Continuing with my series, today I focus in the Springfield area and find a few small towns with major league players in their history. I am making a conscious effort to stay away from the Chicago area and focus more on the small town and a few of the larger downstate cities and their history.








William “Bill” Krieg





Born in Menard County


William Frederick Krieg (January 29, 1859 – March 25. 1930) was a Major League Baseball player from 1884 to 1887.
Krieg was born in Petersburg, Illinois. He played college baseball at the University of Notre Dame and then started his professional baseball career in 1883, in the Northwestern League. In 1884, Krieg played in the Union Association, which is now considered a “major league.” and made his professional debut on April 20, 1884 and  he batted .247. During the following season, he had short stints with four different ballclubs: two minor league teams based in Hartford and the major league Chicago White Stockings and Brooklyn Grays. In 1886, he split time with the Washington Nationals and the Eastern League’s Hartford Dark Blues.

Krieg started 1887 with Washington. On opening day, he hit a home run, however, he batted just .253 in 25 games and was released in midseason. He played his final major league game on June 15, 1887. In his career, he played in 141 games with 535 at bats, 127 hits, 29 doubles4 home runs, 37 runs batted in and 4 stolen bases along with a .237 batting average  Afterwards, he joined the Northwestern League’s Minneapolis Millers and batted .402, which was the second-best total in the circuit.

Krieg played in the Western Association in 1888 and would remain in that league for most of the following decade. In 1889, he batted .326 and then joined Milwaukee in 1890.In 1892, he won his first batting title while playing in Milwaukee. Krieg had a career season with Rockford in 1895. During that campaign, he batted a robust .452, with 237 hits, 14 triples, and 11 home runs to lead the Western Association in all four categories. He won another batting title the following year, at .350. In 1897, he hit .340. In 1898, he became the player-manager for the Burlington Hawkeyes, but his batting average slipped to .297. In 1899, he was player-manager for the Bloomington Blues.

Krieg’s playing career ended in 1901, when he was 42 years old. The following season, he managed in the Southern Association and then retired from the game. Early in his career, he had been a catcher, outfielder, and first baseman – he played the majority of his MLB games as a catcher – but he ended up being primarily a first baseman later in his career. He won three batting titles in the minor leagues. Krieg’s lifetime minor league batting average was .335, and Bill James considered him to be the best minor league baseball player of the 1880s.

Krieg died on March 25, 1930, at the age of 71 and is buried in Chillicothe, Illinois.


Where is Petersburg, Illinois? Here is the wikipedia entry:

Petersburg is a city in Menard County, Illinois, United States, on the bluffs and part of the floodplain overlooking the Sangamon River. It is part of the Springfield, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,299 at the 2000 census, and 2,185 at a 2009 estimate. It is the county seat of Menard County.Petersburg is located approximately two miles north of New Salem, the original settlement where Abraham Lincoln first settled when he came to Illinois.

Other notables from Petersburg:

William Taylor Davidson, newspaper editor; born in Petersburg
Edgar Lee Masters, lawyer and author (Spoon River Anthology); boyhood home is still preserved and open for visits
William B. McKinley, United States Senator from Illinois
Ann Rutledge, allegedly Abraham Lincoln’s first love; buried in Petersburg’s Oakland Cemetery





Carl Vandagrift




Born in Sangamon County


Born in Cantrall, Illinois, Vandagrift attended the University of Illinois before his entrance into the baseball world. The 5’8″ infielder got his chance at age 31 to play professional baseball with the Indianapolis Hoosiers with his debut on May 19, 1914 as a second baseman. He appeared in 43 games and accumulated 136 at bats with 34 hits for a .250 batting average along with 4 doubles and no triples or homers. He walked 9 times and struck out 15 at bats. In th field, he was a butcher with 10 errors in 28 games at second base. They moved him to third and short for the other fifteen games and he had 4 errors for a total of 14 in 43 games. He played his last game on October 5, 1914. His life was short as he died on October 9, 1920 at the age of 37. He is buried in Fort Wayne, Indiana.



So if he played for the Indianapolis Hoosiers, How can we say he played in the major leagues? Here’s your answer.


When the Federal League opened for business in 1914 as a challenger to the two major leagues, one franchise was placed in Indianapolis. Primarily owned by oil magnate Harry F. Sinclair, this team won the Federal League championship in 1914 with an 88–65 record. The team played at Federal League Park. The team’s roster included future Baseball Hall of Fame members Edd Roush and Bill McKechnie.

