Thursday, August 22, 2013

World Series: Did You Know?

The first ever save recorded in the Autumn Classic, was recorded by Doc White in game 5 of the 1906 Word Series.

Now, it is extremely unlikely that Doc knew about this, as saves did not become an official stat until 1969. Coincidentally, White died that year. Some baseball execs did award saves prior to this, but even then, it only went back to 1952.

Saves have since been "awarded" to earlier games, thanks to wonderful research.

Anyways, Doc didn't have a save in the 1906 regular season, and as it turns out, he got only 5 his entire career.

What White did in 1906 is lead the AL in ERA, 1.52. And he had a pretty good record: 18-6

For most of his career, he was a win one, lose one pitcher. Indeed, take away his 1906 and 1907 (27-13, leading the American League in wins), his lifetime record was just 144-137.

But in any event, he took the hill for the Chicago White Sox in game 5 of the 1906 World Series on, he was in for a first.

It was October 13th, 1906.

Having lost game 2 to Ed Reulbach (who tossed a 1 hitter), White was out for a little redemption. The White Sox were actually playing Chicago in this Series. My how times have changed. The White Sox, after their 1917 World Series win, never won another World Series until 2005. The Cubs, who won the Series back-to-back in 1907 and 1908, haven't won a World Series since. In fact, the Cubs have yet to make it back to the World Series since 1945!

But this was one tough Cubs team!

Cubs record in 1906: 116-36

The White Sox were in front 8-6 in the bottom of the 7th, when suddenly, Harry Seinfeldt lashed a leadoff double off Sox starter Ed Walsh. Tying run at the plate and nobody out.

In comes White.

Joe Tinker popped up to Jiggs Donahue at first. Johnny Evers (Yes, he was involved a double play in this game, but it was not with Evers and Chance) grounded out to shortstop George Davis. Catcher Johnny King grounded out to the hot corner, George Rohe.

Double O, Orval Overall, who was tossing some nice relief of his own on that afternoon (5.2IP, 4H, 1(E)R, 1BB, 5K) grounded out to second basemen Frank Isbell (I'm really lovin' these old player names!). Solly Hofman fanned, but left fielder Jimmy Sheckard reached on an error by Isbell. Hope he didn't get h(is bell) rung! Frank Schulte, who had three hits on the day, singled. Sheckard was thrown out trying to make it to third. Three more outs to go!

With the Cubs still up, 8-6, Frank Chance led off the 9th for the Cubs.He flied out to right fielder Ed Hahn. Steinfeldt grounded out to Rohe. One more out.

But Joe Tinker walked.

Pat Moran batted for Evers and hit into a force out at second.

White had the first World Series save, ever. He would add a win in game 6, as the Sox won the All Chicago World Series, 4 games to 2.


Enders, Eric. 100 years of the World Series. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. New York, 2005. Print. pp. 23.

Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print. pp. 35

Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 22 Aug. 2013.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Elroy Face: A Quick Glance At His 1959 Record

So, as Max Scherzer goes out to trump Elroy Face's 18-1 record of 1959, I thought I'd look at a breakdown of how Face arrived at that great W-L record.

Needless to say, Face, who never started a game that season, will probably never be eclipsed by a relief pitcher in terms of wins in a single season.

Oh, but I should point out, Tom Filer (7-0) and Dennis Lamp (11-0), went a combined 18-0 for the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays.

In the games he won, Face pitched 1 inning, 3 times in 1959. 2 or more innings, 13 times. 3 or more innings, 8 times. 4 innings, 1 time. 5 innings, 1 time.

Total number of innings pitched in the 18 wins: 43 2/3

Face fanned 5 batters twice in the 18 wins. 4 batters twice. 3 batters once. 2 batters, 3 times. 1 batter, 5 times. 0 K, 5 times.

Total number of K's in the 18 wins: 32

K/9 during the 18 wins: 6.59

In 10 of the wins, Face did not allow a run

In 11 of the wins, Face did not allow an earned run.

Total number of runs scored against him in the 18 wins: 9

Total number of earned runs scored against Face in this time: 8

ERA during the 18 wins: 1.65

The unearned run against him was on August 9th against the Cubs.

Face took over from Vern Law in the bottom of the 8th inning of 2-1 Cub lead in that August game. The very first batter was Tony Taylor, and he reached on an error by shortstop Dick Groat. Taylor eventually scored on a single by the other Taylor, Sammy. 3-1, Chicago.

But the Pirates would dramatically tie the game in the top of the 9th, thanks to Groat's double, Roberto Clemente's single, and Smokey Burgess sacrifice fly.

In the top of the 10th, Groat drove in the winning run for the Pirates, who added another run for insurance. Face retired the side in order in the bottom of the frame, getting Ernie Banks to fly out to end it.

That gave Face his 15th win against 0 defeats at that point. With his 16th win against the World Series winning Los Angeles Dodgers on August 23rd (2nd game of a doubleheader), Elroy had passed Johnny Allen's 1937 15-1 mark.

His one loss of the season? September 11th (1st game of a doubleheader). Face came into that game with a very mortal 17-0 record.

But in that game against the Dodgers, the streak of wins (which was actually 22 going back to 1958), came to an end.

It had been a pitcher's duel between the Pirates' Bob Friend and the Dodgers promising lefty.

A kid by the name of Koufax.

Leave it to Sandy to end the streak.

Actually, Koufax was out of there in the top of the 8th inning with one out, trailing 4-2. Koufax was replaced by CC, Chuck Churn.

Friend allowed a homerun by Wally Moon in the bottom of the frame to cut the lead to 4-3. Who do you turn to at this point?

You turn to face Face.

Face came in with one on and one out, and got the Pirates out of the inning with no further damage.

But with Maury Wills on second and only one out in the bottom of the 9th, Jim Gilliam hit a triple to right to tie the game. Charlie Neal, on an 0-2 pitch, hit a single to left to score Gilliam, win the game for the Dodgers, and put a "1" in the loss column of Face. 17-1.

That is the only game Face blew a save and was given the loss.

Elroy blew 4 saves in games that he was credited with a win.

He also blew 4 saves in games where he registered a no decision. 2 of these games were later lost by the Dodgers.


Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 20 Aug. 2013.

Monday, August 19, 2013

McLain VS Tiant, 1968: Who was REALLY Better?

