"Oakland, Saturday, May 17, 1924-
Elmer Bowman came through with a home run over the left field wall here this afternoon, winning for Seattle, 12 to 11, the wildest baseball game of the year here. The victory put Seattle in fourth place, with nineteen games won and as many lost."
"In the present position of the game there is but one "short-stop," and he stands to the left of the infield between the second and third base positions. Ultimately, however, a "right-short" will be introduced, which will make the field one of ten men instead of nine, as now. In America the professional clubs this season play what they call exhibition games -vis., not regular matches-under the rule of ten men and ten innings, but all championship contests are played with nine men, there being no "right-short" fielder.
Chadwick's Base Ball Manual was published in London in 1874. The front page contains that title, as well as a nice illustration of a batsman, and the following, "Containing the New Rules of Base Ball as revised at the Base Ball Convention held at Boston, U.S., March 2, 1874, together with special instructions in all the scientific points of pitching, batting, and fielding, with instructions for scoring the game and rules for umpiring, by Henry Chadwick."
So...this is the latest thing I'm looking for, these ten men, ten inning or ten position game box scores. I have one, but its kind of an anomaly for these because its from 1863, and in Victoria, on Vancouver Island in what would eventually become the colony of British Columbia and part of Canada.
Here is a copy of that, its from March 31, 1863, reported in the British Colonist, a newspaper in Victoria. John Calhoun Keenan was the pitcher, and owner of the Fashion Hotel. He was from Sacramento [originally from Ireland], and played both cricket and baseball in both Sacramento and Victoria. He was also noted as a fireman.
In addition, further research...
So, using that, I found some articles in "Forest and Stream", a sporting magazine, initial find is for October 29, 1874.
The article reviews the championship matches for the 1874 season then states:
"-The professional championship season closes on Oct. 31st, after which date exhibition games, under the ten men and ten innings rule, will be in order. From the appended record of games won and lost up to October 25th, inclusive, it will be seen that the Bostons stand first-winning the pennant-the Mutuals second and the Athletics third. The table is as follows (gives rankings, you can go to bbref and look up the 1874 standings)..
-An exhibition match, under the ten men and ten innings rule was played on the Union Grounds, Brooklyn, October 24th, between the Mutuals and Atlantics, which resulted in the success of the Mutuals in a ten innings games, played in an hour and three-quarters, with a score of 7 to 1. West, of the Chelseas, played right short for the Atlantics and made a splendid double play. Geer, of the Fly Aways, assisting with the Mutuals. The Atlantics earned the only run earned in the game.
In August, the Forest and Stream reported on a game between the Atlantics and Chicago:
"-The finest display of ball playing ever seen in Chicago was on the occasion of the benefit match given Jimmy Wood on July 29th, the match being an exhibition game between the Atlantics and White Stockings, played under the ten men and ten innings rule, Ferguson playing at right short for the Atlantics and Collins for the Whites. At the end of the tenth inning the score stood at 4 to 4 only, and in the eleventh inning the Whites won by one run. The score was as follows:
Atlantics......0 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 - 4
Chicago.......1 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 - 5
The new game is highly spoken of in the Chicago papers."
Here is another report from Forest and Stream, earlier in 1874, from March 19:
"-By the report of the proceedings of the Professional Association Convention held in Boston, it will be seen that the ten men rule though excluded from championship contests is to be the rule for all exhibition games played by professional clubs. In fact they are debarred playing any 'exhibition' game under the regular rule of play until they have played their championship series to a close. The first series of these games therefore under the ten men rule will be played the same week, in April, when the Boston Club will make an exhibition tour prior to their commencing the championship series. As at the Amateur Convention in New York last December, some of the delegates declared that the basis of their opposition to the ten men rule was the fact that the Professional Convention would adopt it, and that they wanted something different to the game that class played, by the same course of reasoning the Amateurs should adopt the new game themselves. Under their proposed rule of allowing but a square pitch in delivery, they well want ten men in the field to keep down the large scores that will be made against a simple pitch of the ball to the bat."
