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Baseball History for June 26th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1858 Lorenzo “Ren” Deagle
1858 Denny Sullivan
1860 Al Strueve
1873 Henry Schmidt
1874 Tully Frederick “Topsy” Hartsel
1891 Justin Howard “Mike” Fitzgerald
1891 Al Huenke
1893 Elmer Ponder
1900 Lum Davenport
1900 Elmer Yoter
1903 George Milstead
1903 Floyd Caves “Babe” Herman
1907 Debs Garms
1910 Jim Henry
1913 Russ Lyon
1915 Willard Brown
1918 Elmer Singleton
1920 Jean-Pierre Roy
1921 Howie Pollet
1929 Dick Tettelbach
1933 Gene Green
1933 Joe Albanese
1941 Gil Garrido
1943 Bill Robinson
1950 Dave Rosello
1952 Steve Bowling
1955 Manny Seoane
1957 Mike Griffin
1957 Jose Barrios
1960 Pete Dalena
1969 Mike Myers
1969 Rodney Myers
1971 Greg Blosser
1974 Jason Kendall
1974 Derek Jeter
1975 Jason Middlebrook
1979 Luis Gonzalez
1980 Chris Shelton
1984 Elijah Dukes
1984 Luis Hernandez
1986 Michael Kohn
1986 Lou Marson

OBITUARIES:

1925 Sam Crane
1940 Billy Reid
1940 Jimmie Savage
1946 Chris Hartje
1948 Jimmy Esmond
1954 Charlie Pick
1957 Tom Whelan
1959 Joe Sugden
1961 Bill Collins
1966 Lil Stoner
1972 Mike Kircher
1977 Jack Berly
1983 Don Rader
1985 Wes Schulmerich
1987 Jay Avrea
1991 Johnny Johnson
1993 Roy Campanella
1996 Buck Frierson
1997 Armando Roche
1999 Tim Layana
2006 Jack Urban
2013 Justin Miller
2015 Kal Segrist

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1962 Red Sox starter Earl Wilson blanks the Angels, 2 – 0, without allowing a hit. Wilson also drove in the winning run and later scored the other run. Wilson scattered four walks.

1970 Frank Robinson hits grand slams in consecutive at bats, as Baltimore clocks the Senators, 12 – 2.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1923 Brooklyn signed amateur catcher Moe Berg.

1948 Chicago signed local amateur infielder Ed Winceniak.

1957 Baltimore signs amateur free agent pitcher Milt Pappas.

1979 New York sends minor leaguer Paul Semall to the Cubs for struggling outfielder Bobby Murcer.

1986 The White Sox sent catcher Scott Bradley to Seattle. A week later, Seattle returned to the White Sox outfielder Ivan Calderon.

1993 Cleveland signs amateur pitcher Bartolo Colon.

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Happy Birthday, Memo Luna!

Memo LunaGuillermo Romero Luna was a Mexican lefty, side-armer of sorts, who gained fame in late 1953 when St. Louis purchased Memo from San Diego of the Pacific Coast League for $100,000.  By then, though, Luna was pitching without his best fastball, making it on control and guile. Luna said he lost his best fastball when San Diego asked him to stop pitching Winter Ball. By 1954, coaches and scouts worried that he wouldn’t have the fastball or size to be a durable and successful pitcher.

Luna quit school before he was a teenager to work in factories near his home town of Tacubaya. There, he would work in factories that assembled jewelry sold to tourists – eight hours a day, six days each week – for about $1.25 a day. Juna said, “I tried to make the high school, but (it was) too hard (to) work days (and go to) school nights.”

By 1944, he both managed and pitched for the Tacubaya Estrellas – a team without uniforms or cleats, but a lot of talent. Luna said he was the manager because he owned the baseballs… Anyway – that team won every game it played and Luna was the pitcher in most of them. When he was offered a job to pitch for more money than he made in the factories, he jumped at the chance. Before long, he was pitching in the Mexican League.

