Friday, July 29, 2011
I love stories about things like the House of David (and their Jewish counterparts) because they demonstrate that, most often, semi-pro baseball was about competition in some fundamental, Adam Smith's Baker-kind-of-way, fun and money, the story of the Bismarck Churchill's is a great read or even listen, and essential for understanding the complexity of the history of race, ethnicity, segregation, and integration across all of American society. I'm still putting together a post on Japanese baseball in the West in the early 20th Century, which I hope to post soon. One of the most striking things about reading a large number of early newspapers is breaking down how often these different communities and businesses played each other and together on the ball fields. The mostly end, at least legal, of segregation in America was engineered at the 'high' level by Thurgood Marshall and NAACP legal team, working for 30 years to build precedence that would create Brown vs. Board of Education. The rest of it, the real part that made integration stick (and probably, in a paradoxical way, keeps it going), where the true momentum came from, the change that was beyond the law and in the mind of America, was from the ball fields, dance halls and factory floors.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Some of the great things about reading the sports pages, or anything, of the past are the language and terms used to describe events. This medium has a different message, so to speak. The syntax is formed by the 19th Century newspapers more so than what we read today. Games 6 and 7 of the 1924 season were played in Los Angeles between the Indians and Angels on Sunday, April 13. Typically, PCL teams of the time played a double header every Sunday to end a series, traveled on a Monday, and started a new series on Tuesday. Often, if games were rained out, which we’ll see as we get into the second week of a season, a team could end up playing two or three double headers in a row to close out the often-times 7-game series played in the PCL. If you examine the box score, you’ll see both games of this double header lasted 1 hour 55 minutes. Depending on the time between games, the whole affair was about 5 hours at the most, giving fans something to do between lunch and dinner. When I take my kids to Safeco Field, we’ll get downtown at around a quarter to five, gates open at 5:10, we'll watch BP, get some hot dogs, hope for an autograph, the game starts at 7:10, typically last 2:30 to 2:45, we'll go back to the car, and we’re out of there by 10 pm. I'd rather start with lunch myself. (NOTE: on August 9, 2011, the Rays beat the Royals 4-0 in a game lasting 1:53, the first game of 2011 to be under 2 hours.)
I’ve transcribed the description of the second game. I did it to show several features of the writing. The prosody is not quite as flowery as sports page poems of the time, but take note of how the story is put together. Note the performance in both games of Cedric Durst. He would hit .342 in the PCL that year, and do better the next year with St. Paul in the American Association. Offensively, these would be his best performances in a 25-year playing career, more as a manager, in professional baseball. However, I’m sure the highlight of that career was probably being the weak-hitting reserve outfielder on the 1927 Yankees along with maybe the greatest backup outfielder in history, Ben Paschal, as well as starters Bob Meusel, Earle Combs and Babe Ruth. A hard lineup to break into. Also, note the starter in the second contest, Suds Sutherland. Follow the link if you think Lou Piniella was hard on rookie pitchers.
Furious Hitting In Second Tussle Gives Tribe 20 to 1 Win
Suds Sutherland Tames Seraphs but Vean Gregg Is Beaten Again – Seattle Scores Ten Runs in Ninth – Brady Provides Thriller.
By A STAFF CORRESPONDENT.
LOS ANGELES, Cal. Monday, April 14.- Red Killefer and his Seattle ball club left Los Angeles with only two victories in seven games played but they wound up the final game with a barrage of base hits that the 16,000 fans who attended the game will never forget.
Los Angeles took the first game of the doubleheader by a score of 4 to 1, but the second battle went to the Indians, 20 to 1.
Ground rules were necessary because of the largest crowd that has attended a local game since the Angeles and Vernon Tigers settled the pennant on the last day of the 1919 season. Seattle’s heavy sluggers sent the ball into the crowd time after time. The limit for a hit into the crowd was for two bases. It was announced that 43,000 fans had witnessed the Seattle and Los Angeles clubs in action this week and Wade Killefer took a large sized check out of this city.
The final inning of the second game witnessed the Indians making ten runs and eight hits off Arnold Crandall, rookie southpaw and a brother of the veteran Ote Crandall. Ote won two ball games from Seattle during the past week and the Indian batters obtained revenge from the young brother.
Here is the record inning. Tobin grounded to the pitcher. Sutherland doubled and took third when McAuley fumbled Lane’s grounder. Lane stole second. Brady hit a grounder to Jacobs, who tried to tag the elusive Lane but missed him, Sutherland scoring. Crane singled to right, putting Lane over. Eldred walked and Bowman followed with a slashing double into the crowd in left field, counting Brady and Crane. Rohwer tripled to right, Eldred and Bowman scoring. Ted Baldwin doubled to left and Rohwer came in. Tobin’s single scored Baldwin. Brady’s two-base hit to left scored Tobin and Lane. Crane ended the inning with an easy grounder to Jacobs.
Sutherland, who pitched the second game, had no trouble in stopping the Angels. He allowed six hits and only one run. Frank Tobin, who worked with Sutherland, also caught the other winning game for Seattle. Oren O’Neal, young right handed pitcher who started for the Angels, was hit hard by the Indians and given poor support by his teammates. Johnny Walters, who succeeded him in the sixth inning, was wild and he was replaced by Arnold Crandall in the eighth inning.