About Paul Proia

Technology Professional, Amateur Baseball Historian, Published Author, Husband, Father. I try the best I can with the limited skills God gave me.

Happy Birthday, Eddie Hogan!

Eddie Hogan, at the time a semi-professional pitcher with the St. Louis Reds, pitched in one game for the St. Louis Browns on 05 July 1882 and lost, 7 – 4.  The Louisville Courier-Journal mentions him in the box but nothing else – which is more than the St. Louis Post-Dispatch…  The Post-Dispatch called him “Williams.”  Hogan threw an eight inning complete game, fanned four without giving up a walk, and allowed ten hits, but the Post-Dispatch noted that the team (including Hogan, who made two errors) let Hogan down in the field.

Hogan got a second shot at major league baseball when he was given a contract with Baltimore in the Union Association.  He was among many, however, who didn’t play, “…Manager Henderson attempted to make bench cleaners and general house workman of them…,” so he returned home instead.

Robert Edward Hogan was born 06 April 1862 (or, quite possibly 1860 – keep reading) to Edward and Hannah Hogan, both Irish immigrants, in St. Louis.  Robert Edward appears to be the last of at least eight kids born to the clerk and very busy housewife.  When not playing ball, Hogan is listed as commercial traveler, a tobacco salesman, and finally – after moving to Yucaipa, California, the manager of a hotel.  He married Hanora (frequently listed as just Nora) Hogan around the time he was playing ball.  They had twin daughters, Nora and Margaret (Maud) in 1884, and a daughter named Gertrude in 1890 or 1891.  Hogan passed to the next league on 22 January 1932 in Yucaipa.  As to his age at death, the baseball encyclopedias list him as being born in 1862, but other documents, starting with his gravestone and including the 1860, 1870, and 1880 US Censuses suggest he was born in 1860. (He couldn’t have been born in 1862 and appeared in the 1860 US Census, you know,) So, he was either 69 or 71 at the time of his death.

Sources:

1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 US Censuses
Baseball-Reference.com
FindaGrave.com
Birth Registers, Missouri

“Sporting.”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 05 July 1882, Page 8.

“Sporting.”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 06 July 1882, Page 8.

“Sporting.”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 24 July 1882, Page 8.

“Freezing Out.”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 07 May 1884, Page 8.

“Obituary: Robert E. Hogan”, St. Louis Post- Dispatch, 24 January 1932, Page 40.

From Baseball To Box Offices: Rivington Bisland

Rivington bisland - 1911 Pirates PhotoRivington Bisland, the baseball player, was most known for coming back from a brutal injury to play major league baseball.  However, his most prominent contribution to sports was likely being the box office manager for the biggest boxing promotor of his day, Mike Jacobs.

Rivington Martin Bisland was born February 17, 1890 to Alfred Rivington and Henrietta (Wood) Bisland in New York City.  While there were claims that Bisland hailed from an especially wealthy family, Alfred Bisland was a butcher with six kids (Rivington was #4) – some of whom brought their own husbands and children to live with Alfred and Henrietta in their house north of the city.  Rivington was the first to finish high school in his family and he learned to play baseball on the sandlots of his city.

“This year Rivington Bisland of New York City was given a trial and proved a veritable “find.” He was signed as an infielder and played the opening game at third, proving the star fielder of the game.

“Banner Crowds for Pottsville Players,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 1909: 18.

While still a teen, Bisland signed to play with Pottsville for the 1909 season, and despite that team already having experienced outfielders, Bisland proved good enough to make the roster.  Unfortunately, the Atlantic League folded within three months – Bisland was quickly signed by Harrisburg of the Tri-State League.  Before he got his feet wet there, though, Pittsburgh President Barney Dreyfuss got wind of the young speedster and signed Bisland to a contract with the Pirates, and then optioned Bisland to Wheeling where he became their starting right fielder before moving to third base.

Bisland returned to Wheeling for the beginning of the 1910 season.  On July 18, playing in a game against Ft. Wayne, Bisland’s career nearly ended.  Ft. Wayne’s Grover Reddin took a chance and tried to advance to third base, but the throw got there in time.  Reddin slid into Bisland’s left ankle and gashed the rookie infielder’s ankle and foot, spilling blood all over and requiring at least ten stitches on the field before they took Bisland to a local hospital to have doctors get a look at the ugly mess that was his ankle.  Players and Bisland’s manager, Bill Phillipps, said it was the worst spiking that any of them had ever seen.

The doctors who saw Risland’s injury tried different operations to stop the bleeding and connect loose tendons, and at some point they were convinced that gangrene was about to set in.  To prevent further problems they thought it was in Bisland’s best interest to have the foot amputated.  Doctors took Bisland to the operating room and knocked him out.  However, a nurse interfered with the surgery.  She claimed that, as a teen, surgeons couldn’t remove his foot unless they got approval from Bisland’s father.  Eventually the doctors agreed not to remove the foot and cleaned up the mess as best as possible.  Bisland stayed hospitalized for five weeks.

While he was there, Dreyfuss visited with Bisland and payed all of his expenses.  He told Bisland, who was distraught about the extent of his injury, that he had a place on the roster next spring so long as he was healthy.  So Bisland did just that – when allowed, he returned home and did various exercises (mixed with rest) to heal and recover.  He suffered a few setbacks, though – one while attending automobile races in New York City, another a month or so before spring training.  Dreyfuss saw that Bisland was making the effort to come back – so he offered to cover the expenses of seeing Bonesetter Reese in Youngstown, Ohio.

“Despite the handicap resulting from an injury to his foot last season, Bisland covers a large amount of ground. His throwing, like Carey’s, is fast and sure. Bisland, it seems, must be counted as a possibility for the outfield unless Clarke soon makes up his mind that he will be well enough fortified with Carey and Bates.

“..He swings his club nervously and watches the pitcher like a hawk. His a good waiter and makes the pitcher pitch. When he swings he hits hard and he seems to place his hits well.”

“Bisland Going Good in Pittsburg Outfield,” Dayton Herald, March 31, 1911, Page 20.

Whatever Reese did worked – Bisland was able to attend spring training with the Pirates in 1911.  He impressed manager Fred Clarke enough to keep him through most of the spring, even moving Bisland to the outfield as it would be easier on Bisland’s ankle than playing third base.  Unfortunately, another rookie outfielder beat Bisland out for the last spot in the outfield: Max Carey.  Bisland was optioned to Indianapolis, who then optioned him to Youngstown of the Ohio and Pennsylvania League.  In August, the Pirates, not wishing to expose their young prospects to other teams, recalled Bisland (and other players, such as Urban Faber) back to Pittsburgh for the last six weeks of the season.  Bisland may have been on the Pittsburgh roster, but he never saw action.

For 1912, he was returned to Springfield, where he batted .287 with a little more power, before being recalled again to the Pirates to close out the season.  This time, he actually got a chance to play.  On September 13 he pinch hit for Marty O’Toole, bounced out, and never played for the Pirates again.

