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, Walt Goldsby!

A promising outfielder at the time there were three major leagues,  but couldn’t make it work.  His baseball career, marriage, and post-baseball career all ended badly – but not nearly as badly as his life.

Goldsby, who played a short time last season in the St. Louis Reserve and Virginia teams, is one of the most intelligent and competent of ball tossers, and is now drawing a salary of 160 per month in a railroad office at Evansville, Ind.

Fort Wayne Daily Gazette, 07 November 1884, Page 5.

Walton Hugh Goldsby arrived during the American Civil War in Marion, Louisiana on 31 December 1861.  His father, Miles Walton Goldsby, was a Confederate doctor for Company S in their Medical Staff Infantry Regiment, having been trained as a surgeon in Louisiana.  Dettie Dudgeon was born in Ireland, came to the United States in her childhood, and from her late teens on was a school teacher.  Miles and Dettie would marry and have two children, but Miles never met his second son, Thomas Boykin Goldsby,  Miles died in May, 1865, a few months before Boykin was born.

Walt was gifted athletically and drawn to baseball.  His mother moved to Arkansas with the two boys, and Walt eventually continued to St. Louis where he played amateur baseball and marched with an organization known as the Tredway Rifles, where Walt was listed as a private.  In 1883, Goldsby joined a team in Evansville – a team with a reputation for the ugly treatment of umpires.

Again, the Evansville distinguished themselves by a disgraceful exhibition of kicking on the umpiring until spectators were disgusted and yelled for them to go home.

“The National Game.”, Dayton Herald, 13 September 1883, Page 2.

Still, Goldsby distinguished himself as a player and more than one team expressed an interest with him.  In fact, after Chris Von der Ahe acquired Goldsby, Pittsburgh president Denny McKnight told Von der Ahe how much he wanted him.

President McKnight, who was here during the early part of the week, said to Mr. Von der Ahe: “I am sorry you took Goldsby, for I wanted him to take Mike Mansell’s place. I would rather have him than the man you let go, and he will about be playing your left field next season.” There seems to be a general impression, amongst all who know him, that Goldsby is one of the coming generation of players. I sincerely hope so, for it is encouraging to bring out new talent.

“Ixion’s Epiotle.”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 01 December 1883, Page 6.

In 1884 Goldsby was added to the St. Louis Reserves after spending time training with the St. Louis Browns.  The Reserves was a professional team of backups to the regular Browns.  Von der Ahe took the extra players he owned and liked and put these kids together to play exhibitions and other games with the many local baseball organizations in and around St. Louis.  However, running a second team cost money – and after a couple of months Von der Ahe disbanded the Reserves, but he kept a few players.  Goldsby was one of the three young players kept, and he was soon dispatched to replace Harry Wheeler.

Goldbsy, the excellent left fielder of the St. Louis club, left for the East last evening, and will join the St. Louis Browns in New York, playing there tomorrow in their opening series with the Mets. He will be a great addition to the outfield and undoubtedly to their batting strength, being a better man at the stick than several of the men now on the team. Harry Wheeler has been called home and will probably report here to-day or to-morrow morning.

“Off for the East.”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 26 May 1884, Page 8.

Goldsby didn’t get many opportunities to play – and there is the likelihood that he had a three-hit game that, because the wire copy failed to note he had replaced Arlie Latham in the lineup that day, was credited to Latham and not Goldsby.  After five games, he was moved to Washington’s American Association franchise – only for that team to run into money problems a few weeks later.  In August, he joined his third American Association team – a team in Richmond, VA.  That team didn’t have a home park, though, and wound up playing their final games on the road.  Within a few weeks of landing there, he would be released and playing in Evansville again.  For the 1884 season, he would appear in 22 games, bat .262 in less than 90 plate appearances – all but one of his 22 hits would be singles.

When in Evansville, he would take a job with a railroad company – his jobs after his baseball career were all in the railroad industry – until he found a baseball job for 1885.  Goldsby landed in Atlanta and played well enough, batting .291 with a good mix of extra base hits.  In 1886, his rights were signed by Washington in the National League, but he played in just six games and was moved again – this time he would become the player-manager for Nashville.  There, he would bat over .300 in 86 games, frequently as the lead off hitter.  The baseball nomad would head to Topeka for 1887, and then headed south to Birmingham for 1888 where, among those he would manage, would be a future major league manager – pitcher Joe Cantillon.

One thing that followed the teams that Goldsby played on was kicking – and Goldsby was a well-trained kicker himself.  In one game against Memphis, players restrained Goldsby when he threatened to hit the umpire with his bat.  He probably kicked when teams in the association ran into financial difficulties.  Charleston, for example, was barely paying bills.  New Orleans was being courted by the Texas League and eventually left the association.  Birmingham chose to disband.

Goldsby wasn’t done as a baseball player – Baltimore gave him a few games in 1888, but he didn’t stick in the American Association either.  According to Baseball-Reference, he wandered back to Evansville.  At some point, he must have settled in Memphis.  He plays one more time in the Southern Association in 1892, where he also married Margaret Earley.  They would have one son, Miles Earley Goldsby, in 1894 – but they wouldn’t have a long life together.  In 1900, Margaret was living with her parents – Miles was there, but Walton was not.

Instead, Walton had a series of jobs with various railroad companies.  No longer in Tennessee, he would become a repair man in St. Louis.  Nothing would stick, however, and he found himself at the Campbell House in Dallas.  I’m guessing he would spend the holidays alone.  One imagines his reactions to affronts in the baseball world also occurred in his domestic life – and in early 1914 Walton Hugh Goldsby found himself alone and despondent.

So, he penned his thoughts; he took a bath.  He neatly arranged his room and belongings.

After two days of deliberate preparation and careful planning, Walton H. Goldsby, a railroad man, “ended it all” by shooting off the top of his head, in a room at the Campbell House Sunday morning at 3 o’clock.