Although the Federal League had placed a team (the Tip-Tops) in Brooklyn, from the outset Federal League officials felt they could more effectively compete commercially against the American and National leagues by placing a team in Manhattan. All attempts were effectively blocked by principals of the two existing Manhattan teams (the New York Giants and the New York Yankees). Federal League executives decided to relocate the Indianapolis franchise to a major city in the New York metropolitan area, and Newark was chosen. Although the team was named the Newark Peppers, the team actually played at Harrison Park, in the town of Harrison, New Jersey, across the Passaic River from downtown Newark. (As part of the franchise transfer, Indianapolis outfielder Benny Kauff, who was the Federal League batting champ in 1914, was placed with the Tip-Tops.)

The team finished in 5th place with a won–loss record of 80–72. The Peppers were disbanded when the Federal League went out of business after two seasons.

Interesting sidenote: Team infielder Rupert Mills “played” the non-existent 1916 “season.” A clause in his 1915 contract guaranteed him a salary for the following year as long as he continued to show up at the park, suited and ready to play for the team. Mills fulfilled his contractual obligation, coming to the empty park each day and performing a physical workout to remain in playing condition.


Where is Cantrall, Illinois? This is the wikipedia entry for Cantrall.

As of the census of 2000, there were 139 people, 53 households, and 40 families residing in the village. The population density was 545.3 people per square mile (214.7/km²). There were 55 housing units at an average density of 215.8 per square mile (84.9/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 99.28% White, and 0.72% Asian.

There were 53 households out of which 43.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.0% were married couples living together, 3.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 22.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the village the age distribution of the population shows 25.2% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 113.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.0 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $45,000, and the median income for a family was $45,417. Males had a median income of $49,375 versus $21,719 for females. The per capita income for the village was $21,610. There were none of the families and 1.4% of the population living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.

Baseball History for February 12



Today on February 12th in Major League Baseball History

1878 After designing the device last season to protect his team’s promising, but skittish, catcher James Tyng, Fredrick Thayer receives a patent for his innovative invention, the catcher’s mask. The Harvard captain, who will never play in a major league game, designed an oblong wire frame modeled after a fencing mask with eyes holes that supports a series of strategically-placed pads made from animal skins. Here is an article from the New York Times about fans scoffing at a catcher’s mask.
1924 The National League announces it will join the AL in awarding a thousand dollars to the player selected by writers as the league’s Most Valuable Player. Dazzy Vance, who posts a 28-6 record along with an ERA of 2.16 for the Dodgers, easily outpoints Rogers Hornsby to become the Senior Circuit’s first MVP.
1930 After leading his A’s to a world championship, Connie Mack becomes the first Philadelphian sports figure to receive the prestigious Edward W. Bok Prize. The honor, now known as the Philadelphia Award, recognizes distinguished Philadelphians for their achievements in education, industry, law, politics, science, medicine, philosophy, and the creative arts. Very good article written in the SabrBio Project about Connie Mack.
1942 Former Texarkana outfielder Gordon Houston is the first professional ballplayer to be killed in WW II. The minor league batting champion, who became a full-time fighter pilot following the attack on Pearl Harbor, dies at the age of 25 when his Republic P-43 Lancer crashes at Washington’s McChord Field, after leading a sortie along the West Coast, looking for Japanese submarines.
1944 Bob Coleman, who filled in for Casey Stengel last season when the Boston skipper suffered a broken leg when hit by a taxi cab trying to cross a street, is named to replace the ‘Old Perfessor’ as the manager of the Braves. Considered one of the most successful managers in minor league history, the 54 year-old Indiana native could not work his magic with the wartime club, and after finishing sixth followed by a slow start in 1945, the former big league catcher will be replaced by Del Bissonette, one of his coaches.
1980 Marv Davis’s plan to buy the A’s from Charlie Finley is thwarted when the American League offers to buy out the Oakland Coliseum lease. The billionaire businessman, who will also make failed bids for the NFL’s Cowboys and Broncos, had hoped to move the franchise from the City by the Bay to Denver.
1981 Arbitrator Raymond Goetz officially declares Carlton Fisk a free agent, citing the Boston Red Sox had violated the CBA by not mailing the catcher’s contract by the December 20th deadline as specified in the agreement. Next month, the 33 year-old future Hall of Fame backstop will signed a $3.5 million deal to catch for the White Sox this season.
2002 For the first time in its history, Major League Baseball will own a team after acquiring the Expos from Jeffrey Loria. The former Montreal owner sells the Expos for $120 million, then buys the Florida Marlins for $158.5 million with the difference being made up with a loan from major league baseball.
With unanimous approval of the sale of the Florida Marlins to the former owner of the Montreal Expos, Jeffrey Loria, and Major League Baseball’s acquisition of the Montreal franchise, personnel changes are announced. The Expos name Frank Robinson as manager, Tony Tavares as president of the club with Omar Minaya becoming the major leagues’ first Hispanic general manager, and south of the border former Expo manager Jeff Torborg will manage the Marlins with former Expos’ interim general manager Larry Beinfest as the GM and David Samson will take over the duties of team president.


