Baseball 365 – April 10th in History

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1847 George Keerl

I need to write this up a little better, but wanted to get this down somewhere.  Keerl was born in Baltimore – looks like his father died when he was young and he was raised by his mother (alongside a lot of siblings).  Anyway – along the way he learned to play ball and found his way to Chicago.  For SURE, I know he played on the Chicago White Stockings in 1870 – this team went 62 – 7 and once beat a team from Memphis 157 to 1.  The AVERAGE score of a White Stockings game was 35 – 10.  Keerl was a reserve infielder on that club, getting five hits in thirteen at bats against professional teams, and clubbing 27 hits – including a homer – in 48 at bats against regular teams.  He wasn’t retained and played on other semi-pro teams all over, including a Clinton, Iowa team called “The Actives” that beat the White Stockings in August, 1871.  Later, he played on the Maple Leafs of Guelph, Canada.  I found this quote after Guelph decided not to retain him for the 1877 season.

“They have done a wise thing in leaving off Keerl, who is, curiously enough, one of the best players in the business in practice, but somehow cannot hold his grip in a close and exciting game.”

“News From the Semi-Professionals”, Chicago Tribune, 04 February 1877, Page 7.

Keerl appeared in a number of different teams and leagues for about 15 years, getting six games with the Chicago White Stockings of 1875 in the final season of the National Association, which is why he’s listed here.  Toward the end of his run, he played in Racine, Wisconsin and ended up staying in that state, working as a plumber and a machinist, until his death on 15 September 1923  in Marinette, WI.  He was married to Ella Bradner Keerl, they had at least five kids (George L., Francis, Charles, Ralph, and James) and maybe a sixth that died at about a year old (Kenneth, 1895 – 1896).

1862 Ed Ford
1868 Tom Parrott
1879 Tom Barry
1879 Nick Kahl
1880 Cliff Blankenship
1882 Art Loudell
1883 Tex Pruiett
1885 Cliff Daringer
1893 Walter Ancker
1895 Bob McGraw
1897 Joe Price
1897 Ross Youngs

Youngs is one of the least known Hall of Famers – a very good right fielder for the Giants who hit over .300 in nine of his ten major league seasons and played in four World Series.  He died due to a kidney disorder at 30.

His stats suggest that he was a hitter in the mold of Tim Raines, without the high stolen base totals.  He’d usually hit about 30 doubles, get double digits in triples, and throw in about 60 – 70 walks, which meant very high on base percentages.  He stole 153 bases in his ten years.  John McGraw says he was the best outfielder he ever saw, and the Veteran’s Committee added him to the Hall in 1972 at a time any old player with a batting average over .300 was being added, especially old Giants players.  As such, if he were playing today, he’d probably never make it to the Hall of Fame.

1898 Tom Jenkins
1899 Rudy Kneisch

Kneisch Cartoon.png

“Detroit purchased Rudy Kneisch, pitching ace of the Shamokin team, of the New York-Pennsylvania League. He has won 17 games and lost 6. It is said the price was $5,000. Kneisch will report in time to show Ty Cobb his bag of tricks before the Tigers close their season.”

“Tigers Secure Rudy Kneisch”, Elmira Star-Gazette, 10 September 1926, Page 8.

Rudy Kneisch“A requiem mass for Rudy Kneisch, a member of Baltimore baseball clubs here during the 1920s, will be offered at 10:15 P.M. Saturday at the Church of the Transfiguration, Groveland and Granada avenues.

“Mr. Kneisch, who died late Tuesday night at Church Home Hospital, had been ill for nearly a month. He was 65.

Pitched in 1920s.

“An Oriole pitcher through the victorious 1920s and with the Detroit Tigers briefly in 1926, Mr. Kneisch began his playing career after graduation from Mount St. Joseph’s High School in 1918.

“Cool and effective on the mound, the young Kneisch was soon gaining respect for a lethal fireball in sandlot circles. His gifts were recognized by Jack Dunn, one of baseball’s keenest judges, who signed the West Baltimore youth for an Oriole career that spanned almost all of the 1920s, the year when they captured eight International League pennants.

Joined Tigers in 1926.

“Playing when a curve ball was a bender and a fly ball was an “air ball,” Kneisch joined the Detroit Tigers in 1926 where he pitched just two games. But that short-lived experience ended in a record of only one decision – a loss.

“Soon afterward, Mr. Kneisch retired from active play and joined the Steamfitters Local 438 here, working in the Baltimore area as a construction worker until the time of his illness.

“He served with many committees of the baseball buff organization, including its Hall of Fame panel.

“Survivors include his wife, the former Rhoda Lewis, and his mother, Mrs. Marie L. Kneisch, both of Baltimore.”

