Baseball History for February 2

<— FEBRUARY 1     FEBRUARY 3 —>

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1860 Ed Halbriter

Edward HalbriterEdward Lonzo Halbriter makes it into your baseball encyclopedia because he pitched one game for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1882.  As you can imagine, it didn’t go well.  I can tell you that he played minor league ball in Detroit and he played in Indianapolis (as an amateur).  Somewhere in the late 1880s, the enterprising young man headed west, landing in Los Angeles.  At first, Halbriter got involved in high end bartending – eventually owning his own fancy club.  He figured out that he was limited as a club owner – especially with the prohibition movement; he had to expand his businesses so he got involved in real estate, which contributed even more to his burgeoning personal wealth.  He was a merchant – his sons, Percy and Fay, both successful local athletes operated a high end tailor shop of some repute in Los Angeles that had been built by Halbriter.

Percy was also known as “Puss” and he took his father’s interest in sports to a different level.  He was actively promoting sporting events in Los Angeles when he was given the general manager’s job for the Vernon Tigers recently purchased by actor Fatty Arbuckle.  That gig didn’t last long, but it certainly helped Percy’s reputation.  He would promote the Junior Rose Bowl, a high school version of the famous college football event.  He would promote wrestlers and football games and speed boat races and all sorts of things in Los Angeles.

Anyway, back to Edward.  He was born in Narrowsburg, New York on 02 February 1850. His athletic skills and innate business skills took him to Philadelphia where he likely met his Pennsylvania born wife, Hattie. In later years, Edward was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Elks Club, among other social and business organizations.  The savvy businessman outlived his wife, Harriet Stump, by nearly a decade.  When he passed on 09 August 1936, he was survived by his three children: Percy, Fay, and his daughter, Hazel Lillian Nelson.

1862 Bert Dorr

Dorr pitched in eight games with St. Louis in 1882, where Charles Comiskey was the on-field general at first base.  Even noting that the rules were slightly different, Dorr only walked one batter (fanning 34) in his eight starts, but 20 of his 39 runs allowed were unearned.  He was a pretty good pitcher… It makes you wonder why he didn’t get other chances at a time when there were many “major” leagues at that time…  Dorr did get around – his obituaries suggested he was at least playing in good semi-professional and amateur leagues in cities like Cincinnati, Boston, and Washington.

Anyway – Dorr was born in New York City and died in Dickinson in 1914.  When he died, some wire reports suggested that Dorr was the first master of the curveball, which is impossible given that he was at least 10 to 15 years behind Candy Cummings and Fred Goldsmith…  Dorr’s life included times he apparently had way too much to drink and would wind up in various fights.

“Sporting.”, St. Louis Post Dispatch, 25 August 1882, Page 8.
“Rattled When Routed.”, St. Louis Post Dispatch, 11 September 1882, Page 2.
“Bert Dorr in the Police Net”, Binghamton Press, 06 January 1910, Page 2.
“Bert Dorr, First Man To Master Art of a Baseball Curve, Dies”, Buffalo Times, 19 June 1914, Page 4.
“Bert Dorr.”, Binghamton Press, 19 June 1914, Page 16.

1863 Ed Keas
1872 Dale Gear
1874 Charlie Frisbee
1878 Hub Hart
1878 Emil Haberer
1881 Orval Overall
1883 Bill Abstein
1884 Ray Demmitt

St. Louis Browns infielder, and later a semi-professional teammate of George Halas (below).

1886 Herb Juul
1887 Mutz Ens
1887 Walt Kuhn
1889 Ernie Wolf
1893 Cy Warmoth
1895 George Lees
1895 George Halas

Yep – that George Halas.  Before he founded the Decatur Staleys and moved them to Chicago to become the Chicago Bears, he was an outfielder with the Yankees.

1900 Frank Mack
1900 Willie Kamm
1901 Otto Miller
1907 Jerry Byrne
1908 Bobby Coombs
1908 Wes Ferrell
1920 Zeb Eaton
1922 Sheldon Jones
1923 Red Schoendienst

Cardinals infielder and outfielder (also Giants and Braves) – one of the better switch hitters in baseball history and was a coach or manager for the Cardinals for what seemed like forever (at least while I was a kid).  In truth, he was pretty much done managing in 1976, but helped out in a pinch in 1980 and 1990 as he was on the coaching staff until 1995.

I had forgotten that after his firing in 1976, he spent two years on the coaching staff of the Oakland As.