I've found William J. Ryczek gives the March convention good coverage in his book on the National Association, Blackguards and Red Stockings. Peter Morris also gave the attempt a page in his book A Game of Inches.
Here is a box score, finally, of a professional match. December 25, 1873. This is from "Record of the Boston Base Ball Club, Since Its Organization: With A Sketch of All Its Players for 1871, 72, 73, and 74, and Other Items of Interest. By Rockwell & Churchill, Printers, 1874." It is preceded on page 45 with the following:
Base Ball In Winter.
"Among the sports of Christmas day was a game of base ball upon the Boston grounds between the nines or 'tens' selected for the occasion. Harry Wright and Spalding chose sides from the various players, amateurs and juniors, who happened to be present, and the game proved very interesting to four or five hundred spectators.
The score was a tie at the end of the third, eighth, and ninth innings, Harry's side getting the winning runs in the tenth. Following is the score:-"
Peculiar, is that Wilson is Short Left Field and Mathews is Right Short. Al Spalding would pitch 617.1 innings in 1874, so hopefully this game didn't take too much out of him.
A retired blog on St. Louis baseball, This Game of Games, has the following article, which talks of a game played in the ten men ten inning format, also a winter exhibition. I find it interesting that Sweasy is also in this game: http://thisgameofgames.blogspot.com/2007/10/game-played-under-ten-men-ten-inning.html
In The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball by Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, he states
"a curious feature of nineteenth-century Cuban baseball is that it was played with ten men to a side, a fact that left its mark in Cuban baseball jargon. As kids we referred to sandlot games where sides were chose on the spot as a pit en, as in echar un piten, to play a casual, pickup game. The expression I know now comes from a "picked ten," a selected team of ten players."
In March 1874, the University of Virginia magazine, in Google Books as The Virginia Spectator, had this observation:
"-The Yale Courant is always quite interesting. It is generally full of news about boating, base ball, & c. We copy from a late number the following:
The prospects that the coming base-ball season will be a successful one with amateur and professional ball-players seem very encouraging. Up to the present time seven first-class professional teams have entered the lists to compete for the whip pennant. The much talked of Connecticut "ten" will probably do so at the next meeting of the Professional Association. The new rule, which constitutes ten men and ten innings the legal game, is received with little favor by unprofessional players in this vicinity, and there exist serious doubts of its adoption by the Amateur Association, notwithstanding the efforts which will be made in its behalf by all the prominent sporting papers in this city. It is now settled beyond dispute that the Athletics, of Philadelphia, and the Red Stockings, of Boston, will play a series of championship games in England, Mr. Alexander Spaulding [sic] having already been sent over to make all the preparations necessary to a successful debut of our national game in that country. The struggle for the professional championship promises to be a very lively one. At present the prospects of the whip pennant ever being held in New York or Brooklyn are very slim, neither city being able to raise a stock organization, though New York will be represented by a team, which will be partially run on the stock principle. The following is a list of the salaried paid by some of the more prominent stock organizations this season: (the article lists players for several teams, with salary. I will note one of interest, Fergy Malone, of the Chicago team, was highest paid at $2,200. He died in Seattle, a Special Customs inspector around age 70, in January 1905. He'd been out drinking all night, and died around 4 a.m. in a cab while the driver and a fellow inspector were in bar. His body was shipped back to Philadelphia where it was given a burial.)
Continuing, in Peter Morris' Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan, he states the Jackson Mutuals voted down implementing ten men, ten innings.
The most extensive coverage, at least of Chadwick's arguments, which have been well known and the purpose of my exercise here is to find scores, accounts of the games more particularly, lineups to see who played, etc, is in Andrew J. Schiff's The Father of Baseball: A Biography of Henry Chadwick. He elaborates the winter of Chadwick's discontent and the eventual defeat of the concept and how it was representative of the game moving away from Chadwick's influence.
Okay, now, have come across another one...
