Saturday, July 30, 2005


July 30th, 1907

Doc White Faces Washington Senators

The internet is really quite something. It has amazing resources and with a little searching one can turn up just about anything. One of the things you can find is an extensive list of phobias, provided by the aptly named Phobia List. No matter how much you review that list however, you will notice there is not anywhere a "Senatoraphobia," defined here as fear of facing the Washington Senators. But perhaps there should be. When Doc White faced the Senators on this day in 1907 it was the first time he had faced them since 1903, a course of 113 starts. Given it was still just an eight team league then, something was obviously up, since mere coincidence could not have prevented him from seeing them for four full seasons and a large part of two others.

Thanks to the work of Chris Jaffe, however, we do know that something was up, even if we don't know exactly what it was. For that period he was clearly being deliberately saved for certain teams in certain seasons. In 1904, more than half his starts were facing the Indians or Yankees. In 1905 nearly sixty percent of his starts were against the Tigers or Yankees. In 1907 he faced the Tigers or Browns for more than forty percent of his starts. For whatever reason--neither Chris nor I could turn up a reason--White's managers kept him for specific teams, and away from the Washingtonians. Perhaps it really was White's bad case of Senatoraphobia.

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