Monday, September 26, 2011

Games 12 and 13, Sunday, April 20, 1924

On Sunday, April 20, 1924, the Seattle Indians dropped both ends of a double header, further dropping their record to 3-10. Seattle gave up 68 runs in the 6 game series, but scored 49. You know what they say, if you give up an average of 11.33 runs per game, you won’t win too many of them. But, the signs were there that Seattle would turn things around. Well, not with the pitching staff.  But, the Indians finished up the second week of the season having put up an average of 8.1 runs per game. It was a sign. Once the pitching would fall into place, the Indians would have the makings of something special. Umpire Joe Becker sounds like a real character. I think he's the same one who has a field named for him in Missouri. From the tone of the article, he was somewhat well known. As reported in The Seattle Daily Times:

Seattle Winds Up Series With Double Defeat
Tobin, Killefer, Then All-Indian Substitutes Chased Off Bench by Umpire Becker
Special to The Times.
SALT LAKE CITY, Monday, April 21.- If the law of averages, as everybody says, is bound to prevail, then the Seattle Indians are about to put on a long streak of luck. If they don’t-then heave help poor Red Killefer and his crew. If any gang has had a string of hard luck it is the Indians.
            The gang left this evening for Seattle to open the season there. They left with five losses and but one victory chalked up on the board.
            Yesterday they lost a pair of games, bringing to an end a most disastrous week. The scores were 15 to 10 for the Bees in the first game, and 11 to 4 in the second.
            The first game was just one of those things.
            The second, however, was real class, and the Bees deserved to win. In the second, Dick McCabe pitched a real game of ball and the Bees played some real baseball.

No Breaks for Indians
            Everything, however, has gone against the Indians. If the breaks had been with them during the week, they would at least have split even. If they had received an even break, the count couldn’t have been more than four to two.
            But everything just went wrong. All this came, by the way, after a disastrous week with Los Angeles, conceded by all to be one of the weakest teams in the league.
            In the first game all that can be said is that Dell and Pigg just pitched worse than Hulvey and Ponder. The Bees rolled up fifteen runs on sixteen hits, bunching these hits where they did the most good. At the same time, the Indians played errorless ball and did everything they should.
            In the second game, Bagby started but was hit so hard and often that eight runs were piled up before Red could stutter the name of another pitcher, and it was an easy one, Jones.
            Jones pitched a great game, striking out eight Bees in seven innings. Jim Welsh, Seattle first sacker, was the star of the day. He fielded his position faultlessly and secured a couple of home runs. Frederick, the Portland boy in the outfield for Salt Lake City, was also a star of the game.

Indians Sent to Showers
           Probably the most conspicuous figure was Umpire Joe Becker. He was in hot water all of the time. Joe told the writer a day ago that umpires must get into condition like ball players. If that is the case, Joe is in his prime. He is missing them in midseason form. He did Salt Lake a lot of dirt, and Seattle more.
In the second game he got so bad that Tobin was kicked out of the game and immediately followed by Red Killefer. The boys on the bench then took up the battle and the bench was cleared, fourteen all sent to the bull pen. The Salt Lake fans, strong as they were for Salt Lake, were up in arms at the injustice of the thing-which goes to show that the baseball fan, as rabid as he is, is a mighty fine sportsmen-else baseball wouldn't be the national pastime.
           Leslie, Bee first sacker, was hurt during the first game and was replaced by Coumbe. Coumbe was hurt during the second game.
          Altogether, it was a hectic afternoon in which the great game of baseball was only a secondary affair.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dancing with the Senators

Negro Leagues World Series, 1924

The teams below are the champions of the ECL and NNL. Only six of these players are in the Hall of Fame.

It would take another 22 years before Jackie Robinson would play for the 1946 Montreal Royals.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Games 10 and 11, Saturday, April 19, 1924

Circuit Clout In Ninth Inning Gives Tribe an Even Break

Two Wild Ball Games Divided by Seattle and Salt Lake-Fans Kept at Park for Four Hours

Special to The Times.