I'm not here to debate who was the National League's best pitcher in 1968, because that's obvious.

Denny McLain was the last pitcher to win 30 games (Actually, he won 31 that year) and posted a 1.96 ERA in 1968.

But Luis Tiant of the Cleveland Indians was pretty good that year, too. I thought I'd take a look at both of their 1968 stats. This one was so close, I'll let you decide who was better!

That 1.96 ERA was only good enough for 4th. Luis Tiant led the junior circut with a 1.60 ERA. Sam McDowell of Cleveland was second (1.81) and Dave McNally of Baltimore was third (1.95). Amazingly, Tommy John of the Chicago White Sox was just a bit behind McLain with a 1.98 ERA.

Tiant had the best WAR rating of any pitcher in the American League, 8.4. McLain was second, but at 7.4. So I guess Tiant contributed 1 more win than McLain would have that year. But McLain won 9 more games.

Tiant came in tied for third with Mel Stottlemyre (Yes, that's Todd's dad! And the only pitcher to win 20 games 3 times with the Yankees without ever winning 20 on a pennant winner) for wins with 21. McNally had 22.

McNally lost 10 games that year, Stottlemyre 12, McLain 6, Tiant 9.

31-6 for McLain gave him an amazing W% of .838. Boston's Ray Culp (16-6) was second with a .727 W%. Tiant (21-9) was good enough for a .700 W%

How about WHIP?

It was Dave McNally ahead of Tiant and McLain in that category, 0.842. Tiant was second, 0.871. McLain was third, 0.905.

But Tiant was the hardest to get a hit off, as he allowed just 5.3 hits per nine innings. McNally was second with 5.8. McDowell was third with 6.1. Sonny Siebert of the Indians was 4th with 6.3, and McLain was 5th (6.5).

McLain's control was superb, as he allowed just 1.7 walks per nine innings. That was second to Yankee Fritz Peterson's 1.2. Tiant, meanwhile averaged 2.5 walks per nine innings. Too many for a top ten finish.

But Tiant was just behind Sam McDowell for K/9 with 9.2. McDowell topped the junior circuit with 9.5. McLain didn't even lead the Tigers in that category, as Mickey Lolich's 8.1 was good enough for 3rd in the AL. Ray Culp pushed McLain almost out of the top 5 with 7.9. McLain was next with 7.5.

I'll say this for McLain, his arm must have been tired at the end of the season, as he tossed 336.0 innings pitched, plus 16 2/3 more in the World Series that year. Dean Chance (Minnesota) was next, but way back. Chance had 292.0 IP for second, Stottlemyre third with 278.2, McNally next with 273.0. It was McDowell with 269.0 IP that rounded out the top 5. Stan Bahnsen of the Yankees (AL ROTY) was ahead of Tiant with 267.1 IP. Finally, Luis, with 258.1 IP, was 7th.

McDowell was all alone with the Special K, with 283. McLain was second with 280, and Tiant third with 264.

McLain was all alone in games started with 41. This was just 2 more than Chance and 4 more than McDowell.

McLain also went the distance in 28 of those starts. Tiant second, but way back with 19. And that was only a second place tie with Stottlemyre.

But 9 of those complete games by Tiant saw the unflattering "0" underneath the "R" on the scoreboards. That was enough to lead the AL in shutouts. McLain was in a 5 way tie for second with 6. The others being Jim Nash of the A's, Culp, Stottlemyre and Chance.

McLain was taken downtown by hitters 31 times in 1968, for the AL lead in that dubious category. By comparison, Tiant gave up just 16. Earl Wilson of the Tigers, Jim Hardin of the Orioles and Chuck Dobson of the Athletics were tied for 10th with 20.

McDowell led the AL in walks with 110. Next was Tom Phoebus of the O's with 105. Blue Moon Odom of the A's was third with 98, Siebert 4th with 88. Dave Boswell of the Minnesota Twins was 5th with 87. Culp was 6th with 82. Steve Hargan of the Indians right behind him with 81. Another Detroit Tiger, Joe Sparma, was 9th with 77, pushing Tiant down to 10th place with 73.

Stottlemyre led the AL in hits allowed with 243, but that was in 278.2 IP, don't forget. McLain was 2nd with 241 hits allowed. But remind yourself of McLain's IP: 336.0. Dick Ellsworth of the Red Sox was 10th with 196 hits allowed, and that was in 196.0 IP. Tiant allowed just 152 hits in 258.1 innings pitched.

McLain topped the AL in K/BB ratio with 4.4. Second was Peterson with 4.0, but that's actually 3.96 rounded up. Chance was next with 3.7. McNally was third with 3.7, rounded up from 3.673. Tiant was 5th with 3.6.

Gary Bell of Boston was first in fewest homeruns allowed per nine innings with 3.2. Siebert was 10th with 5.2. Neither McLain (0.8) and Tiant (0.6) were good enough for a top 10 finish.

George Brunet led the AL in losses with 17. McDowell, Joe Horlen and Cisco Carlos of the White Sox were tied with Dobson for 8th place in losses with 14. Tiant lost 9 games that year, McLain only 6.

Catfish Hunter of the A's led the AL in earned runs allowed with 87. 9th place (a tie) went to Sparma and Dobson with 75 each. McLain was just back of that with 73. Tiant was even further back with just 46.

Frank Bertaina of the Washington Senators (First in War, First in Peace, Last In The Amercian League, First In Wild Pitches?) and Odom tied for the AL lead in wild pitches. Gary Waslewski of the Red Sox, underrated Gary Peters of the White Sox, Bell, Joe Coleman of the Sens, Hardin, Boswell and Culp tied for 8th place with 9 each. McLain and Tiant would throw just 3 wild pitches each in 1968.

Horlen led the AL in batters hit with 14. Carlos, Hardin, McDowell, Chance, McNally and Stan Williams of the Indians tied for 6th spot with 10. McLain hit 6 batters and Tiant hit 4.

The Tigers won 103 games that year. The Indians won 86 games that year.

McLain received some pretty good run support that year, as the Tigers scored an average of 5.23 runs in his 41 starts. Tiant received about 2 runs less than that, 3.20. Tiant pitched in relief twice.

Overall the Tigers went 33-8 in the games Denny McLain started. The Indians went 23-9 in the games Tiant started. Tiant lost a game in relief and also recorded a no decision, 2 IP, in a 3-2 win over California on September 21st.