September 22, 1863, New York Clipper, Excelsiors v Knickerbockers (like baseball royalty you know?). Chadwick was the scorer for this game, so another clue. However, like the other early versions, this is 10 men, 9 innings. Which I now have two box scores of.
Walter Mails was also on those teams, along with George Cutshaw (their star 2nd baseman) who was on the Seattle bench for this contest. Duster Mails and Wheezer Dell.
Seattle Makes Everything Count, Killefer Takes No Chances, and Acorns Are Beaten 4 to 3."
Seattle's hot hitting continued...
Earl Baldwin Features Win With Homer Over Left Field Wall With Bases Full-
Hard Hitting Keeps On."
The Seattle club was moving closer to .500 with a victory over Oakland. the march to the Pennant one day closer. Catcher Earl Baldwin brought the power, and Vean Gregg brought the arm.
First, I'll get my post up about my presentation at the 2016 Fred conference at the BBHOF. Other than that, well, that's that.
Jack Levy has the distinction of being the earliest noted Jewish athlete in Washington that the Washington State Jewish Historical Society has discovered. Levy was an important early organizer and promoter of sports in Seattle. In addition to being president of Seattle's first organized Base Ball Club to play challenge matches, Levy would organize and promote the Seattle Rifle Team in international matches. The team Levy organized for a series of matches with the baseballers of Victoria developed over the following decade into an active semi-professional team. That team, the Seattle Reds, was the nucleus of baseball activity in Puget Sound prior to the advent of professional ball in 1890. Levy's efforts to promote dozens of games throughout the Northwest played a significant role in establishing organized baseball in Seattle.
Benjamin and Esther Levy were among the first Jews to emigrate from London to New Zealand in 1841. By 1848, they had settled in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and had given birth to their son, Jacob. By the early 1870s Jack was living in Seattle doing business at teh Grotto Cigar Stand on Mill Street. [This corrects for the previous version of this information, which was published with an error attributing Jack to Seattle Soda Works, which was run by two of his brothers : In his 20s, Jacob, now known as Jack, and his brother Henry Emanuel were living in the Northwest and had established Levy Brothers' Seattle Soda Works, manufacturing ginger beer, sarsaparilla, and other beverages. Jack Levy also ran the Grotto Cigar Stand on Mill Street and was the correspondent for The British Colonist newspaper in Victoria.]
In 1872, the game of "base ball" is mentioned for the first time in Seattle periodical. The establishment of the Dolly Varden Base Ball Club was announced in the July 11 edition of the Puget Sound Dispatch. Four years later, the newspaper described a challenge issued by a team from Newcastle, seeking to play any other team in the county. Levy is listed on the roster of the Seattle Base Ball Club, which accepted the challenge and beat the Newcastle Miners 51-0.
On May 18, 1877, The British Colonist published Victoria's challenge to the Seattle Base Ball Club to play a game for Queen Victoria's birthday on May 24. The Seattle nine accepted and beat the Victoria Club by a score of 15-7. Joshua P. Davis umpired the game, and like Jack's brother's Aunt Elizabeth, he was a well known leader of Victoria's Jewish community. Davis was also a founding director of the Olympic Base Ball Club of Victoria when it was formed in 1866. Along with the Pioneer Base Ball Club of Portland, these were the first two clubs in the Pacific Northwest to be formed under what were called New York Rules and more properly the rules of the National Association of Base Ball Players.
On June 1, 1877, the Seattle Base Ball Club voted to change its name to the Alki Base Ball Club and elected Jack Levy as its president. At this time, the club consisted of nine players, a president, and a secretary, William Jamieson. Jamieson was a jeweler who, like Levy, had moved to Seattle from Victoria. Jamieson had managed and played baseball in Victoria, and was the organizer of the Dolly Varden club in 1872, though there is no record of them ever playing club or match games.
