McKinley: Ned Garver was simultaneously of his time and ahead of it

From Eric Garcia McKinley at Beyond the Box Score on September 14, 2015, with mention of SABR member Ben Lindbergh:

The blog Banished to the Pen recently had a post titled “Effectively Wild: Essential Works.” The article compiled and listed many of the memorable moments from the Effectively Wild podcast. The best part about it is that it is a living document. The podcast continues, and it continues to create memorable moments—each one ready to be another essential work. One such moment took place last week.

The episode came to be called “Cold Calling Ned Garver,” a pitcher who played from 1948 to 1961. Hosts Sam Miller and Ben Lindbergh were going through their weekly Baseball Reference Play Index segment, and while in a B-Ref rabbit hole they came across an interesting game from 1949, in which Garver participated. While discussing the game, they identified Garver as one of two primary actors “who are still with us,” as Ben said, and are thus still available to add some insight. They then found Garver’s phone number and, true to the name of the episode, called him cold.

Not long after the episode appeared, members of the Effectively Wild Facebook group declared it a classic EW moment. Ben and Sam spoke with Garver for almost 30 minutes, and they bantered about much more than the game that led to the call in the first place. I was just as taken by the episode as other listeners, and I thought it would be worthwhile to put into words just what was so interesting about the conversation.

Sam and Ben found the game that started it all by searching for games in which a team used nine different pitchers. The goal was to identify whether the hyper-use of pitchers in September is a recent phenomenon (it is). While searching, however, they came across an October 2 1949 game between the St. Louis Browns and the Chicago White Sox, in which the former team used nine pitchers. It was an unusual game. Ben and Sam talk about unusual things.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: September 15, 2015. Last Updated: September 15, 2015.