J. D. Thorne, speaker and author of the new book Baseball’s Winning Ways (Available on Amazon Books).
This is what wins the season! I have to write this now because the Brewers have won five straight games–can they stay hot? Tampa Bay won 15 of 16 games going into yesterday! The Cardinals and Padres remain consistently good. So are the Cubs lately. Others too.
Historically, one of the best MLB stories is about the 1914 “Miracle Braves.” It gives rise to the “Hope,” which “springs eternal!” With the same rules of baseball, what happened then can happen now!
Before the 1914 season, the Braves looked promising. Although the Giants of John McGraw had won three pennants in a row, Braves manager Gene Stallings said to the press that the only team about whom the Giants had to worry was the Braves. This in itself was high praise for the Braves. However, once the season began, the 1914 Braves got off to a bad start. On July 4, they found themselves in an eight team league in last place. Thankfully, no team had dominated, making the whole league a tightly packed group.
In the off-season, the Braves had acquired former Cubs WS Champion Johnny Evers for 2B to complement future HOF performer shortstop “Rabbit” Maranville. Evers had been the player-manager of the Cubs in 1912, but was installed as “Captain” of the Braves. The often forgotten part of the story is that on Independence Day itself the team played against their Minor League affiliate in an exhibition game, losing 10 to 3. It is rumored Johnny Evers held a “team meeting” after the game. Do you think he was tired of losing? What do you think he said? What would you have said as team Captain to motivate your fellow players? I suspect it was something along the lines of: “I am going to personally see all of you have a miserable future life if you do not play up to your potential!”
Whatever he said it worked. How often is it that what anybody “says” can improve performance? But it may have worked for the 1914 Braves team? Within two weeks they jumped to 6th place. By early September they were in first place and never looked back, winning the National League Pennant! Their top three starters each won 20 games after July 4. As the betting underdogs to win the WS, they won in a four game sweep over a good Connie Mack led Athletics team featuring its “Million Dollar Infield,” led by “Home Run Baker.” It led to that great team’s breakup.
Baseball’s Winning Ways is written for enjoyment, inspiration, and information by the author of The 10 Commandments of Baseball, J. D. Thorne. Winning Ways explores baseball history and high profile players both current and past. American history highlights provide a more complete point of reference. The drama of the game, its history, baseball superstitions, statistics explained, and more provide features of interest to all fans from age 12 on up. The central theme of the book is baseball’s winning ways, those principles essential to the game itself–values that parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches want to pass down that are as important now as ever.