The members of the Alkis also voted to invite the Victoria Club to a game in Seattle on July 4th, which would also include a rifle match. Seattle beat Victoria by a score of 21-9, but Victoria redeemed itself with a victory in the rifle match. With Levy managing the ball club, the Alkis turned in their best season that year, going undefeated in front of crowds that reached several hundred. Their home games were played in Georgetown, on the field of the Seattle Jockey Club's racecourse.
By 1879, Levy and nearly all his other original Alkis had left the game in Seattle, moving on to businesses in Seattle and Victoria, and one player, Curry Chase, playing at Cornell before becoming a reporter and eventually playing in Wisconsin. The Alkis team lasted only three years, but its players from its final year became the nucleus of a team that played as the Seattle Base Ball Club, continuing the May 24/July 4 home and away rivalry with Victoria through the 1880s. That team became known as the Reds by the mid-1880s, and the Seattle Browns by the late 1880s. Through the last part of the 1880s they were a semi-professional club, but had recruited at least 3 players from California and the Midwest who in addition to baseball worked in local banks and other businesses, some of which were operated by alumni of the Alkis. Finally in 1890, Seattle and clubs from Portland, Tacoma, and Spokane organized the first fully professional league in the Northwest. Victoria had initially been invited to this aggregation, but declined (though Victoria would partake in a league within a few years).
In 1897, Levy's business interests took him north to the Yukon with the Klondike gold rush. He prospected in Dawson and operated businesses there for the next 12 years. His brother and other family members operated a restaurant in Victoria. Levy returned there following injuries in a boating accident, dying a few years later on April 29, 1913.
Last Sunday morning the Steamer Nellie got up steam and blew her first whistle at have past four o'clock. Early as it was there were plenty of lights in town. At half past five the boat was to start on her excursion to Port Gamble, and those who intended to participate were already a stir.
The Pacific Base Ball Club were to try their strength with the Unknowns at Gamble. The day was delightfully pleasant. The trip across the placid waters of the Sound was enough to induce any one to get on board, even if they took no interest in B. B. After the usual delays of waiting for the last man and his Mary Jane, the final whistle was blown and we started down the river, a merry crew on pleasure bent.
Quite an accession to our numbers was received at Lowell, all eager to participate. About seven o'clock we reached the mouth of the river, the tide was nearly out. Bare mud flats with nothing to relieve them except a few snags, storks and gulls, the latter so silent and still that snag or bird could hardly be distinguished the one from the other, stretched away on our left; to the right was Priest Point; behind us great reaches of tide marshes, whose waving tale and wild grasses at this season of the year reminds one of the half ripe rice fields of South Carolina, and ahead Hat Island, with its great white sand bluffs crowned with emerald. Between us and deep water, was a serpentine channel, of shallow depth, whose course could be followed by a constant use of the sounding rod. We all expected to be stuck in the mud at every revolution of the wheel. But we listened in vain for the sound of the bell. On we went, twisting and turning as if hunting a sea-serpent, heading to all points of the compass, stirring up the already ruly water, but still edging out towards Hat Island, till all at once the boat headed up Sound, we glided into deep, blue water and were over the bar at as low a stage of water as ever a steamer crossed before.
Many had tumbled out of bed as early, or rather so late for the boat, that they came aboard before breakfast. But no matter. We ask for no better breakfast than the one we all sat down to on board that morning. It is but just to remark, that all the way over and back, everything was done by Capt. Low that could be done, to make the trip a pleasant one. Every one was made to feel at home on board. Not a word of complaint was heard from any one during the day. May many such excursions fall to the lot of the Nellie, before Capt. Charley's hair turns gray.
Before we reached Gamble, the boys in blue, the Pacifics, sat down to a light lunch, preparatory to the contest to take place immediately on their arrival. We were met at the wharf by the Gamble boys, cordially welcomed and courteously entertained.
Port Gamble is a beautiful town site, and will be a beautiful town, years hence, long after the mammoth mills have become silent for want of forests to consume. It being Sunday, the mills were idle. But the presence of several large vessels at the wharves and so large a concourse of people, employed in the harbor trade and manufacture, indicated the immense business of Puget Mill Company. There are several [best] but no very costly residences. The chief beauty of Port Gamble is her fruit and flower gardens with which every home is ornamented. Where such evidences of taste are seen out door, there must be refinement within. If this is not true of Gamble, the town is an exception.
