Thursday, November 3, 2011

Game 14, home opener against the Sacramento Solons


The Seattle Indians finally headed home after being away from town for a couple of months, first for Spring Training in San Bernardino and then followed by two dismal weeks to open the 1924 Pacific Coast League season. The season started first in Los Angeles and then went via train to Salt Lake City. The hometown opening day started with a rather massive and circuitous parade through downtown Seattle to the Indians home field. According to the article below, a record 14,000 fans attended the opening day game. As one of the stories put it, “IT was a “Whoop-la” “Atta Boy” day for fair at the Seattle ball yard yesterday afternoon when Radiant Red Killefer’s newly laundried Redskins took Curly Colonel Charley Pick’s bewildered Sacramento Senators and mopped up the diamond with them to the merry old tune of 9 to 2.” It’s nice to see some of the same language used today originated in the jazzy newsprint patois of the time. Its also nice to see the brutality of the society reflected in its usage of terms like Redskin, Indian, etc. The casualness of it highlights the complexity of race in the emerging America. The stands were so crowded for opening day “you couldn’t have gotten a boy-and a really small boy at that-into the grand stand with a jimmy.”

Charles Thomas Pick was born April 12, 1888, in Brookneal, Campbell County, Virginia, and he passed away on June 26, 1954 in Lynchburg, just to the north of Campbell County. Brookneal was initially founded in the early 1800s by descendents of the first white settlers of Campbell County, some were named Brook, and others Neal. John Brook's land was across the Staunton River from Patrick Henry's, and it was on Brook's side of the river that a tobacco warehouse was built, across the river from Henry's farm. It was here that Brookneal developed. Pick's younger brother Lewis was also born in Brookneal. Lewis would grow up to become a Lieutenant General and Chief Engineer of the Army Corp of Engineers. Both Pick City, North Dakota and Pickstown, South Dakota were named for Lewis A. Pick. Charlie Pick died in Lynchburg of a heart attack on Thursday, June 26, 1954. At the time of his death, Charlie had been Attendance Officer for the Rustburg School Board. Pick played in the American Legue for Washington and Philadelphia, and then in the National League for Chicago and Boston. In 1918, he split his time between the San Francisco Seals and the Cubs. The 1918 Cubs have come under suspicion for possibly having thrown that year's World Series. Please note, Charlie Pick probably had the best series of any hitter with more than 10 at-bats.


The Seattle Daily Times presented the action via a new ‘long range camera’ it called Aunt Eppie. I have searched for what camera this was, but have not gathered any solid information. I think the name is based on a character from a comic than ran on the sports pages by Fontaine Fox, called Funny Folk. I have presented one of the comics below. Fox was one of the earliest of America’s syndicated comic artists, with his work appearing from the first decade of the 1900’s into the 1950s. 

I’ve also included, in addition to the pictures from Aunt Eppie, a rendering in caricature from the front page of that day’s Sports Section of the Seattle Daily Times, done by Parker McAllister. McAllister was new at the Times, and would go on to be the main staff artist for the Sunday magazine section for over 40 years, producing over a 1,000 watercolor illustrations highlighting the history and natural wonders of Washington State. At this time, he was presenting almost daily pen-and-ink highlights of local teams and events. 
 The game itself featured some decent hitting from the Indians, and finally a decent pitching performance after the team had been slaughtered by the big bats in the band box of Salt Lake City. The anonymous newspaperman places the key to the Indians' success on 'bunching' their hits together. Reading through a lot of the game descriptions and box scores, the Indians used a lot of sacrifice hits and smart baserunning. It looks like from the Aunt Eppie supplied images that Killefer managed the offensive game from the 3rd base box. One interesting thing to point out about Sacramento’s pitching lineup that day was the inclusion of Charlie Hall. He had broken into professional baseball in 1904 with the earliest version of Seattle’s PCL club. From Ventura, his real name was Carlos Luis Hall, and he was considered by Connie Mack to have been the best relief pitcher of his time. I'll try to dig up more about him. One of the myth's of baseball is that its internationalization/integration occurred in the late 1940s. In reality, the invisible line of racial segregation was constantly smudged. Carlos is one of many examples. While uncommon, think of two of the veterans on the Solons' pitching staff for this series, a Mexican American from Ventura and the first full-blooded Native American player in Major League history, 'Chief' Moses Yellow Horse. Both had big time experience, and Hall, like his Manager Charlie Pick, had won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox. This isn't to say America wasn't a segregated country, it's saying reality is more complicated than myth, and far more interesting.

