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Thread: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    As Fox has been going on and on about Kenny Roger's shut out streak (22+ in postseason play thus far), they showed a graphic that included other players with post season scoreless streaks with Christy Mathewson leading the way with 28 1/3 innings pitched without allowing a run.

    That got me wondering about the record that Jack Billingham owns and thought it was shutout innings too. After a little bit of digging, I found that Billingham owns the record for lowest career ERA in World Series play with a 0.36 ERA in three series (one earned run allowed in 25.3 innings pitched). I always thought he passed Babe Ruth with some record in World Series play, but according to MLB.com, between Billingham and Ruth are Harry Brecheen and Claude Osteen with 0.83 and 0.86 respectively and Ruth comes in 4th with a 0.87 in two Series with the Bosox (some believe that if Ruth had stayed a pitcher, he would have very likely been a Hall of Famer that way too).

    Now, since Mathewson leads the shut out innings record, I was surprised to see in my research that Jack Billingham is somehow a distant cousin of Mathewson (and his brother Henry). I never knew that!

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    I wonder how much pine tar those guys used.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    Claude Osteen.... David Skaugstad wishes he had Claude's career.

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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    the reds gave up on Osteen, they kept him shorter than Darrell osteen

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    The Osteens lived north of Cincinnati, Ed Bailey (being a army vet and having a strong personality) was said to have unnerved Claude on the mound, the 17 year old Osteen never found his groove in Cincinnati. He was flipped for Dave Sisler (who pitched a scant 45 innings for the Red, then retired in 1962) Oddly the trade went down in September of 1961 and Sisler didn't join the Reds that season, so in the midst of a pennant race. They probably wanted to free a slot up on the 40 man for the post season possibility (they were up 4.5 games that day).

    Osteen pitched 11 straight seasons with 235 IP starting in 1964, and was later dealt for Frank Howard and then again in the 70's for Jimmy Wynn.

    That's a lot of innings and homers for Dave Sisler.

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    The rest is drama. marcshoe's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    Now, since Mathewson leads the shut out innings record, I was surprised to see in my research that Jack Billingham is somehow a distant cousin of Mathewson (and his brother Henry). I never knew that!
    You must not have collected baseball cards in the seventies, then. That was one of those tidbits they used to put on the back of Billingham's cards.

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    The Osteens lived north of Cincinnati, Ed Bailey (being a army vet and having a strong personality) was said to have unnerved Claude on the mound, the 17 year old Osteen never found his groove in Cincinnati. He was flipped for Dave Sisler (who pitched a scant 45 innings for the Red, then retired in 1962) Oddly the trade went down in September of 1961 and Sisler didn't join the Reds that season, so in the midst of a pennant race. They probably wanted to free a slot up on the 40 man for the post season possibility (they were up 4.5 games that day).

    Osteen pitched 11 straight seasons with 235 IP starting in 1964, and was later dealt for Frank Howard and then again in the 70's for Jimmy Wynn.

    That's a lot of innings and homers for Dave Sisler.
    It's funny, I don't think of one of the local suburbs as "north of Cincinnati", but rather part of the Cincinnati area. I generally think of "north of Cincinnati" as more for places like Hamilton and Middletown. But technically, Reading is north of the city itself.

    Here's a blurb from Buddy LaRosa's prep sport Hall of Fame - Osteen was something else in his day and it's a shame we let him get away.

    Quite possibly one of the finest pitchers to come out of Cincinnati in the last 50 years, Claude Osteen went from Reading High School to enjoy an 18-year career in the major leagues.

    Osteen, who moved to Reading from Tennessee as a sophomore, totally dominated high school baseball during his three-year varsity career. Osteen also played basketball for two seasons for the Blue Devils, but concentrated solely on baseball as a senior. And it proved to be a magic year for him.

    The 1957 season will go down in Reading and Ohio High School history as one of the finest pitching seasons ever recorded. The Blue Devils captured its first state championship in any team sport, largely behind Osteen, who did the unthinkable in today's prep game. The left-hander pitched back-to-back shutouts in the regional tournament – on the same day!

