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VP of Operations

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Date: Sep 18, 2016
Whatever happened to...
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I'm sure we've all seen variations of the "Whatever Happened To...?" news features.  Stories that follow up on famous people who fade away into obscurity after their moment in the spotlight ends.

This one is a variation of that.  It's a "Whatever Happened To...?" from the middle of a season. 

One of the things I've always been amazed at is how sketchy the data base is for players who played in the 20th Century, especially in the Post-War Era.  We're just not used to not knowing stuff in today's society.

It's astounding that we can't just go back and check a news account from, say, 1950, and find out what happened.  This is my current quandary.

I was doing some research for my upcoming 1950 replay, and I was looking over a few players who missed a portion of the season.

I like to use transactional data, and also have players who were disabled actually miss that time during the season, since so many other things fall into place because of it.  Players get traded, called up and whatever, whenever someone suffers an injury that puts them on the DL.

Which brings us to Hank Edwards, the slugging outfielder who had been acquired by the Chicago Cubs from the Cleveland Indians early in the '49 season.

Edwards suffered a number of major injuries in his career -- a fractured ankle, broken collarbone, dislocated shoulder -- that severely impacted his career.

Edwards was platooning in right field for the Cubs, slashing away at a .377/.431/.577/.988 clip as of July 2nd.  He played the entire game that day, at Cincinnati's Crosley Field, banging out four hits, including a pair of doubles.  He drove in three runs as the Cubs routed the Reds, 16-0.

But Edwards was limited to four pinch-hitting appearances over the next week, then disappeared.

What happened???  That's not just a hangnail, or a sprained ankle, that would make a player miss half the season.

His injury history suggests that he may have been hurt.  But I can't find anything.  Nothing at baseref, no specifics on his wiki page (that's where I got the info on the injuries he did suffer, which wasn't in his baseref bullpen page data, or their news archives links), no google links to newpaper articles from those dates that might have mentioned such a key injury.

He did play a handful of games at Springfield, with the Cubs' American Association affiliate.  But we don't get game logs to show when those games were played.  Was he hurt, finishing the season on a rehab stint (I'm not sure that they did things like that back in those days).

Was he -- for some unimaginable reason -- sent down, and then got hurt?  I do know he was still with the organization at the end of the season, because he was part of the Chuck Connors trade on Oct. 10th, right after the regular season ended.

Whatever Happened To Hank Edwards?



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General Manager

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Date: Sep 18, 2016
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I wonder if it had to do with an ejection the day before............

According to retrosheet, he was ejected from the game on July 1st by Lou Jorda for arguing a called 3rd strike. It was the only ejection of his career.



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According to "The Daily Eagle" (Brooklyn newspaper), on June 14th, Pafko and Edwards "didn't start because of leg injuries"

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"NACSTER'S HISTORICAL REPLAY"

34 REPLAYS IN THE BOOKS!

1876-1883

1896-1900

1906

1916-1917

1921, 1929

1936-1937

1943, 1946

1956-1963

1976

1986

1991, 1996

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General Manager

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Date: Sep 18, 2016
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Did you try Googling Chuck Connors and backtrack that way?......meaning maybe something in a Connors article tells about why Edwards was traded?

Bottom line is, things have changed regarding media since 1950 LOL.........

__________________

"NACSTER'S HISTORICAL REPLAY"

34 REPLAYS IN THE BOOKS!

1876-1883

1896-1900

1906

1916-1917

1921, 1929

1936-1937

1943, 1946

1956-1963

1976

1986

1991, 1996

37,117 regular season games through 34 replays!

 

 



VIP Season Ticket Holder

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Date: Sep 18, 2016
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You piqued my curiosity about Edwards. Here is what I found. First 3 by googling, last from one of my Baseball books.

---

http://didthetribewinlastnight.com/blog/2014/01/06/outfielder-edwards-lost-for-season/
August 2, 1948

Hank Edwards, the outfielder who grew up in Norwalk, Ohio, has finished his season prematurely thanks to an injury sustained in game two [actually game one - per retrosheet daily and article below] of Sunday’s doubleheader.

In the top of the third inning, Edwards leapt high and robbed Boston first baseman Stan Spence of a three-run homerun in Cleveland’s important 12-2 victory. The injury comes at the worst possible time for Edwards and the Indians, as the Tribe currently sits in second place, just one game behind front-running Philadelphia and just percentage points ahead of both Boston and the New York Yankees.

Edwards scaled the right field wall, snared the deep drive and then slammed his shoulder into the top of the Municipal Stadium fence. As he lay writhing in pain on the warning track, many teammates and Trainer Lefty Weisman assisted him. The Indians sent him to Lakeside Hospital, where X-rays revealed a dislocation in the shoulder.

“I think my shoulder snapped out when I reached back of the fence and then my back cracked on the fence when I came down,” said Edwards in an article originally from the Plain Dealer. “I knew what it was right away.

The injury will land Edwards on the 60 day disabled list, therefore allowing the Indians to replace him on the roster. As the rules state, if an injury is not severe enough to put a player on the 60 day list, no replacement can be recalled or purchased.

Injuries are not uncommon for Edwards, who injured the same shoulder during spring training of 1947. This particular trip to the disabled list may end up being the worst on a long list of injuries to the always-hustling player. Previous injuries have included a broken ankle and a fractured collarbone as well.

