Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Yogi Steals Home in 1942

The following photo (which I lifted without permission) was posted on the facebook page of the Institute for Baseball Studies.
Yogi Berra of the St. Louis Stockhams (left) steals home on Los Angeles Sunrise catcher Gene Mauch (right) during the 1942 (exact date unknown) American Legion baseball sectional tournament in Hastings, Neb.
I wondered if I could find the date.  Looking through online newspaper archives showed me that the tourney took place at the end of August.

Omaha World Herald - August 26, 1942

The first game in the tourney was on Saturday, August 29.  St. Louis didn't fare well.

Omaha World Herald - August 30, 1942
The second game was scheduled for the next day, Sunday August 30, and then the tie-breaker, if necessary, was to be played later in the day.   As it turns out, it was necessary.

Omaha World Herald - August 31, 1942

  The bell ringer was swarthy Yogi Berra, whose pants-around-ankles figure was in sight almost every time the L.A. boys looked.  He went three for three, scored three runs, hit a double, the day's only extra baser, and swiped home in the seventh.
Well, there you go.  Yogi stole home in the third game.  That would be on August 30, 1942.  L.A. won.  Another baseball mystery solved.

Omaha World Herald - August 31, 1942


Yogi Berra was just a lad of 17 when he went to Hastings.  Very soon after the tournament ended the Cardinals signed him, apparently to save him from a life of boredom by book learning.

Omaha World Herald - September 13, 1942

Looking into these games raises another issue.  The caption on facebook says that Gene Mauch was catching.  According to the box scores he was playing third base.  The catcher was listed as Kinaman.  I assume that to be Dick Kinaman who knocked around the minors from 1943 to 1961.

images from GenealogyBank.com

Monday, June 15, 2015

Did Reggie steal on his own?


Yesterday at church the pastor used an illustration about Reggie Jackson stealing second base without Earl Weaver's permission. Reggie saw the opportunity and took it, but it didn't fit in with the manager's plans.  Lee May, the next batter, was walked.  The following batter wasn't strong so a pinch hitter was put in place, depleting Weaver's bench strength for the rest of the game.  You can read the illustration at SermonSearch.com, SermonCentral.com, and Bible.org.

The baseball side of my mind started to think.  This story could be verified.

Reggie Jackson stole 28 bases in 1976, the only year that he played for Earl Weaver.  I looked at RetroSheet.org and found those games.  Lee May only walked 41 times that season.  Found those games.  There were only eight games where they both happened.  Let's see if I can find the game.

For clarity I've highlighted in blue Reggie's steals and in yellow May's walks.

May 22, 1976
ORIOLES 3RD: Belanger tripled to right; R. Jackson was hit by a
pitch; L. May struck out; R. Jackson stole second; Muser singled
to center [Belanger scored, R. Jackson scored]; Singleton
singled to center [Muser to second]; CRAWFORD REPLACED COLEMAN
(PITCHING); Grich grounded into a double play (shortstop to
second to first) [Singleton out at second]; 2 R, 3 H, 0 E, 1
LOB.  Tigers 3, Orioles 4.

ORIOLES 9TH: SUTHERLAND REPLACED MEYER (PLAYING 2B); Mora
singled to left; BLAIR RAN FOR MORA; Belanger out on a sacrifice
bunt (pitcher to second) [Blair to second]; R. Jackson popped to
third in foul territory; L. May was walked intentionally; HARPER
BATTED FOR MUSER; Harper walked [Blair to third, L. May to
second]; Singleton homered [Blair scored, L. May scored, Harper
scored]; 4 R, 2 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Tigers 4, Orioles 8.

August 1, 1976
ORIOLES 4TH: R. Jackson walked; R. Jackson stole second; L. May
popped to catcher in foul territory; Singleton grounded out
(second to first) [R. Jackson to third]; DeCinces popped to
first in foul territory; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Tigers 0,
Orioles 1.

ORIOLES 8TH: MANUEL REPLACED OGLIVIE (PLAYING 2B); Grich walked;
Hiller threw a wild pitch [Grich to second]; R. Jackson struck
out; L. May was walked intentionally; Singleton flied out to
right; DeCinces made an out to shortstop; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. 
Tigers 3, Orioles 3.

August 31, 1976
ORIOLES 3RD: Bumbry singled to center; Bumbry stole second;
Grich struck out; R. Jackson grounded out (shortstop to first)
[Bumbry to third]; L. May walked; Singleton singled to right
[Bumbry scored, L. May to third]; Crowley flied out to right; 1
R, 2 H, 0 E, 2 LOB.  Royals 1, Orioles 3.

ORIOLES 5TH: Bumbry flied out to center; Grich flied out to
center; R. Jackson walked; R. Jackson stole second [R. Jackson
to third (error by White)]; L. May flied out to center; 0 R, 0
H, 1 E, 1 LOB.  Royals 1, Orioles 3.

