Posts Tagged ‘Farewell to Upside-Down Standings Days’

Farewell to Upside-Down Standings Days

July 16, 2017

My old friend Jerry Witte led the 1950 Buffs with 30 HR, but even Jerry’s talent and fan charisma – or the club wearing short pants for a couple of weeks – could lift the upside-down 1950 Houston Buffs from the cellar. (The mosquito bites and the sliding strawberries put an end to the short pants game-attraction gimmick reach by club president Allen Russell.)

 

Back in the post-World War II days of our old minor league Houston Buffs, my dad was a great newspaper reader.

Let me clarify that comment. We lived in Houston. We didn’t necessarily have great newspapers in Houston, even then, but Dad had a great need to read fresh print twice daily, before and after work. So, we took both the morning Houston Post and the afternoon Houston Press on home delivery.

One of those newspapers embarked upon a quirky little practice as an attention-getting novelty item during the Texas League baseball season of 1950. Although it may have been the almost as sick 1949 or 1952 performance seasons, the exact year doesn’t matter as much as what they did. I simply cannot remember if it was the morning Post or the afternoon Press that pulled the trigger on the baseball standings publication format they inserted for a brief while. Once the paper got the attention-grab they sought, they pulled the “travesty to truth” and went back to over-the-plate standard reporting.

What was the gag?

The Houston newspaper was publishing the daily standings of the Texas League in “upside-down” form.

The “Upside-Down” Texas League Standings were accurate in every essential aspect, but they had been reconfigured into what the newspaper suggested would be a more optimistic point of view for Houston Buff fans. The standings were being printed in upside-down order – with the worst team in the league now appearing at the top of the list and the best team now resting at the bottom of the pile.

Upside-Down? – Did that newspaper gimmick help the morale of Houston fans? – Not really. In fact, I do remember a number of my fellow minor minions expressing the hope that they would “put a stop to it soon.” And why? – “Because it’s just calling even more attention to the fact that the Buffs are a pretty lousy team this year!”

Lousy? Yeah. And those apparently bottom-feeding first place Beaumont Roughnecks were pretty darn good too. Their 1950 manager was Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby and their notable stars were infielder Gil McDougald of later Yankee fame and catcher Clint Courtney.

They pulled it in short time. Like a lot of of bad ideas that don’t quite work, it just went away. No explanation needed. Or wanted.

Had the newspaper carried the 1950 Upside-Down Texas League Standings to season’s send, here’s how it would have looked on the last day:

 

1950 TEXAS LEAGUE upside-down W L W% GB
HOUSTON BUFFALOES 61 93 .396 30.5
SHREVEPORT SPORTS 63 91 .409 28.5
OKLAHOMA CITY INDIANS 72 79 .477 18.0
DALLAS EAGLES 74 78 .487 16.5
SAN ANTONIO MISSIONS 79 75 .513 12.5
TULSA OILERS 83 69 .546 7.5
FORT WORTH CATS 88 64 .579 2.5
BEAUMONT ROUGHNECKS 91 62 .595

 

It only took us another 67 years to get here, but we’ve finally made it in 2017. Houston finally has a baseball team that doesn’t appear to need a cosmetic news publisher to make it look good in print.

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle