of help when I started doing this, and I want to return the favor.

jorgesaysno said...

Nice interview, Ron.

Well done!

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