Baseball History for November 30th

<— NOV 29 DEC 01 —>


1845 Mordecai Davidson
1850 Alfred Gorden (Alamazoo) Jennings

I started digging into this on November 2nd, the day on which Jennings passed in 1894 (complications from a surgery).

Jennings was born in Kentucky but spent most of his life in Cincinnati. He played ball on local teams in the late 1860s and early 1870s, managed a semi-pro team and would occasionally catch.

On August 15, 1878, Milwaukee ran into a problem. Two catchers had injured hands and a third was banged up from the previous day’s game. The manager wired back to Milwaukee for an emergency catcher, but he couldn’t reach the guy he wanted (he was out fishing – and it would have been too late to catch a train to Cincinnati on time if they found him) so Alfred Jennings was introduced to the Milwaukee manager, Jack Chapman, who deemed him acceptable to play this one game.

Only Jennings wasn’t good enough. Oh – he was tough enough for sure. Years later, he claimed that he broke two fingers catching the first pitch when he and the pitcher’s signals got mixed up. Back then, the catchers usually stood well behind the plate until runners reached base and then moved up closer to the batter – and the Milwaukee pitcher threw harder than the pitchers Jennings was used to catching. Ten passed balls and four other errors later – Jennings was responsible for five unearned runs himself – Milwaukee lost to Cincinnati 13 – 2. Jennings, who said he’d keep catching using his elbows if necessary, offered to catch the next game – but Chapman didn’t take him up on his offer.

O.P. Caylor, the baseball writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer, penned a witty article that made the morning paper calling Jennings “Allamazoo” (as in, the ball was pitched, and, “Allamazoo!” it got by him). Jennings said that initially he was mad when reading the article, but a few lines later he started laughing at it, too. Jennings was known for having a good nature; it made sense that he took it in stride.

Over time, the name lost an L, but from that day on Alfred Gorden Jennings was known as Alamazoo Jennings.

Jennings became an umpire; he served in the Union Association in 1884 and American Association in 1887, as well as many other local and minor leagues. By the early 1890s, he started a successful corn business (earning him a new nickname – “The Parched Corn King”) and then a Roachicide chemical company. His businesses were so successful that Jennings left the diamond for good. Four weeks shy of turning 44, just days after he was admitted to the city hospital with bowel issues, he was gone.

1860, 1870, 1880 US Censuses
1894 Cincinnati City Directory

“Epitome of the Week,” Darlington (WI) Republican, November 9, 1894: 6.
Caylor, O. P. “The Coming Catcher,” Cincinnati Enquirer, August 16, 1878: 8.
Mulford, Jr. Ren. “Umpire Jennings,” Meriden (CT) Daily Journal, November 21, 1891: 7.
“‘Alamazoo’ Jennings,” Cincinnati Enquirer, November 3, 1894: 2.

1851 Patrick Gillespie
1870 Frank Killen
1875 Myron Frederick (Moose) Grimshaw
1877 Clifford Wesley (Tacks) Latimer
1880 Warren Shanabrook
1883 Ben Houser
1884 Andy Nelson
1885 Elmer Koestner
1891 Joe Giebel
1891 Josh Billings
1893 Edward Adolph (Tex) Hoffman
1897 Dud Branom
1897 Win Ballou
1898 Frederick (Firpo) Marberry
1898 Lou Bauer
1899 Reuben Ewing
1901 Clyde Sukeforth
1901 Sid Graves
1909 Jimmie DeShong
1913 Wally Holborow
1929 Leo Kiely
1931 Ed Mayer
1934 Steve Hamilton
1950 Craig Swan
1954 Juan Berenguer
1955 Barry Evans
1956 Dave Engle
1958 Steve Shields
1958 Toby Hernandez
1960 Bob Tewksbury
1962 Gary Wayne
1962 Bo Jackson
1968 Heath Haynes
1969 Mark Lewis
1971 Ray Durham
1971 Matt Lawton
1976 Craig Wilson
1977 Carlos Valderrama
1980 Shane Victorino
1981 Rich Harden
1985 Luis Valbuena
1987 Chase Anderson
1989 Mikie Mahtook
1991 Alec Mills
1992 Kyle Crick
1993 DJ Stewart
1993 Harold Castro


1885 Dan Cronin
1920 Lou Meyers
1927 Jimmy Wood
1942 Slim Love
1946 Pete McShannic
1948 Frank Bowerman
1955 John Stone
1956 John Shea
1959 Jack Scott
1969 Eddie Eayrs
1969 Connie Creeden
1973 Alex Metzler
1979 Scottie Slayback
1983 Bill Evans
1985 Jim Grant
1986 Roy Bruner
1988 Wally Berger
1995 Jim Davis
1995 William Suero
1996 Ted Petoskey
1997 Bernie Creger
1998 Jesse Levan
1998 Ad Liska
1999 Al Schroll
2003 Jack Brewer
2010 R C Stevens
2012 Rogelio Alvarez
2015 Bob Dustal
2017 Dick Gernert
2018 Fred Caligiuri


1885 Providence released eleven players previously reserved by them to league control – and exited the National League.

1952 Jackie Robinson, being interviewed on “Youth Wants to Know”, a local NBC show in NYC, calls out the Yankees as being racist for still not having a black player on the team. Elston Howard didn’t join the roster of the Yankees until 1955.


1885 Boston acquires Old Hoss Radbourn and Con Daily.

1932 Cincinnati sends Babe Herman to the Cubs for Rollie Hemsley, Johnny Moore, Lance Richbourg, and Bob Smith.

1959 The Giants send Jackie Brandt, Gordon Jones and Roger McCardell to the Orioles for Billy Loes and Billy O’Dell.

1964 Boston drafts Sparky Lyle from the Orioles in the First Year Draft.

1970 Calfornia sends Jay Johnstone, Tom Egan, and Tom Bradley to the White Sox for Ken Berry, Billy Wynne, and Syd O’Brien.

1971 The White Sox purchased Jorge Orta from Mexicali of the Mexican Northern League.

1972 Atlanta sends Earl Williams and Taylor Duncan to the Orioles for Davey Johnson, Pat Dobson, Roric Harrison, and Johnny Oates.

Also, Cincinnati sends Hal McRae and Wayne Simpson to the Royals for Roger Nelson and Richie Scheinblum.

And, the Cubs sent Bill Hands, Joe Decker and Bob Maneely to the Twins for Dave LaRoche. If you get a look at the 1973 Topps card for Bill Hands, it’s one of the worst examples of airbrushing of a game photograph you can imagine. It’s a picture of Hands pitching in Wrigley, but wearing a Rangers uniform. Ugh.

1977 The Cubs sign free agent outfielder Dave Kingman, who would give the Cubs his three best seasons. He loved hitting in Wrigley – and someone convinced him that once in a while he should take the curveball to right field. He still struck out a lot, but his batting average improved a lot (between his love of Wrigley and the occasional opposite field hits) – making him a deadly hitter for a few years.

2000 Seattle purchased outfielder Ichiro Suzuki from Orix in Japan.

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