In a letter which he wrote Friday, Goldsby declared he intended to take his life because he was “a failure in every way” and could not find work.

Before firing the fatal shot he paid his hotel bill, took a bath, and neatly packed his clothes in a trunk. The man evidently shot himself shortly after taking a bath. He was garbed only in a bath robe when found dead.

Seldom, say the police, does a despondent man make such deliberate plans to kill himself as did Goldsby.

Goldsby leaves a divorced wife, who lives in Memphis; a brother in England, Ark., and a son in Harrisburg, Ark. According to the letter, he formerly played professional baseball in St. Louis. In his trousers was found $2.70.

“NO PLACE FOR HIM.”

The letter, dated Friday, reads:

“I have decided that there is no place in this world that wants or needs me, and if I have the nerve will end it all as far as I am concerned Friday night. I do not think all my friends and relatives have treated me properly, but I forgive them, and may God have mercy and that they may prosper. I won’t mention any names, but if they ever see this statement will know I mean them.

“I will try again tomorrow to find employment, but have little hope of success. My life has been a failure in every way. I am not a Christian and looks like I can not be one. I have had hard luck in various ways nearly all my life.

“In the first place, while playing baseball in St. Louis, I did as all young men do – * * * A few years later I married in Memphis. – – –

“I did for her the best I could, but that was not enough to suit her, so she secured a divorce. – –

“However, with the above mentioned things, and various other reasons, is no excuse for the action I think I will take. I am a coward and I know it, and may God help me:

“I will pay my hotel bill tomorrow and will owe them nothing. Please have what I leave expressed to Miles Early Goldsby at Harrisburg, Ark. He is my son.

“I am, yours respectfully,

“Walton H. Goldsby.

“P.S. – Be sure and see that my son receives the watch I have in my room, as well as everything else. I have a small balance in the Mechanics National Bank in St. Louis. Do with my body as you like or wire my brother, T. B. Goldsby, at England, Ark. I know that all will say that I am crazy to do such a thing, but will say I may be, but if I am I have been so all my life.”

Officials talked with Goldsby’s brother this morning. He has not decided whether or not to bury his brother here. In the meantime the remains are being held by the Wieland Undertaking Co. – Dallas News.

“Walton H. Goldsby Suicides”, The Gazette (Farmersville, LA), 04 February 1914, Page 4.

Goldsby pulled the trigger on 11 January 1914.  His brother, Boykin, buried Walton in Dallas.

Goldsby would have been proud of his son, Miles.  Miles went to military school, despite being blind in one eye he would serve as a lieutenant in the Arkansas Reserves during World War I, and live a long and prosperous life.

Sources

https://www.baseball-reference.com
https://www.findagrave.com/  (Walton)
https://www.findagrave.com (Miles)

1860, 1880, 1900, 1910 US Censuses
Texas Death Certificate

Dettie Goldsby’s Geneology Page on Ancestry.com, maintained by Deborah Price.

“The National Game.”, Dayton Herald, 20 August 1883, Page 2.

“The National Game.”, Dayton Herald, 13 September 1883, Page 2.

“Getting in Trim.”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 26 November 1883, Page 5.

“Ixion’s Epiotle.”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 01 December 1883, Page 6.

“Off for the East.”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 26 May 1884, Page 8.

“Wound Up.”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 03 June 1884, Page 9.

“A Chat With the Browns’ President”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 20 June 1884, Page 5.

“Sports and Pastimes.”, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 06 July 1884, Page 9.

“Base Ball.”, Washington Evening Star, 26 July 1884, Page 3.

“Diamond Chips.”, St. Louis Post Dispatch, 28 July 1884, Page 5.

Fort Wayne Daily Gazette, 07 November 1884, Page 5.

“The Louisville Club.”, Atlanta Constitution, 19 March 1885, Page 2.

“Montgomery Badly Beaten.”, Atlanta Constitution, 07 April 1885, Page 5.

“The Game in Savannah.”, Atlanta Consititution, 24 May 1885, Page 7.

“Base Ball.”, Times-Picayune, 26 February 1886, Page 2.

“Base Ball.”, Nashville Tennessean, 31 May 1886, Page 4.

“Rain Again”, Nashville Tennessean, 24 July 1886, Page 5.

“On the Fly.”, Boston Daily Globe, 11 September 1886, Page 5.

“BASEBALL.”, Times-Picayune, 18 December 1886, Page 2.

“The Birmingham Team.”, Times-Picayune, 15 December 1887, Page 3.

“Memphis Rallies”, Times-Picayune, 03 June 1888, Page 2.

“The Southern League Situation”, Times-Picayune, 05 July 1888, Page 2.

“Walton H. Goldsby Suicides”, The Gazette (Farmersville, LA), 04 February 1914, Page 4.

Obituary – Rynie Wolters (1917)

Veteran Hurler is Dead



Wolters Pitched Baseball’s First Shutout Game.



Was Star Twirler in the 60s


Pioneered in National Pastime When Professional Leagues Were Unknown – Was Member of Famous Irvington and Mutual Teams

nypl.digitalcollections.510d47d9-c26a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.q

Rynie Wolters in a team photo of the 1870 New York Mutuals.  The photo is part of the Albert Spaulding Collection in the New York Public Library.  Wolters is seated, second from the right.

“Rynie” Wolters, whose reputation as a baseball pitcher nearly half a century ago was almost as great as was Christy Mathewson’s in later years, died Friday at his home at No. 181 Pennsylvania avenue, Newark. He was 74 years old.

Reinder Albertis Wolters came to America from Holland when 4 years old. When a boy he became a member of the famous Irvington team, which, in the ’60s, was one of the crack clubs in the country, ranking with the Mutuals, of New York, Atlantics, of Brooklyn, and the Red Stockings, of Cincinnati. The late Charlie Sweasy and Andy Leonard, in later years bright illuminaries of the baseball firmament, were teammates of Wolters.