    Osteen, 23-1 overall in his prep career, went 16-0 as a senior. He pitched 103 2/3 innings with an incredible 221 strikeouts. He allowed just two earned runs for a 0.13 Earned-run-average (based upon 7 innings pitched per game). He walked just 20 batters and gave up only 32 hits.

    Going into the 2005 prep baseball season, both his ERA and his strikeouts rank No. 1 in Ohio history, while his 20-strikeout game is tied for fifth best ever.

    Osteen still holds five Reading single-season school records – most hits (41), innings pitched, most wins, most strikeouts and lowest ERA. He ranks 1-2-3 in single game strikeouts (20-17-17), and second in single-season runs scored (31).

    With such success, it was easy to understand how he would sign with the Cincinnati Reds right out of high school. And while most people in Cincinnati remember Joe Nuxhall pitching for the Cincinnati Reds as a high school student, Osteen actually pitched for the Reds following his graduation – throwing 4 innings in three games in 1957!

    Osteen went on to pitch for six different teams in the major leagues over an 18-year career. He posted a 196-195 record with 3,460 1/3 innings pitched for a 3.30 career ERA. His finest years came with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1964-1973) where he won 152 games, including 20-win seasons in 1969 and 1972. He won 15 games as part of the 1965 World Championship Dodgers' team. A four-time All-Star in his career, Claude went on to become a minor league and major league pitching coach through 2003.

    Claude Osteen, currently living in Arlington, TX with his wife Jackie, is a consultant for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Claude has five children – David, Brian, Erick, Gavin and Jennifer.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    It's funny, I don't think of one of the local suburbs as "north of Cincinnati", but rather part of the Cincinnati area. I generally think of "north of Cincinnati" as more for places like Hamilton and Middletown. But technically, Reading is north of the city itself.
    I was unsure of exactly where I had read he was from (though Middletown was in my head) However I lived in Mariemont and pretty much never thought of it as "Cincinnati" and always described it as east of Cincinnati.

    But that's just me.

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    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    The three people named in the title have never been in my kitchen, I swear.
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    Quote Originally Posted by Heath View Post
    The three people named in the title have never been in my kitchen, I swear.
    But have they been in Cliff Clavin's kitchen? :
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    I wonder how much pine tar those guys used.
    No kidding, why was Rogers allowed to stay in the game?