The B. B. Grounds are about one mile from town. A fine road, beautifully shaded, leads out to them. The ground is not as well fitted up as it should be. There is no convenience for spectators. It is not level. The brush is too near, and the deep gulch in rear of the home base is a great draw back. This is no fault of the club. Suitable grounds are hard to be found anywhere. But, if the ground is level, all other objections can be overcome. Well our boys take the hint, and do a little work before fair time. Our ground if put in order, is every way superior to theirs; But as it now stands, the Gamble boys are entitled to more credit than ours; for, if we had spent as much labor on our ground as they have, we should have the best field- but without more work it is not so good. So take of your coats boys and pitch in. It will do you good. You need a little muscular exercise, to prepare you for the championship at the next contest.
At fifteen minutes of twelve o'clock the game commenced, Mr. Shoe, umpire. W. D. Scott and C. Packard scorers, with the Pacifics in the field. The game was as fair and impartial as ever was played, the only advantage being that the Unknowns were at home and familiar with the ground. The umpire and scorers did their duty like perfect gentlemen, showing neither partiality or favoritism. They all three gave perfect satisfaction to the players of both clubs, and won remarks of praise from the spectators. The most perfect order and decorum prevailed during the entire game. Not a word of obscene or profane language was used by either players or spectators. A great many ladies and gentlemen were present and readily expressed their approbation whenever a good play was made by either side.
The Unknowns took the lead at the start. Towards the middle of the game the Pacifics nearly caught up with them, the former being only two talleys ahead. But they steadily gained from them till the close of the game, beating the Pacifics by a score of sixteen. Both clubs showed want of practice. Each club has some excellent players. Specimens of good pitching, batting, catching and running were exhibited by several of the participants during the play. Some difficult flies were skillfully taken, and many good ones missed. Much wild throwing was done on both sides, but we think the Pacifics did much more of it than their opponents. The utmost good feeling prevailed throughout the contest. No question at any time arose that led to any wordy altercation. The umpires' decision seemed to be received by all with satisfaction; and at the close of the game, rousing cheers were giving for both visitors and vanquished, those for the Pacifics, louder than for their conquerors.
After the game, the two clubs, with a few invited guests, repaired to the hotel and sat down to a magnificent banquet provided by the Unknowns. We acknowledge our inability to do justice in words to this tempting bill of fare, although we showed our appreciation at the time in the usual manner. The table contained all the epicure could wish, carefully prepared and in profuse or drinkable abundance. Nothing edible or drinkable was lacking. All traces of the chagrin of their defeat vanished from faces of the Pacifics as they beheld this bountiful repast. The dinner alone, was worth the trip to Gamble; the trip there and back on the Nellie, with the view of the heavens above, the snowy mountains with summits lost in the clouds to be seen in every directions, the mirror like waters of our beautiful inland sea with its borders of green, reflecting the ever changing clouds, the far off mountains and the nearer foliage of evergreen forest, is worth a trip across the continent to behold. And, then, with these beautiful scenes, free to all, to meet with such whole souled fraternal feeling, is enough to make any one willing to be defeated every day in the year. That is the way our boys felt, after parting with the Unknowns, obtaining promise from them to return the visit on October 5th, shaking hands, shouting good bye boys as we left the wharf and waiving handkerchiefs as long as anybody was in sight.
The trip home, mostly by moonlight, was a fit rounding off of a day of unalloyed pleasure.
Crossing from Port Gamble to Skagit Head we had the best view of Mount Rainier we ever beheld. No matter when whether from where seen, this hoary old sentinel of the ages is always grand, magnificent and sublime; but to see it as we saw it then, with the illusion of the waters of the Sound stretching far away, seemingly to the very foot hills at its base, its western visage all aglow with the rays of the setting sun, will photograph a picture on the brain that live will not efface.