From the Irvingtons Wolters went to the Mutuals, known also as the “Green Sox,” the first team to represent the metropolis, and pitched for that team against the Reds, to whom Sweasey and Leonard had then graduated. On July 16, 1870, while pitching for the Mutuals in this city (NYC), Wolters shut out Chicago, 9 to 0, which is believed to be the first shutout on record.

After retiring from the diamond in the early ’70s, Wolters entered the commission house of his brother, Christian Wolters, in Newark. Ten days ago he was attacked with dropsy, which caused his death. He leaves a wife, four sons, and three daughters.

“Veteran Hurler is Dead”, Sioux City Journal, 07 January 1917, Page 13.

Image:

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Mutuals of New York, M. Nelson, Martin, Swandell, Eggler, E. Mills, Hatfield, Walton, Peterson” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1870 – 1919. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-c26a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Happy Birthday, Harry Berthrong!

Berthrong in later yearsHarry Berthrong had a pretty amazing and varied life – some small part of it as a baseball player.  At the time of his retirement, he was likely the longest serving US civil servant (certainly among the oldest); at the time of his death he was the oldest living major league baseball player.

Henry Washburn Berthrong was born 01 January 1844, the first of five children born to Linus Percival and Mary (McPherson) Berthrong in Mumford, New York, a town not too far from Rochester.  Linus was a partner in a mercantile store and also a blacksmith while Mary was tasked with family management.  Linus died before Henry hit his teens, the victim of his gun accidentally going off while on a duck hunt and shooting him in the arm.  Linus was brought home where doctors thought his best chance to survive was amputating his arm – and the amputation process killed him.

Henry can trace his ancestry back a long way.  Abisha Washburn, his great-great grandfather, helped mold cannon during the Revolutionary War and may have actually served in the Continental Army.  Go back a few more generations in that Washburn line and you can find a John Washborne who made his way from England to the Plymouth settlement in 1635, bringing his family along a few years later.

As a child, Henry showed an aptitude for drawing and studied art with the owner of the Fraunberger studio in Rochester.  He also studied the art of making wood cuts for printing.  His studies would have to wait, however.  In 1861, the Civil War began, and in 1862 Henry Berthrong joined the 140th New York Volunteers, went to the front in September of that year, and joined the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac – initially as a musician.  Over time, he would perform other roles, especially when his regiment would guard occupied areas around the District.

While with the 140th, he would draw constantly, focusing on portraits of generals – Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Meade and others.  He and another soldier would take shoe pegs and nail his penciled portraits to the top log of his tent.  On the side, Henry was also a bit of a prankster – all in good fun.  Another soldier, B. S. Blake, said, “Almost from the start his genial disposition, full of youthful spirit, and his humorous pranks made him well known throughout the regiment…”

One time, he was furloughed and stopped in Washington DC prior to catching a train to Rochester.  Then, a fan of artwork appeared – as Berthrong told a writer for the Boston Globe on the 100th anniversary of his fan’s birthday.

“…I was on a furlough and passing through Washington on my way to my home, Rochester, N. Y., and while I was wandering around I finally pulled up and sat down on one of those iron settees between the White House and the war department. Taking a pad and pencil I began to make a sketch of the White House and just about the time I had it nearly completed someone came and stood directly in front of me. I looked up from my work, and there stood the great form of President Lincoln. I confess I was somewhat startled. I wore a zouave uniform, and, of course, the President knew I was a soldier.

“In his very kind manner he said to me: “What are you doing, young man?” I replied that I was trying to make a sketch of the White House. He said, ‘Let me see it,’ and taking it in his hand began comparing it with the original. He then said: ‘Do you know that you have a talent in drawing? Have you ever taken lessons?’ I told him that I had been studying to be an engraver on wood, but enlisted before I had completed my full course.

“He then said: ‘What are you going to do and where are you going?’ I told him I was on a furlough and intended taking the evening train for my home. ‘How long a furlough have you,’ Lincoln asked. I replied that I had two weeks. ‘That is short to go to Rochester and return to your regiment. You come with me.’

“We walked on to the war department and on the way he asked me about my home, who and how many were in my family, what was the number of my regiment, how many battles I had been in and many other questions. Reaching the adjutant general’s office he said to Col. Samuel Breck, assistant adjutant general, ‘This young man has but two weeks’ furlough. I would like you to extend it two weeks longer.’

“We then walked to the 17th street door. Mr. Lincoln had been holding my sketch in his hand all this time and as we parted he said, ‘I would like this sketch, it interests me.’ I said, Mr. Lincoln, I am delighted to give it to you and shall always consider it an honor to have had such a privilege.

“He then said: ‘Please put your name and regiment at the bottom, also the date.’ I did so and handed it back to him. We shook hands and he wished me a pleasant voyage to my home and a safe return to my regiment.

According to the Globe article, “Mr. Berthrong met the President at a reception at the White House just after the war, and stepping up to him asked the President if he remembered him, and then told Mr. Lincoln that he was the young man who made the sketch of the White House and told him the time. Mr. Lincoln remembered the affair very well, he said, and they had another short chat…”

“Made Sketch For Him – H. W. Berthrong, Arlington.”, Boston Globe, 12 February 1909, Page 13.

Bertrong painted a large painting of Lincoln which stayed in the family, despite large offers from Lincoln’s son.  He also would paint Grant’s portrait in the days just before Grant passed away, something Grant’s children claimed was the best painting of the general and president ever done.

Returning from the war meant getting a job – and he took a job as a clerk in the War Department.  And, he got married – the first time was to Anne Thompson, who was perhaps 14 years old when they first discussed getting married (a marriage license record exists from December, 1864), and 15 years old when a marriage license was granted in October, 1865.  They would have one child, a daughter named May, but as Berthrong’s career in civil service changed, Anne would stay in DC while Berthrong moved on.