Bisland was thought to have a shot at the Pirates roster in 1913, but he was sold to Atlanta in the Southern League instead.  Bisland moved to shortstop, and after a couple of so-so months, he really broke out.  Over a 47 game stretch, he hit .384 and fielded .981 – a remarkable run of consistent hitting and error free fielding – that helped the Atlanta Crackers to the 1913 pennant.  The Browns took a chance on the young shortstop and brought him up to the majors where Bisland appeared in twelve games for the last place Browns.  He didn’t help, though – getting just six hits in his 47 plate appearances.

rivington bisland - 1914 Browns team photo

When the 1913 season ended, there were rumors that Bisland would sign with a Federal League team – first in Pittsburgh, then in Indianapolis where his Wheeling manager, Bill Phillipps, now was signed to manage.  Neither of those rumors came to fruition.  Bisland was brought back for spring training with the Browns in 1914.  The Browns had no spot for him, though – he was waived in April but Cleveland had a need for temporary help as Ray Chapman was hurt.  So, Cleveland put in a claim and eventually purchased Bisland.  Bisland got six hits for Cleveland, but over 18 games and 64 plate appearances.  With Cleveland struggling and Bisland barely hitting .100, he was benched and then sold back to Atlanta.

Rivington bisland - 1913 Atlanta PhotoBisland spent 1914 and 1915 with the Crackers, but never put together a stretch as good as his 1913 summer.  He was sold to Chattanooga for 1916, but never played owing to a salary dispute.  Chattanooga wanted to pay Bisland, who hit only .229 in Atlanta, $225 per month, which was $25 less than the books showed he was paid in 1915 (the Southern League had a salary cap).  However, Bisland was the field captain, and claimed to have received $100 more on the side from Atlanta management.  Kid Elberfeld, who managed Chattanooga, wanted nothing to do with managing a player who was taking that kind of a pay cut – and the two sides argued for two months as to what a player like Bisland was worth.

Bisland was now married, too, having met and married Margaret Cecilia Hague.  Bisland had other ways to make money.  In his off-seasons, he worked ticket sales for the Drury Lane Theatre in New York – he even sang in an opera there in winter of 1913-14.  He could continue to work in New York theatre if things didn’t work out – and they didn’t.  By the summer of 1916, Chattanooga grew tired of his threats to quit and go home to his wife and stopped trying to sign him.

Back in New York, Bisland left the Drury Lane Theatre for the Princess Theatre, an off-Broadway location near 39th Street.  After having two sons together, Bruce and Richard, Margaret left New York and lived alone in Pittsburgh, where she first worked as a hair dresser and then later as a seamstress.  Then Bisland left the box offices of the theatre to work box offices for Mike Jacobs.

Jacobs was a boxing promoter who learned his trade helping Tex Rickard’s promotions in the 1920s and early 1930s.  In the 1930s, Jacobs convinced Detroit’s Joe Louis to let him promote his fights.  He just needed someone with box office management experience to join his new sports promotion company, Twentieth Century Sport Club.  So, he hired Bisland around 1936, and Bisland gladly moved into Jacob’s offices located in the Brill Building.  For at least twenty five years, Bisland collected the six figure (or higher) box office moneys for championship fights from Louis-Braddock in 1937 through the Floyd Patterson-Ingomar Johansson fights in 1959 and 1960.

During the war years, Risland met and married Vera Gallino, a woman thirty-four years younger than he. After he retired from sports promotions, the two moved to Austria. Bisland passed to the next league in Salzburg on January 11, 1973, dying of plasmocytoma – essentially cancerous tumors that grow in the plasma found in bone marrow or other soft tissue. His ashes were spread at the Kommunalfriedhof (cemetery) in Salzburg. Vera’s ashes were spread there after she died in Vienna on January 10, 2006.

By the way, a Rivington Bruce Bisland III is an Esports and video game promoter these days. His grandfather, Rivington Bruce Bisland, is the ballplayer Rivington Martin Bisland’s son.

Sources:

Baseball-Reference.com
Retrosheet.org
FindAGrave.com

1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 US Census
NY Birth Certificate
NY Marriage Index and License
CT Marriage Index
Social Security Application and Claims
World War I Draft Registration Card
World War II Draft Registration Card
US Report of Death of American Citizen Abroad

“One More Man and Pottsville’s Ready,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 1909: 18.

“Banner Crowds for Pottsville Players,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 1909: 18.

“Benefits Tri-State,” York Dispatch, July 20, 1909: 5.

Davis, Ralph S. “Davis’ Dope,” Pittsburgh Press, July 29, 1909: 16.

“Odd Names in Baseball,” Hancock Democrat, September 2, 1909: 8.

“Bisland Has a Rich Dad,” Dayton Herald, September 16, 1909: 8.

“Spiking May End Bisland’s Diamond Career; Phillipps Gets a Third Sacker Here,” Dayton Herald, July 19, 1910: 6.

“Rivington Bisland, Wheeling Star, May Not Play Again,” East Liverpool Evening Review, October 11, 1910: 6.

“Bisland is Seventeenth Man Signed,” Pittsburgh Press, January 23, 1911: 2.

“Bisland Injured Again,” South Bend Tribune, January 31, 1911: 9.

“Rivalry Rampant Among Slabbists,” Pittsburgh Press, March 12, 1911, Page 18.

“Little Bits of Baseball,” Pittsburgh Press, March 15, 1911: 14.

“Bisland Going Good in Pittsburg Outfield,” Dayton Herald, March 31, 1911, Page 20.

“Burke Gets Riv Bisland,” Dayton Herald, April 4, 1911: 10.

“Plucky Nurse Saved Career For Bisland,” Evansville Press, April 5, 1911: 4.

“Five Players Are Recalled By Pirate Management,” Pittsburgh Post, August 17, 1911: 9. Also photo…

“Springfield Receives Castoffs of Pirates,” South Bend Tribune, January 31, 1912: 10.

“Big Squad Taken On Last Journey to Eastern Lots,” Pittsburgh Post, September 10, 1912: 13.

“Pirates Possess Real Opera Star in Riv. Bisland,” Pittsburgh Press, January 16, 1913: 14.

“Death of Player Recalls Old Days,” Pittsburgh Press, January 19, 1913: 17.

Jemison, Dick. “Rivington Bisland Greatest Southern League Shortstop,” Atlanta Constitution, August 31, 1913: 10A. (Also Photo)

Troy, Jack. “All in the Game,” Atlanta Constitution, July 28, 1938: 16, 18.

“Notes of the Game,” St. Louis Star and Times, October 10, 1913: 6.

“Bisland Signs With Federals,”The Baltimore Sun, November 2, 1913: 13.

“Baseball Chatter,” Sheboygan Press, December 6, 1913: 3.

“Rickey Has Many Youths,” Chattanooga Daily Times, December 12, 1913: 10.

“Base Ball Briefs,” Washington Evening Star, April 13, 1914: 15.

“Indians Buy New Infielder From St. Louis Americans,” Indianapolis News, Aprl 15, 1914: 10.

“Rivington Bisland To Be Benched,” Nashville Banner, June 4, 1914: 11.

“Risland Will Be Atlanta Field Leader,” Knoxville Sentinel, March 22, 1915: 12.

“Bisland Spiked; Out For Season,” Atlanta Constitution, August 28, 1915: 8.

“Atlanta Paid Me $350 Salary Per Month Last Year,” Birmingham News, February 8, 1916: 13.

“Open Series With Barons,” Chattanooga Daily Times, June 5, 1916: 8.

“Henrietta Bisland,” Brooklyn Times Union, December 18, 1934: 10A.