It was approaching midnight when we reached the wharf. There was no expression of regret by any participant no signs of fatigue. We believe all hands would have gladly turned back for a repetition of the day's pleasure. We have been a five years resident of the Sound, and have never spent a happier day since we have been here.
Above is a link to the Hall of Fame ballot for 2014.
Here are my choices:
1. Greg Maddux. This should need no explanation.
2. Edgar Martinez. Just look at the swing. But, if we need to, the key to evaluating players from Martinez' time should be to look at the whole player, as always, but a useful stat would be OPS+. I think a whole view of Martinez shows him to be one of the top 5 or 6 hitters of his time. His weakness is in being a DH, but that is a position on a baseball field for 40 years, so its not really an issue. Martinez was a good enough 3rd baseman. I also offer one more argument: Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez and Ichiro Suzuki will all probably end up in the HOF, Arod will probably have to wait, but still, I would argue that Edgar Martinez was a better hitter than 3 teammates who benefitted greatly from having Martinez in the lineup.
3. Tim Raines. Tim Raines is the second greatest leadoff hitter of modern times, Ichiro Suzuki is third, Charlie Hustle and Lou Brock tied in fourth, Paul Molitor is fifth, Craig Biggio is sixth, Kenny Lofton is seventh. After that you get your variations who shouldn't be in the HOF: Johnny Damon, Brett Butler, Willie Wilson. Then guys who aren't even quite to that edge, but have their own unique, and excellent, just not HOF level, time in at leadoff: Alphonso Soriano (I know, I know), Tony Phillips, Bert Campaneris, Jimmy Rollins. But, c'mon, Tim Raines. The fact is Rickey probably could have been more helpful as a 3 hitter. After all, if you have both Tony Phillips and Rickey Henderson, its not an argument that Rickey is a better leadoff hitter, but what is the best way to arrange the available bats you've got. But, that's kind of stupid of me, because if you've got Rickey Henderson, arguably to me the greatest baseball player ever, you just put him up front and let him play. Anyway, Tim Raines.
4. Alan Trammell. Are the greatest baseball players really all at first base and right field? Of course not.
5. Tom Glavine. Nuff Said.
6. Lee Smith. I think durability is something valuable when we consider the Hall of Fame. The idea to me that Kirby Puckett is a HOFer and Ferris Fain isn't is, well, just wrong. I think talent is only part of the HOF. A HOF player should have luck, resistance to injury, any number of things, as well as a transcendent level of talent that they use to achieve at a level higher than their contemporaries. Things must be measured in context. Lee Smith is one of the best closers in baseball history. He is also the model that we now have, and one of the reasons for that is Lee Smith. His talent changed the way a game was managed, and that approach, effective because of Smith's talent and willingness to actuate that talent, is now the model across all of baseball.
7. Jack Morris. Here's the rub: who should be in the Hall of Fame: Jack Morris or Curt Schilling? Jack Morris, for now, then Curt Schilling, then Pedro Martinez...., back to the point: pitched one of the great games in baseball history. I have a hard time differentiating that from the rest of his career, that impression colors the entire picture for me. Same with Edgar Martinez. I saw Edgar hit, he was a Hall of Famer. He did that at the conclusion of being, in my opinion, the best pitcher consistently for a decade. This is why my next one is
8. Roger Clemens. Who knows about the drugs. Roger, probably. He was already on the edge, and then BBWAA gives him 4 more Cy Youngs instead of being reporters. If they want to keep him out of the HOF now, I think its a bunch of hypocrisy on their part.
9. Barry Bonds. See Clemens, but the point is 4 MVPs. Lets say Canseco was right, and 80% of the players were using. What you got to see with Bonds was what happens when one of the all time greats, already, decides to use the same tools as a Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmiero. You could not pitch in the strike zone against Bonds anyway, and for a couple of years, it was really must-see-tv. It was the true spectacle of the game.
