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June 30, 2008


Gary Ashwill

Wonderful, thanks. I had forgotten to follow up on this.

I'm currently looking into the possibility of platooning arrangements in the Negro Leagues, especially in the early 1920s. It would have been just as difficult to implement platooning, as Negro League rosters were also limited (14-16 players) and schedules were erratic and of course divided between league and non-league games. I'm pretty certain that Rube Foster constructed his lineups with platoon advantages & disadvantages in mind, though this is not the same thing as a durable platoon arrangement.

David Ball

Chicago did run the first large-scale, rather complex and fairly durable platoon arrangement in 1886. The National Pastime article established that, but I had been aware of it for some time. The central figure was Abner Dalrymple.

However, left-handed hitters were sitting down against left-handed pitchers on an occasional basis back to the late 1870's. The place to look for this is Peter Morris' book "Game of Inches."

The amount of platooning that could be done was limited, of course, by the small rosters available to 19th century managers. I think somebody interested in the principle of platooning would be well advised to look at other manifestations, such as batting order, switch hitting and the spot starting of left-handed pitchers against left-handed hitting teams (for example, the 1887 Detroits).

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