Edwards’ professional career began in 1939 when he started playing for the Mansfield Braves in the Ohio State League. Afterwards, Edwards was promoted to play for the Cedar Rapids Raiders of the Class Triple I League and won the Triple Crown in 1941. That September, Edwards was called up to Cleveland where he has spent his first six years in the Major Leagues.

Edwards has been a bit of a sparkplug since joining the Tribe seven years ago, earning regular playing time in 1946 and leading the American League with 16 triples. He also hit a career best .301 that season and then walloped a high of 15 homeruns in 1947. Edwards also lost some baseball-time enlisting in the Army from 1943-46.

This season, Edwards has been sharing time in the outfield, mostly with second year player and first year Indian Allie Clark. Clark is expected to receive most of the playing time in right field for the rest of the season in Edwards’ absence.

The Cleveland Indians Encyclopedia - Russell Schneider pg 164 
... It was in the first game of a doubleheader on August 1, 1948 that Edwards suffered a severely dislocated right shoulder making a spectacular leaping catch against the right-field fence at the Stadium. It finished him for the season after only 55 games and, of course, put him out of the World Series that year.

Edwards returned in 1949 but played only five games and was sold to the Chicago Cubs on May 7. ...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette March 7, 1950
The article summarized: Spring Training: Edwards was on the voluntarily retired list and had to wait 60 days before being reinstated.
last sentence of article ... "and Edwards had a shoulder operation last season."

The Ballplayers: Baseball's Ultimate Biographical Reference - Mike Shatzkin
Hank Edwards ... A series of injuries, the worst when he dislocated his shoulder landing on a fence while making a leaping catch, ended his days as a regular.



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VIP Season Ticket Holder

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Two more.

Chicago Trib Aug 11, 1949
HANK EDWARDS TO HAVE SHOULDER EXAMINED BY CARDS' PHYSCIAN
Hank Edwards, Chicago Cubs outfielder, will leave for St. Louis this morning to have his injured shoulder examined by Dr. Robert F. Hyland, St. Louis Cardinals physician. Dr. Hyland will determine whether an operation is necessary, Charlie Grimm, Cubs vice president, announced.

Edwards injured the shoulder last year while with the Cleveland Indians. It did not heal properly and has forced Edwards out of the line-up much of the time in recent weeks.

another news article (The Fordham Flash talking about Edwards and his injuries).
https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=888&dat=19500612&id=YvlOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Vk4DAAAAIBAJ&pg=2307,4573277&hl=en
From that article June 12, 1950:
Frisch in seemingly prophetic words: "I only hope that Hank doesn't suffer another shoulder injury"



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VP of Operations

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Date: Sep 18, 2016
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nac, GE,

Thanks for your efforts, that info.  I knew about the earlier injury (1948), as it impacted my replay.

You have found important info regarding '49, and how he wound up with the Cubs.

I've been away from the computer most of the afternoon/evening (watching the Seahawks lose -- bleh -- and having dinner and a movie with my wife and son smile).

The mention of "leg injuries" early in June (nac's Daily Eagle snippet) doesn't seem to jibe with his offensive production and the fact that he played another month.

Yeah, even as recently as 1950, information can be sketchy.  Makes you realize just how much we've advanced in just the last 66 years.  A major injury to a guy hitting .377 halfway through the season would be all over the place.

There were so many newspapers back then, but so many have shut down since, barely leaving a few archival crumbs.



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"No cell, no car, no credit cards, he's sixty-plus and gray...
Just sitting in his basement, with a Strat game underway."



VP of Operations

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Date: Sep 19, 2016
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nacster wrote:

Did you try Googling Chuck Connors and backtrack that way?......meaning maybe something in a Connors article tells about why Edwards was traded?

Bottom line is, things have changed regarding media since 1950 LOL.........


Department of "I didn't know that":

Chuck Connors also played basketball, and was a member of the Boston Celtics in their inaugural season, 1946-'47.  According to his SABR Bioproject write-up, he was the first player in NBA history to shatter a glass backboard!  It wasn't quite what you would imagine, however.

"Contrary to the legend that developed, Connors did not shatter the backboard while attempting to dunk the basketball. The newfangled backboard was missing a key part, a piece of rubber between the glass and the rim, which caused the glass to shatter when Connors's shot caromed off the rim. "During the warm-ups, I took a set shot, a harmless set shot, and crash, the glass backboard shattered," Connors recalled. The broken backboard caused a ruckus as Celtics owner Walter Brown scrambled to locate a replacement in order to play the game with the Chicago Stags. The Celtics game was being played at the Boston Arena, not at the Boston Garden, where Gene Autry's rodeo was playing to a large crowd. Brown dispatched publicist Howie McHugh in a truck to the Boston Garden to get a replacement backboard. "Howie tells how the Garden's backboards were stored behind the Brahma bull pens, and nobody was fool enough to challenge the bulls for them," Connors continued the story. "Howie found two drunken cowboys and slipped them a couple of bucks to go into the pen, dodge the bulls, and get a glass backboard out. If he hadn't, we might still be waiting at the Arena." Added Connors: "Russell never forgave me for breaking that backboard. He thought I'd ruined his season before it started.""

You never know where the long and winding road will lead to.



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"No cell, no car, no credit cards, he's sixty-plus and gray...
Just sitting in his basement, with a Strat game underway."

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