Felber: Soured grapes: Dutch Leonard

From SABR member Bill Felber at The National Pastime Museum on January 8, 2016:

On the rare occasion when Hubert Benjamin “Dutch” Leonard’s name is recalled today, it is as the man who tried to get Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker thrown out of baseball. In 1926, Leonard—whose 11-season pitching career had ended the previous summer—accused Cobb, Speaker, and Smoky Joe Wood of having conspired with him to fix a September 1919 game between the Tigers and Indians. American League President Ban Johnson forced Speaker and Cobb to retire, although both returned when Leonard refused to cooperate with Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis’s probe of his charges.

Of all those involved, only Johnson’s reputation took a hit equal to Leonard’s. The ex-pitcher came off as an arrogant grudge-bearer against Cobb, the manager who had released him a year earlier, and Speaker, whose Indians had refused the 33-year-old’s pleas to be picked up.

Combined with a previously earned reputation as a complainer, Leonard’s sullen refusal to defend his charges in person against the two greats had the byproduct of obscuring his own on-field accomplishments, and especially his 1914 performance. A 22-year-old Red Sox left-hander in only his second Major League season, Leonard set an American League record for earned run average—0.96—that has now lasted for more than a century.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/soured-grapes

Originally published: January 8, 2016. Last Updated: January 8, 2016.