Wait – we forgot something!!!  I write biographies about baseball players…

Berthrong was a speedy and graceful athlete.  He was a member of a Potomac River rowing team that won a national championship.  And, he took up baseball, which he may have learned while in the army.  Almost immediately upon settling in Washington, Berthrong became a catcher and outfielder with the two best clubs in the capital city.  He’d spend time with the Nationals and the Olympics.  He was likely the fastest professional baseball player of the post-Civil War years.

“Berthrong was a wonderful outfielder in his day, and I once saw him when both the right and left fielders had been disabled by injury cover all three fields and never miss a fly, moving from side to side, according to his judgement of the batter, and sizing things up right every time.”

“They Die Hard.”, Buffalo Enquirer, 17 August 1896, Page 8.

Lots of players claim to be fast – Berthrong could prove it, and did so in a letter to Tim Murnane of the Boston Globe.

“I have received so many inquiries by mail and individually as to my exact time in running the bases that I take the liberty of writing you the facts.

“The time was made in Washington, July 9, 1868, and was taken by five stop watches, where several men contested. From home plate to home plate in 14-1/4 seconds.

“One incident of this trial has never been spoken of. John Morrissey, the great sporting man of that time, wagered a wine supper with a friend that I could not run the bases inside of 15 seconds, and he was one of the parties who held the watch.

“He paid the debt, and 12 of us sat down to supper one week afterward. I ran 100 yards on the white lot at Washington without special training in 10 seconds flat. John Morrissey then offered to back me to run any man in the world 100 yards for $10,000. I ran 26 races at that distance and was never defeated.”

“That Curved Ball.”, Boston Globe, 21 April 1895, Page 29.

When the Washington Nationals joined the National Association in 1871, Berthrong was an outfielder and backup catcher to Doug Allison.  That was his only season as a major leaguer, though.  His job was sending him west.  Henry went to Carson City, Nevada where he would help the government set up a new branch of the United States Mint.  While there, he and a few friends started one of, if not the first, baseball club in Nevada –  the Silver Stars.

Berthrong moved to Boston after returning from Carson City – and he soon married a well connected lady a bit closer to his own age named Hannah Boutwell, the niece of Secretary of the Treasury George S. Boutwell – who was also a former governor of Massachusetts.  By this time, Berthrong was the appraiser of merchandise at the Boston Customhouse.  He would do that into the mid 1880s, but something else was calling him.

As you can imagine, it was his painting skills.  As a portrait artist, he was in demand.  So, in 1883, he decided to open a studio – and his wife, Hannah, took over his job in the Customhouse.  Berthrong would become nationally famous for his portraits of presidential candidates of both parties.  In fact, Berthrong claimed to be the only man in America who worked both sides of the aisle.  One order came from Mark Hanna, who asked for 600 portraits of William McKinley – each one being about eight feet by six feet in size.  Check out this painting he did of Benjamin Harrison.

Berthrong at Work

In time, as Henry and Hannah created more children (they’d have five, but one died as a toddler), they needed more dependable income.  Henry returned to the Custom House.  He took a brief break from Boston when he was dispatched to Cuba to set up a U.S. Customhouse there.  Then he returned – and while he worked at the Customhouse, Hannah became a translator and linguist.

For a while, the Boston Customhouse was the tallest building in Boston.  On the 25th floor, more than 300 feet into the air, there was an observation balcony where people could look out over the Hub.   In 1915, John M. Durick committed suicide by jumping from the observation balcony, falling nearly 400 feet to his death.

“To none was the shock greater than to Henry W. Berthrong, a Customhouse employee, who stood on the edge of the steps leading to State St. and was within two or three feet of the man’s body when it struck beside him on the pavement. The fright with which the event struck into Berthrong’s heart and the sight of the suicide’s body almost caused him to collapse in his tracks. Had Berthrong been struck by Durick’s body, he would undoubtedly have been killed, it is thought…”

“…Henry W. Berthrong, an aged clerk, 30 years ago a famous ball player and artist, who had come to the door to get the air for a moment, jumped as if a bomb had been set off beside him. The shock attending the sudden drop of the man, apparently from nowhere, was severe, and for some minutes afterward Mr. Berthrong found it almost impossible to recover his composure and speak about the accident.

“When he was able to talk of it, he declared that the man had fallen less than three feet from him, so near, indeed, that the body almost grazed him in passing. For a moment he was dazed with surprise until he realized the meaning of the sight before him, when he was very nearly overcome with emotion.”

“Man Leaps From 25th Story of Customhouse”, Boston Globe, 10 September 1915, Page 1.

Berthrong continued at the Customhouse until he turned 80 years old, retiring in 1924 after more than 50 years in the military or civil service.  And, Hannah and Henry would celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in style.  On the side, he would participate in Grand Army of the Republic benefits, performing the violin in an orchestra (see photo below – Berthrong is in front at the far right) and occasionally performing dance routines.  He was a life long Mason, and an honorary member of the Elks.

Berthrong in Orchestra

In 1927, Hannah passed on, and Berthrong would soon follow.  When he fell ill for the last time, he was moved from his home to a veteran’s home in Chelsea, MA.  Newspapers reported that the oldest living major league ballplayer was near death.  Al Reach had previously held that spot, but had died in January.  Three months later, Berthrong would pass to the next league on 24 April 1928.

SOURCES:

www.baseball-reference.com
1865 New York Census
1850, 1860, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 US Census
Rochester City Directory, 1851
District of Columbia Marriage Records
Massachusetts Marriage Records
US Civil War Soldier Records
www.findagrave.com – Henry Berthrong
www.findagrave.com – Linus Percival Berthrong
www.findagrave.com – Abisha Washburn
www.findagrave.com – John Washborne

Library of Congress Image – Berthrong and Benjamin Harrison

“Brevities.”, Reno Weekly Gazette and Stockman, 20 June 1895, Page 1.

Chadwick, Henry. Letter to the New York Star, reprinted by the Washington Evening Star, “The Old Nationals”, Washington Evening Star, 24 October 1895, Page 10.