Unfortunately that league folded in 1947, but he got another chance when a Class C team in Juarez picked him up. Pitching summers and winters for the next three seasons, including a 26 – 13 season in 1951 when he logged 314 innings for Tijuana in the Southwest International League, he was eventually picked up by San Diego for $5,000. Luna won there even though San Diego struggled (17 – 12, 2.67 in 263.1 innings), which is why St. Louis paid such a lofty sum for the skinny kid with six pitches and impeccable control.

When he was pitching ten months a year, Luna threw just a fastball, a curve ball and a screw ball. “That was enough to pitch anywhere,” Luna noted. “But now I must try many things different. With no fast ball, I try knuckle ball, change-up, the sliders… The fast ball hurt my arm now. The curve ball hurt my arm. So I throw the slider.”

He may have thrown a spitter, too. He was once ejected from a game in 1951 for repeatedly wetting his fingers – umpires grew tired of warning him to stop and kicked him out.

Even Luna admitted that he might not make it to the Cardinals unless things changed – he needed his fastball, and he needed to pitch more regularly to regain it, and it wouldn’t matter if his arm continued to hurt.

On 20 April 1954, Luna was given his shot – after a fine spring, Memo was sent to the hill to face the Cincinnati Reds. He got two batters out, he gave up two hits, two walks, and two runs. “It was just one of those days,” Luna noted. “I lost my control, and when I got the ball over they hit it.” He was immediately sent back to the Rochester Red Wings and AAA baseball.

By 1956 he had been sold back to the Mexican Leagues. As long as his ailing wing allowed it, he was able to pitch in Mexico until 1961.

Interesting Trivia:  Bill Kinsella, of Shoeless Joe (Field of Dreams) fame, named his fantasy baseball team the Memo Lunatics…  And, the Cardinals had two rookies in 1954 with the same name – sort of…  Memo Luna and Wally Moon.  Get it?

SOURCES:

“Luna Ejected As Team Wins”, Arizona Republic, 13 April 1951, Page 32.

Beahon, George. “Luna Blanks A’s For Wings, 4 – 0, In Stellar Debut”, 09 May 1954, Page D1.

Beahon, George. “In This Corner”, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 14 June 1954, Page 18.

Rice, Jack. “Typical Day for Mathes: Decision on Stop Watch, Bids for Memo Luna”, St. Louis Post Dispatch, 15 April 1956, Page 6D.

Bill Kinsella, of Shoeless Joe (Field of Dreams) fame, named his fantasy baseball team the Memo Lunatics…

Lundegaard, Bob. “Book’s Lineup Spans Baseball History”, Minneapolis Star and Tribune, 16 April 1987, Page 1C.

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Baseball History for June 25th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1853 Charlie Mason
1864 Ed Flynn
1870 Bill Quarles
1875 Bill Phyle
1878 John Deering
1885 Ed Foster
1887 Bob Meinke
1890 Fred Walden
1891 Pete Lapan
1893 Earl Howard
1895 Bill Webb
1897 Camp Skinner
1899 June Greene
1902 Ralph Erickson
1905 Johnny Pasek
1906 Joe Kuhel
1908 Joe Becker
1911 Tony Parisse
1922 Alex Garbowski

Garbowski was a Yonkers born shortstop who only appeared in two games with the Detroit Tigers in 1952, both times as a pinch runner.

After a hitch in World War II, the kid from Yonkers hit .390 for Nyack in 1946, .396 for Vandergrift in 1947, and .301 for Utica in 1948. After that, though, his batting fell off considerably.

“Garbowski rose rapidly in the A’s organization until he reached the International League. His career came to a halt one night in Newark when ‘Spec’ Shea of the Yankee farm system beaned him. Alex was never quite the same after that.”

Mueller, George E. “Writer Recalls Rockies Years”, White Plains Journal News, 06 July 1986, Page 45.

