At the beginning of the 1914 season, The Chicago Examiner’s Hugh Fullerton attempted to determine the impact of drinking on performance on the diamond.
“Boys, here is another temperance lecture in baseball averages. It isn’t an argument or a statement of principles. Of course, we all know that a bottle of beer once in a while ‘ain’t never going to do no one no harm.’ I think during the last twenty years four or five hundred ballplayers have confided that information to me. So it ought to be true.”
Fullerton said he had compiled a list of players who were drinkers.
“I took an even twenty of these fellows. Then I took 14 players who to my certain knowledge do not drink at all. I jotted down the batting and fielding averages of these men using no pitchers or catchers, for six years (1907-1913), and made a composite average. Here are the figures:
“Then it occurred to me perhaps there may be some dope to show how drink acts upon pitchers. Here are the composite averages of then men, their percentage of victories for five years:
“Possibly I have picked some pitchers lucky enough to be with winning clubs; and some drinkers unlucky enough to be with losers. As a matter of fact, one fellow on the drink side has been with a winning team and he boosts the averages of his fellows.”
“Maybe these figures prove that a bottle of beer once in awhile ‘ain’t goin’ to hurt no one.” Anyhow, there are the figures. Either the wets or the drys may use them.”