The Tigers played .576 (72-53) ball when McLain didn't pitch. The Indians played .496 (65-66) ball when Tiant didn't pitch.

So McLain improved the Tigers W% .262. Tiant improved the Indians W% .204.

McLain, for his numbers, received not only the AL CY Young, the Sporting News Pitcher Of The Year, but also the AL MVP. So he matched his game 1 and 4 World Series opponent, Bob Gibson, in taking in those awards.

Gibson's ERA that year was 1.12! Bobby Bolin of the San Francisco Giants was second in the NL in ERA with 1.99.

Tiant could take solace in the ERA title of the Amercian League, with 1.60. He also trumped McLain in another area: he was named the AL starter in the All Star Game. He actually was the losing pitcher. McLain pitched a scoreless 5th and 6th as the AL lost, 1-0.

How about hitting?

McLain batted .162 with 4 RBI and 7 runs scored. Tiant batted .080 with 3 RBI and 4 runs scored.

How about fielding?

McLain led the AL in putouts by a pitcher with 36.

McLain (1.85) trailed Tommy John (2.56) and Mel Stottlemyre (2.06) in Range Factor Per Game among pitchers.

Tiant was not among the leaders in any fielding category. He made 15 putouts that season.

Mel Stottlemyre and Tom Phoebus were tied for 4th place in the AL with 20 putouts.

Tiant's Range Factor Per Game was just 1.18 that year. Camilo Pascual was 5th in the AL in Range Factor Per Game with 1.74.


Shalin, Mike, and Neil Shalin. Out By A Step: The 100 Best Players Not In The Baseball Hall of Fame. Lanham: Diamond Communications, 2002. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 19 Aug. 2013.

Monday, August 12, 2013

How Jim Maloney Almost Had 4 No-No's in 1965, Part 3: Going Extras And Going Wild!

Maloney took the hill on August 19, 1965 in Wrigley Field in Chicago. The first game of a doubleheader. 

Do I bother mentioning it was a day game? Oh, and a fast one. Around 2 hours and 51 minutes. Enough time to get to the second game! But the opener, it was a classic!

Anyways, it was Maloney (13-6) VS Larry Jackson (11-14). Jackson was actually one hell of a pitcher, winning 194 games over his career and posting 4 shutouts of his own in 1965.

Jackson retied Larry Harper and Pete Rose on grounders to start the game, and after Vada Pinson singled, Jackson picked him off first. Pretty good start by Jackson.

But Maloney was more than equal to the task, as he fanned the first two batters, Don Landrum and Doug Clemens. Billy Williams put the ball in play as he popped out to Rose at second.

Frank Robinson connected for the second hit of the game by the Reds. So the leadoff man was aboard to start the second. But Gordy Coleman grounded into a double play and Deron Johnson grounded out. Just like that, a promising inning was over.

In the bottom of the frame, the Cubs again failed to get the ball out of the infield as Ernie Banks grounded out to shortstop Leo Cardenas, Ron Santo popped out to Rose, and Ed Bailey, the Cubs catcher, because Maloney’s third strikeout victim of the afternoon.

Cardenas and Johnny Edwards, the Red catcher, made quick outs to start the top of the third, but Maloney prolonged it by hitting a single to right. But Harper would force Jim at second to end the inning.

Then came one agonizing inning for Maloney.

He started off the bottom of the third by walking Glenn Beckert and Don Clemens, then settled down (or appeared to) by fanning Jackson and getting Landrum to force Kessinger at second.

But Clemens walked.

The bases were filled.

And Billy Williams, the Hall Of Famer (one of three Hall Of Famers in this game. Oh, plus Pete Rose, right?) was up.

Nowhere to put someone who went downtown 426 times.

But Maloney got him to ground out to Rose.

Rose blooped at single to start the 4th and Pinson sacrificed him to second. Robinson grounded out to Kessinger at short, Rose holding. Coleman ended the Reds’ chance by grounding out to Johnson at third.

Banks and Santo were retired on a pop out and ground out to start bottom of the inning.

But the B’s (Bailey and Beckert) drew Maloney’s 4th and 5th walk of the game. Two on, two out.

But Maloney fanned Kessinger.

So after 4 innings Maloney had 5 strikeouts, and five walks.

And no hits against. Is this blogger going to jinx him?

Jackson then came out smoking in the 5th as he fanned both Johnson and Edwards. Cardenas grounded out to end the inning. Those were Jackson’s first two K’s of the game.

But it Maloney that had the real smoke in the 5th.

Jackson fanned.

Landrum fanned.

Clemens fanned.

5 innings, 8 K’s for Maloney.

Oh, and still no hits, but 5 BB’s.

Now where was I? Oh, the top of the 6th.

Maloney fanned.

Harper fanned.

Rose grounded out.

Now, I know what you are thinking: that was just like the top of the 5th. Actually, it wan't. You see, I have found a big difference. Cardenas grounder went to his counterpart at short, Kessinger. Rose’s grounder went to Ernie Banks at first, who fielded it and tossed it to Jackson covering first.

See, big difference there!

Bottom of the 6th.

Maloney got Billy Williams to pop out to Rose, Banks to ground out to Johnson and Santo to K. Maloney was up to 9 strikeouts in only 6 innings.

The Reds almost won the game in the top of the 7th as Robinson tripled to left, but the next two batters, Coleman and Johnson, failed to get the ball out of the infield. Robinson held on Coleman’s grounder to Banks, who made the play unassisted this time.

Bailey and Beckert grounded out to start the bottom of the frame. Maloney then reached double figures in K’s when he fanned Kessinger.

And he still had the no-no going!

After Edwards and Cardenas were retired on infield outs to start the top of the 8th, Maloney got his second hit (and the Reds’ 6th overall) of the game. Harper then became Jackson’s 5th K victim.

In the bottom half, Jackson helped out his own cause by drawing the 6th walk of Maloney.

The Reds moved the infield in, expecting a SH.

And Landrum laid down a beaut, as Maloney fielded it and tossed to Rose covering first.

Clemens flied out to center, which brought up Williams.

The Reds decided to walk him intentionally.

And the strategy worked as Maloney got his 11th K as he rung up Banks.