“They Die Hard.”, Buffalo Enquirer, 17 August 1896, Page 8.

“Grand Army Minstrels.”, Boston Globe, 07 January 1897, Page 12.

“Diamond Dust.”, Wilmington Sun, 18 November 1898, Page 3.

M. “Off On A Tangent.”, Carson Daily Appeal, 10 June 1876, Page 2.

“That Curved Ball.”, Boston Globe, 21 April 1895, Page 29.

National Republican, 03 November 1882, Page 4.

“Made Sketch For Him – H. W. Berthrong, Arlington.”, Boston Globe, 12 February 1909, Page 13.

“Man Leaps From 25th Story of Customhouse”, Boston Globe, 10 September 1915, Page 1.

“Funeral Friday of Henry W. Berthrong”, Boston Globe, 25 April 1928, Page 32. (Also picture)

Image of Arlington Orchestra, Boston Globe, 26 April 1904, Page 3.

“Two Retire From Customs Service”, Boston Globe, 21 August 1924, Page 7.

“Rochester Boy Made Portraits of Famed Men”, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 20 June 1922, Page 23.

“Ends 50 Years’ Work With Government”, Brattleboro Reformer, 21 August 1924, Page 1.

“Baseball Star of ’65 Sinking”, New York Daily News, 15 April 1928, Page 10.

Baseball History for December 10th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1852 Frank Bliss
1854 Dick Phelan
1862 Bob Black
1866 Frank Shugart
1866 John Sowders
1868 Neil Stynes
1879 Charlie Shields
1880 Robert Albert (Pat) Newnam
1882 Edmund Joseph (Cotton) Minahan
1883 Jim Stephens
1883 Art Griggs
1883 George Henry (Jerry) Upp
1887 Jim Baskette
1888 Ed Kelly
1888 Stan Gray
1889 Grover Baichley
1889 Jimmy Johnston
1889 Troy Puckett
1894 James Christopher (Ike) Caveney
1896 Herrick Smith (Spoke) Emery
1897 Arthur Joseph (Jocko) Conlon
1897 Tim Griesenbeck
1899 Verdo Elmore
1899 Herman Charles (Jake) Hehl
1900 Roy Carlyle
1906 Francis Joseph (Bots) Nekola
1908 Earl Cook
1909 Floyd Giebell
1910 John Pretzel Pezzullo
1917 Andy Tomasic
1922 Gordie Mueller
1926 Leo Cristante
1931 Rudy Hernandez
1931 Bob Roselli
1932 Ed Donnelly
1936 Jack Feller
1936 Howard Rodney (Doc) Edwards
1939 Bob Priddy
1940 Weldon Bowlin
1943 Dalton Jones
1944 Steve Renko
1946 Bobby Fenwick
1947 Ted Martinez
1956 Darrell Woodard
1960 Paul Assenmacher
1960 Jeff Bettendorf
1963 Rick Wrona
1963 Luis Polonia
1963 Doug Henry
1963 Gil Reyes
1966 Norberto Martin
1966 Mel Rojas
1969 Pat Ahearne
1969 Jon Zuber
1975 Joe Mays
1977 Dan Wheeler
1981 Victor Diaz
1983 Brandon Jones
1984 Gregorio Petit
1986 Pedro Florimon
1986 Matt Clark
1990 Wil Myers
1992 Carlos Rodon

OBITUARIES:

1908 Wild Bill Widner
1918 Lester Dole
1919 Tom Colcolough
1931 Tex Covington
1937 Joe Battin
1946 Walter Johnson
1946 Walter Moser
1953 Harry Armbruster
1957 Hal Kleine
1958 Cozy Dolan
1959 Joe Harris
1961 Bert Maxwell
1963 Carl Fischer
1969 Jack Tobin
1969 Mike Cunningham
1970 Marshall Renfroe
1970 Johnny Mostil
1973 Joe Riggert
1976 Danny Thompson
1976 Vic Keen
1980 Rosy Ryan
1981 Bob Joyce
1981 Freddy Leach
1982 Charlie Wheatley
1987 Whitey Moore
1991 Ed Murphy
1992 Babe Phelps
2000 Willard Nixon
2002 Mike Kosman
2002 Earl Henry
2002 Homer Spragins
2003 Don Wheeler
2008 Sal Yvars
2013 Pete Naton
2013 Don Lund

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1918 John Heydler is named president of the National League, again. He had briefly served after Harry Pulliam died in 1909.

1919 The National League bans the spitball, though it allows for a grandfather clause. This would be adopted by the American League the next year.

1972 The American League votes to adopt the Designated Hitter on a three year trial.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1897 Washington sends Gene DeMontreville, Dan McGann, and Doc McJames to the Orioles for Doc Amole, Jack Doyle, and Heinie Reitz.

1923 Philadelphia spends $20,000 wisely, purchasing Max Bishop from Balimore.

1935 Detroit purchases Al Simmons from the White Sox for $75,000 – and Boston sends two players and $150,000 to the Athletics for Jimmie Foxx and Johnny Marcum.

1969 Minnesota sends Dean Chance, Bob Miller, Graig Nettles and Ted Uhlander to the Indians for Luis Tiant and Stan Williams.

1971 New York sends Nolan Ryan, Leroy Stanton, Frank Estrada and Don Rose to the Angels for Jim Fregosi.

1973 Baltimore signs amateur free agent pitcher Dennis Martinez.

1975 Philadelphia sends Dick Ruthven, Alan Bannister, and Roy Thomas to the White Sox for Jim Kaat and Mike Buskey.

1976 Pittsburgh sends Richie Zisk and Silvio Martinez to the White Sox for Terry Forster and Rich Gossage.

1980 California sends Carney Lansford, Mark Clear and Rick Miller to the Red Sox for Rick Burleson and Butch Hobson.

1981 San Diego sends Ozzie Smith and Steve Mura to the Cardinnals for Sixto Lezcano and Garry Templeton (and each later swapped a player in February to complete the deal).