September 4, 1976
ORIOLES 1ST: Belanger made an out to shortstop; Grich doubled to
right; R. Jackson grounded out (third to first); L. May walked;
Singleton walked [Grich to third, L. May to second]; Mora flied
out to right; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 3 LOB.  Yankees 0, Orioles 0.

ORIOLES 7TH: Belanger made an out to first; Grich lined to
right; R. Jackson singled to left; R. Jackson stole second; L.
May singled to left [R. Jackson scored]; Singleton flied out to
right; 1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Yankees 2, Orioles 2.

September 11, 1976
ORIOLES 1ST: Bumbry grounded out (second to first); Grich popped
to catcher; R. Jackson homered; L. May walked; Rodriguez threw a
wild pitch [L. May to second]; Singleton walked; Crowley popped
to third; 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 2 LOB.  Orioles 1, Brewers 0.

ORIOLES 3RD: Bumbry grounded out (second to first); Grich struck
out; R. Jackson singled to left; R. Jackson stole second; L. May
singled to center [R. Jackson scored]; L. May was caught
stealing second (catcher to shortstop); 1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. 
Orioles 2, Brewers 1.

September 12, 1976
ORIOLES 2ND: L. May walked; Singleton grounded into a double
play (third to second to first) [L. May out at second]; Mora
grounded out (shortstop to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. 
Orioles 0, Brewers 0.

ORIOLES 9TH: R. Jackson singled to right; R. Jackson stole
second; L. May popped to catcher; Singleton singled to shortstop
[R. Jackson to third (error by Yount)]; BUMBRY RAN FOR
SINGLETON; Mora forced Bumbry (shortstop to second) [R. Jackson
scored]; DeCinces singled to right [Mora to second]; CASTRO
REPLACED AUGUSTINE (PITCHING); Dempsey forced DeCinces
(shortstop to second); 1 R, 3 H, 1 E, 2 LOB.  Orioles 3, Brewers
1.

September 14, 1976
ORIOLES 1ST: Bumbry struck out; Grich singled to third; R.
Jackson walked [Grich to second]; L. May flied out to right
[Grich to third]; R. Jackson stole second; Singleton lined to
third; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 2 LOB.  Tigers 0, Orioles 0.

ORIOLES 8TH: LAXTON REPLACED HILLER (PITCHING); Blair doubled to
left; Grich grounded out (shortstop to first); R. Jackson was
called out on strikes; L. May was walked intentionally;
Singleton walked [Blair to third, L. May to second]; DeCinces
flied out to center; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 3 LOB.  Tigers 7, Orioles 9.

September 21, 1976
ORIOLES 4TH: R. Jackson singled to center; R. Jackson stole
second [R. Jackson to third (error by Munson)]; L. May grounded
out (shortstop to first) [R. Jackson scored]; Singleton grounded
out (shortstop to first); Muser popped to third; 1 R, 1 H, 1 E,
0 LOB.  Orioles 3, Yankees 7.

ORIOLES 6TH: Bumbry grounded out (second to first); Grich
doubled to right; R. Jackson struck out; L. May walked;
Singleton flied out to left; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 2 LOB.  Orioles 3,
Yankees 7.

So, based on that data, the event never happened.  Nice illustration or anecdote, but I can't prove it.

The story was originally part of  Thomas Boswell's 1983 book How Life Imitates The World Series.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Clinton Prison All Stars

There's been quite a bit of media frenzy about the two inmates that escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York. That prison is located in the county in which I was born and raised. Let's look at a few games that involved the Clinton Prison All Stars.

The sport sections of local papers in Plattsburgh, Clinton County's seat, were filled with all things baseball during the summer.  The North Country has a rich history of baseball, with Plattsburgh fielding a team for several seasons in the Northern New York League and even one in the Northern Independent League, all in the early 1900s.  Hotel teams, barnstorming teams, and local industry teams kept the interest of the area.

In the summer of 1921 there were a few contests with the All Stars of Clinton Prison.

Plattsburgh Daily Republican - July 30, 1921

The D & H would be the Delaware & Hudson Railroad.  Champlain is a town on the New York - Canadian border, with tracks running through it.

Plattsburgh Daily Republican - July 30, 1921

And the results of that first game?  A 5-0 shutout in favor of the Railroaders.

Plattsburgh Daily Press - August 1, 1921


A few days later, the Regular Plattsburgh Baseball Team went to Dannemora.

Plattsburgh Daily Republican- August 3, 1921


Again, the Prisoners are defeated, this time the score was 11-7.

Plattsburgh Daily Republican - August 4, 1921

Since the prison was built in 1844, there have been a few escapes.  I can speculate that there have been more ball games played there.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

An Error and a Triple Play

In a few days we'll be remembering the 71st anniversary of the Allied invasion of France, commonly called "D-Day".  The History Channel and the American Heroes Channel have been showing specials about the preparation leading up to the invasion.  I've watched my fair share of them as I enjoy military history. 

