Baseball History for May 15th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1855 Harry Salisbury

Rhode Island native who went to Brown University and managed to get in two seasons in the majors. In 1879 he was an alternate pitcher for Troy, winning four of ten decisions. In 1882, he returned to the majors pitching for Pittsburgh in the American Association. He won 20 games in his 38 starts, logging some 335 innings but allowing 188 runs.

They know he batted left – but nobody noted with what arm he threw with.  The picture on his Wikipedia page suggests he was a righty, but who knows…

1856 Fred Goldsmith

Walter Gilhooly. “In the Realm of Sport”, The Ottawa Journal (CAN), 10 July 1936, Page 16.

“This column may be credited to Dr. Cliff Keiller. Ten days ago Dr. Keillor paid a visit to his native haunts of London, Ontario. While there, a “booster day” was held at Tecumseh Park and some noteable figures in baseball history were present for the occasion. There was George “Mooney” Gibson, who originally hailed from London and became manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. There was “Jo Jo” Keenan, who had a long career in professional baseball. There was Bob Emslie, of St. Thomas, former umpire-in-chief of the National League. Jack Thompson, who was a catcher for London in the early days, was on hand, but the centre of attraction was the man who first discovered how to put a curve on a baseball. He was Fred Goldsmith of Birmingham, Michigan, baseball’s “grand old man,” who pitched London Tecumsehs to a world championship over the Chicago White Stockings in 1877.

“A civic address was read and then presented to Fred Goldsmith by Mayor Kingsmill. It was with London that Goldsmith got his start as a professional pitcher, and after the ceremony at the plate was finished Dr. Keillor sat and fanned with him in the grand stand.

DESCRIBES FIRST CURVE BALL.

“He had pertinent interesting things to say about baseball as he had known it over a lifetime, and now in its 89th year. He had some interesting things to show. One was a silver pass to all baseball parks in the National and American Leagues, and signed by the presidents of both circuits. But the most interesting was an editorial from the Brooklyn Eagle of August 17, 1970, signed by Henry Chadwick, the then editor of that newspaper, describing the first demonstration of curve ball pitching the fans of that town had ever seen. This is what Henry Chadwick saw and told 66 years ago:

‘Fred Goldsmith has won fame by developing a ball that twisted, proving to countless skeptics that a sphere could cheat natural laws.

‘Yesterday at the Capitoline Grounds a large crowd assembled and cheered lustily as a youth from New Haven, Connecticut, named Fred Goldsmith, demonstrated to the satisfaction of all that a baseball could be so manipulated and controlled by throwing it from one given point to another as to make a pronounced arc in space.

‘An eight-foot pole was driven in an upright position at either end. Another pole was set in the same manner half-way between the two poles, planted directly on the line.  Now everything was set for the test. Goldsmith was placed on the left side of the chalk-line near the end pole, facing the pole at the other end. The purpose of this was that the ball delivered from the thrower’s hand was to cross the line, circle the centre pole, and return to the same side of the line from which it was thrown, before reaching the far pole. This feat was successfully accomplished six or eight times, and that which up to this point had been considered an optical illusion and against all rules of philosophy was now an accomplished fact.’

KEEPS IT FOR LONDON.

“Fred Goldsmith sets great store by that editorial. The Brooklyn Eagle is no longer in existence and a number of museums in the United States have tried to obtain it from him. He’s been offered fairly substantial sums for it, but he told Dr. Keillor that he intended leaving it to the city of London.

“We asked the doctor if he knew anything of the baseball history of Goldsmith. He had it right at his fingertips, proving that an excellent reporter was lost when he decided to study medicine.

“Fred Goldsmith was born in New Haven in 1856. He commenced his baseball career with Wesleyan College in 1874.  He became a professional when he joined the Lynn, Mass., team and later went to the New Haven Club. Previous to signing with the Tecumsehs, he had been with the St. Louis Browns. His first curveballs were pitched with the Tecumsehs, and he won the long distance throwing championship at Kingston in 1876. Goldsmith stayed with the Tecumsehs until they disbanded in 1878, undefeated champions of the world. From London he went to Troy, NY., and later to the Chicago White Stockings. He was with the Sox when they won the world pennant in 1881-82, and retired in 1884.”