1984 Montreal sent Gary Carter to the Mets for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham, and Floyd Youmans.

1985 St. Louis sends Joaquin Andujar to the Athletics for Tim Conroy and Mike Heath.

Also, the White Sox drafted Bobby Bonilla in the Rule 5 Draft.

Happy Birthday, Gene Markland!

“I’ve never had any reason to worry about being picked on All-Star teams or anything of that sort. I just worry about being the worst.”

Horrigan, Jack. “Gene Markland Rated Better Than Most Major Infielders”, Dunkirk Evening Observer, 25 August 1949, Page 16.

Gene Markland - Buffalo 1949Cleneth Eugene Markland was the son of Notra Raymond and Eva (McCoy) Markland, born on 26 December 1919 in Detroit, MI.  Gene was their third child, all boys. Ray was a painter and decorator for a construction company.

Initially signed by Detroit after a celebrated high school career (basketball, baseball) at Highland Park High School Markland was a star playing semi-pro baseball with the Class A Karp team near Detroit when the local team took notice.  After Detroit signed Markland, his community held a dance in his honor to help raise money to defray his moving expenses as the Tigers were sending Markland to Beaumont, TX. Among those who came to the dance were Charlie Gehringer, Billy Rogsell, Jo Jo White, Bing Miller, and his scout – A.J. (Wish) Eagan.

“The Detroit Tigers signed me originally and I always felt I could be of some help to them. When they got L. D. (Dutch) Meyer to play second base for them, I always wondered why they never gave me a chance instead.”

In 1940, with hundreds of players under Tiger control, Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis cut loose a bunch of minor leaguers controlled by Detroit, allowing Markland to become a minor league free agent in January, 1940.  He got offers from nine clubs (major and minor) after spending the year with Henderson in the East Texas League.  He would sign with Detroit again and was dispatched back to the minors.  But, for whatever reason – likely the fact that he was a smallish 5′-10″ and 150 pound infielder – he never seemed to catch many breaks.  Sent to Buffalo, he was quickly demoted to Winston-Salem of the Piedmont League.  He earned a promotion to Springfield in the Eastern League and then Buffalo of the International League.

In January, 1942, he was playing basketball when he fell and broke his left forearm. It didn’t heal correctly, so it was re-broken in June. Not only did he miss the 1942 baseball season, the injury earned him a deferment from the army for 1942.  When healthy enough to serve, Markland served at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin for three years after enlisting in 1943.  While there, he was captain of baseball team and played basketball and softball.  Private First Class Markland spent time training soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion, and may have also served as a guard for the camp, which would house POWs and others thought to be potentially dangerous aliens.

Returning from his Army stint, the Tigers claimed him and shipped him back to Buffalo – who then sold his rights to Dallas for $100.  The Tigers then sold his rights to the Boston Braves in late 1947 after Markland had a pretty good season, though without much power, in Dallas.

“…Markland’s early baseball experiences have almost made a fatalist out of him in regard to his baseball career. Up until 1947, the blonde, blue-eyed, Detroit native spent more time on train platforms than he did on diamond infields.

“‘It seemed that every time I was getting my feet on the ground, the club I was with would receive a farm system player and I’d be out.”

Horrigan, Jack. “Gene Markland Rated Better Than Most Major Infielders”, Dunkirk Evening Observer, 25 August 1949, Page 16.

The White Sox took him in the Rule 5 draft in 1948 and dispatched Markland to Milwaukee – where something changed.  Though he was slightly built, Markland developed power as he got older (a quick bat allowed him to pull the ball hard down the lines) – and a very good eye (and willingness to take pitches).  With Milwaukee in 1948, Markland hit 20 homers, drew 96 walks, and scored 120 runs in 147 games. The White Sox decided he should get a shot with the parent club, but he got a sore arm in spring training and it wiped out his chance to play there. He was again sold to Buffalo – the club that once sold off Markland for $100.

At Buffalo, Markland had his best minor league season, becoming a leading candidate for the MVP of the International League.  The veteran leadoff man played second and third base, homered 25 times, batting .305, and drew 155 walks – scoring 142 runs in 151 games.  Connie Mack signed an agreement to make Buffalo its top minor league affiliate and then signed Markland and pitcher Bob Hooper to play for the Athletics.

Like with the Sox spring training, he got off to a slow start. He was more than adequate in the field, but wasn’t hitting. Still – for the first time ever, Markland made a big league roster.  In his first game, April 25th, he was a late inning replacement at second base. He singled off Vic Raschi of the Yankees in his first MLB at bat. Given a start on May 4th, he drew three walks and scored a run. However, he went hitless in his next two games with a sacrifice bunt in each game. The Athletics had to make a decision, though, on which player to keep as a utility infielder for the rest of the season and it came down to either Markland or Kermit Wahl – and the club chose Wahl.  Markland would hit .298 in Buffalo with a little less power, but drew 111 walks and was was a productive player for the Bisons in 1950.

Markland was drafted by Yankees after the 1950 season because the Yankees were likely losing Billy Martin to the Army.  When he went to spring training his roommate was Mickey Mantle, who was making the jump from Class C ball to the big leagues. Markland, who had spent the bulk of his post-war career in AAA, would be Mantle’s first big league roommate. Markland appeared in about 30 games and was batting over .300 in the spring and thought he had a job, but Billy Martin came back from the service and Stengel told Markland he had to go.  He was dispatched to Kansas City, then moved to Syracuse.  Then he called it a career.

Markland missed his chance – and missed out on something else that major leaguers with long careers got: a pension.

“Baseball offers no incentive, no security for this type of player,” Markland said of the top level minor league players. In addition to the prestige, money, better food and housing, they want “…the security that a five-or-ten year player in the big leagues has for later years.”