1925 Joe Szekely
1927 Fred Waters
1931 Ted Tappe
1933 Jack Reed
1937 Don Buford

I remember him best with the Orioles when the Orioles were really good.  However, it’s still a gas to see him with the White Sox uniform in his first few baseball cards.

1938 Max Alvis
1950 Dale Murray
1951 Leo Foster
1952 Warren Brusstar
1954 John Tudor

The lefthanded version of Bret Saberhagen.  Couldn’t stay healthy all the time but if he could find his way to the mound would win his start.  His best seasons in St. Louis were amazing, really, but his pitching strength worked to the strength of the Cardinals defense.  Lots of people hitting to the best fielders on the team – Ozzie, Pendleton, and the fast outfielders (Willie McGee and Vince Coleman).

1954 Puchy Delgado
1954 Rob Dressler
1956 Manny Sarmiento
1957 Craig Chamberlain
1958 Pat Tabler

Fair hitting first baseman, mostly with Cleveland, who I remember being unusually successful batting with the bases loaded.

1960 Buddy Biancalana

1985 World Series hero, but those were his best couple of weeks in his baseball life, actually.  Fine fielder, not much of a hitter, but a decent guy with a great on-air personality and therefore was able to get a lot of mileage out of his two weeks of fame.

1962 Paul Kilgus
1962 Pat Clements
1968 Scott Erickson
1972 Jared Fernandez
1972 Melvin Mora
1977 Adam Everett
1983 Ronny Cedeno
1983 Jason Vargas

LSU pitcher, then Long Beach State player…Hit a pinch hit grand slam in his first at bat at LSU.  Drafted by Marlins in 2004 in second round, made the majors in 2005, and you could tell he was cagey and smart even then.

1984 Chin-Lung Hu

You see this guy from time to time in a picture of him standing on first base (Hu’s on first) – it was funny the first time.

That was 2007 – the Dodgers signed the Taiwanese slugger, but he didn’t stick – after four years and many trips up and down to and from the minors, the Mets gave him a shot in 2011.  Out of American baseball since 2012.

1985 Scott Maine

University of Miami grad, drafted by Arizona in 2007, but went to the Cubs for Aaron Heilman prior to making the majors.  The Cubs gave him shots in three different seasons (2010 – 2012) but never stuck.  The Indians gave him nine games in 2012 and he got bombed in six innings.  Since then, he’s been on three major league and two minor league programs without getting his career on track.

1988 Travis Snider

First round pick of Toronto in 2006. Long ball hitter with a reputation for needing a platoon partner; also a bit of a free swinger…  Moved to Pittsburgh, signed with Baltimore and wound up back with the Pirates.  Starts 2016 with a minor league deal and a spring training invitation with the Royals.

1988 Brad Peacock

A local for me – grew up in Palm Beach, FL.  Drafted by Nationals in 2006, worked his way through the minors before getting quick look in 2011.  Traded to Oakland, then sent to Astros in Jed Lowrie trade prior to spring training in 2013.  Made the rotation for parts of 2013 and 2014.  Had surgery on his hip in 2014; then only made one start in 2015 before needing surgery to remove bone spurs in his back…

1989 Logan Darnell
1990 Daniel Winkler
1991 Matt Boyd
1993 Adrian Houser

OBITUARIES:

1918 Jack Crooks
1920 Frank Quinn
1929 Mike Walsh
1929 Thorny Hawkes
1941 Ambrose McGann
1950 John Butler
1951 Bill Sowders
1953 Mike Dejan
1961 Red Holt
1963 Emil Planeta
1969 Ray Schmandt
1972 Dick Burrus
1978 Archie Wise
1980 Jack Rothrock
1981 Al Van Camp
1997 Art Merewether
2002 Andy Hansen
2015 Dave Bergman

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1876 The National League is official – featuring teams in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Hartford, Louisville, New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis.

1936 Baseball announces that the first five members of its Hall of Fame will be Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1943 Boston signs Al Simmons.  Simmons was pretty much done – but he tried, I guess.  It was during the war years and there wasn’t much talent left.

1999 San Diego sends Mark Sweeney and Greg Vaughn to the Reds for Reggie Sanders, Damian Jackson and Josh Harris.

2005 Chicago sends Sammy Sosa (and a bunch of money to cover the contract) to the Orioles for Jerry Hairston, Jr., Mike Fontenot and Dave Crouthers.

2008 Minnesota sends ace Johan Santana to the Mets for Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra.

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