But I came across a part of the story I hadn't heard before.  It seems that an errant AP report on June 3, 1944 caused quite a stir, including at the Polo Grounds.
     Baseball fans at the Polo Grounds in New York also stood and observed a minute's silence when the flash reached them by public address system.

Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) - June 4, 1944


The newspaper report about the game doesn't mention the moment of silence, but does mention the triple play (Gustine to Zak to Dahlgren).

Dallas Morning News - June 4, 1944

Here's RetroSheet's box score of the game.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Critics Respond to ABC's Thomas W. Moore

Two years ago I posted about ABC's suggestion to cut the MLB season to 60 games for the 1965 season.  This week that story got picked up by Chuck Hildebrandt from SABR Media.  Then Rob Neyer, from FOXSports, picked up Chuck's posting.

There had to be more to the original story, though.  What was the reaction?  A bit of research shows that not everyone was in favor of it.

Noted Washington D.C. area sports writer Francis Stann got a bit pointed in his April 22, 1964 column, referring to Arthur Allyn's quote about Charles Finley's proposal to move the KC Athletics to Louisville.  "Mr. Finley is an idiot."

The Evening Star (Washington DC) - April 22, 1964

It wasn't just sports writers.  Joseph A.W. Iglehart, chairman of the board of the Baltimore Orioles, had some pointed words about being in the cellar.
Greensboro Record (Greensboro, NC) - April 23, 1964

By the end of October that year Francis Stann seems to be softening up his stance a bit, mostly in light of possible expansion teams joining the league.

The Evening Star (Washington DC) - October 29, 1964

His earlier statements of G-R-E-E-D by the TV executives seems to be on point as we see that in December a new television contract has been awarded.


Illinois State Journal (Springfield, Ill.) - December 16, 1964

I'm guessing all involved were much happier then.



images from GenealogyBank.com

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Did Grover Cleveland Alexander's father wear a kilt?

Over the weekend Peter Nash, of the Hauls of Shame website, tweeted the following picture:

1916 Grover Cleveland Alexander Handwritten Signed Letter

It came from a recent Heritage Auction sale.

My transcription is:
     Sat Sept 16 16
My Dear Friend
     In reply to  your letter in regard to my nationality I will say I am of Scotch Irish parents.  My Father is a full blooded Scotchman and my Mother is Irish.
     Respectfully
           G C Alexander

"My Father is a full blooded Scotchman and my Mother is Irish."  I like bold statements.  They stand strong and we have to accept them as truth.  We do, don't we?  Well, no, not really.

I figured that Grover's declaration could be verified or disproved.  To ancestry.com I went.

This 1900 US Census page shows that Grover's father, William Alexander was born in Iowa.  Grover's mother, Martha, was born in Wisconsin.  His paternal grandparents were born in Scotland and Ohio.  His maternal grandparents were both born in Ireland.

Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Fairdale, Howard, Nebraska; Roll: 930; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0125; FHL microfilm: 1240930

Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.


Moving chronologically through the records, I should find the 1910 US Census.  But I don't.  Or at least I haven't yet.  I found where he isn't.  His parents, William and Maggie J. Alexander, were enumerated in St. Paul, Howard County, Nebraska that year.  He wasn't in with the family.  I don't know where he was when the census takers came calling.

So on to the next item.  It is his World War I draft registration card.  This doesn't talk about his parents' heritage, but it is interesting.

Source Citation: Registration State: Nebraska; Registration County: Howard; Roll: 1711698
Description: Draft Card : A
Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: United States, Selective Service System.World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration 

I found Grover in Chicago in 1920.  On the next page is his wife, Amy.  According to this Grover's father was born in Iowa.  What's a few different states between friends?

Source Citation: Year: 1920; Census Place: Chicago Ward 25, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll:T625_342; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 1477; Image: 1024
Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census[database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA.
Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 are on roll 323 (Chicago City).


Like the 1910 census I couldn't track down the 1930 census listing Grover.

In 1940 Grover and Mrs. Alexander are in New York.  This census didn't ask where the parents were born.

Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York;
Roll: T627_2644;Page: 85A; Enumeration District: 31-844
Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.
Since Grover did serve in the military we have his application for headstone or marker.

Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963[database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941. Microfilm publication M1916, 134 rolls. ARC ID: 596118. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group 92. National Archives at Washington, D.C.Applications for Headstones, compiled 01/01/1925 - 06/30/1970, documenting the period ca. 1776 - 1970 ARC: 596118. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92.
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
image by Arthur Koykka
from FindAGrave.com
Grover ended up in Elmwood Cemetery in St. Paul, Nebraska.

So, based on the records from Ancestry.com I'd have to say that I don't know if Grover's dad wore a kilt, but it does seem that his father wasn't born in Scotland and his mother wasn't born in Ireland.  It is too late for me to try to do the ancestral math as to what percentage of what nationality he actually was.