No plan existed for long-time minor leaguers – and because of that, they give up earlier and get jobs. “There are many fine minor league players who deserve some sort of security from the game to which they’ve devoted the best years of their lives. Take two fellows close by, Woody Smith and Satchel Paige of the Miami Marlins. Ball players of their caliber, who could make the big league grade and never got the opportunity because of one reason or another, certainly deserve some sort of gratuity.”

Markland added, “Naturally the minor league teams can’t afford such a plan. But it seems that the major league clubs, who hold these players’ contracts, could establish some sort of a pension outlay for them.

“What do most players who have spent four or five years in Triple-A and have been unable to crack the big leagues? They have to quit and look for employment that will give them an income for life. During a player’s career it’s practically impossible for him to play ball and hold another job at the same time. Who would hire a fellow who can only devote five months a year to a job?”

Schabo, Joe. “High Minor League Players Lack Security – Markland”, Fort Lauderdale News, 20 July 1958, Page 4C.

Markland, who spent a number of spring trainings in the Sunshine State, retired to Florida and opened the Sunrise Bait and Tackle Shop in Fort Lauderdale. He later joined the Loyal Order of the Moose in Sebastian, FL and was a resident of Barefoot Bay after selling off his shop.  When he passed to the next league on 15 June 1999, he left behind his wife, Dorothy (Lundy), whom he married in 1943, and two sons, Donald and Dennis.

Sources:

www.baseball-reference.com

www.retrosheet.org

encyclopedia.densho.org

www.findagrave.com

1920, 1930, 1940 US Census
Michigan Marriage Records
WWII Draft Registration
Social Security Death Records

“Gene Markland Goes To Tigers”, Columbus Evening Republican, 18 January 1939, Page 5.

“Gene Markland Gets Offers for 1940 from Nine Clubs”, Detroit Free Press, 29 January 1940, Page 15.

Vaughn, Doug. “On the Rebound”, Windsor Star, 19 January 1942, Page 20.

“International News”, Baltimore Evening Sun, 18 June 1942, Page 37.

Carter, Joe R. “Raspberries and Cream”, Shreveport Times, 19 December 1942, Page 8.

Hall, Halsey. “Ryan Banks on Cubans as Millers Open Season Against Soldiers Today”, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, 08 April 1945, Page 7.

“McCoy Has Sluggers”, La Crosse Tribune, 04 September 1945, Page 8.

Reichler, Joe. “Third Sackers Short But Sweet”, Decatur Daily, 28 January 1949, Page 10.

“Gene Markland Sent to Buffalo”, Shreveport Times, 18 April 1949, Page 15.

Horrigan, Jack. “Gene Markland Rated Better Than Most Major Infielders”, Dunkirk Evening Observer, 25 August 1949, Page 16.

“Buffalo Bisons Sign Pact with Athletics”, Bridgewater Courier-News, 11 October 1949, Page 33.

Gene Markland Photo (Buffalo), Montreal Gazette, 07 July 1950, Page 14.

“N.Y. Yankees Draft Gene Markland of Buffalo Bisons”, Port Huron Times-Herald, 18 November 1950, Page 8.

Richman, Milton. “Ex-Eastern Gene Markland Hopeful Chance With Yanks ‘Real Thing'”, Scrantonian Tribune, 19 November 1950, Page 48.

Schabo, Joe. “High Minor League Players Lack Security – Markland”, Fort Lauderdale News, 20 July 1958, Page 4C.

“Gene Markland (Obit)”, Florida Today, 17 June 1999, Page 5B.

Baseball History for December 6th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1865 William H (Pat) Whitaker
1867 John Henry (Tun) Berger
1873 Harry Wolverton
1881 Dave Rowan
1885 Jack Stansbury
1886 Peter Raymond (Hap) Morse
1893 Hack Eibel
1894 Christian Frederick Albert John (Bruno) Betzel
1894 Walter Mueller
1896 Bob Larmore
1896 Frank Luce
1899 John Bertrand (Jocko) Conlan
1903 Tony Lazzeri
1909 Stan Hack
1913 Bill Kirksieck
1914 Cecil Washington (Turkey) Tyson
1920 Gus Niarhos
1925 Rance Pless
1927 Tommy Brown
1934 Dan Dobbek
1937 Freddie Velazquez
1938 Amado Samuel
1942 Arnold Umbach
1944 Tony Horton
1945 Larry Bowa
1945 Jay Dahl
1950 Tim Foli
1952 Chuck Baker
1952 Jeff Schneider
1953 Gary Ward
1954 Mike Parrott
1955 Luis Rosado
1957 Steve Bedrosian
1959 Larry Sheets
1963 Lance Blankenship
1964 Kevin Campbell
1966 Terry McDaniel
1967 Kevin Appier
1971 Jose Contreras
1971 Adam Hyzdu
1972 Rick Short
1972 Neil Weber
1977 Kevin Cash
1978 Chris Basak
1978 Jason Bulger
1980 Ehren Wassermann
1986 Ryan Tucker
1988 Adam Eaton

OBITUARIES:

1905 Jack Leary
1911 Ed Glenn
1911 John Hamill
1942 Amos Rusie
1943 Charley Hall
1943 George Magoon
1948 Bill Dammann
1950 Jing Johnson
1952 Don Hurst
1955 Honus Wagner
1956 Jim Mullen
1959 Wid Conroy
1962 Dutch Hoffman
1964 Bobby Keefe
1965 Frank Crossin
1975 Jim Stroner
1976 Mandy Brooks
1977 John Pomorski
1985 Burleigh Grimes
1987 Jim Johnson
1989 Art Parks
1993 Ray Thomas
1997 Lou Clinton
1999 Roy Talcott
2002 Clarence Beers

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1920 A US Court of Appeals reverses a prior decision to award cash to the Baltimore franchise of the Federal League, thus upholding the reserve clause.

1941 Mel Ott takes over for Bill Terry as manager of the New York Giants.

1960 A new franchise for the American League is awarded to Gene Autry and placed in Los Angeles.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1921 New York sends George Burns, Mike Gonzalez and $150K to the Reds for Heinie Groh.