Runyon, Damon. “Runyon’s Ramblings,” Lancaster New Era, August 22, 1936: 8.

“Braddock-Louis Gate to Reach Million Dollars,” Wilkes-Barre Evening News, May 31, 1937: 10.

Ward, Gene. “Floyd-Ingy Ticket Sale Spurts,” New York Daily News, June 12, 1959: 58.

McQueen, Red. “Hoomalimali,” Honolulu Advertiser, June 7, 1960: 8.

What Might Have Been: Art Rico

Art Rico was an athletic marvel playing catcher for the Boston Braves who tragically lost his life before his “very bright future” could arrive.

Art Rico - 1917 Boston Globe

Arthur Raymundus (Ramon) Francis Rico was born on July 23, 1895 to Antonio and Margarita (Monahan) Rico, the third of four children born to the Spanish immigrant tobacco dealer and his Scottish immigrant wife. Antonio Rico came to the United States around 1877, more than a decade after Margarita arrived, but they met, married, and lived in the Boston area. The children were all born in Boston and lived a rather well-to-do life – as the family had a live-in servant by the time the fourth child was born.

Arthur was a tall and thick kid, granted great natural strength and speed. After completing high school at English High, he enrolled at the Huntington School, a finishing school for boys. There, he was an accomplished athlete in track, wrestling, baseball, and football. In 1914 and 1915, he won hurdles races, set local records in the shot put (48′ 1-3/4″), captured wrestling matches in the heavyweight division, scored six touchdowns from his fullback position in a game against Mechanics Arts High School, and was batting third and catching for the baseball team.

Rico, right, after a meet with his Huntington School teammates in 1915. (Boston Globe)

Before he finished classes in finishing school, he was recruited by George Stallings, the manager of the Boston Braves, to become a third string catcher and learn while watching and practicing with the professionals.

“Arthur Rico of the Huntington School of Boston is a youngster whom he hopes to develop into a catcher. Johnny Evers, who watched Rico work yesterday, also thinks the youngster has a wonderful whip and that some day he will make a great backstop. Rico is a bright fellow and a good boy. He is just the kind of material that Stallings or any other manager would be glad to work on, and if he shows up well during his tryout he will be signed.”

“Stallings Thinks He May Make A Real Catcher Out of Young Rico, Boston Boy,” Boston Globe, March 8, 1916: 9.

In 1916, Stallings invited Rico to spring training and Rico earned a job on the roster, earning $175 each month for going to practice and sitting on the bench. If he ever got into a game, his salary would jump to $300 per month – which happened at the end of July. Both regular catchers, Hank Gowdy and Walt Tragesser, went down with injuries necessitating that Rico put on the gear. He finished a game behind the plate on July 31, 1916 against the Cardinals. Stallings obtained Earl Blackburn from Providence to take the regular role for the short term, but for at least one day, Art Rico had to catch a major league game.

That was August 2, 1916. Rico was challenged in the first inning, but he threw out Tom Long who tried to steal, ending the inning. Dick Rudolph pitched a great game, holding St. Louis without a run and allowing just four hits. No other base runner dared challenge Rico and when Boston pushed a run across in the eleventh inning, the Braves won, 1 – 0. Blackburn arrived, Rico got two more shots to give Blackburn an inning or two off behind the plate but never batted again that season for Boston. He’d go hitless in four games and four at bats, though he did execute a sacrifice once. Rico was optioned to Providence while Blackburn stayed in Boston so that Rico could get regular work there.

Art Rico - Boston NL 1916

“Rico is a stocky boy, but very fast. He is a splendid thrower and a good batsman. He is studying the game all the time and must improve with experience. All these good points, added to the fact that he is more than ordinarily intelligent, of exceptional character, and of an engaging personality, will make his future look very bright.”

“Stallings Thinks He May Make A Real Catcher Out of Young Rico, Boston Boy,” Boston Globe, March 8, 1916: 9.

Rico returned with the Braves in 1917, but he wouldn’t stay long. In May he was optioned to Springfield, but came back to Boston to close out the season, pinch hitting, getting a couple of starts behind the plate, and even playing the outfield on two occasions. Rico got four hits in fourteen at bats. He might have been in line for even more work in 1918, but with World War I calling on players to fight or work for the war effort, Rico took a job in a US Navy shipyard in Cambridge. There, along with Jack Barry, Rabbit Maranville, Ernie Shore, Herb Pennock and other players, he would get to play several local exhibitions under the watchful eye of Barry, who would be managing the Naval Yard baseball club. The baseball part ended quickly – many of those working in the naval yard were dispatched to Europe by the summer. Rico served in Europe on the USS Georgia until the end of the war.

As 1918 ended, Rico returned to prepare for the 1919 season. First, he chose to have minor surgery to fix a broken nose and remove his tonsils. While at the Eye and Ear Infirmary, Rico came down with pain in his stomach – he had an acute appendicitis attack (it likely burst) and the resulting infection caused peritonitis to kick in. Moved to Massachusetts General Hospital, doctors performed surgery, but it didn’t work. Rico died on January 3, 1919 and was buried in Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was just 23 years old.

The Boston Globe wrote, “News of his death will come as a shock to the thousands who knew him personally, and other thousands who have seen him perform in school athletics at English High and Huntington School…” beneath a headline that read, “One of Baseball’s Finest Lads, an Athlete of the Type All Love and Respect…” Weeks later, his friends helped create a memorial trophy in Rico’s name – an award first given to the winner of the Army-Navy track meet, but then later given to the winner of the annual Boston Athletic Association schoolboy meet.

Notes:

Baseball-Reference.com
FindAGrave.com
Retrosheet.org

Massachusetts Birth Records
Massachusetts Roman Catholic Sacramental Records
1900, 1910 US Census
World War I Registration Card

“Marling Five-Time Winner,” Boston Globe, December 19, 1914: 9. (Includes photo)

“Rico Gives Boston Y.M.C.A. New Shotput Record,” Boston Globe, February 2, 1915: 5.

“Huntington Wins From Cambridge Latin, 8 to 7,” Boston Globe, May 21, 1915: 8.

“Walkover for Huntington,” Boston Globe, October 20, 1915: 6.

“Stallings Thinks He May Make A Real Catcher Out of Young Rico, Boston Boy,” Boston Globe, March 8, 1916: 9.

“Miami’s Fans Pick Winners,” Miami Herald, April 16, 1916: 12.

“Maranville To Talk Over Terms,” Boston Globe, January 28, 1917: 17.

Also, photo “Arthur Rico, Boston Boy of Major League Quality,” Boston Globe, January 28, 1917: 17.

“Rico Released By Braves On Conditions to Springfield,” Boston Globe, May 15, 1917: 7.

“Sporting Notes,” Norwich Bulletin, February 2, 1918: 3.

“Boston Navy Yard Has Real Ball Club,” Washington Herald, March 4, 1918: 8.

“Art Rico, Braves Catcher, Dies After Operation, Buffalo Courier, January 8, 1919: 10.

“Arthur Rico, Brilliant Young Catcher of the Braves, Dead,” Boston Globe, January 4, 1919: 5.

“Trophy in Memory of Late Arthur Rico of the Braves,” Boston Globe, January 29, 1919: 4.