10. Craig Biggio. Judgment call. Let Bagwell wait another year. I think Biggio was a fantastic player, even with the taint on the clubhouse. My favorite part of Biggio's game was his immense talent at the game itself, put him anywhere on the field, he was a ball player. Also, his way of crowding the plate.
On the cusp: Frank Thomas. He has no steroids taint that I know of, but I say make em all wait a year. Besides, there's a backlog to sort through. But, I can see Thomas going in anyone's place except Maddux. Mike Piazza. I think Piazza and Thomas may get in, but they are just lower on my priority list. Palmiero. Overall, his career is an odd one, just under league leaders during times of specialization, and he didn't do himself any favors in Congress. But, I think one of the stupidest things ever is the idea that players need to be put in on the first ballot. Ridiculous. In fact, what we have developing here is a unique situation not seen since the early ballots, but also it may look like the 1960s. Look at the ballots in the 1960s: Bob Feller, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Joe Medwick, Stan Musial, Roy Campanella. Now that is a Hall of Fame.
Who among the batch of players measures up to that decade of elected? Well, Greg Maddux. If I could get the steroids issue out of my head, Barry Bonds. Lets face it, if Bert Blyleven can be in the HOF, then so can Jack Morris, but if Feller is the measurement?
What I would suggest is that the HOF needs several areas of improvement. For one thing, there needs to be greater parity among the defensive positions. There also needs to be a greater respect for the overall number of games a player plays in. Durability is, I think, the corrective. There have been many players who had an exceptional level of talent, and one thing or another prevents the sustained performance. I also don't think 10 years is a reasonable cut off. See Ferris Fain. Playing 3 games in another year, is that serious consideration for HOF? Well.....no. Yet, it would be. Also, I think "Fame" should be a consideration. There needs to be a certain amount of starpower for players we are considering for contemporary baseball.
At a certain point, the season was a distraction, if we can call hope such a thing. I do need to get back to transcribing the daily stories of the 1924 Indians. Lately I have been distracted by writing up a 'game biography' of the August 5, 1921 contest between the Phillies and the Pirates at Forbes Field. It was the first game broadcast on the radio. Also, and even more time consuming, has been the research into Pacific Northwest pre-professional baseball.
In regards to that, I think I may have found the Johnny Appleseed of Salish Sea krankdom. The guy I'm on the trail of was given the moniker John C. Keenan. He was from Ireland, born around 1830. He came to the US, eventually, via Texas, possibly being a Ranger, by the age of 20 to 21, he was in the gold fields by 1850. At some point he made his way to Sacramento, having founded one saloon and then another. The Fashion Saloon made money the old fashioned way, the oldest, and also sold alcohol. Probably a good bit of gambling as well. Keenan became involved with the Sutter Course, and presumably a hand in the betting on the races. He was also involved in the Sutter Rifles and when not involved in civil defense, bartending, prostitution, horse racing and gambling...oh, he was also a volunteer fireman.
By 1858, he was going back and forth somehow between Victoria and Sacramento. This can be gathered by reports in the Sacramento papers of Keenan being there, and census data places him in both locations. He was involved in a cricket club in Victoria by 1858, but is playing baseball in Sacramento by 1860. There was organized baseball in Sacramento by late 1858. In fact, there was probably a game in 1851. Finally in 1862, the Fashion Saloon of Victoria was the site of the organization of another cricket club, and then a team made up of players named for the Fashion played a group of cricket players in a game base ball, referred to then as being like rounders. Its a peculiar attribution, which may indicate the writer of such a story was familiar with Chadwick.
That game was in March 1863. The papers mentioned that Keenan provided instruction on the game to the other players, helping in develop their skills. Base ball was played intermittently, often against cricket players, in Victoria after that. In 1866, the Olympic club was organized, "under New York Rules". By then, Keenan had made his way back to San Francisco. In 1864 or 1865, his wife had closed up their business interests in Sacramento and was travelling to Victoria 7 or 8 young women to work at the Victoria Fashion Saloon when they all died in a shipwreck. By around 1868 Keenan had was living in San Francisco and he died. He left a will that wound its way through the court, disputed by a mother and another wife.