I’ll jump in now…  Goldsmith and Candy Cummings both argued that each was the first to throw the curve.  Cummings won the decision and it got him in the hall of fame.  Goldsmith was more successful and helped three Chicago teams to pennants.  He’s worthy of a longer entry.

1858 Jack Corcoran
1879 C. B. Burns
1881 Emil Leber
1888 Steve Yerkes
1890 Ben Spencer
1890 Claude Thomas
1890 Harry Smith
1891 Karl Meister
1893 Sam Fishburn
1895 Joe Evans
1895 Jimmy Smith
1905 Chet Falk
1907 Ed Baecht
1911 Howie Storie
1914 Jimmy Wasdell
1919 Ed Wright
1923 Dale Matthewson
1926 Fred Baczewski
1931 Ben Johnson
1938 Al McBean
1948 Bill North
1949 Steve Dunning
1952 Rick Waits
1953 George Brett
1967 John Smoltz
1970 Scott Watkins
1974 A. J. Hinch
1975 Steve Woodard
1975 Graham Koonce
1976 Eric DuBose
1976 Tyler Walker
1976 Jason Karnuth
1978 Guillermo Rodriguez
1978 Clayton Andrews
1980 Josh Beckett
1981 Justin Morneau
1982 Rafael Perez
1983 Clint Sammons
1984 Everett Teaford
1985 Jim Adduci
1986 Brandon Barnes
1987 David Adams
1987 Michael Brantley
1987 Brian Dozier
1991 Rafael Ortega

OBITUARIES:

1900 John Traffley
1924 Ed Swartwood
1941 William Lackey
1942 Larry Milton
1946 Ed Mayer
1959 Jake Hewitt
1959 Fred Johnston
1961 John Taff
1964 Harley Boss
1968 Bill Drescher
1969 Shag Shaughnessy
1970 Ed Gerner
1971 Goose Goslin
1972 John Milligan
1972 Dixie Parker
1974 Lou North
1975 Johnny Gooch
1979 Jerry Akers
1984 Nick Goulish
1991 Ken Jones
1994 Showboat Fisher
1998 Packy Rogers
2013 KC Broadcaster Fred White

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1912 Ty Cobb takes on a Highlander heckler – fake name was Otto Blotz – who happened to have only one hand…

1915 It’s No Hitter Day! (See Below) Let’s get it started with Claude Hendrix of the Chicago Whales in the Federal League as he blanks Pittsburgh’s Rebels, 10 – 0.

1941 Joe DiMaggio starts his historic 56 game hitting streak against the White Sox.

1944 Clyde Shoun shuts down the Braves. The Reds pitcher wins, 1 – 0, and completes a no hitter.

1952 Virgil Trucks throws a no-hitter as the Tigers beat the Senators, 1 – 0. Vic Wertz ended the game in the ninth with a homer.

1960 Don Cardwell, only days earlier acquired in a trade, throws a no hitter for the Cubs (beating the Cardinals) thanks to Walt “Moose” Moryn’s shoestring catch.

1973 Nolan Ryan throws the first of his no hitters, blanking the Royals, 3 – 0, in Kansas City.

1981 Indians hurler Len Barker throws a perfect game to knock off the Blue Jays, 3 – 0.

1991 Paul Molitors four hits include completing the cycle. The Brewers topped the Twins, 4 – 2.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1956 Brooklym purcahses Sal Maglie from the Indians. Admittedly, this isn’t the Maglie of the Giants days, but he still had a little left in the tank, finishing 13 – 5 with the Dodgers in 26 starts with 9 complete games.

1960 Cleveland sends Pete Whisenant to the Senators for Ken Aspromonte.

1971 Atlanta releases Luis Tiant.  He’d get scooped up by the Red Sox and turn into an ace.

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