The Boston Braves team photo was uploaded to Ancestry.com – it would appear to be from a Spaulding Guide or similar.

Happy Birthday, Andy Spognardi!

Andy SpognardiAndy Spognardi, had he stuck around long enough, could have eventually earned the nickname “Doc.”  Instead, the young Boston College captain turned Red Sox infielder chose to leave baseball, finish his medical studies, and make a career out of being a family doctor.

Andrea Ettore Spognardi was born October 18, 1908 in Boston to Dominicangelo and Clotilde (Martella) Spognardi – the last of four children.  Only three were born in Boston.  Dominic and Clotilde came to the United States in 1900 and 1902, respectively, taking their oldest daughter with them on the second trip.  Dominic was born in Pescolanciano, Italy, married Clotilde, and then the cabinet maker and his wife left Naples to make their way in the United States for the rest of their lives.

Andy Spognardi - Boston Globe 1931Andrea was anglicized to Andrew and then Andy as he made his way through high school.  After graduating from Hyde Park High, he enrolled at Boston College.  There, the flashy shortstop earned national attention for his play – and the captainship of his college nine.  His summers were spent playing amateur ball with Roslindale, a local Boston area nine.  While in school, he was courted by at least three teams, finally agreeing to sign with the Red Sox in 1932.

With Boston, he played in 17 games between September 2, 1932 and September 25, 1932, batting .294 and finishing the season with a four-game hitting streak. He got his first hit in the eighth inning of his third major league game, slamming a single off of Washington’s Firpo Marberry on September 5, having entered the game as a replacement for Rabbit Warstler an inning earlier. Certainly Spognardi was in line for an opportunity in 1933 – the 1932 Red Sox finished in last place and Spognardi had proved he could play in the majors.

However, Spognardi had other options. He enrolled at Tufts University to earn his medical degree. And, he couldn’t leave classes early for spring training. So, he asked the Red Sox if he could skip spring training and join the team in June when his classes ended. G.M. Bob Quinn said, “I would want Spognardi to do whatever he thinks will be best for him, but I told him that he could not be of any use to us if he waited until June, although I would get him a job at that time if he decided to stay with his studies.”

Andy Spognardi - Yearbook mainSpognardi chose to finish school and become a doctor.  Before starting a family practice of his own in the Boston area, he played amateur ball in Roslindale and briefly played minor league ball for Jersey City.  And, his medical training helped on at least one occasion when dealing with players injured during games in which he played.  However, he focused his attention on medicine soon after and built his private practice for the next five-plus decades before retiring in 1988.  He married Mary Christine O’Donnell in 1940 and they lived a very long life together.  Spognardi lived just hours past the beginning of the next century, passing away at 91 on January 1, 2000 in his home in Dedham, Massachusetts.  He was buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

Notes:

Baseball-Reference.com
FindAGrave.com
Retrosheet.org

1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 US Census
Massachusetts Social Security Records
Massachusetts Naturalization Records
Massachusetts Death Index

Photos from 1932 Boston College Sub Turri Yearbook.

Monahan, A. J. “B.C. Hangs Defeat on the Crusaders,” Boston Globe, June 19, 1929: 17.

Photo, Boston Globe, July 31, 1931: 17.

“Spognardi Leaves With Sox Tomorrow,” Boston Globe, August 31, 1932: 20.

“Baseball or Medicine – Andy Spognardi Must Pick One,” Madison Capital Times, January 18, 1933: 11.

“Andy Spognardi Signs With Jersey City,” Boston Globe, August 17, 1933: 17.

“Jim Shea Hurls One-Hit 5-0 Win,” Boston Globe, August 20, 1935: 20.

Clotilde C. (Martella) Spognardi – per her obit in Boston Globe, December 24, 1952: 16.

“Andrew E. Spognardi,” Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, January 14, 2000: 5A.

The Sad Death of Fred Waterman

Fred Waterman’s claim to fame is that he played third base for the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, a team made famous because it toured the country playing all the best amateur, semi-professional, and (let’s face it) professional teams without losing a single game all year.

Frederick A. Waterman was a New York City kid, born in 1845 to William and Jane Waterman – Fred was the fifth of nine kids. While Jane raised a baseball roster, William worked as a cartman and later as a foreman, which hopefully paid him more money…

By 1865, Waterman had already moved from fairly good local baseball clubs to the best of the semi-professional clubs in New York City. He spent much of 1865 with the Empire Club of New York, then landing on the Mutuals by 1866. Soon after, he was heading west and playing for Cincinnati. In 1868, he was so good as a hitter that he was cited by the New York Clipper as being the best hitting third baseman in the game. The Red Stockings would go undefeated in 1869 and continue undefeated into 1870 before finally losing to the Atlantics of Brooklyn after more than 90 straight victories.

1869 Cincinnati Red Legs

A few losses in the late summer of 1870 led to the disbanding of the Red Stockings – half the team following Harry Wright to Boston, the other half headed to Washington D.C. It’s possible that the Wright Brothers (Harry and George, and not Orville and Wilbur) kept only the players who were more temperate. For example, one story claimed the Red Stockings lost a game to Chicago in 1870 in part because Waterman met with “friends” and got drunk prior to a game on September 7, 1870. Waterman made two errors in the fourth inning that cost a run for sure, the Chicago Tribune noting, “Duffy to first, and Meyerle second on a grounder slobbered on by Waterman…” However, Waterman also scored two of Cincinnati’s six runs, made a couple of fine plays in the field and hustled on the bases. He hit the ball well, too, making only two outs and one of those on a well handled play in the field. (Harry Wright, Doug Allison and Andy Leonard combined for thirteen outs in the game batting in the 4 – 5 – 6 spots in the order behind Waterman, who batted third.)

Waterman joined the Olympics of Washington – he’d play with them in 1871 and 1872, until the Olympics folded. Waterman played for a club in Evansville, then returned to Washington DC to play with the Washington Blue Legs for the 1873 season. After missing a season – and trying to form a new “Olympic” club in Cincinnati – he played with Chicago in 1875. He hit .300 with some power and a willingness to take a free pass each year he was in the Association, though he became more error prone (ten errors in five games with Chicago) toward the end of his run. Still – Waterman was well-respected – he was asked to umpire games, including Association games from time to time. In fact, five years after his last Association game, Waterman was listed as a National League umpire for games played in Cincinnati.

Here’s a picture of the 1871 Olympics. Waterman is #4 at the left. His teammates from Cincinnati here include Charlie Sweasy (#5) and Doug Allison (#9) and Asa Brainard (#10). (Most of the rest of the Red Stockings landed in Boston – the ones George and Harry Wright liked anyway.)

Olympics of Washington - Berthrong at top right

Waterman wasn’t finished as a player – just as a major leaguer. In 1876, he played with the Tauntons. The next year, he was listed playing in Canada with the London Tecumsehs, though I found a team photo from that season and Waterman isn’t in there… He was rumored to join an amateur team in Rockford, IL in 1878, just months after he required surgery to remove a bullet from his left shoulder. He was cleaning his revolver when the cartridge fired, sending a bullet his way. He kept playing, too, taking a position with a team in Nebraska for 1879.

