Baseball History on April 11th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1858 Pop Corkhill

“John ‘Pop’ Corkhill, veteran professional baseball player, died at his home in Pensauken, N. J., Monday, it was learned here last night.  Death followed an operation.  He will be buried today.

“Corkhill became an outfielder on the old Philadelphia team in 1882.  From 1883 to 1887 he played with Cincinnati, establishing a record by playing in the outfield for three consecutive years without dropping a fly ball.  He played with Brooklyn from 1888 until he joined the Athletics in 1891.

“The following year he went to Pittsburgh, where he played until the 1893 season, when he was hit on the head by a ball pitched by Ned Crane.  After this injury he retired.”

“‘Pop’ Corkhill Veteran of Baseball, Is Dead”, Wilkes-Barre Evening News, 7 April 1921 Page 15.

Crane’s pitch broke his jaw – but the end of his career came the way most players leave the game – he was released.

From what I gather, Corkhill – who was called “Honest John” before he got older and was retagged “Pop” – played a deep center field so as to keep the fly balls in front of him.  And, he was very, very good at charging fly balls.

“Corkhill was a great proponent of that kind of fielding (coming in on flies) and combined with his ability to bat well, was one of the great players of this big game, though he has never been given due credit for his skill, his intelligence and his daring.  The pioneers of baseball methods were so often overshadowed by the big deeds of the really big men physically that they were overlooked.

“Corkhill, however, was no infant in size.  As he grew older he acquired a bald spot.  When he donned his frock coat, his shiny bald head, combined with a huge mustache, made him appear like a professor, and when the frock coat was buttoned tightly to the chin, he looked not unlike an evangelist.

“One day while traveling, the Cincinnati team was near a town where an evangelist had been working.  Some of those who had been to the meetings entered the train.  The evangelist was due to leave on the same train.

“It was in the mountains, and cool, and ‘Pop’ Corkhill wore his frock coat.  Leaning back, studying the scenery from the window, he was interrupted by a stranger who sat down, reached out his hand, and said: ‘Glorious work, glorious work.  It must be wonderful to save them as you do, right on the very verge.  Do you ever miss one now and then?’

“‘Miss?  I missed on on that thick-headed, brawling, kicking, nagging, Irishman, Tebeau, just back of second, the first time I’ve missed one in three seasons, and of all the d–d men I ever missed on, I’d rather it would have been any cuss on earth than him.’

“‘Pop’ and the stranger became better acquainted during the day.”

Foster, John B., “When Baseball Was Young”, Harrisburg Telegraph, 29 January 1927, Page 13.

“Several athletes refused to sign with Louisville because of our rowdy patrons.  Cincinnati once tried to trade us Pop Corkhill, an outfielder, for Guy Hecker.  The deal fell through when Pop said, ‘I don’t want to play for Louisville.  The fans down there are too tough.”

“Ruby’s Report”, Louisville Courier-Journal, 27 July 1950, Page 24.

“…If my memory serves me right, the first time ‘ivory’ was ever used in baseball, was when Pop Corkhill, the old outfielder of the Cincinnati Reds, was hit on the head by a pitched ball thrown at him with terrific force by Amos Rusie, the Giant pitcher of the New York team.

“At the time of this nearly fatal occurrence Corkhill was at bat when a whizzing pitch took him fairly and squarely on the head.

“It came with such fearful force that it split the ball into two sections.  Aside from a small bump upon his Rosman brow, Pop was not hurt a bit, though the ball was certainly retired from further commission.

“But very often after that Corkhill was referred to as the player with the ivory dome.  It should be stated in this connection that Corkhill was as bald-headed a man as ever played professional baseball.  Corkhill had not a single strand of hair and when he took off his cap the top of his head looked just like a billiard ball.  From that fact, perhaps, came the word resolutions have been adopted for pre-‘ivory,’ so often used nowadays in baseball.”

Spink, Al. “Sporting Talk and Memories”, Reno-Gazette-Journal, 3 Feb 1920, Page 2.

When not playing in the outfield, Corkhill would frequently be called on to pitch in relief.  And, the man could hit and was considered dependable with runners on base.  Like many, he stopped hitting in his 30s, and despite still being a pretty dependable fielder, he eventually ran out of teams willing to carry a weaker bat.

During and after his career, Corkhill was a successful retailer – groceries, furniture, whatever.  He was a police officer in his younger days, and was elected police chief in his older days.

“Mrs. Martha C. Corkhill” (obit), The Cincinnati Enquirer, 9 June 1949, Page 12.