Ron Santo made an error on Rose’s ground ball to start the 9th frame. And when Pinson reached first on a bunt to third, there was two on and nobody out.

Jackson retired Robinson on a fly to left, both runners not advancing. Gordy Coleman flied out to Billy Williams in right, with Rose taking third. Johnson ended the threat by grounding out to Santo.

Bottom of the ninth!

Santo then was struck by a Maloney pitch. Bailey coaxed Jim’s 8th walk of the game. The winning run was on second base.

But Maloney reached a dozen K’s as he fanned Beckert.

Jimmy Stewart, pinch hitting for Kessinger, flied out to Pinson in center.

But Jackson kept the inning going as he walked.

For the second time this day, Maloney had walked the bases loaded. And Jim Maloney was now up to 9 walks.

He still had the no-hitter, but now he must retire Landrum, or it’s all over.

Landrum popped up to Cardenas, and the inning was over. It was time for extra innings.

Under the old baseball record book, Maloney now had a no-hitter no matter what happened. But in 1991, it was ruled a no-hitter must consists of no hits against, regardless of the innings played.

Jimmy Stewart stayed in the game at short, while Jim Maloney hoped his team could get him a run.
Edwards grounded out to Banks, who made the play himself.

And then Cardenas took Jackson deep. 1-0, Cincinnati!

Maloney, the next batter, must have felt great! But he grounded out to the new shortstop, Stewart.

Harper kept the inning alive with the Reds’ 9th hit. But it had taken them 9 2/3 innings to get those. Rose grounded to Banks, who made the toss to Jackson covering first.

Clemens walked, leading off. The 10th walk given up by Maloney. The tying run was at first, and the winning run was at the plate.

And it was Billy Williams.

Maloney had walked 5 of the last 12 batters here.

He got Williams out on a fly to Harper in left.

Ernie Banks then grounded to the man who gave the Reds a 1-0, Cardenas.

Cardenas, the shortstop, tossed to Rose to eliminate Clemens.

And when Rose fired to first to get Banks, Maloney had his first no-hitter of the season.

Third time is really a charm.

Well, Maloney had charmed the Cubs. 10 IP, 0H, 10BB, 12K.

For those wondering about the nightcap? The Reds led 4-0 going into the bottom of the eighth. But 3 runs in the bottom of that inning, plus two more in the 9th, gave the Cubs a 5-4 win. Cubbies only got 2 walks, but 10 hits was enough.

10 hits? Well they were due for some, yes?


Buckley, James Jr. Unhittable: Reliving The Magic And Drama Of Baseballs Best-Pitched Games. Triumph Books, 2004. (DVD Insert).

Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 12 Aug. 2013.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

After The Trade: Edmonton And Los Angeles, And What They've Done From Then Till Now

Okay, it's been 25 years since Gretzky went from Edmonton to Los Angeles, and this stat loving blogger decided to look at exactly how both teams have fared from the season following (1988/89) to the last season (2012/13).

I realize also, I should perhaps have waited one more season for this, due to the nature of the comparison. For 25 seasons is more relevant than 25 years (See how much that strike of 2004/05 hurts the Simple Season Count. Now I always have to subtract one season off when I cover anything from before 2004/05 till after)

A little guide:

SC = Stanley Cup (Won the Stanley Cup)

F = Stanley Cup Finals (Reached that stage and lost)

CF = Stanley Cup Conference Finals (Reached that stage and lost)

CSF = Stanley Cup Conference Semi-Finals (Reached that stage and lost)

CQF = Stanley Cup Conference Quarter-Finals ("Reached" that stage and lost. Doesn't sound so bad does it, but if you must, say, "First Round!")

P W = Playoffs Wins (The total playoff games won that year by that team)

P L = Playoff Losses (The total playoff games lost that year by that team)

MP = Missed Playoffs (Pretty self-explanatory, yes?)

Italics indicate which team has the greater total of that particular category. If there are no italics on either team it means they are tied.


Sports Reference LLC. - Hockey Statistics and History. Web. 06 Aug. 2013.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Best MLB Team Jackie Robinson Ever Played For!

Where to start, where to end with the 1953 Dodgers?

First time I ever heard of them was back when I was a lad and discovered a book on my grandfather’s bookcase, The Boys Of Summer by Roger Kahn.

Not only was it the best MLB team Jackie played for, but certainly one of the finest teams ever assembled!
And like the Cleveland Indians of next year, they failed to win the World Series. Well, they did win 2 games, so they were halfway to winning it.

But what a team it was, as Brooklyn won 105 games and six Dodgers scored 100 or more runs!

Team Hitting

Speaking of scoring, the team touched home 955 times that year in 155 games, or 6.2 times per 9 innings. Their hated rivals, the New York Giants, plus the St Louis Cardinals, were tied second in runs scored with just 768 scored each.

The Dodgers, as a team had 1519 hits. Their hated rivals, the Giants, were second with just 1459.

Brooklyn led the NL in homeruns with 208. Giants were second with 176.

The Dodgers led the league in walks with 655. The Cardinals were second with 574.

You’d think, maybe with all those homeruns, that they would also strike out a lot, but no. 686 K’s as a team was good enough only for 4th. The Chicago Cubs actually fanned 746 times to lead the NL.

It was a little closer in team batting average, but the Dodgers still led the NL with a .285 average. The Cardinals were second with a team average of .273.

How about some “Moneyball” stat, OBP? The Dodgers as a team had a .366 on base percentage, good enough for first. The Cardinals were second with a team .347 OBP.

Brooklyn’s team slugging average of average of .474, which again led the league, was 50 points better than the Cardinals .424 slugging average.

OBS, on base plus slugging, the Dodgers were at .840. The Cardinals were second at .771.

Okay, I found something the Dodgers didn't lead the league in that was positive offensively: HBP, hit by pitch. The Dodgers were only 3rd with 35. But this was only 4 back of first place St Louis. Oh, well, less bruises.

Brooklyn was also only 3rd in sacrifice bunts (SH), with 75. The Pittsburgh Pirates led the NL with 89.

Team Pitching

Okay, here might be a problem. Obviously, their pitchers led the NL in wins, but Brooklyn’s team ERA was 4.10, so it appears you’d get a 6-4 win on average every game you went to that season!

That 4.10 ERA was still good enough for 3rd, however, as the brand new Milwaukee Braves led the NL with a 3.30 team ERA.

The Dodger pitchers finished 104 games, only good enough for 6th. But the league leaders, the Cubs hurlers, finished only 117 themselves. For those wondering, that’s having a relief pitcher come in 104 times, and the new arrival or another reliever, finishing the game.

Brooklyn’s starting pitchers, by the way, hurled 51 complete games, which was only good enough for a 3rd place tie with the Cardinals. The Philadelphia Phillies led the NL with 76 complete games.

Brooklyn shut out the opposition 11 times, good enough for 4th place. The Braves led the league with 14.

The Dodgers were always known, like the Yankees, (think Joe Page of New York and Hugh Casey of the Dodgers) for their closers, who recorded 29 saves, but it was only good enough for 2nd behind the Cardinals’ 36.

But Brooklyn really shined in opponent’s getting hits off them. Despite their little ballpark, the opposition managed only 1337 hits. The Braves were the only National League team to allow fewer, 1282.

But yes, the Dodgers gave up 689 runs, with only two other teams allowed fewer. The Braves allowed the fewest, 589.

Also, earned runs, the Dodgers allowed just 629. Again, it was the Braves with just 508 earned runs who allowed the fewest.

Problem here, is the long ball against. I mentioned earlier, the Dodgers led the NL in homeruns hit. But they also allowed the second most long balls, 169. Only the Cincinnati Reds allowed more, 179.

But the pitchers made ‘em hit the ball, as they walked only 509 batters. That was 3rd in the NL, with the Phillies in the lead with 410.

How about K’s. Plenty enough! 817, to lead the NL. The Braves were second with 738.

As for HBP, the Dodgers were dead last with just 17. The Cardinals led the league with 42.

The Dodgers’ pitchers were tied for 3rd in balks with 4, 3 behind the Braves league leading 7.

Brooklyn’s hurlers issued 24 wild pitches, 5th in the league behind the Pirates’ 44.

The Dodgers pitchers gave up 8.7 hits per 9 innings, which was just a little less than the Braves’ hurlers, who permitted a league low 8.3 hits per 9 innings.

Now for the bad part: The Dodgers gave up and average of 1.1 homeruns per 9 innings. That tiny Ebbets Field ballpark works both ways! Only the Reds gave up more, 1.2!

Control wise, the Dodgers pitchers gave up 3.3 walks per 9 innings. Only Philadelphia and Cincinnati gave up less walks per 9 innings.

When it comes to K/9, the Dodgers led the league with an average of 5.5. The Braves were second with 4.8.

The Dodgers did lead the league with the highest K/BB ratio with 1.61. The Cubs were second with 1.55.

Team Fielding

The Dodgers’ team defensive efficiency (Don’t ask me how to calculate that, or what it means) was .713 for second in the league.  The Braves were first with .715.

Because of the pitchers K’s, the Dodgers were way down the list of total chances.  5832 total chances was 7th in the NL. Far back of St. Louis’ 6121.

But how about just putouts? The Dodgers made 4141, which was third. The Braves were tops with 4161.
Assists wise, Brooklyn was second last (7th) with just 1608. The Cardinals were 1st with 1823.

The Dodgers committed the fewest errors among NL teams with just 118. That’s way back of the Cubs, who were first with 193.

Brooklyn was tied for third in double plays with 161. The Reds were atop the leader board with 176.
The Dodgers lead the league in fielding percentage with .980.

Individual Overall Performance

Duke Snider was second in the NL in WAR with 9.3, behind Robin Roberts’ (a pitcher) 9.8. Roy Campanella was 7th with a 7.1 and Jackie Robinson 8th with a 7.0.

But among positioned players, it was Snider 1st, Campanella 4th, Robinson 5th and Pee Wee Reese 9th (5.1).

Individual Offence

So Snider was first in offensive WAR with an 8.7, Campanella was 4th with a 6.5, Robinson 6th with a 5.9 and Reese 10th with a 4.6.

Carl Furillo led the National League in batting average with .344. Snider was 4th with .336. Then you had Robinson 8th with a .329 and Campy 10th with a .312. I think I should mention that Roy is a catcher at this point.

Robinson’s .425 on base percentage was second behind Stan Musial’s .437. Snider was 3rd with .419, Campanella 8th (.395) and Gil Hodges 10th (.393).

Snider topped the NL in slugging percentage with .627. Campanella was 3rd with .611. Furillo was 5th with .580 and Hodges was 7th with a .550 S%.

Snider also was on top in On Base Plus Slugging with 1.046. Campy was 4th with 1.006. Furillo was 5th with a .973 and Hodges was 8th with .943. Finally, you had Robinson 10th with .927.

Another person who has not been mentioned yet on the leader boards, Jim Gilliam, topped the NL in plate appearances with 710. Snider was 7th with 680.

Snider was first in runs scored with 132. Gilliam was 4th with 125, Robinson 8th with 109 and Reese 9th with 108. It should be noted that Roy Campanella’s 103 runs scored and Gil Hodges’ 101 runs scored didn’t make the top 10!

Snider was only 3rd however, in hits with 198.

But the Duke was the league leader in total bases with 370. Campy was 6th with 317 and Hodges 10th with 286.

Snider and Furillo both hit 38 doubles which was good enough for 3rd in the senior circuit, trailing Stan Musial’s league leading 53. Robinson was 8th with 34.

Gilliam topped the NL in triples with 17. Surprisingly enough, no other Dodger was in the top 10.

Snider trailed Eddie Mathews in homerun with 42. But that was still good enough for second, and just 5 less long balls. Campanella was also over 40 with 41, for 3rd. Hodges’ 31 were good enough for 6th.

Roy’s 142 RBI topped the NL by 7. The Duke’s 126 was good enough for 3rd. Hodges’ 122 was 5th.

Gilliam, in his role as the moneyball player on the Dodgers, was second in the NL in walks with 100. League leader Stan The Man had just 5 more. Reese and Snider each got 82 for 7th and Hodges was 10th with 75.

Now, for some negative stats. Snider was a victim of the K 90 times for 5th place. Although, it was Steve Bilko of the Cardinals, who was on top with 125. Hodges was 7th with 85.

