SABR

Ted Lyons and pitching on Sundays

From SABR member Tom Ruane at Retrosheet on December 7, 2011:

Ted Lyons turned 39 before the year began and so his manager decided that perhaps he should only work one day a week. That day was Sunday and during 1940, he started twenty times on that day, the most during the Retrosheet Era. He only started twice on any other day (once on a Monday following a rainout and once on a Saturday), and so his percentage of Sunday starts (90.9) was also the highest. Here are the pitchers who had more than half of their starts (ten minimum) on a Sunday (from 1918 to 2011):

Player          Team  Year TGS  GS  CG SHO  IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO   W   L   ERA   PCT
Ted Lyons       CHI A 1940  22  20  15   3 168.1 172  80  63  36  68  10   8  3.37  90.9
Ted Lyons       CHI A 1941  22  17  14   2 142.1 159  76  66  34  56   8   9  4.17  77.3
Porter Vaughan  PHI A 1940  15  10   4   0  67.1  73  50  36  36  37   1   6  4.81  66.7
Ted Lyons       CHI A 1942  20  13  13   0 118.2 108  33  25  12  27  10   3  1.90  65.0
Ted Lyons       CHI A 1937  22  14   8   0 113.1 124  56  50  32  27   9   2  3.97  63.6
Red Ruffing     NY  A 1942  24  15   9   1 118   121  50  47  29  52   8   4  3.58  62.5
Jim Turner      CIN N 1940  23  13   8   0 104.0 109  37  32  12  31   8   5  2.77  56.5
Tommy Bridges   DET A 1943  22  12   8   2  96.2  87  34  31  24  55   7   5  2.89  54.5
Ted Lyons       CHI A 1939  21  11   8   0  86.2  97  43  33   8  34   6   4  3.43  52.4
Paul Derringer  STL N 1931  23  12  10   2 106.1  97  28  25  30  78   9   3  2.12  52.2
Jesse Flores    PHI A 1944  25  13   8   2  96.1  80  27  25  16  36   7   6  2.34  52.0

I have no idea why Porter Vaughan started two-thirds of his games on a Sunday, but it was probably simply a coincidence. Since he only won one of them, we can probably rule out superstition. I also have no idea why the use of Sunday pitchers peaked during World War Two. It is true that weekend double-headers were in widespread use during the war.

This excerpt is part of Tom Ruane's Retro-Review of the 1940s at Retrosheet.org. Read the full article here: http://www.retrosheet.org/Research/RuaneT/rev1940_art.htm

This page was last updated December 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm MST.

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