1938 New York sends Dick Bartell, Gus Mancuso and Hank Lieber to the Cubs for Billy Jurges, Frank Demaree, and Ken O’Dea.

A year later, Bartell would be moved by the Cubs to the Tigers for Billy Rogell.

1959 The White Sox sent Norm Cash, John Romano and Bubba Phillips to the Indians for Minnie Minoso, Dick Brown, Jake Striker, and Don Ferrarese.

1973 Houston sends Jimmy Wynn to the Dodgers for Claude Osteen and David Culpepper.

Also, Minnesota swaps catcher George Mitterwald with Chicago’s Randy Hundley.

1976 Milwaukee is busy… George Scott and Bernie Carbo are sent to Boston for Cecil Cooper. And, Jim Colburn and Darrell Porter head to the Royals for Jamie Quirk, Jim Wohlford and (later) Bob McClure.

1979 Kansas City sends Al Cowens and Todd Cruz (and later Craig Eaton) to the Angels for Willie Aikens and Rance Mulliniks.

1982 Oakland sends Tony Armas and Jeff Newman to the Red Sox for Carney Lansford, Garry Hancock, and Jerry King.

1984 Chicago sends LaMarr Hoyt and two minor leaguers to the Padres for Ozzie Guillen, Tim Lollar, Bill Long, and Luis Salazar.

1988 Cleveland sends Julio Franco to the Rangers for Jerry Browne, Oddibe McDowell, and Pete O’Brien.

1989 San Diego gets Joe Carter from Cleveland for Sandy Alomar, Jr., Carlos Baerga and Chris James.

2010 San Diego sends Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox for Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, Rey Fuentes and (later) Eric Patterson.

2016 The White Sox send Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.

Baseball History for December 5th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1860 Billy Shindle
1862 Harry Fuller
1864 Oliver Wendell (Patsy) Tebeau
1868 Frank Bowerman
1871 Tom Smith
1871 Lewis DeWitt (Snake) Wiltse
1871 Dick Cogan
1872 Pink Hawley
1873 George W. (Mike) Mahoney
1884 Ed Summers
1885 Larry Strands
1887 Raleigh Aitchison
1888 Ed Porray
1893 Joe Gedeon
1901 Ray Moss
1901 Carey Selph
1904 Ray Fitzgerald
1905 Gus Mancuso
1906 Lin Storti
1911 Don Padgett
1911 Stu Flythe
1911 Dick Stone
1915 Bobby Mattick
1916 Steve Rachunok
1916 Len Schulte
1919 Oliverio (Baby) Ortiz

No relation, that we know of, to Big Papi.

1921 Dave Ferriss
1922 Bill Rodgers
1928 Jack Urban
1938 Al Moran
1938 Giraldo (Chico) Ruiz
1940 John Papa
1941 Bob Sprout
1942 Steve Shea
1948 Walter Francis (Buddy) Harris
1954 Gary Roenicke
1956 Dave Hudgens
1956 Bill Swaggerty
1958 Scott Munninghoff
1962 Alan Cockrell
1962 German Jimenez
1963 Sam Khalifa
1964 Gene Harris
1965 Scott Lewis
1967 Matt Grott
1970 Andy Stewart
1972 Cliff Floyd
1972 Felix Rodriguez
1972 Mike Mahoney
1973 Hanley Frias
1974 Ken Vining
1978 Josh Stewart
1984 Josh Lueke
1986 Justin Smoak
1987 A. J. Pollock
1987 Chris Rearick
1991 Christian Yelich

OBITUARIES:

1916 John Cuff
1930 Ben Guiney
1937 John Lovett
1942 Ed Eiteljorge
1942 Val Picinich
1950 Bill Dahlen
1951 Jim Duggan
1951 Shoeless Joe Jackson
1954 Russ Christopher
1957 Alex Ferson
1959 Oscar Siemer
1961 Judge Fuchs
1961 Frank Mahar
1964 Ed Wingo
1967 Jack Lively
1969 Joe Rabbitt
1970 Joe Wyatt
1973 Spencer Pumpelly
1974 Jim Beckman
1986 George Abrams
1994 Woody Abernathy
1995 Bill Bruton
1996 Cliff Mapes
2003 Paul Busby
2005 Billy Reed
2011 Joe Lonnett

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1950 Mel Ott takes a job managing the Oakland Oaks. He’d spent three decades with the Giants as a player and manager.

1973 Ron Santo is the first player to void a trade using his 10/5 rights – ten years in the majors, five years with the same team. He had been traded to the Angels for two pitchers and said no.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1914 Baltimore (Federal League) snaps up Chief Bender.

1936 Chicago sends Woody English and Roy Henshaw to Brooklyn for Lonny Frey.

1956 Detroit sends Virgil Trucks, Ned Garver, Wayne Belardi, and Gene Host (and cash) to the Athletics for Eddie Robinson, Jack Crimian, Jim Finnigan and Bill Harrington.

1957 St. Louis sends Marty Kutyna, Willard Schmidt, an Ted Weiand to the Reds for Curt Flood and Joe Taylor.

1973 Montreal sends Mike Marshall to the Dodgers for Willie Davis.

1977 The White Sox sends Brian Downing, Chris Knapp, and Dave Frost to the Angels for Bobby Bonds, Rich Dotson, and Thad Bosley.

Also, Toronto took Willie Upshaw from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft.

1984 Oakland sends Rickey Henderson, Bert Bradley and cash to the Yankees for Tim Birtsas, Jay Howell, Stan Javier, Eric Plunk, and Jose Rijo.

1988 Texas sends Paul Kilgus, Mitch Williams, Curt Wilkerson, Steve Wilson and two minor leaguers to the Cubs for Rafael Palmeiro, Drew Hall, and Jamie Moyer.

1990 San Diego sends Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar to the Blue Jays for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez.

2018 Arizona sends Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals for Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly and Andy Young – and a competitive balance round B draft pick.