If I told you Robinson was 3rd on the Dodgers in stolen bases, would you believe me? Billy Bruton of the Braves, one of the most underrated players of his era, lead the loop with 26. Reese was second with 22, then Gilliam with 21, and finally Robinson 4th with 17. Amazingly, the 5th most stolen bases of the NL in 1953 was recorded by Snider, with 16.

Robinson was still the target of inside pitches, at this point in his career, as evidenced by his 3rd place finish in hit by pitches, with 7. What I find amazing is that none of them were by Sal Maglie, who Jackie had a real rivalry with. Actually, Sal only hit Robinson once with a pitch in his entire career, and that was on September 1st, 1951.

Reese had 15 sacrifice bunts to lead the National League. Robinson was tied for 8th with 4 other players with 9 SH.

Another negative stat for Snider was that he was caught stealing  7 times, 4th in the NL. It was worse for Gilliam, as he was caught red handed 14 times, tops in the NL. Reese was tied for 6th with, actually 6!

But Robinson was truly a master theft artist on the bases, as he succeeded at a rate of 81 percent on theft attempts. That led the NL. Reese was second with 79%, Snider 6th with 70% Gilliam 7th with 60%.

Individual Pitching

Carl Erskine was 7th in WAR among NL pitchers with a 4.3. But this was well back of Robin Roberts 9.8!

Roberts and Warren Spahn topped the NL in wins with 23 each. Erskine was also a 20 game winner with exactly 20 wins. But it was only good enough to tie Harvey Haddix for 3rd. Russ Meyer was tied with Lew Burdette for 7th with 15 wins.  Billy Loes tied Jim Konstanty for 9th in National League wins with 14.

Erskine was all alone in winning percentage, however, as his .769 was the NL leader. Spahn was second with .767. Meyer tied Spahn’s teammate Burdette for 3rd with a .750 tally. Underrated Clem Labine was the third Dodger pitcher in the top 10 with a .647, for 8th place. 9th place went to another Brooklyn Dodger, Loes, with .636.

Erskine was the only Dodger in the top 10 in WHIP, with 1.249. Spahn led the NL with 1.058.

Spahn also led the NL in hits allowed per 9 innings (7.1). Erskine was again the lone Dodger in the top 10 with a 7.8 (5th).

Preacher Roe’s masterful control (2.3 walks per nine innings) made him the only Dodger in the top 10 in that category in 1953. Roberts led the NL with just 1.6 walks per nine innings.

Carl Erskine’s 6.8 K’s per nine innings was second to Vinegar Bend Mizell’s 6.9 for league lead. Meyer was 10th with about 5.

Jim Hughes was in a 4 way tie for 7th in the NL in games pitched. But this was way back of Hoyt Wilhelm’s league leading 68 games pitched.

Al Brazle was the NL leader in saves with 18. Hughes was top Dodger with 9, good enough for 3rd. Labine with 7 was tied for 6th. Joe Black, still another Dodger, had 5 to tie Konstanty for 9th.

Erskine tossed 246 and 2/3 innings that season. That placed him 4th among NL hurlers in IP. But it was exactly 100 IP back of Roberts, who lead the NL in still another pitching category.

Roberts also lead the league in K’s with 198. But Erskine wasn’t too far behind him with 187, which gave him the 2nd most.

Roberts (again) lead the NL in starts with 41. Erskine was tied with Mizell and Haddix with 33 starts. Good enough for (again) second in the National League. Meyer was in a 5 way tie for 5th with 32.

No one was close to Roberts 33 complete games pitched in 1953. The closest any Dodger pitcher came was Erskine’s 16, and even that was only 5th place. Meyer was tied with 4 others for 10th place with 10 CG.

Someone, that being Harvey Haddix, finally beat Robin Roberts for the lead in another category, shutouts, with 6th, but it should be noted, Roberts tied Spahn for second with 5, nipping at Haddix’s heels from the get go, I suppose. Carl tied the Phillies’ Curt Simmons for 4th with 4. Russ Meyer’s 2 tied him with, if you can imagine, six other players for 10th place in the NL.

Meyer was also taken yard 25 times that 1953 season, but that was only an 8th place tie with Bubba Church of the Reds. Yes, you pray it never happens to you out there. Warren Hacker topped the NL with 35 dingers allowed.

Erskine was 5th in walks with 95, but it was way back of pitcher-turned-positioned-player-turned-pitcher and-positioned-player John Lindell’s league leading 139.

Erskine also surrendered 213 hits, but it was in 246 2/3 innings, remember. And it was 8th, well back of Robin Roberts’ 324 hits allowed in 346 2/3 innings.

It was the K/BB ratio that Brooklyn hurlers really excelled. Roe was third (2.13). Robin Roberts, by the way, ended up leading the way with 3.25. It was the second of three straight seasons leading the National League in that. But after 1954, Robin only led the league twice more. Roe had the same number of K/BB ratio the year before, if you can believe it.  He also led the senior circuit in 1949 with 2.48.

Erskine was 5th with 1.97 and Meyer was 9th with 1.68, just behind Curt Simmons.

Erskine was also 8th in fewest homeruns allowed per nine innings with 0.766, nudging out Lindell’s 0.769. Burdette was the league leader with 0.36 homeruns allowed per nine innings.

Earned runs allowed had Erskine and Meyer tied with Harry Perkowski of the Reds for 8th with 97. But that was in 246 2/3 innings for Erskine and 191 1/3 innings pitched for Meyer. Warren Hacker led the league in earned runs allowed with 108 in 221 2/3 innings.

Now for wildness, it’s Jarring John Lindell leading the league with 11 wild pitches. Brooklyn had three hurlers tied for 10th spot, with 4 other pitchers, might I add. Bob Milliken, a rookie, Russ Meyer and Carl Erskine (here again!) helped make it a 7 way tie (Wow!) for the 10 spot in wild pitches with 4.

So Robin Roberts faced the most batters, 1412. Erskine was 4th with 1030. But that was only one back of Harvey Haddix for 3rd place.

Hoyt Wilhelm (the last pitcher to win an ERA title while pitching in relief), as you might expect, led the league in games finished with 39. It was Clem Labine’s 21 for Brooklyn that was good enough for 8th spot.  Jim Hughes, who would lead the NL in saves the next year, also finished in the top ten for the Dodgers. He tied Jim Konstanty for 10th in GF with 20.

Individual Fielding

Brooklyn was strong in fielding as well!

But Roy Campanella had no equals in the field in 1953.