Ida WatermanWaterman was briefly married in the early 1880s. His wife, the former Ida Shaw, filed for a divorce from Fred in the Common Pleas Court in 1884. An article found in the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1892 included a note where Ida Waterman claimed to be Waterman’s widow – except, of course, that Waterman wasn’t yet dead then. Ida Shaw was the daughter of a furniture manufacturer who took up acting when she turned 30 and used Ida Waterman as her stage name. She appeared in at least 29 films and numerous stage productions, acting alongside Maude Adams, Mary Pickford (that’s Ida at left with Ms. Pickford above) and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Ida Shaw (Waterman) Francouer passed away in 1941.

Waterman was gainfully employed (baseball and otherwise) through his baseball career (he once owned a cigar shop that advertised in the local Cincinnati papers during his playing days there). He also developed an interest in politics. In 1870, he considered running for a city councilman slot in Cincinnati. In 1873 Waterman tried to run for a Washington DC position in the 14th legislative district there as a Republican – as a newcomer, he needed additional documentation to prove he lived there full time. Years later, back in Cincinnati, Waterman was an alternate member of the 19th ward Republican executive committee. In 1880, after his baseball career was over, he was hired (and fired – cutbacks) as a Cincinnati police officer. Then, Waterman worked in the Cincinnati freight depot of the Dayton Short Line. By 1884, he was a watchman at a local Cincinnati park.

At some point Waterman fell off the map in the decades that followed his baseball fame. One source said he worked “odd jobs” – I found a city directory where he was listed as a bricklayer in 1894, and there’s an article from 1895 showing that former teammate Doug Allison checked in on Waterman while Fred was tending bar at a 5th Street liquor emporium in Washington DC. A year later, he must have been in bad shape. The Harry Wright Veteran Association tried to organize a benefit for Fred Waterman through a game played at Redland Field. When he died following an operation on December 16, 1899 he was destitute and his body nearly became a ward of the city. According to a city health department record, the cause of death was tuberculosis pyo-pneumothorax – tuberculosis with additional complications.

“The man who helped George and Harry Wright make baseball history died a wreck and friendless. His body is at an undertaker’s shop, and unless funds are forthcoming the city will bury him.”

“Money Needed to Bury Waterman,” Boston Globe, December 19, 1899: 8.

A number of old friends and fans pitched in and a funeral was held at Wesleyan Cemetery in Cincinnati.. Some modern locals, supported by the Reds, though have upgraded his resting place, giving him a gravestone and remembering his role in creating one of the first great professional teams before there were major leagues.

Sources:

Baseball-Reference.com
FindAGrave.com
IMDB.com (Ida Waterman)
1850, 1860, 1870 US Census
1894 Cincinnati City Directory
New York Marriage Records

“The Empire Club in Philadelphia,” New York Clipper, September 2, 1865: 2.

“Tour of the Mutual Club,” New York Clipper, September 7, 1867: 5.

“The Tour of the ‘Red Stockings,'” Cincinnati Enquirer, June 10, 1869: 8.

Advertisement – Fred Waterman & Co., Cincinnati Enquirer, November 17, 1869: 5.

“Baseball Gossip,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 28, 1870: 2.

“White Above the Red,” Chicago Tribune, September 8, 1870: 4.

“Base Ball,” Washington Evening Star, December 2, 1870: 2.

“District Politics,” Daily National Republican, October 10, 1873: 4.

Cincinnati Enquirer, August 1, 1874: 8.

“Scooped,” Cincinnati Enquirer, September 10, 1875: 8.

“Prospects in Canada,” Chicago Tribune, March 25, 1877: 7.

“A Shoulder Shot,” Cincinnati Enquirer, April 16, 1878: 8.

Buffalo Commercial, July 13, 1878: 3.

“Base Ball Notes,” Buffalo Sunday Morning News, June 15, 1879: 3.

“Base Ball,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 30, 1879: 3.

“Base Ball,” Buffalo Commercial, February 23, 1880: 3.

“The National Game,” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, February 26, 1880: 4.

“The League,” Buffalo Courier, February 27, 1880: 2.

“The Official Ax,” Cincinnati Enquirer, April 22, 1881: 8.

“Today’s Battle,” Cincinnati Enquirer, September 6, 1881: 5.

“County Clerk’s Office – New Suits,” Cincinnati Enquirer, February 24, 1884: 15.

“The World of Sport,” Dunkirk Evening Observer, July 19, 1884: 4.

“Notes,” Cincinnati Enquirer, June 29, 1884: 10.

“Here and There,” Cincinnati Enquirer, January 28, 1892: 12.

O. P. Caylor, “A Peril to Baseball,” The Lima News, September 30, 1893: 3.

“Orioles Are Very Happy,” Washington Evening Times, September 24, 1895: 3.

Cincinnati Enquirer, April 14, 1896: 2.

“Once a Base Ball Hero,” Lexington Daily Leader, December 20, 1899: 7.

“Services Held For Actress,” Cincinnati Enquirer, May 24, 1941: 17.

“Fred Waterman,” SABR BioProject written by Charles Faber, (https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/fred-waterman), Retrieved on December 17, 2020.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Red Stockings of Cincinnati, 1869. C. Hurley, Sub.; G. Wright, S.S.; Mcvey, R .F. ; Leonard, L. F.; Sweasy, 2nd B.; Waterman, 3rd B.; H. Wright, C. F.; Brainard, P.; Gould, 1st B.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed December 17, 2020. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-c3af-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Olympics of Washington, D.C., A. J. Leonald, l. f., G. W. Hall, c. f., H. W. Berthrong, r. f. , F. A. Waterman, 3b., C. J. Sweasy, 2b., E. Mill, 1b., D. W. Force, s. s., Asa Brainard, p., H. F. Borroughs, D. L. Allison, c., J. W.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed December 17, 2020. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-c2c4-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Image of Ida Waterman, FamousFix.com. Image uploaded by user CBoothe877. https://www.famousfix.com/post/esmeralda-mary-pickford-103293419/p288484?view=large accessed December 19, 2020.

Baseball History for December 14th

<— DEC 13 DEC 15 —>

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1849 Ollie Caylor
1861 Ren Wylie
1863 Henry Gruber
1870 Deacon Van Buren
1873 John Anderson
1879 Jack Calhoun
1882 Ralph Edwards
1886 Maury Uhler
1889 Lefty Tyler
1891 Al Tedrow
1892 Rudy Kallio
1894 James Edwards
1894 Stan Baumgartner
1896 Charlie Hargreaves
1897 Syl Simon
1898 Maurice Archdeacon
1899 Bob Lawrence
1900 Harry Wilke
1901 Les Bell
1903 Jim Moore
1905 Bob Weiland
1908 Terry Lyons
1909 Jim Walkup
1913 Eddie Smith
1914 Rusty Peters
1915 Paul Erickson
1921 Bobby Adams
1923 Paul LaPalme
1925 Sam Jones
1929 Carl Linhart
1929 Pete Whisenant
1933 Jerry Schoonmaker
1938 Ken Hunt
1942 Jim Roland
1943 Jerry May
1945 Greg Goossen
1948 Ralph Garcia
1949 Bill Buckner
1961 Jeff Robinson
1964 Mitch Lyden
1965 Ken Hill
1965 Craig Biggio
1969 Scott Hatteberg
1969 Dave Nilsson
1971 Eric Ludwick
1972 Marcus Jensen
1974 Billy Koch
1975 Rodrigo Lopez
1977 Dan Wright
1977 Doug DeVore
1977 Rodrigo Rosario
1978 Dave Gassner
1981 Angel Guzman
1981 Shaun Marcum
1982 Josh Fields
1984 Chris Heisey
1988 Matt Grace
1989 Donn Roach
1990 Mike Ohlman
1991 Adam Frazier
1993 Taylor Ward
1994 Ryan McMahon