Tribes Barrage of Doubles Too Much For Foe
Sacramento Pitching Fails to Stop Indians-Six 2-Base Hits Figure in Run Getting-Record Crowd Satisfied

FOURTEEN THOUSAND Seattle fans saw their baseball team humble Sacramento 9 to 2 here yesterday afternoon and went home declaring they’d come again if that was the type of baseball they were going to be given.
       The Indian bats were much in evidence. Eleven base hits, six of them doubles, and only one of them wasted, was the Indian harvest off the pitching of Pitchers Thompson, Charley Hall and Canfield. Nine runs resulted from those hits, two bases on balls and an error.
       Back of that setting of doubles Harvey Sutherland, obtained from Portland in exchange for Harry Gardner, pitched beautiful ball for six innings. The Solons were pecking away at him, to be sure, but when men got on base the hitting suddenly stopped. He weakened in the seventh; might have pulled through had Manager Killefer cared to take a chance, but Wade, mindful of what happened to his pitcher at Salt Lake, led him out and had Vean Gregg finish.
       One ball was enough for Gregg to end the seventh, Crane and Brady staging one of the their snappy doubles. Three of the next six men to face him fanned, and no more damage resulted.
     The Indians let it be known right from the start that they were out to win.
      Thompson, a clunky left-hander, was the Solons’ first pitcher. He pitched to three men.
       Bill Lane drove a double down the third base line. Cliff Brady, after trying to sacrifice twice, worked Thompson for a base on balls. Sammy Crane likewise tried to bunt twice, both attempts going foul; then worked Thompson into a hole and, with the hit-and-run-play on, singled to left center, Lane scoring and Brady taking third. That was all for Mr. Thompson, and the venerable Charley Hall, who broke in here in Seattle in 1903, came into the picture.
       The bunt game still looked good to Boss Killefer, and Eldred twice tried to score Brady and move Crane up a base, his attempts, too, rolling foul each time. That situation failed to dismay Eldred, however, and he singled to left, scoring Brady.
       Elmer Bowman made his bow to Seattle fans with a neatly placed bunt down the third base line, advancing the pair.
       Hall started to walk Rohwer, but pitched the ball too close in on the fourth ball. Ray figured he had a hit in his system, but the ball went straight at Siglin.
       Paddy threw home, trapping Crane. The captain wiggled back and forth and finally was tagged sliding back to third. Eldred had been on third once, but started back, and he too was tagged out sliding into second.

Big Inning Staged
       Nothing exciting happened then until the Indian half of the fifth. Then everything happened at once.
       Lane started with another double to left. Brady sacrificed him to third. Crane was walked, whereupon Brick Eldred smacked a slow ball to left center for two bases, Lane scoring and Crane taking third.
       Elmer Bowman hit the left field bleacher fence with another double, scoring two more.
       Rohwer singled to right, scoring Bowman, and took second on the throw-in.
       Charlie Hall gave way to Bill Hughes, Ted Baldwin greeting him with a blow off McGinnis’ gloved hand that put Rohwer on third. He and Baldwin then scored when Kopp dropped Sutherland’s long fly. Kopp first misjudged the ball, then dropped it as he ran backwards on it. Lane walked, but Brady ended the inning with a line drive into Kopp’s hands.
       Six runs on five hits, three of them doubles.

       There were still more doubles left in the Indian bat bag. Lane and Brady contributing, Billy’s blow being his third of the two-base variety. And another run came over in the eighth.
       Sutherland’s troublesome inning was the seventh. McNeeley singled to left and advanced on a short passed ball. McGinnis beat out a hit to Bowman when Sutherland didn’t cover in time. Kopp bounced a hit off Sutherland’s hand, which seemed to unsteady the Indian hurler, and Claude Rohwer walked, filling the bases. Siglin singled another run home in the person of Merlin Kopp, whereupon Manager Killefer decided Suds had done a good day’s work and sent in Vean Gregg. Koehler hit the first ball he threw into a double play, Crane to Brady to Bowman.

Fans Deeply Impressed
      The victory seemed to deeply impress the big crowd.
      The snappy infield play, the evident earnestness of the Indians and the hard hitting bore out what had been said of the Seattle 1924 Pacific Coast League entry.
       Big Elmer Bowman, about whose hitting the fans have been wondering, spanked two squarely on the nose. His first one all but tore Claude Rohwer’s bare hand off. It whirled the Sacramento infielder completely around. He was sacrificed along and showed that he was alert by snagging third when Ted Baldwin’s hard drive to Kopp had that fielder off balance.
       His next trial came in the big inning, his double to left hitting the left field bleacher fence on a short hop. It was base hit of the 100 per cent pure variety.
       Of the other new men, Cliff Brady had a fine day. He walked, sacrificed neatly twice, doubled to left, and flew out in the five trips to the plate.
      He was mixed up in two double plays. He leaped into the air and pulled down McNeeley’s hard smash in the second, doubling Mollwitz off first and then figured as the pivot man in the double killing that ended the Solon rally in the seventh.

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