Baseball History for December 23rd

<— DEC 22     DEC 24 —>

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1867 Jack Leiper
1867 Jack Fee
1869 Mike Grady
1869 Mike Roach
1871 Sam Leever
1879 Frank Owen
1880 Henry Homer “Doc” Gessler
1882 George Whiteman
1882 Sam Frock
1882 Al Schweitzer
1882 Albert James “Cozy” Dolan
1884 Palmer Hildebrand
1887 Albert Laverne “Bunny” Fabrique
1888 George Curry
1888 Tom Cantwell
1889 Fritz Maisel
1897 Willard Roland “Nemo” Gaines
1898 Henry Luther “Hinkey” Haines
1899 Walter Scott “Waddy” MacPhee
1899 Tommy Thomas
1900 Danny Taylor
1901 Oscar George “Ox” Eckhardt

College football and baseball player at the University of Texas who later played professional baseball, hitting .414 in the PCL with 315 hits one year (.369 for his career in the AA level of the minors), but couldn’t make it as a 30-something getting brief tryouts with the Braves and Dodgers.  And, while he was every inch hitter – he was a pretty bad fielder in the outfield.  Also spent a year with the New York Giants – the football team.

OX ECKHARDT – Oscar (The Ox) Eckhardt, a burly Texan who died last week, compiled some of the most fantastic batting averages ever known in the minor leagues. Among other things, he was a four-time batting champion of the Pacific Coast League. One year he hit .414 out there. But he accomplished nothing in several major league trials, the last of whichc was with the Dodgers when Eckhardt was 35. He was a trick hitter, a left-handed batsman who swung late and slapped the ball down the third-base line. He was uncommonly fast breaking away from the plate and a good percentage of his hits came on balls that the third basemen in the minors simply could not field across the diamond in time. Eckhard could pull a ball, too, but he wouldn’t, although Casey Stengel literally begged him on occasions. The Ox held that the system that paid off so well in the minors should work up here. He ended his career never realizing that superior major league fielding threw the balance the other way.

Holmes, Tommy. “Scatter Shot at The Sport Scene”, Brooklyn Eagle, 30 April 1951, Page 14.

Ox Eckhardt

Remember Oscar (Ox) Eckhardt, who played football at the University of Texas in the early 1920s and later was an outfielder for the Memphis Chicks? He died of a heart attack last Sunday at Yorktown, Texas.

Lynn Bomar, I know, will never forget him. “Bear” always rated Eckhardt as the most powerful back he ever ran up against in college. And, backing up the Vanderbilt line, Bomar should know.

Eckhardt was a bull in the 1922 game which Vanderbilt won, 20-10, and he really mowed down the Commodores at Dallas in 1923, failing to gain but one time in leading the Longhorns to a stunning 20-0 upset.

“If Ox got underway, he was just about unstoppable,” Bomer says. “And boy, I mean he was punishing. You felt like you had tackled a freight train.”

What I remember best about Eckhardt is that was perhaps the greatest opposit field hitter I ever saw in baseball. He batted lefthanded and most of his hits were to leftfield. In fact, he was one of the very, very few lefthand hitters who could hit home runs over the left field fence.

Russell, Fred. “Sidelines”, Nashville Banner, 28 April 1951, Page 9.

1902 Max Rosenfeld
1904 Howie Williamson
1908 Sol Carter
1912 Pat Ankenman
1924 Bob Marquis
1925 Ed Blake
1927 Tony Roig
1929 Al Cicotte
1933 Elder White
1937 Tim Harkness
1941 Ken Hubbs
1942 Jerry Koosman
1943 Ron Allen
1943 Dave May
1944 Vic LaRose
1944 Ray Lamb
1948 Alec Distaso
1952 Santo Alcala
1953 Jerry Manuel
1955 Keith Comstock
1956 Bert Bradley
1958 Tim Leary
1959 Frank Eufemia
1968 Rick White
1974 Pascual Matos
1976 Brad Lidge
1977 Jesus Colome
1977 Shawn Chacon
1978 Victor Martinez
1980 Cody Ross
1982 Brad Nelson
1983 Hanley Ramirez
1984 Josh Satin
1987 Tyler Robertson
1987 Jordany Valdespin
1988 Roberto Perez
1988 Audry Perez
1990 Mitch Haniger

OBITUARIES:

1909 Harry Gilbert
1916 Howard Earl
1916 Erve Beck
1937 Walt Preston
1955 Joe McManus
1969 Ted Menze
1972 Dutch Jordan
1975 Jim McGlothlin
1975 Rae Blaemire
1981 George Scharein
2002 George Bullard
2003 Charlie Bowles
2006 Sol Carter
2016 Jim Lehew
2017 Angelo Dagres

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1975 Peter Seitz declares Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally free agents, changing baseball player movement forever, as now the reserve rule was dead and players had some control over where they played (and for how much).

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1905 Washington, with Connie Mack’s blessing before hand, purchased Lave Cross from Philadelphia.

1915 The Giants were spenders – they bought Edd Roush and Bill McKechnie from Newark, and Benny Kauff from Brooklyn (the last one for $35,000).

1926 Philadelphia signed Eddie Collins, bringing him back for one last go.

1958 Philadelphia sends Rip Repulski, Gene Snyder, and Jim Golden to the Dodgers for Sparky Anderson.

1990 Chicago sends Ivan Calderon and Barry Jones to the Expos for Tim Raines, Jeff Carter, and later Mario Brito.

1997 Chicago sends Doug Glanville to Philadelphia for Mickey Morandini.

1999 New York sends Roger Cedeno and Octavio Dotel (and Kyle Kessel) to the Astros for Derek Bell and Mike Hamption.

2011 Oakland sends Gio Gonzalez and Robert Gilliam to Washington for A. J. Cole, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris, and Brad Peacock. And, St. Louis signs free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran.

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