OBITUARIES:

1899 Harry Dooms
1900 Jim Devlin
1915 Danny Murphy
1924 Chappie McFarland
1926 Tom Needham
1926 George Myers
1930 Al Hubbard
1931 Al Schulz
1941 George Gillpatrick
1944 Jouett Meekin
1945 Connie Murphy
1946 Tom Dowse
1952 Frank Hansford
1962 Bob Katz
1962 Champ Osteen
1962 Dan Woodman
1970 Herman Hill
1970 Walt Tragesser
1979 Vinnie Smith
1980 Elston Howard
1985 Roger Maris

Lympathic cancer…

1991 Larry Ciaffone
1993 Jerry Scala
1997 Frank Baumholtz
2002 Hank Arft
2004 Rod Kanehl
2004 Danny Doyle
2005 Stew Bowers
2007 Cuddles Marshall
2008 Nick Willhite
2017 Frank Lary

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

2014 Commissioner Rob Manfred denies Pete Rose’s application to be reinstated into the good graces of baseball.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1917 Boston sends $60,000, Vean Gregg, Pinch Thomas and Merlin Kopp to the Athletics for Wally Schang, Bullet Joe Bush, and Amos Strunk.

1927 Washington purchased George Sisler from the Browns for $25,000.

1932 Washington sends Sam West, Carl Reynolds and Lloyd Brown (and cash) to the Browns for Goose Goslin, Fred Schulte, and Lefty Stewart.

1948 Cleveland sends Eddie Robinson, Ed Klieman and Joe Haynes to the Senators for Early Wynn and Mickey Vernon.

1954 Brooklyn signs amateur pitcher (and now “Bonus Baby”) Sandy Koufax.

1960 Expansion Draft!!!

Eli Grba was the first pick, taken by the Angels from the Yankees. Washington took Bobby Shantz from the Yankees, too.

1977 Texas sends John Poloni (who?) to the Red Sox for Fergie Jenkins.

1982 San Francisco sends Joe Morgan and Al Holland to the Phillies for Mike Krukow, Mark Davis, and C. L. Penigar.

1998 St. Louis sends Braden Looper, Pablo Ozuna and Armando Almanza to the Marlins for Edgar Renteria.

2017 Fire Sale!!! The Marlins, having already unloaded Giancarlo Stanton, send Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals for Sandy Alcantara, Magneuris Sierra, Zac Gallen, and Daniel Castano.

Baseball History for December 12th

<— DEC 11 DEC 13 —>

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1854 Emanuel Sebastian (Redleg) Snyder
1860 Jim Brown
1864 John Francis (Phenomenal) Smith
1871 Oscar Woehrlin
1872 Eddie O’Meara
1874 Thomas Frank (Tully) Sparks
1876 Joe Rickert
1887 Jacob (Bugs) Reisigl
1891 Tom Daly
1893 Les Hennessy
1899 Allie Watt
1901 Bill Moore
1902 Paul Louis (Pee-Wee) Wanninger
1904 Ray Boggs
1908 Herman Earl (Flea) Clifton
1913 Bill Webb
1917 Clyde Kluttz
1917 Bob Carpenter
1921 Bill Howerton
1930 Raul Sanchez
1937 Pedro Gonzalez
1940 Tom Brown
1941 Allan Lewis
1943 Derrell Griffith
1945 Ralph Garr
1950 Gorman Thomas
1956 Steve Farr
1964 Alonzo Powell
1970 Mike Buddie
1974 Julius Matos
1975 Carlos Hernandez
1977 Orlando Hudson
1979 Garrett Atkins
1981 Shane Costa
1982 Ervin Santana
1988 Juan Diaz
1988 Mike Kickham
1992 Luis Castillo
1992 Jose Osuna

OBITUARIES:

1895 Harry Fuller

Fuller, who played in just one game in 1891 – a shortened one at that as it was the second game of a doubleheader, died of consumption if you believe the Cincinnati Enquirer, or typhoid fever if you believe what someone posted on his FindAGrave.com page. He had just turned 33.

“Base Ball,” Cincinnati Enquirer, December 14, 1897: 2.

1912 Jim Green

My friend and fellow Jayhawk Sam Gazdziak says he died from cirrhosis of the liver (on Green’s FindAGrave.com page), so I’ll go with that.

1926 Ed Sixsmith

Acute indigestion caused, in part, by chronic gastritis per his death certificate.

1929 Dick Buckley
1932 Jim Long
1937 Rube Benton
1944 Ed Pinnance
1956 Bill Malarkey
1957 George Daly
1963 Myles Thomas
1966 Herman Young
1970 Doug Taitt
1971 Bill Kellogg
1971 George Dunlop
1975 Julie Wera
1979 Nick Dumovich
1983 Jim Weaver
1984 Gene Layden
1986 Johnny Wyrostek
1991 Ken Keltner
1992 Rube Walker
1995 Mike Modak
1996 George Jumonville
1998 Denny Galehouse
2000 Red Barkley
2006 Irv Hall
2011 Randy Stein
2013 Jim Burton
2014 Herb Plews
2018 Billy MacLeod

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!

1930 Baseball’s rules committee decides that a ball that lands in play and bounces into the stands is a ground rule double and not a home run as previously done.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

Another solid day for trades…

1903 The Cardinals send Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown and Jack O’Neill to the Cubs for Larry McLean and Jack Taylor.

1908 St. Louis sends Bugs Raymond, Admiral Schlei and Red Murray to the Giants for Roger Bresnahan.

1913 The Giants send Buck Herzog (and Grover Hartley) to the Reds for Bob Bescher. Herzog would become the next manager of the Reds.

1924 Washignton sends Carr Smith and By Speece to the Indians for what is left of Stan Coveleski’s career.

For what it’s worth, Coveleski wasn’t done. As a 35 year old pitcher, he went 20 – 5 with a league leading 2.84 ERA in 1925 as the Senators won the pennant. He had a 14 – 11 season in 1926, then ran out of gas.

1932 New York sends Freddie Lindstron to the Pirates and Chick Fullis to the Phillies. Pittsburgh sends Glenn Spencer to the Giants and Gus Dugas to the Phillies, and the Phillies sent Kiddo Davis to the Giants. Hey, if Freddie Lindstrom was a Hall of Fame player, how on earth does a team him packing for spare change at the age of 27?

1933 Philadelphia sells Lefty Grove, Max Bishop and Rube Walberg to the Red Sox for $125,000, Bob Kline and Rabbit Warstler. Then Philadelphia sold Mickey Cochrane to Detroit for $100,000 and Johnny Pasek.

