Reading Room: Farewell, Bob Shaw

The Go-Go Sox lost a key member on Thursday, as Bob Shaw died at the age of 77.
Shaw was overshadowed by Billy Pierce and Early Wynn, but he was just as good in 1959. He went 18-6 with a staff-low 2.69 ERA over 230 2/3 innings, splitting time between the rotation and bullpen (47 games, 26 starts). Wynn won the Cy Young that year, but Shaw was one of only two other pitchers to receive a vote.
He lost Game 2 of the World Series, but outdueled Sandy Koufax in a 1-0 Game 5 victory in front of 92,000 people in the L.A. Coliseum to keep hope alive.
The above link has a nice quick summary of Shaw’s life. Some other details about him from my library…
From The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers:

Pitch selection: 1. Fastball; 2. Slider; 3. Curve; 4. Change
Sources: View From the Dugout (Ed Richter, 1963); The Sporting News (4/3/1965, Jack McDonald)
Note: Shaw gripped his change-up with three fingers, somewhat like the circle change that became so popular after he retired.
Shaw: “I had a slightly open stance as did Wynn; we both had three-quarter-arm deliveries. Koufax and Pierce both dropped their back shoulders more than I did because they threw overhand…”
Source: Pitching (Bob Shaw, 1972)
Note: According to Gaylord Perry in Me and the Spitter, Shaw frequently threw a spitter.

Adding to that last line, the discussion on Shaw’s career over at Baseball Think Factory is good reading, as one notes that Gaylord Perry learned the spitball from Shaw, which means Shaw is basically the MLB equivalent of Elwood Buchanan.
I also learned that he’s the MLB record-holder for the most balks in a single game with five. Just shows you that today’s starters don’t have the mettle of their predecessors. They can only balk twice before getting thrown out.
More on Shaw, from From Lane and Fain to Zisk and Fisk by Bob Vanderberg:
*Shaw forced a trade to the White Sox; the last-place Detroit Tigers wanted to send him down despite his accomplishments in the minors, leading him to believe he wasn’t in the plans. He left the team, and the Tigers sent him to Chicago with Ray Boone for Bill Fischer and Tito Francona.
*He credits Al Lopez with bringing him along slowly, and Ray Berres with lifting his arm slot to three-quarters. Shaw got his chance in 1959 when Dick Donovan and Ray Moore struggled early.
*Shaw loaded the bases before Gerry Staley induced the game-ending double play in the pennant-clinching, air-raid-siren-sounding victory over the Cleveland Indians.
*He also forced his way out of Chicago, first by holding out after GM Hank Greenberg only offered him a $5,000 raise on his $10,000 salary after the 1959 season. He rejoined the team late in the spring and couldn’t match his ’59 performance, and he was in Lopez’s doghouse the rest of the way.
And from Total White Sox by Richard C. Lindberg:

“Shaw never reconciled his differences and sulked through another pennant race. High atop the catwalk outside Comiskey Park one afternoon, Shaw stood over the street exhorting Sox fans to turn around and go home: ‘We’re not gonna win! Why are you people here?’ Or so the story goes.”

*Evidently, he had a talent for his own negotiations, because he made a fortune in real estate.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:

*ESPNChicago’s Jon Greenberg asks Brooks Boyer questions about the “dynamic pricing” option, and Boyer confirms what we were thinking:

“This is like secondary ticketing,” Boyer said. “At first, four or five teams do it, and then everyone follows. It’s not something that’s revolutionary. Airlines have been pricing tickets this way for years.”

Scalping is also secondary ticketing, so yes, scalpy indeed.  He also says there will be another “small, incremental jump” in ticket pricing.  Thpbpbpbpbpbpbpbpt…
*Mark Kotsay pats himself on the back and also refers to himself in the third person. I’m not going to lie – it’s awesome. As Rob Neyer put it in his link rodeo: “You have to admire humans’ ability to delude ourselves.”
*John Danks has a chronic groin problem, and Gavin Floyd is unofficially shut down.
*Tony Pena wants to keep starting, and may do so in winter ball.
*Oral Sox has a new podcast up.
*Larry talks about Ken Burns’ The Tenth Inning. The White Sox don’t get a lot of airtime, and when Sox stuff does appear, it’s for strange reasons.

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What Kotsay says in that Sun Times article is absurd. He basically says fuck you to Sox fans for booing him and disliking his play. Yeah sure the DH committee allowed Konerko to stay healthy enough to post great numbers that make him more expensive in free agency, but the bottom line is the Sox didn’t win the division and it is very much on Mark Kotsay as it is anyone else. Kotsay would be lucky to get a minor league contract next season. He reminds me of when DeWayne Wise bitched about fans booing him when he played below replacement level.


“if Mark Kotsay doesn’t try to support Mark Kotsay, who will?”
Hah. Well he was the 2010 recipient of the annual Ed Farmer Lionizes an Underperforming Veteran Treatment…
“He doesn’t always get a hit… but he always hits the ball hard.”


Another Bob Shaw note: in “Ball Four,” Jim Bouton writes this:
“I know, for one example, that Al Lopez hated Bob Shaw because he was blond and handsome and used to keep his hat off as much as possible so the girls in the stands could get a good look. And one day Lopez called out of the dugout to him, ‘Shaw, I see you with a different broad every night. You must be a lousy lay.'”


This is one of my favorite quotes of all time from any publication. Thanks for posting it before I did.


“Shaw forced a trade to the White Sox; the last-place Detroit Tigers wanted to send him down despite his accomplishments in the minors, leading him to believe he wasn’t in the plans.”
Pretty brutal considering the White Sox also stole Pierce from Detroit in a historically one-sided trade. The 1959 season must have been a painful one for Tigers fans.