(Not listed, his daughter, Mary Lee Kneisch, who would marry Naval Petty Officer Emory Milton Schwaver, Jr. three years later.)

“Rites Set for Rudy Kneisch, Oriole Mound Star Of ’20’s”, Baltimore Sun, 08 April 1965, Page 27.

1905 Ed Strelecki
1906 Dr. Howdy Groskloss

Howdy had a brief career with the Pirates about 75 years ago, then gave up baseball to be a doctor and eventually wound up one of the early leaders of the University of Miami’s medical school.

1907 Cliff Bolton
1909 Jim Spotts
1911 Roger Wolff
1913 Lloyd Russell
1921 Chuck Connors

Outfielder who was a much more famous movie and television star…

1925 Pete Milne
1928 Frankie Pack
1930 Frank Lary – The Yankee Killer
1934 Wes Stock
1935 Joe Gibbon
1937 Fritz Ackley
1946 Phil Hennigan
1946 Leroy Stanton
1946 Bob Watson

One of my favorite old Astros…  Hitting in the Astrodome murdered his statistics, but he was a very competent hitter for a long time.  Rarely an all star (just twice – he was never going to supplant Mays, Aaron or Billy Williams when he was an outfielder and he moved to first base when Steve Garvey was getting all the votes), and it took a couple of years to get his major league career on track, Watson was still hitting over .300 as he hit his mid-30s and was sent to Boston and New York.  Making the post-season with the Yanks, he hit over .300 in both the LCS and World Series.

1948 Lee Lacy
1949 Pete Varney
1949 Tom Lundstedt
1950 Ken Griffey

His son was a better player, but this Ken Griffey was a member of the Big Red Machine and played in more post-seasons.

1963 Mike Devereaux
1963 Jeff Gray
1963 Marvin Freeman
1964 Eric King
1965 Bruce Egloff
1967 Mike Humphreys
1970 Rob Butler
1971 Alberto Reyes
1972 Shayne Bennett
1975 Mike Lincoln
1982 Andre Ethier
1982 Chris Dickerson
1982 Colt Morton
1985 Jonathan Diaz
1985 Clayton Mortensen
1986 Corey Kluber
1987 Ryan Verdugo
1988 Chris Dwyer
1988 Chris Heston
1989 Charlie Culberson

OBITUARIES:

1882 William Hulbert

Hulbert is most famous for being the first commissioner of the National League.

1888 Denny Mack
1901 John Hiland
1908 Mike Griffin
1918 Owen Shannon
1923 Jay Faatz
1923 Jim Gill
1931 Mickey Hughes
1932 Fred Pfeffer
1934 Bill Hunter
1935 Pat Hartnett
1940 Tom Seaton
1955 Curt Bernard
1956 Bill Brady
1956 Ginger Beaumont

Beaumont was an outfielder and leadoff hitter for the early 1900s Pirates.  He led the NL in hits on four different occasions and topped the league in runs scored and batting average once each.  The first batter in a World Series game was Beaumont – he flied out against Cy Young in the 1903 series against Boston.  By 1910, his wheels were a problem, but the Cubs picked him up as a fourth outfielder and got into a second World Series as a pinch hitter for Chicago.

1958 Hod Leverette
1961 Jim Kelly
1962 Milt Watson
1964 Chief Yellow Horse
1983 Chet Johnson
1984 Karl Spooner

Karl Spooner was a Dodger prospect at the same time as Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.  Unfortunately, his knee went bad and that affected his shoulder, and the rest is history.

1986 Luther Harvel
1991 Sammy Holbrook
1995 Billy Myers
2007 Dick Kryhoski
2012 Andy Replogle
2015 Bobby Moore

You should have been there!

1962 Dodger Stadium opens in Chavez Ravine.  With more than 52,000 in attendance, the Dodgers lose to Cincinnati, 6 – 3.

The same day, The Houston Colt 45s top the Cubs 11 – 2 in their first game thanks to a pair of homers by Roman Mejias.  (Who???)

1968 Carl Yastrzemski hits an inside the park homer on Opening Day – the last opening day homer of its kind until 2009 (Emilio Bonifacio).

1973 John Mayberry’s homer keys a rout as the Royals top Texas in the first game played at Royals Stadium.

Transactions:

1931 Cleveland purchases catcher/spy Moe Berg from the White Sox.

1947 Jackie Robinson signs with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

1964 The Angels sign outfielder Jimmy Piersall.

1971 Philadelphia sends Curt Flood to the Washington Senators for Greg Goossen and Gene Martin. Jeff Terpko was also involved in the trade – but was later returned to the Phillies.

1976 Atlanta signs free agent Andy Messersmith.

1982 New York acquires Roy Smalley from the Twins for the low price of Ron Davis, Greg Gagne, and Paul Boris.

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