More to come.
I also am amazed at how much we forget over time. Having transcribed many newspaper accounts of that appeared in newspapers from 1866 to just prior to World War II, I find it interesting to see how much of our modern language appears in the old news accounts, and at which times it appears. As one goes further into the daily past, the language changes, as you would expect. I think most of us think of the 1920s or the 1880s as a long time ago, and in a way it is, as thirty thousand yesterdays should be. After all, just imagine, fully, yesterday. But it is also merely the age of our grandparents or their own. In a way, this mystery is due to a lack of detail, and to truly tell a tale of any moment from history would require the immense connection of history. After all, again, imagine yourself today and your own connection to the world events of today. Today may be insignificant, or perhaps it may have an important moment that will be caught in the broad stroke of a later storyteller, a December 7, a September 11, but imagine the immensity of your today and how it dissipates in the flow of history, yet how important your own breath is to this very moment. Every aspect of history that is touched upon broadly is made up equally of such details. A death in World War 1, a man coughing from a 1917 gassing in 1924 as he sits in the Spring sun after a day shift, watching a double play. He is there, in the untold parts of the story, or on a train to Canada. That lack of detail also allows us to define that past, which is both bad and good. It is bad in that we will necessarily produce a definition that is different from a complete truth of accuracy, but we try to illuminate truth, maybe through an exegesis, or even an illumination of nothing related actuality. Especially as we examine a society that wasn't concerned with its history or was only beginning to really understand it was engaging in history. Now we have one that is obsessed with its daily archive. Its good in that we must always work on redefining what the past means to us, especially as we come to know it better.
The Seattle Indians played their 28th game of 1924 on May 7th, 1924 and the game was reported on May 8th. Forty years later, to the day, my older brother would be born on May 8th, and forty-eight and a half years from then we would have today. Thus, in the slightly off kilter numerical tendencies all far too avid baseball fans tend to auger into, a boy of eight years old who played on his school team, and also avidly followed the local pro team, in 1924, would be 48 in 1964. It is highly likely that if you found the right person, he could recall being at Dugdale Field the day he saw the beloved Indians get 17 hits. He could have been sitting with his 48 year old father, who could tell him about the day in 1884 he saw the local semi-pro team, since in 1884 Seattle didn't have fully professional baseball yet. So, what I mean is, it is a short chain of events really. A small amount of separation between us and the larger historical past that these events occur within. As a whole Earth, an amazing amount of things have gone on since 1924, but there's a slight chance there is someone somewhere who could still describe to youwhat it was like to be at a baseball game early May, 90 years ago.
By the end of the 1920s, Seattle had a Commercial League team that featured top company teams, neighborhood teams, as well as a top notch Japanese team made up of Nisei and Issei players, and a top Black baseball team. Seattle's public schools had always been integrated, so if you look at the rosters on Franklin High School, for instance, in 1919, you'll find Black, Asian, and the variety of White players from assorted backgrounds. Of course, one of the larger points of this blog is that you will not find Indian players, unless you know where to look. Sometimes they would visit, and they would be discernable by their nickname Chief, such as Chief Moses Yellowhorse of Sacramento.
Game 27 of the 1924 Season moved the Indians to a record of 11 and 16, a winning percentage of .497. This put them up 1 to 0 for the series with Portland. George Stueland's time in Seattle was the meat in a Cub sandwich. He started with the team managed by Red Killefer's brother Bill in 1921. He went back there for a handful of games in 1925. George was born on March 2, 1899 in Iowa. He died in Onawa, Iowa in 1964. After baseball, he managed a state park and later was a broom maker. Onawa is on the Nebraska border halfway between Sioux City and Omaha. Like many parts of the Pacific Northwest it has a park dedicated to Lewis and Clark. Stueland had pitched in Sioux City in 1920, making his way to Chicago the next September.