1935 The Reds purchase Johnny Vander Meer from the Braves.

1941 Pittsburgh trades Arky Vaughan to the Dodgers for Babe Phelps, Luke Hamlin, Pete Coscarart and Jimmy Wasdell.

1968 The Royals traded Hoyt Wilhelm to the Angels for Ed Kirkpatrick and Dennis Paepke.

1975 Detroit sends Mickey Lolich and Billy Baldwin to the Tigers for Rusty Staub and Bill Laxton.

Also, the White Sox send Ken Henderson, Dick Ruthvan, and Dan Osborn to the Braves for Ralph Garr and Larvell (Sugar Bear) Blanks.

1980 Texas sends Richie Zisk, Ken Clay, Jerry Don Gleaton, Rick Auerbach, Brian Allard, and Steve Finch to the Mariners for Rick Honeycutt, Willie Horton, Mario Mendoza, Leon Roberts, and Larry Cox.

Also, St. Louis sends Rollie Fingers, Ted Simmons and Pete Vuckovich to the Brewers for David Green, Dave LaPoint, Sixto Lezcano, and Lary Sorensen.

1984 St. Louis sends George Hendrick and Steve Barnard to the Pirates for John Tudor and Brian Harper.

2007 Baltimore sends Miguel Tejada to the Astros for Matt Albers, Luke Scott, Mike Costanzo, Troy Patton, and Dennis Sarfate.

Baseball History for December 11th

<— DEC 10 DEC 12 —>

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1840 Charlie Smith

In writing this, I’m probably not doing Smith’s life, especially his baseball life, enough justice.

Charles Smith was one of the pioneers of professional baseball in Brooklyn and New York. When the National Association first formed around 1858, Smith was already known in local circles and joined the Atlantics of Brooklyn. That team was one of the best teams in the country from then through the mid-1860s, and Smith was their regular third baseman. He continued to play until the National Association was deemed a “major league” in 1871, but by then Smith was a shell of his former self. That year, with the New York Mutuals, he was error prone – the crooked fingers gained from fifteen or more years of playing the hot corner had caught up with him. He could still hit a little, but whatever power he may have had was gone.

Anyway, after his days as a player he got involved with managing the estates of the wealthy folks of Great Neck. On the side, he took up training and raising hunting dogs – and was an expert hunter himself. Smith was still a hale man when he got sick in early November, 1897 – it was appendicitis and it killed him on November 15, 1897.

“Charlie Smith Dead,” Brooklyn Times, November 18, 1897: 2.

1854 Charles Gardner (Old Hoss) Radbourn

Hall of Famer, 300 game winner, took home 60 (or 59) wins in 1884 to get Providence a pennant, and was once captured on film in a team photo flipping the camera off. And he’s a great Twitter follow. (https://twitter.com/OldHossRadbourn)

1857 Ed Callahan
1858 Bill Mountjoy
1862 Frank Bell
1868 Tom Gettinger
1878 Gene Wright
1885 Art Wilson
1885 Fred Anderson
1886 Joe Riggert
1887 Charles Frederick (Petie) Behan
1888 Fred Toney
1890 Walt Meinert
1891 Erwin Renfer
1894 Lou Raymond
1896 Johnny Walker
1897 William Jennings Bryan (Slim) Harriss
1901 Elbert Andrews
1903 Ray Phelps
1905 Al Weston
1909 Jim Bivin
1910 George David (Slick) Coffman
1914 Bill Nicholson
1919 Merl Combs
1924 Hal Brown
1925 Dick Hoover
1926 Johnny Gray
1930 Johnny O’Brien
1930 Andy Varga
1930 Eddie O’Brien
1934 Lee Maye
1941 Damaso Blanco
1947 Greg Shanahan
1948 Gene Hiser
1949 Craig Caskey
1952 Rob Andrews
1954 Bob Sykes
1961 Mike Henneman
1961 Bob Sebra
1964 Thomas Howard
1965 Jay Bell
1965 Adam Peterson
1968 Derek Bell
1971 Willie Canate
1972 Frankie Rodriguez
1973 Andy Tracy
1975 Nate Field
1978 Jason Szuminski
1980 Joe Blanton
1984 Josh Butler
1992 Dalton Pompey
1993 Gabriel Guerrero

OBITUARIES:

1902 Bill Hawke

Less than a decade after a broken wrist killed a promising pitching career, cancer took Hawke at just 32 years old in his Wilmington, DE home.

“Pitcher Hawke Dead,” Delaware Gazette and State Journal, December 18, 1902: 4.

1914 Harry Burrell

The Vermont native died in Omaha at 47. According to the author of Burrell’s SABR bio, he died of toxemia (blood poisoning). And, apparently he is a distant relative of former Ranger Pat Putnam.

I found an article noting Burrell’s death and his role on a famous Des Moines team that won 26 straight games and a pennant. The article says that only three guys on a team from 1896 were remaining – these are athletes and barely 14 years had passed. And almost all of them were dead?

“Des Moines Player of 1896 Team Dies,” Des Moines Register, December 13, 1914: 7.

1924 Moxie Hengel

I may have to write about him. The first thing I’d want to know is why is this guy listed as Moxie Hengel, when everything else that lists his last name spells it as Hengle, including his gravestone. And, his real first name is Emory, not Emery.

1929 Doc McMahon
1931 George Harper
1933 Pearce Chiles
1933 Harry Croft
1936 Moose Grimshaw
1939 Dallas Bradshaw
1954 Harry Courtney
1959 Doc Marshall
1959 Jim Bottomley
1966 Cliff Fannin
1974 Gordon Maltzberger
1978 Paul O’Dea
1991 Dick Kelley
1995 Woody Wheaton
2002 Bob Loane
2017 Manny Jimenez
2019 Ted Lepcio

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1928 National League president John Heydler proposes the DH, but the American League isn’t on board.

1950 Happy Chandler’s contract is not renewed – time to look for a new commissioner of baseball.

1975 Bill Veeck, with investors in tow, purchases the White Sox.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

This is a big day for big name deals! A huge day!!!

1906 Pittsburgh sends Ginger Beaumont, Claude Ritchey and Patsy Flaherty to Boston for Ed Abbaticchio.

1917 Chicago sends Pickles Dillhoefer, Mike Prendergast and $55,000 to Philadelphia for Pete Alexander and Bill Killefer.

1923 Cincinnati purchased Carl Mays from the Yankees.

1929 Pete Alexander is on the move again – this time the Cardinals send Alexander and Harry McCurdy to the Phillies for Homer Peel and Bob McGraw.

Meanwhile, the Athletics send Sammy Hale and tip money to the Browns for catcher Wally Schang.

1931 St. Louis sends Burleigh Grimes to the Cubs for Hack Wilson and Bud Teachout.

1941 The Giants send Johnny McCarthy, Ken O’Dea, Bill Lohrman and $50,000 to the Cardinals for Johnny Mize.

1946 The Yankees sign free agent outfielder Joe Medwick.

1951 The Giants sends Eddie Stankey to the Cardinals for Max Lanier and Chuck Diering.

1959 The Kansas City Athletics, long treated like a minor league affiliate of the Yankees, send Roger Maris, Joe DeMaestri, and Kent Hadley to the Yankees for Hank Bauer, Don Larsen, Norm Siebern, and Marv Throneberry.

1973 The Cubs send Ron Santo, who wanted to stay in Chicago, to the White Sox for Steve Stone, Ken Frailing, Steve Swisher, and (later) Jim Kremmel.