The catcher lead the league in games caught (140), easily topped the league in putouts behind the plate with, 802, and was third in assists (57), behind Del Crandall’s NL topping 62.

Campy did make 10 errors, which was 2nd. Toby Artwell led the league with 15.

But Roy was tied with Wes Westrum of the Giants for double plays turned by NL catchers with 9. Crandall’s 13 was the leader.

Crandall also gunned out 27 attempts to steal the sack. That was enough for the lead. Campy was right there with 22 for second.

Westrum’s 54.5 percent stolen bases DENIED led the NL, but again Campy was not far behind with 53.7, for second.
Campy was all alone among catchers at the top with a range factor per nine innings of 6.60. Roy was also tops in the NL in range factor per game with 6.17.

Smokey Burgess led the NL in fielding percentage among catchers with a .993 mark. Campanella was second with .989.

Only four other first sackers played more games than Gil Hodges’ 127. Joe Adcock was first with 157 games played at first.

Steve Bilko was ahead of everybody in the NL with assists from first with 124. Hodges was 4th with 99.

Ted Kluszewski’s 149 double plays turned topped all first basemen in the NL in 1953. Hodges tied Chicago’s Dee Fondy for 4th place with 105.

Klu also led all NL first basemen in F% from 1953 with .995. Hodges was second, though, with .993.

Jim Gilliam topped everyone in the NL in games played at second with 149, was second behind Red Schoendienst’s 365 putouts (Jim had 332), and just behind him again (430-426), in assists by 2B.

And now for some negative: Junior was 3rd in the NL in errors by a second basemen with 19. Eddie Miskis of the Cubs and Jack Dittmer of the Braves were tied in that dubious area with 23.

But Gilliam was also second to Schoendiest in double plays turned by a second basemen with 102. Only seven back.

Gilliam placed 5th among second sackers with a 5.09 range factor per game. Schoendienst’s 5.68 beat out every second basemen in the NL.

Schoendienst’s .983 fielding percentage led the NL, with Gilliam 3rd with .976.

Pee Wee Reese, we’ve all heard about how good of a shortstop he was, eh? How about these numbers?!
Fourth in the NL in games played by a shortstop, 135. Roy McMillian of the Reds was the league leader with 155 games played.

The 265 putouts by Reese was good enough for 3rd behind league leader Johnny Logan’s 295.

Reese was 4th in assists by a shortstop with 380. McMillan again lead the league with 519.

Although, Pee Wee’s 23 errors put him in a 4 way tie for errors by a shortstop. Okay, that’s not so good! Solly Hemus led the NL with 27.

But Reese also turned 83 double plays from shortstop, 4th behind McMillan’s 114.

And Reese was also 5th in the NL in range factor per game at shortstop with 4.78. McMillan again was tops with 5.21.

It was Johnny Logan leading the NL in fielding percentage by a shortstop with .975. Reese was 4th with .966.

Billy Cox, the third basemen, didn’t qualify for the leaderboard on defence. He only played 89 games at third.

But what about Jackie Robinson?

Now here was something I didn’t know: He was primarily a left fielder in the 1953 season.

Actually, Robinson played 75 games in left, 44 at third, (thus explaining Cox’s limited appearances) 1 game at short, 9 at second and 6 at first.

So, let’s put it this way: Robinson played every position that year except pitcher, catcher, center field and right field.

The next year, Robinson did play one game in right field, his only major league appearance at that position. He never did play a game as a center fielder, catcher or pitcher.

And his 9 assists put him in a 3 way tie for 5th place among assists by a left fielder with 9. Del Ennis topped the senior circuit with 15.

And how about the man next to him? The Duke of Flatbush. There is a reason Jackie never played there!  I knew how good of a fielder he was, but what I didn’t know was that he was that he played 151 games in center field that year, 4th behind Richie Ashburn’s 156 games played.

Ashburn also lead the league in putouts by a center fielder with 484. Snider made 371, placing him 5th.

What a pair of center fielders Ashburn and Snider made when they each made 6 errors in center field in 1953? Along with Carlos Bernier, they were in a three way tie for 4th place for errors committed by center fielders. Gus Bell, who was certainly a good hitter, led the NL with 10. Also sad to see Billy Bruton, one hell of a Brave, second with 9. And don’t tell Brooklyn who was third in errors by a center fielder.

That would be Bobby Thompson!

You know? The guy that hit the homerun in 1951 to win the pennant for the Giants?

But just to show you that Bell and Bruton were good fielders, guess who were tied Ashburn for first in DP’s by a center fielder with 5? B and B!

Snider was 4th with 3.

Snider’s  .984 fielding percentage in center field was good enough for third, but behind Ashburn’s topping .988.

Carl Furillo, in right field, was second to former Dodger Andy Pafko and Enos Slaughter of the Cardinals, in two categories:  games played by a right fielder and putouts.

Furillo had a fine total of 131 games in right, but Pafko was first with 139. Pafko made 238 putouts in right, Furillo with 9 less.

Cal Abrams led the NL in putouts by a right fielder with 12. Actually, he tied Willard Marshall of the Reds with that number. Furillo was 4th, but ahead of Pafko, with 5.

Johnny Wyrostek led the NL in errors by a right fielder in 1953 with 8. Pafko was tied for second with Abrams, who played with the Pittsburgh Pirates, with 6. Furillo was 5th with 3 miscues.

But Furillo did lead the NL in an important category for right fielders: double plays!

He tied Abrams, Wyrostek and, the star pinch-hitter of the 1954 World Series, Dusty Rhodes in DP’s, with 3. Pafko, you should have seen it, was in a 12 way tie (I’m not making this up) for 5th with 1.

Furillo was 3rd in the NL in range factor per nine innings with 1.95. Marshall led the NL with 2.31.

Willard also was tops in the NL in range factor per game with 2.07, but Furillo was right there with 1.81.

Enos topped the NL in F% among right fielders with .996. Furillo, third again, .988.

If you look at all outfielders, Slaughter’s .996 is tops, and then Ashburn’s .990 is second.

Guess who is 3rd and 4th in F% by outfielders?

Furillo’s .988 and Snider’s .987!

How about the guys on the mound? What did they do on comebackers and other plays where they failed to strike out the batter?

Erskine tied Haddix with putouts with 15, as Stu Miller led the NL with 22.