Also, Major League Baseball Profiles, 1871 – 1900, Volume 1.  (David Nemec, Editor)

1875 Win Clark
1875 Ossee Schrecongost

Rube Waddell’s personal catcher for much of his time in Philadelphia.  Came out of the Connecticut League and was given a tryout by Louisville – his first game was also Rube’s first game.  Actually a fine catcher, a decent hitter, and a solid drinker.  After a while Mack started treating Rube and Schreck differently when they would be out drinking – as if Ossee should have known better – and that ruined both the friendship between Rube and Ossee, as well as Ossee’s standing on the team.

Fittingly, Ossee died just a few months after Rube of the same disease, Tuberculosis, in July, 1914.

1876 Win Kellum
1880 George Grossart
1882 William McCarthy
1886 Al Nixon
1892 Red Smith
1892 Ray Gordinier
1893 Spencer Pumpelly
1893 Hal Deviney
1895 Ralph Sharman
1900 John Middleton
1904 Dutch Ussat
1916 Joe Antolick
1916 Sam Chapman
1917 Barney McCosky
1919 Hank Schenz
1921 Jim Hearn
1923 Scott Cary
1925 Bob Spicer
1927 Jack Faszholz
1938 Art Quirk
1940 Dick Wantz
1945 Mike Kilkenny
1951 Sid Monge
1954 Willie Royster
1956 John Martin
1958 Jeff Calhoun
1962 Tim Fortugno
1964 Bret Saberhagen
1964 Wally Whitehurst
1964 Amalio Carreno
1965 Turner Ward
1966 Steve Scarsone
1970 Sean Bergman
1970 Joe Vitiello
1972 Robin Jennings
1972 Bobby Jones
1972 Jason Varitek
1974 Trot Nixon
1975 Todd Dunwoody
1976 Kelvim Escobar
1978 Josh Hancock
1980 Mark Teixeira
1983 Zack Segovia
1984 Andres Blanco
1984 Alejandro De Aza
1986 Russ Canzler
1986 Charlie Furbush
1988 Pete Kozma
1988 Chris McGuiness
1989 Jose Cisnero

OBITUARIES:

1881 John McMullin
1904 Shorty Fuller
1930 Wayland Dean
1934 Charles Moran
1935 Charlie Gettig
1938 Cristobal Torriente
1942 Norm McNeil
1943 Tom Knowlson
1944 Jack Dunleavy
1949 Joe Buskey
1950 Dick McCabe
1953 Kid Nichols
1963 Jim Wright
1965 Bobby Vaughn
1965 Sam Fishburn
1969 Al Kaiser
1970 Johnny Meador
1970 Sailor Stroud
1970 Joe Heving
1971 Bert Brenner
1973 Clarence Blethen
1974 Bob Baird
1979 Eddie Wilson
1983 Mike Menosky
1984 Leo Dixon
1991 Walker Cooper
1997 Milt Smith
1999 Pete Milne
2013 Grady Hatton
2014 Bill Henry

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1912 Redleg Field (later Crosley Field) is opened to a victory – the Reds topped the Cubs, 10 – 6.

1961 Welcome, Los Angeles Angels!  Ted Kluszewski hit a pair of homers in a 7 – 2 win over the Orioles.

1962 The Mets get off on the wrong foot, losing their first game, 11 – 4, to the Cardinals.

1963 Don Leppert – yes, Don Leppert – drills three homers while his battery mate, Tom Cheney, throws a one-hitter to beat the Red Sox, 8 – 0.

1985 Gorman Thomas belts three shots to help Seattle take down Oakland, 14 – 6.  There were nine homers in the game…

1990 Mark Langston and Mike Witt combine for a no-hitter to beat the Seattle Mariners, 1 – 0.  Witt came on in the eighth inning to close the deal.

1992 Tim Naehring’s two-run shot tops Cleveland in the 19th inning, 7 – 5.  Carlos Baerga goes 6 – 9 in the loss.

1996 Dan Wilson launches three homers to key a Mariner trouncing of the Tigers, 9 – 1.

2000 Kevin Elster jacked three bombs to help the Dodgers edge the Giants, 6 – 5.

2002 Baltimore breaks open for 12 runs against the Tampa Rays in the 6th inning.  Benji Gil and Mike Bordick opened the frame with homers; three different pitchers got an out, but the Orioles had eleven hits and the Rays committed two errors.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1932 Cincinnati wants Cardinal outfielder Chick Hafey, so they send Benny Frey and Harvey Hendrick to the Cards.

1954 St. Louis trades Enos Slaughter to the Yankees for Bill Virdon, Mel Wright, and Emil Tellinger.  Slaughter raced all the way from the airport to home plate to beat the throw.

1965 Washington purchases Dallas Green from the Philadelphia Phillies.

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