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1920 Dodgers Week 1 review: Opening day in Brooklyn

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Wilbert Robinson’s club, armed with a strong pitching staff, starts off 1920 at Ebbets Field

Baseball Captains Shaking Hands Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

I miss writing Dodgers weekly reviews so much, I decided to pick an old season to chronicle while we wait for current baseball to come back. Since this is a big anniversary season, I’m going with the 1920 Dodgers, or Robins if you prefer.

That team made it to the World Series, just the second in franchise history, and the Dodgers took 21 seasons to win their next pennant.

I usually write about baseball weeks that run Monday to Sunday, since those are natural starting and ending points for series. But a perusal of the 1920 Dodgers schedule shows several oddities, at least compared to now. A lot of travel happened from Saturday to Sunday, there were several one- and two-game series, which is bizarre to see. Teams were geographically closer back then, but they only traveled by train.

But for our purposes I’m ending each week on Saturday, which translated to 2020 would mean ending on a Friday and thus a Saturday post. With that in mind, here is “Week 1” for the 1920 Dodgers, which concluded on Saturday, April 17.

Entering the season the defending World Series champion Reds were considered the favorites to repeat in the National League, but the Dodgers under manager Wilbert Robinson were highly regarded.

From Thomas Rice in The Sporting News (April 15, 1920):

Brooklyn’s pitching staff of Cadore, Pfeffer, Grimes, and Mamaux as regular right-handers, and Sherrod Smith, Clarence Mitchell, and Rube Marquard regular left-handers, is one of the best combinations extant, as regards to their physical form. They are all well-experienced veterans, yet are not old enough to become passe. At present they are all in the pink, and if they could give the Superbas a flying start, they would upset a lot of predictions but would not be accomplishing anything uncanny, or even unreasonable.

The Dodgers tabbed right-hander Leon Cadore for the opener, a 14-game winner the year before with a 115 career ERA+ in parts of five seasons (basically two full years and parts of three others) heading into 1920.

Cadore pitched a complete game to beat the Phillies in the opener — side note: complete games, get used to them for 1920! — but also drove in a run via sacrifice fly and he stole a base. No other Dodgers pitcher has pulled off that duel feat since.

The only Dodgers pitcher with both a steal and an RBI in the last 20 years was Derek Lowe in 2005.

Rube Marquard got roughed up in the second game, lasting only five innings, though the Dodgers offense kept it close, falling 8-7 to the Phillies.

Second baseman Ivy Olson was 6-for-10 with two doubles in the first two games, while first baseman Ed Konetchy (4-for-9) and left fielder Zach Wheat (3-for-7) each drove in four runs.

Weekly summary

1-1 record
16 runs scored (8.00 per game)
10 runs allowed (5.00 per game)
.703 pythagorean record

NL standing: t-4th place, 1½ games back

Game results

Up next

The Dodgers finish up their homestand with three games against the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field, then they hit the road for three games against these Phillies at Baker Bowl, starting Thursday.