Baseball History for December 27th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1861 Jim Curtiss
1862 Ducky Hemp

Among the smallest and lightest men playing baseball in the 1880s.

I’m still doing the research, but I can give you the quick summary.  William Henry Hemp was a St. Louis native who played in various leagues in the Midwest during the 1880s and 1890s.  Among his stops were playing for Dallas in the first season of the Texas League (Dallas won the pennant) and the 1889 season in Evansville where he led his team in hitting and the league in stolen bases.  These two seasons earned Hemp a tryout with the Pittsburgh entry in the Players League for 1890, and given that his manager would be Guy Hecker, who managed Hemp in Evansville, he had someone who knew what kind of player he could be.

Hemp was an active and very fast outfielder who occasionally would be a backup pitcher or an infielder (he even caught).  Many articles make note of Hemp’s ability to gracefully and quickly run down even the deepest fly balls.  They also talk about his gift of gab – Hemp never ducked anyone and was frequently thrown out of games for jawing with umpires.  He had a remarkable sense of humor, too – after one player tagged him out with a particularly rough swipe, Hemp arose and said that he would find an axe, chop the player down to his size, and then give him the licking he deserved.

In the end, his career at the highest levels failed because he failed to hit – but at the lower levels he continued to play.  There are notes about his playing on very good semi-pro baseball teams in his late forties in his hometown of St. Louis (and still jawing with umpires).  Hemp would take over his father’s tin can manufacturing company and ran that – marrying Catherine (Kitty) Mahony and raising three kids along the way – until his death in 1923.

1864 Bill Bishop
1864 Jim Dee
1873 Pete Lamer
1873 Tom Thomas
1876 Sam Woodruff
1876 Charlie Carr
1885 Jiggs Parson
1886 George Textor
1890 Ernie Krueger
1897 Jackie Tavener
1904 John Shea
1912 Jim Tobin
1913 Red Lynn
1916 Charlie Brewster
1917 Herb Karpel
1920 Dutch McCall
1922 Connie Johnson
1930 Norm Larker
1937 Bobby Klaus
1941 Phil Gagliano
1942 Byron Browne
1943 Roy White
1949 Chico Escarrega
1952 Mark Budaska
1952 Craig Reynolds
1955 Gary Weiss
1963 Jim Leyritz
1965 Tom Marsh
1968 Dean Palmer
1972 Mike Busby
1973 Raul Gonzalez
1974 Nate Bland
1975 Jeff D’Amico
1980 Jason Repko
1981 David Aardsma

Nothing against Aardsma, a talented reliever of recent days, but I always loved that Hank Aaron was the first player listed in baseball encyclopedias.  Aaron has an argument that he was the greatest player who ever lived, certainly the player whose greatness lasted the longest, and it made a certain amount of sense that the one time home run king was listed first.  Now it’s Aardsma.

1982 Michael Bourn
1982 Chris Gimenez
1983 Cole Hamels

Always liked him as a pitcher, though I didn’t like that he threw at Bryce Harper to welcome him to the league.  His recent donation of a $10 million home to Camp Barnabas, which provides services to children and their families who have significant health issues makes him superhuman.

1988 Addison Reed
1988 Rick Porcello
1990 Tyler Duffey

OBITIARIES:

1898 John Sneed
1907 Jim Andrews
1916 Freeman Brown
1919 Jerry Hurley
1920 Harvey Cushman
1928 George Meister
1932 Andy Piercy
1932 Pop Schriver
1933 Fritz Buelow
1945 Gene Cocreham
1945 Cy Swaim
1948 Marv Peasley
1951 Ernie Lindemann
1955 Jim Fairbank
1956 Hob Hiller
1962 Jake Flowers
1964 Art Phelan
1965 Bob Smith
1967 Paul Lehner
1975 Lou Lowdermilk
1976 Press Cruthers
1982 Harry Kingman
1986 Jack Wallaesa
1995 Al Barlick
1995 Oscar Judd
1996 Gene Brabender
2000 Roy Partee
2001 John Hoffman
2003 Ivan Calderon

Calderon was shot at a bar in his hometown of Loza, Puerto Rico.

2004 Ernest Groth
2015 Dave Henderson

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1874 According to Nationalpastime.com, the first baseball game in Cuba is played in Pueblo Matanzas between a team from Havana and a club team in Matanzas.  After seven innings, the game is called on account of darkness with Havana holding a 51 – 9 lead.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1926 Boston signs outfielder/first baseman Jack Fournier.

1960 Cleveland signs free agent catcher Paul Casanova.

1966 Philadelphia signs amateur free agent infielder Toby Harrah.

1984 The Yankees sign free agent pitcher Ed Whitson.

2001 Anaheim sends Mo Vaughn to the Mets for Kevin Appier.

2005 Arizona sends Troy Glaus and Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays for Miguel Batista and Orlando Hudson.

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