Erskine also made 4 miscues as a fielder, which put him in a 7 way tie for 3rd place.  Vinegar Bend Mizell led the NL with 7.

Preacher Roe handled 34 chances flawlessly for a 1.000 fielding percentage as a pitcher. This was one of 5 seasons in his career where he did not make an error. Actually, he did not make an error in his last 3 seasons.

But it was tied with 5 other pitchers for the NL lead.


Roy Campanella’s season earned him the MVP of the NL in 1953. He beat out Eddie Matthews, who finished second. It was Roy’s second of three. Amazingly, he won it on three straight odd numbered years: 1951, 1953, 1955.

But there were some other Dodgers on there, too.

Snider was 3rd, Erskine and Furillo were in a 9th place tie. Right behind them were Reese (11th place) and then Robinson (12th)

Del Ennis from Philly was 13th, and but for him the Dodgers would have owned all the spots from 9 to 13 as Gil Hodges was 14th.

So the entire outfield received consideration, the battery of Campanella and Erskine did too, and the first basemen was also there, plus the shortstop.

What about the second basemen?

Jim Gilliam did not receive any MVP consideration, but received enough Rookie Of The Year votes to win it!

Now, for those wondering, the Cy Young Award wasn’t given out until 1956. I think that Warren Spahn (The Sporting News Pitcher Of The Year) would have won it had it been given out as he tied for the NL lead in wins (23) while posting an ERA of 2.10. Back then, those stats used to say it all.

I think Robin Roberts, who also won 23 games, but lost 16, while posting an ERA of 2.75 (second to Spahn) would have also gotten some votes.

Erskine, with his 20 wins and 6 losses (one less than Spahn) would have gotten some votes, but his ERA was 3.54, so I don’t think he’s winning it.

How about Clem Labine? 11 wins in only 7 starts with a 2.77 ERA and 7 saves? Yeah, he would have gotten some votes.

How about the Mid Summer Classic?

All Star Game

The Dodgers sent no pitchers, sadly. But Campy, the Duke, and Jackie sure went. As did Pee Wee Reese,  Furillo, Gil Hodges. Six Dodgers!

The World Series


Alas, the Yankees came out on top, again, this time in six games (7 games the year before).

Still, no World Series for Brooklyn as of 1953.

The Dodgers, though, had some leaders there, as well!

Campanella averaged a run scored per game (6) to tie Hank Bauer of the Yankees for the lead in the Fall Classic.

Cox, Snider and Gilliam all hit 3 doubles for the lead. Robinson and Furillo hit 2 as well. No Yankee hit more than one.

Gilliam also hit 2 homeruns to make it a three way tie for the lead the Dodgers. It also tied Bronx Bombers’ Billy Martin, Mickey Mantle and Gil McDougald for the lead in the long ball.

The Yankees hit a total of 9 homeruns in the Series, but the Dodgers hit 8 of their own. Snider, Furillo, Cox, Hodges, Campanella and George Shuba all went deep for the Dodgers.

Shuba’s was quite dramatic, by the way. With the Yankees ahead 5-2 in the top of the 6th inning of game 1, Shuba batted for Jim Hughes the pitcher, with Cox on first. His homerun to right brought the Dodgers to within a run of the Yankees. The Dodgers scored 5 more runs to the Yankees zero as they took the opener, 9-5.

Gilliam, the Rookie Of The Year, had quite the Series. He topped everyone in at-bats, doubles and homeruns. He also drove in 4 runs and scored 4 times himself.

Snider hit .320, as did Robinson, but Furillo was even better at .333. Alas, it was Billy Martin, being an early version of Reggie Jackson in this Fall Classic, who batted .500. Yogi Berra batted .429 for second on New York.

Martin had one World Series to remember: He hit the highest average (.500), tied for the most homeruns (2), had the most triples, (2) and the most RBIs (8).

And Billy even scored 5 runs, tied with teammate Gene Woodling for 3rd place.

Woodling led both teams in walks with 6. No other Yankee had more than 3, but Reese had 4 for the Dodgers.

Berra topped everyone with a .538 OBP, with Martin’s being .520. Woodling was .462.

Hodges .440 led Brooklyn.

The Dodgers only ended up stealing 2 bases the entire Series, one by Gil Hodges and one by Jackie Robinson.

The Yankees also ended up with two stolen bases in the World Series: Martin and Phil Rizzuto.

As a team, it should be noted, the Dodgers outhit the Yankees 64-56, out doubled them 13-6 and batted .300 to the Yankees .279. But the Yankees out moneyballed (new word invented by me!) the Dodgers .370 to .352 (OBP). That’s probably why they scored 33 runs to the Dodgers 27.


Erskine kept right on going as he topped everyone in games pitched (3), innings pitched (14), hits allowed (14), K’s (16) and BB (9). He went 1-0, but his ERA was 5.79. In game 3, he set a World Series record by whiffing 14 Yankees!

Loes won his only game, a game 4 start, striking out 8 in as many innings.

But no Dodger could match Yankee Ed Lopat’s 2.00 ERA.

Allie Reynolds, won game 6 for the Yankees (it ended up being his last ever World Series game) and also got the only Yankee save. His three appearances tied Carl Erskine. Reynolds fanned 9 batters to nudge out Loes for second in K’s.

Labine got the only Dodger save, but lost 2 games. Clem also tied Erskine and Reynolds for games pitched with 3.

Preacher Roe and Jim Hughes walked 4 batters, to place in a 4 way tie for second in walks with Yankees Lopat and Reynolds.

Russ Meyer K’d 5 batters in just 4.1 inning. But that only placed him 5th as Whitey Ford (I forgot he was back with the Yankees this season), who actually lost 4 and didn’t win any World Series games this year, (huh?) fanned 7 in 8 innings, on his way to a record 94 career World Series strikeouts.  Ford, it should be noted, also started game 6, which the Yankees won.

The Dodgers pitchers combined to fan 43 batters to the Yankees 30, but walked 25 batters to the Yankees 15. Overall, the Dodgers pitchers posted a 4.91 ERA compared to the Yankees 4.50 ERA.


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Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Nemec, David et all. 20th Century Baseball Chronicle: A Year-by-year History of Major League Baseball. Collector's Edition. Lincolnwood, Ill: Publications International, 1993. Print.

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