2003 Federal Judge James Holderman has given the Cubs and the owners of rooftop bleachers which provide fans a view of Wrigley Field a year to settle their dispute. The team believes the seating provided above the field via rooftops directly competes with the club for ticket sales revenue and the surrounding neighbors, in turn, have not been sympathetic to the team’s expansion plans.
2007 The Major League Baseball Players Association asks the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its 2-1 decision which would allow the names and urine samples of more than 100 players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs to be made available to authorities investigating the use of steroids in baseball. The 1993 samples were collected by MLB in an effort to gauge the prevalence of steroid use with players and owners agreeing the results would be confidential.
2007 After a year of negotiations, an agreement is reached on the sale of the Braves from Time Warner to Liberty Media. Seventy percent of the owners must approve the deal which includes the retention of general manager John Schuerholz and manager Bobby Cox.
2008 The Twins, in an effort to add experience to a young rotation, sign Livan Hernandez (11-11, 4.93) to a $5 million, one-year deal with an additional $2 million in performance bonuses. The 32 year-old right-hander from Cuba will also add innings to a staff depleted due to the departures of starters Johan Santana and Carlos Silva.
2009 Three days after Alex Rodriguez apologizes for using steroids, commissioner Bud Selig chastises the Yankee superstar, and all the other players, who used such substances, for bringing shame to the game. The third baseman’s apology followed a report that he was one of 104 players who tested positive in tests taken in 2003 to determine the extent of steroid use in the national pastime.
2009 Ervin Santana avoids arbitration, agreeing to a deal with the Angels which could be worth $42 million over the next five years. The 26 year-old right-hander, who posted a 16-7 record with a 3.49 ERA for the AL West Champions last season, is the youngest active hurler with 50 career victories (51-37).
2009 Dan Uggla (.260, 32, 92), eligible for arbitration for the first time, is awarded $5.35 million by the process. The All-star second baseman, who has averaged 30 home runs and 90 RBIs his first three seasons in the majors, rejected the Marlins’ offer of $4.4 million.
2009 Jose Offerman, a former All-Star major league infielder with the Red Sox and Dodgers, is sued by John Nathans for his bat-wielding attack at a minor league game in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Bluefish catcher is seeking $4.8 million in damages against the Long Island Ducks player, claiming the 2007 incident left him with career-ending injuries which include inner ear damage, vertigo, headaches and post-concussion syndrome.
2010 Corey Hart (.260, 12, 48) is awarded a raise from $3.25 million to $4.8 million in the Brewers’ first salary arbitration hearing in a dozen years. In the first case to use the process this year, Milwaukee’s offer of $4.15 million to their 27 year-old right-fielder, an All-Star in 2008, was rejected by a panel of arbitrators.
2010 Tim Lincecum, two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, reaches a preliminary agreement on a $23 million, two-year deal with the Giants prior to the start of a scheduled arbitration hearing. The 25 year-old right-hander has compiled a 40-17 record along with an ERA of 2.90 ERA during three big league seasons with San Francisco.
2011 “Doris From Rego Park” makes its debut on Jonathan Schwartz’s weekend program on WNYC-FM. The song, written and performed by Don Rosler, is a tribute to Doris Bauer, the Mets fan who became a New York institution as a late-night caller to WFAN sports radio before she died in 2003.

2014 Derek Jeter, who will turn 40 during in June, announces the 2014 season will be his final one, informing his fans via a lengthy Facebook post. The 13-time All-Star shortstop acknowledged that his numerous injuries have taken their toll, making the game more of a struggle and less enjoyable.

What’s It Take to Make the Playoffs in MLB?

     What’s It Take to Make the Playoffs in MLB?

The numbers say you need 88 wins to get in. In an article in the Business Insider it is noted that using 180 teams (since 1996) that 88 is the optimal number. Only sixteen teams have gotten in with less than 88 wins.

This makes for a dismal trade deadline as now more teams still think they have a shot to make it to the playoffs. Looking at the current landscape, twenty three teams can make it if they get hot like a 110-win team would do. That is a long shot.

With those numbers, that makes only seven teams that would be noted as “sellers” in the market. This is not a good thing for the major league trading deadline.