SALT LAKE CITY, Saturday, April 19-The Seattle Indians and the Salt Lake Bees broke even in a double bill here this afternoon, the Indians dropping the first game by a 9 to 8 score, but copping the second by a score of 13 to 11. [ed note: looking for a team that was both Bees and Indians?]

                The first game was a thrilling and sensational battle, won in the last half of the ninth, with Fritz Coumbe and Suds Sutherland pitching good ball most of the distance. The second was just one of those things that happen at Bonneville Park, where the fences are close in and the atmosphere is rare. There were hits, runs and boots galore and the fans were kept at the park until after 6 o’clock.

                Vean Gregg and Elmer Ponder started to the hurling in the second game. They were bumped hard and often and both had to be removed. Plummer took up the burden for Seattle, while Harry O’Neill did the work for the Bees. O’Neill was removed for a pinch hitter and Phil Mulcahy, who started the first game, went in. Singleton went into the game in the ninth.

                Seattle started off with a pair and was not headed until the eighth inning when the Bees scored three on Lazerre’s homer after two men got on the bags. The Bees were put within reaching distance of Seattle in the fifth when a bevy of base hits brought them six runs.”

These results were printed in the Sunday, April 20, edition of the Seattle Times. Due to the rain and snow earlier in the week, Seattle would wind up its second series of the season with two double headers in two days. Games 10 and 11 of the year were games 3 and 4 of the Salt Lake series. As usual at Bonneville Park, the games were a high scoring affair, with 41 runs being put on the board for the day, bringing the series total to 77 runs. One thing to pay attention to, and I will calculate the numbers eventually, is to look at the box scores for the importance of the sacrifice hit.

Reading the description and looking over the box score, the first game looks like it would have been fantastic. Phil Mulcahy started the game for SLC, but was out after pitching one inning and then walking the first two batters in the second. Fritz Coumbe came in to calm down the Indians until the ninth. At that point, Rudy Kallio came in to get the final out, and then with SLC coming back in the bottom of the ninth, Kallio picked up the win.

John Philip Mulcahy was born in San Francisco on February 28, 1906 (and died sometime in 1946). He was signed by SLC as an 18-year old "off the sandlots of Oakland". He would pitch five years in the PCL, and one last season at the age of 23 with the 1929 Little Rock Travelers of the Southern Association.  Back on March 9, Mulcahy had pitched for the Bees in their loss to the Fresno Athletic Club, a Nisei semi-pro club.

Fritz Coumbe had been a teammate of Seattle captain Sam Crane with the 1920 (and 21) Cincinnati Reds on October 2 of that year when they played against  and Pittsburgh (and future Indians 2B George Cutshaw) in the last triple-header in MLB history. Coumbe played centerfield in one game and right field in another that day. Coumbe was tall and lanky, and had ended up in SLC after 8 seasons in the majors. Seattle captain Sam Crane would have a much more tragic end to his career, including a long prison sentence for the murder of his girlfriend and her lover. He served just under 15 years in prison, getting out at the age of 50. His parole was vouched for by Connie Mack, who had signed Crane as a 19 year old. Over 7 seasons he only played 124 games, but logged in over 1,200 in the minors. A defensive whiz, his career batting average was just 8 points over the Mendoza line. Coumbe was a Pittsburgh teammate that year of the SLC starter of game 2 in this double header, Elmer Ponder, Seattle back-up second baseman George Cutshaw, and the typically nicknamed "Chief" Moses Yellow Horse, a Pawnee and the first full-blooded Native American to play in the majors. In 1924, Yellow Horse was pitching for the Sacramento Solons. I will have an expanded posting on Mose Yellow Horse when the Indians play the Solons in their home opening series.

Rudy Kallio, the final relief pitcher for the Bees in game 1, had a three year career in the Majors, but played off and on in the PCL until the age of 47. Kallio and Seattle starter Suds Sutherland had also opposed each other back in 1914 in the Western Canada League when Kallio played for the Saskatoon Quakers and Sutherland for the Edmonton Eskimos. Both ended their careers hopping back and forth between Pacific Northwest PCL clubs, retiring in Oregon. Kallio (1892-1979) ended up in Newport (I wonder if he visited the sea lion caves or sold taffy?) and Sutherland (1894-1972) in Portland.