    MLB rule 8.02

    8.02
    The pitcher shall not --
    (a) (1) Bring his pitching hand in contact with his mouth or lips while in the 18 foot circle surrounding the pitching rubber. EXCEPTION: Provided it is agreed to by both managers, the umpire prior to the start of a game played in cold weather, may permit the pitcher to blow on his hand. PENALTY: For violation of this part of this rule the umpires shall immediately call a ball. However, if the pitch is made and a batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a hit batsman or otherwise, and no other runner is put out before advancing at least one base, the play shall proceed without reference to the violation. Repeated offenders shall be subject to a fine by the league president.
    (2) expectorate on the ball, either hand or his glove;
    (3) rub the ball on his glove, person or clothing;
    (4) apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball;
    (5) deface the ball in any manner; or
    (6) deliver a ball defaced in a manner prescribed by Rule 8.02(a)(2) through (5) or what is called the “shine” ball, “spit” ball, “mud” ball or “emery” ball. The pitcher is allowed to rub the ball between his bare hands.
    PENALTY: For violation of any part of Rules 8.02(a)(2) through (6):
    (a) The pitcher shall be ejected immediately from the game and shall be suspended automatically for 10 games.
    (b) If a play follows the violation called by the umpire, the manager of the offense may advise the plate umpire that he elects to accept the play. Such election shall be made immediately at the end of the play. However, if the batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batsman, or otherwise, and no other runner is put out before advancing at least one base, the play shall proceed without reference to the violation.
    (c) Even though the offense elects to take the play, the violation shall be recognized and the penalties in subsection (a) will still be in effect.
    (d) The umpire shall be sole judge on whether any portion of this rule has been violated.
    Rules 8.02(a)(2) through 8.02(a)(6) Comment: If a pitcher violates either Rule 8.02(a)(2) or Rule 8.02(a)(3) and, in the judgment of the umpire, the pitcher did not intend, by his act, to alter the characteristics of a pitched ball, then the umpire may, in his discretion, warn the pitcher in lieu of applying the penalty set forth for violations of Rules 8.02(a)(2) through 8.02(a)(6). If the pitcher persists in violating either of those Rules, however, the umpire should then apply the penalty.
    Rule 8.02(a) Comment: If at any time the ball hits the rosin bag it is in play. In the case of rain or wet field, the umpire may instruct the pitcher to carry the rosin bag in his hip pocket. A pitcher may use the rosin bag for the purpose of applying rosin to his bare hand or hands. Neither the pitcher nor any other player shall dust the ball with the rosin bag; neither shall the pitcher nor any other player be permitted to apply rosin from the bag to his glove or dust any part of his uniform with the rosin bag.
    (b) Have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction of this section (b) the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game. In addition, the pitcher shall be suspended automatically for 10 games.
    (c) Intentionally delay the game by throwing the ball to players other then the catcher, when the batter is in position, except in an attempt to retire a runner.
    PENALTY: If, after warning by the umpire, such delaying action is repeated, the pitcher shall be removed from the game.
    (d) Intentionally Pitch at the Batter.
    If, in the umpire’s judgment, such a violation occurs, the umpire may elect either to:
    1. Expel the pitcher, or the manager and the pitcher, from the game, or
    2. may warn the pitcher and the manager of both teams that another such pitch will result in the immediate expulsion of that pitcher (or a replacement) and the manager.
    If, in the umpire’s judgment, circumstances warrant, both teams may be officially “warned” prior to the game or at any time during the game.
    (League Presidents may take additional action under authority provided in Rule 9.05.)
    Rule 8.02(d) Comment: To pitch at a batter’s head is unsportsmanlike and highly dangerous. It should be—and is—condemned by everybody. Umpires should act without hesitation in enforcement of this rule.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    Here's one part of my original post I'm wondering if anyone knows further details? How exactly is Jack Billingham distantly related to the Mathewsons?

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    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    The Blue Devils captured its first state championship in any team sport, largely behind Osteen, who did the unthinkable in today's prep game. The left-hander pitched back-to-back shutouts in the regional tournament – on the same day!
    Another little known fact was that Dusty Baker got his managing start with that same Reading team.

    Pay attention to the open sky

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    Here's one part of my original post I'm wondering if anyone knows further details? How exactly is Jack Billingham distantly related to the Mathewsons?
    I'm not exactly sure how, nor do I know how closely related they are, but they are distant cousins. I've looked around, but unfortunately I wasn't able to find out much more than that.

    FWIW, I think Mathewson's 1905 World Series performance of three complete game shutouts is probably the greatest individual World Series accomplishment the game has ever seen, and probably ever will see. He put up 27 scoreless innings, allowing only 14 hits and one walk while striking out 18 guys. His K/9 ratio of 6.00 in the World Series was very high for his time; Red Ames was the only NL pitcher in 1905 with a season K/9 higher than 6.00 (Mathewson struck out 5.47 batters per nine innings that season, and he was third in the NL).
    Barry Larkin - HOF, 2012

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    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Kenny Rogers, Jack Billingham and Christy Mathewson

    My father used to tell me stories about his senior year in HS. Dad was a pretty good shortstop who made some sort of an All-State team that participated in some North vs. South games for the best in Ohio. He said that Claude Osteen was practically untouchable in the All-Star games. Said he was the most amazing pitcher he had seen in his life. He was glad that Osteen was on his squad and he didn't get embarrassed by him. I'll have to ask him about it again when I next see him... since this thread got me thinking about it.

    I didn't like Osteen when I was a kid b/c I knew that he had been a Dodgers player. Different times, different hatred!
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.


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