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Hardball history: Warren Bingoes achieved success by playing multiple seasons

SHAG SHAUGHNESSY

The 1914 Warren Bingoes was a success on the field – 12 games over .500 – and evidently off the field as well.

How do I know?

They returned in 1915 and 1916.

Unfortunately, on-field success didn’t follow – the 1915 Warren Bingoes fired a manager during the season and finished the season 33-50, a place in the standings more commonly referred to as “dead last.”

R.H. Archer started the season as manager of the Bingoes but was replaced by George Bell. More on him in a little bit.

GEORGE BELL

Statscrew.com has preserved the statistics from that not-so-good squad.

Bell, at age 40, went 8-3 in 115 innings pitched. Frank Brown went 8-9 in a team-high 135 innings and George Payne finished the season 7-6 in 107 innings.

A guy by the name of “Custer” gave up a team-high 62 runs in 94 innings, good for an ERA pushing 6.

Walter Ralinger hit .305 with a team-high 95 hits while George Gross led the squad with a .310 batting average and two homers.

“F. Moran” hit three dingers meaning he and Gross combined for all of the team’s 5 home runs.

In addition to their efforts on the mound, Bell hit .231 in 15 games while Payne hit just .178.

While the 1914 squad featured a young Carmen Hill, the Major League connections to the 1915 squad are the absolute inverse – players that were toiling in the minors well after their time in the big leagues.

Bell was one of those.

And his nickname was “Farmer.”

“Farmer George Bell pitched five years for the Brooklyn Superbas/Brooklyn Dodgers,” according to a baseball-reference.com bio. “He posted a winning record only in 1909 but then Brooklyn wasn’t very good in those days. The team, led by promising stars Harry Lumley and Tim Jordan, was never able to put together a championship season.”

Bell was a 32-year-old Major League rookie… which actually won’t be the oldest rookie we see in this series of stories.

“His performance,” according to his bio, “in 1909, when he went 16-15 for a team whose record was 55-98, was impressive, especially because George at age 34 was the oldest player on the team.

“Before coming to the majors, he won 23 games with the 1906 Altoona Mountaineers.”

In addition to managing the Bingoes in 1915, he also managed the Winchester Dodgers in the Blue Grass League in 1924.

An additional bio cited by baseball-reference notes he didn’t start playing pro ball until the age of 29 and was in the Army, ran farms and managed a lodge after his playing days.

Payne also had some big league service time albeit brief.

He pitched 29.2 innings for the 1920 Chicago White Sox (the year after the Black Sox Scandal.. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. There’s more good reading there).

That was Payne’s sole big league experience, pitching to a 5.46 ERA in 12 games, finishing with a 1-1 record.

The 1916 Bingoes may have been the Warren Warriors. As with most of these teams, the details can be fuzzy.

The squad started the season with a 24-19 record but the team ultimately disbanded on August 4 (there is that financial instability

again).

This team had a surprising number of Major League connections through for a squad that continued to play in the rookie-level “D” Interstate League.

For one, Payne returned and hit .173 but went 10-7 on the mound with a 2.40 ERA in 139 innings. Other pitchers included Lewis Peterson (a 2.68 ERA in 9 games) and one Tuck Roberts.

Joe Gingras hit .257 in 35 at-bats for the Bingoes and went 6-7 with a 2.29 ERA in 106 innings but the year prior had thrown four innings, allowing six hits and three runs (6.75 ERA) for the Federal League’s Kansas City Packers, which is considered today a major league.

Frank Smykal hit .251 with 55 hits for the Bingoes and in that same year would pick up 10 at-bats with the Pittsburgh Pirates, tallying a run, three hits, two RBIs, three walks and a career .500 on-base percentage (sample size alert!).

But the most interesting MLB connection from the 1916 Bingoes is Frank “Shag” Shaughnessy.

I’ll let his baseball-reference bio tell that story.

“Shag Shaughnessy, more famous for his work as a manager and executive, was in the American League in 1905 and 1908. With the Philadelphia Athletics in 1908, he hit .310. He played minor league baseball between 1903 and 1924, often as a player-manager. He hit as high as .340 with Ottawa in 1913

“He played football, baseball, and ran track at Notre Dame. He was head football coach for Clemson University for one year in 1907, and later for McGill University in Montreal, QC.

“In 1928, he was a coach for the Detroit Tigers. He managed for 19 years in the minor leagues between 1909 and 1936, compiling a 1148-1012 record. He was General Manager for the Montreal Royals from 1932 to 1934, then was President of the International League from 1936 to 1960. In that role, he was the innovator of a long-used playoff system known as the Shaughnessy Playoffs. In 1947 he was named as part of the inaugural class of the International League Hall of Fame.”

When the Bingoes disbanded, little did anyone know that it would be almost 25 years before Warren would again have minor league baseball in town.

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