Friday, August 5, 2011

The Cozy Dolans: Fabricated dynasty or hipster band?

The rule of Cozy Dolan I lasted from 1895-1906.

Cozy Dolan II ruled from 1909-1915. He unsuccessfully attempted coups in 1922 and 1924.

The Cozy Dolan Dynasty of the country of Baseball1 lasted from 1895-1915, with two monarchs ascending to the high title of Cozy Dolan. Like Henry VIII, Pope John Paul II and Wrestlemania VI2, the rulers Cozy Dolan I and Cozy Dolan II secured their place in history.

Patrick Henry Dolan accepted the noble title of Cozy in 1895, when he debuted as a 22-year-old sinister-handed pitcher for his hometown Boston Beaneaters. When compared with contemporary pitchers, Cozy Dolan I was average-to-above-average3 that season. He struggled the following season, and the Beaneaters banished him to the minor leagues to develop his ruling abilities out of the public eye.

Cozy Dolan I re-emerged for the new century in 19004, having moved his throne to the Chicago Orphans' West Side Park and having learned to rule the huge tracts of land in the Deadball Era outfield. This would be the first of many movements of the Cozy Dolan ruling house. 1901 found him relocating to the Brooklyn Superbas5 for two seasons. In 1902, he led the league in games played, plate appearances and at-bats while hitting a respectable .280. In the following four years, Cozy Dolan I returned to Chicago for a brief stay with the White Sox before moving to the Cincinnati Reds. In 1905, he moved for the final time back to the Boston Beaneaters. He played nearly all of the Beaneaters' games in 1906, including two relief pitching appearances.

1907, however, brought tragedy to the land of Baseball. Cozy Dolan I met his end as so many rulers had before him: by assassination typhoid. Cozy Dolan I fell ill during spring training of the season and died in Louisville on March 29, 1907. He was 34 years old.

The period Between Cozy Dolans (BCD) brought chaos to baseball: Ty Cobb continued to be a prick and the unthinkable happened.

But a successor was chosen quickly: Chicago native and third baseman Albert James Dolan (unrelated to Cozy Dolan I; like the papacy6) earned the title of Cozy Dolan II with his major-league debut in 1909 at the young age of 19. He had played minor-league ball since 1906 but was unready for the high title of Cozy. His brief appearance in 1909 served as his coronation. But like the first Cozy Dolan, Albert was sent to the minors to prepare for his rule.

Cozy Dolan II played again in 1911 as a New York Highlander7. After being sent to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1912, Cozy Dolan II learned to rule all of the field as a utility man in 1913. After a brief tenure at third base in Pittsburgh, Cozy Dolan moved to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1914, where he patrolled the outfield as his predecessor had done. He was forced from his rule in 1915, after which the Babe Dynasty8 began. Albert James Dolan, having lost his title, struggled in the minors until 1918 and then disappeared as a player for several years.

However, he would attempt two major coups of the Babe Dynasty. In 1922, Cozy Dolan II played a single game with the New York Giants, but he left the field without an at-bat. His final coup attempt would be his undoing. As a Giants' coach in 1924, Cozy Dolan II was implicated in a botched bribery attempt. Giants' outfielder Jimmy O'Connell attempted to convince Brooklyn Robins' second baseman Heinie Sand to throw a game in a close pennant race. Kenesaw Mountain Landis, commissioner of the high court of baseball, banned Dolan (and O'Connell) from Baseball for the rest of his (their) life9 (lives).

Dolan then moved to the island of Elba10, where he lived out his days with his name tarnished.

The Cozy Dolan Dynasty is known by some as the Deadball Era, when pitching and strategy ruled. The Cozy Dolans of the dynasty, while playing different numbers of games, ended their careers as decidedly average players for the era with very similar triple-slash (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) numbers:

Cozy Dolan I: .269/.322/.333
Cozy Dolan II: .252/.328/.339

Their career OPS+ numbers are one point apart, both close-to-but-short-of the league average.

However, neither ruler of the Cozy Dolan Dynasty will be remembered for his on-field performance. Their lasting legacies derive from their tragic downfalls.

1 It should be noted that this is entirely made up and 100% arbitrary. What the hell would a ruler of baseball (as a player, not a commissioner) even do, you ask? I have no clue, so tell me in the comments. But it seemed reasonable to write this as a dynasty since both players had the same (nick)name and played so close together in time. In all likelihood, the second player probably got his nickname from the first player's through some poor newspaper scribe trying to scrape up some extra change by padding his word count with a bit on the new Cozy in town, but the Internet doesn't say much about the nicknames' origins.

2 Wrestlemania's international debut in, uh, Toronto. Maybe they would have done better in Nova Scotia. I hear wrestling is big there.

3 For those interested in the stats, I'm using the stat of ERA+ as a measuring stick.

4 Yes, I'm aware that the century starts in 1901.

5 The Superbas were the predecessor to the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Brooklyn club was known, in order, as the Atlantics (1884), the Grays (1885-1887), the Bridegrooms (1888-1890), the Grooms (1891-1895), the Bridgegrooms again (1896-1898), the Superbas5A (1899-1910), the Dodgers (1911-1912), the Superbas again (1913), the Robins (1914-1931) and finally the Dodgers again (1932-present).

5A I also read this as "Superbras."

6 I've always wondered why the Papacy hasn't been passed down from each generation. It would make things a lot easier.

7 As with Cozy Dolans, there can only be one.

8 Scholars debate the linguistics of baseball dynasties here. The Cozy Dolan Dynasty is the only one with identically named rulers. It was followed by the Babe dynasty, which consisted of players with different last names sharing a common first nickname/title. The difference is negligible, yet those in academia have little else to do but debate it. The Babe Dynasty consists of The Legendary and Plump Babe Ruth (1916-1935) and The Not-So-Bad Babe Dahlgren (1936-1946). The feud over the Babe Dynasty thereafter involved The Barely There Babe Martin, The Kind-Of OK Babe Wilber and Babe Picone the Impostor. The feud caused the kingdom of Baseball to nearly splinter and fall8A.

8A What the hell was I talking about? Jeez, all we need is another Ossie Schrecengost footnote to derail this farther.

9 The banishment was actual and probably sensible, given that it came in the wake of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.

10 It was either Elba or Chicago...You know what? It was Chicago. Thanks Ossie Schrecongost and the Internet.

1 comment:

  1. I think I saw the Cozy Dolans open for Weezer back in 1995.