1975 Pittsburgh gets Doc Medich from the Yankees but give up Dock Ellis, Ken Brett, and prospect Willie Randolph…

1976 The Yankees send Bobby Bonds to the Angels for Mickey Rivers and Ed Figueroa.

1986 San Diego sends Kevin McReynolds, Gene Walter and Adam Ging to the Mets for Kevin Mitchell, Stan Jefferson, Shawn Abner, Kevin Brown, and Kevin Armstrong.

1987 Three teams involved here – pay attention. Los Angeles sends Bob Welch and Matt Young to the Athletics, and Jack Savage to the Mets. Oakland sends Alfredo Griffin and Jay Howell to the Dodgers and Kevin Tapani and Wally Whitehurst to the Mets. New York only has to give up Jesse Orosco to the Dodgers.

1991 The Mets send Gregg Jeffries, Kevin McReynolds and Keith Miller to the Royals for Bret Saberhagen and Bill Pecota.

Also, Seattle sends Bill Swift, Dave Burba, and Michael Jackson to the Giants for Kevin Mitchell and Mike Remlinger.

2001 Cleveland sends Roberto Alomar, Mike Bacsic, and Danny Peoples to the Mets for Matt Lawton, Alex Escobar, Jerrod Riggan, and later Earl Snyder and Billy Traber.

2008 Seattle sends Luis Valbuena to Cleveland, and sends J.J. Putz, Jeremy Reed, and Sean Green to the Mets. The Mets send Mike Carp, Ezequiel Carrera, Endy Chavez, Maikel Cleto, Aaron Heilman and Jason Vargas to Seattle. The Mets also sent Joe Smith to Cleveland. Cleveland only sends Franklin Gutierrez to Seattle.

2012 The third three-team trade… Arizona sends Matt Albers, Trevor Bauer, and Bryan Shaw to Cleveland. The Reds send Didi Gregorius to Arizona. Cincinnati also sends Drew Stubbs to Cleveland. Cleveland sends Tony Sipp and Lars Anderson to Arizona, and sends Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald to the Reds.

2014 Los Angeles sends Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, Miguel Rojas and cash to the Marlins for Austin Barnes, Chris Hatcher, Andrew Heaney and Enrique Hernandez.

Also, Detroit sends Rick Porcello to the Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes, Gabe Speier, and Alex Wilson.

2017 Miami sends Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees for Starlin Castro, Jorge Guzman, and Jose Devers.

Happy Birthday, Frank Bliss!

Frank Bliss makes your baseball encyclopedia (or Baseball-Reference.com) because he was called back to Milwaukee as an emergency replacement for Bill Holbert for two games in 1878.

Frank Eugene Bliss was born on December 10, 1852 to Edwin and Mary (Osborne) Bliss, the first of three kids born to the carpenter and housewife. Frank was born in Chicago, but the family moved to Detroit when he was about 10 years old. Bliss learned baseball by the time he got to college at the University of Michigan, where he earned his first degree in Civil Engineering (’73) and then a few years later earned his Law Degree (’79). Bliss is the first Michigan grad to make it to the majors. While in Ann Arbor, he played on both college and town teams. By 1875, he was regularly playing (and getting paid) for teams in Detroit, Milwaukee, Janesville (WI) before returning to Detroit for the 1878 season.

That 1877 Janesville team was LOADED with professional talent. It won the Wisconsin state championship, knocking off Milwaukee in a long series. Then, when Cap Anson’s Chicago National League team visited Janesville for an exhibition, Janesville and its teen wonder lineup knocked off the professionals. Bliss captained a team featuring future MLB professionals Doc Bushong, Harry Arundel, Bill Phillips, John Shoup (or Shoupe), John Morrissey and the seventeen-year-old John Montgomery Ward as a starting pitcher. Ward wasn’t the youngest person on the team. Both Joseph and William Cantillon, local Janesville teenagers, were sixteen and fifteen (respectively).

Bliss was most frequently used as a catcher, though he appeared at shortstop and third base as needed. He was especially adept at catching foul tips. In the summer of 1878, Milwaukee’s National League team needed catching help. Starter Charley Bennett was out, Bill Holbert was injured, and the role was then shared between Will Foley and Joe Ellick. Ellick couldn’t play, so the team sent a request out to Bliss, who was then playing for the Mutual Base Ball Club of Plymouth in Michigan. Bliss raced around Lake Michigan in time to play third base for Milwaukee in a rainy loss to Chicago on June 20, 1878. He got his only career hit in that game. Then, two days later, he gave Foley a day away from catching duties.

For seven innings Bliss held his own and the game remained tied between Chicago and Milwaukee until the eighth inning. Then…

“In the eighth, Bliss the relief catcher of the Milwaukees began to weaken after having received a severe blow to the face from a tip foul, and Golden (the pitcher) was obliged to moderate his pitching.”

“‘Knocked All to Pieces’,” Daily Milwaukee News, June 23, 1878: 6.

Chicago took advantage of Mike Golden’s no longer being willing to risk further injury to Bliss’s face, scoring eleven runs in the last two innings.

Bliss returned to Detroit where, a few months later, his Plymouth club maintained a rivalry with the Cass Base Ball Club of Detroit. The two wanted to play, but Plymouth maintained it would not face Cass if Cass insisted on using Jim Devlin, the suspended Louisville ace, as their pitcher. Cass countered that Plymouth engaged at least three professional players, including Bliss – who, by then, was already known as “the Prince of Kickers.” Cass relented, though, and played the game without Devlin. Plymouth couldn’t win as it was – Cass took a seven inning contest, 5 – 2.

Frank BlissBliss’s penchant for arguing must have served him well in his legal work; he would practice law in Cleveland for the nearly 50 years. Bliss married Louise Sarah Fish in 1881 and they had three sons and a daughter. His oldest son, Frank, lived in Nashville, Tennessee and the elder Bliss, recently widowed, was visiting his son during the 1928-29 holiday season when he got sick. His illness turned into pneumonia and on January 9, 1929, Bliss left this world at a Nashville hospital.

Notes:

Baseball-Reference.com
FindAGrave.com (Also photo used here.)

1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 US Censuses
TN Death Records
OH Marriage Records

Catalogue of Graduates, Non-Graduates, Officers, and Mmbers of the Faculties, 1837 – 1921, University of Michigan Publication, Ann Arbor, 1923.

“Base Ball,” Detroit Free Press, August 18, 1875: 1.

“The Days Doing,” Daily Milwaukee News, June 11, 1876: 4.

“Champions!,” Janesville Daily Gazette, August 8, 1877: 4.

“Beaten!,” Janesville Daily Gazette, August 17, 1877: 4.

“Ann Arbor,” Detroit Free Press, June 20, 1878: 2.

“Another Defeat,” Daily Milwaukee News, June 21, 1878: 4.

“‘Knocked All to Pieces’,” Daily Milwaukee News, June 23, 1878: 6.

“Sporting News,” Detroit Free Press, September 17, 1878: 2.

“One to Nothing,” Detroit Free Press, July 18, 1879: 6.

“Frank E. Bliss, Ohio Attorney, Dies Here,” Nashville Tennessean, January 10, 1929: 3.

Baseball History for November 30th

<— NOV 29 DEC 01 —>

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

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
Baseball-Reference.com
FindAGrave.com

“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

OBITUARIES:

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

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

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.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

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.