1923 Barney White
1930 Humberto Robinson
1930 Memo Luna
1935 Don Demeter
1943 John Gelnar
1945 Dick Drago
1947 Jose Ortiz
1948 Clay Kirby
1954 Bob Shirley
1959 Alejandro Pena
1963 Mike Stanley
1969 Brad Woodall
1970 Aaron Sele
1971 Michael Tucker
1972 Carlos Delgado
1975 Kane Davis
1977 Ryan Kohlmeier
1978 Luke Scott
1978 Aramis Ramirez
1982 Paul Maholm
1985 Daniel Bard
1986 Bobby LaFromboise

OBITUARIES:

1918 Jake Beckley
1931 Con Lucid
1932 Pop Tate
1935 Jack O’Neill
1938 Bumpus Jones
1939 Heinie Smith
1945 Jack Mercer
1949 Buck Freeman
1960 Tommy Corcoran
1966 Mose Solomon
1968 Dan Dugan
1968 Grant Bowler
1980 Joe Muir
1999 Charlie English
2001 John LeRoy
2002 Joe Antolick
2006 George Eyrich
2009 Gene Patton

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1934 Lou Gehrig hits for the cycle, the first of two times he completed the trick, to help beat the White Sox, 11 – 2.

1949 Gil Hodges clocks five hits in six trips and completes the cycle (adding an extra homer for good measure) in a 17 – 10 win over the Pirates.

1950 Ralph Kiner matches Hodges – five hits, two homers, but ups him to eight RBI (Hodges had four) in completing the cycle.

1976 Mike Phillips completes the cycle. Phillips only had 24 triples and 11 homers in his career…

1999 Cardinal rookie Jose Jimenez blanks the Diamondbacks, 1 – 0, firing a no-hitter.

2010 Arizona’s Edwin Jackson somehow completes a no-hitter with his arm still intact. He throws 149 pitches to top the Rays, 1 – 0, in part because he walked eight batters.

2014 Tim Lincecum blanks the Padres, 4 – 0, throwing his second no-hitter. A second inning walk to Chase Headley was the only blemish.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1899 Louisville sold Topsy Hartsel to Indianapolis in the Western Association.

1908 Philadelphia sent Shag Shaughnessy to Reading for the rights to Home Run Baker.

1934 St. Louis used a waiver wire claim to take Dazzy Vance from the Reds.

1939 The Cubs purchased Bill “Swish” Nicholson from the Senators for $35,000.

 

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Happy Birthday, “Big Hank” Keupper!

“With old Sol pouring his hottest rays upon the south side diamond and the heat fairly sizzling, the Bloomers took the Decaturites into camp Monday. It was a hot day, but Henry Keupper fairly dotes on such temperature. Born on the Sahara Desert, raised upon the Siroccos, and spending his vacations upon the Tropic of Capricorn, he welcomed the dispensation by the weather man. The bleachers were hotter than a laundry during ironing time and the fans resembled fried eggs after they ambled to the cars.” – Decatur Herald, 17 June 1913, Page 4.

Henry Keupper was a side-armed lefty, tall and stout, who jumped from his minor league post in Bloomington to pitch for the St. Louis Terriers of the Federal League. Henry Keupper went 8 – 20 for St. Louis, but because he was a “jumper” – and the National and American Leagues were trying to get rid of the Federal League – the National Commission frowned about jumpers to that league and Keupper would be banished from professional baseball for good.

Henry John Keupper was born on 24 June 1887 in Staunton, Illinois to Henry A. and Mary (Kowans) Keupper, both German immigrants. The father was a mine manager and his wife took care of six active kids. Henry wasn’t the only ball player in the family; his brothers Eddie, Hubert and Hugo both played minor league ball. Hugo was Henry’s catcher with Bloomington in 1913.

At first, Keupper played semi-pro baseball in the Trolley League in Southern Illinois where he was discovered by Peoria manager Frank Donnelly, who happened to be hunting in the area. Initially a bit wild, Donnelly sent him to Douglas for some training but brought him back to Peoria for 1908. At the end of the season, he was drafted by the New York Giants.

Keupper made a strong impression during spring training with the Giants in 1909. There, he won several decisions in exhibition games and John McGraw wanted to keep the hard throwing lefty for his team. Of course, the Giants were loaded with pitchers then, so he was sold to Indianapolis instead. Keupper was moved around some, first returned to Peoria, then traded to Nashville before going back to Bloomington for the 1912 season.

In late July of 1913, Henry took leave of Bloomington in the Three-Eye League. He claimed to be sick, but reports came back that he was actually pitching for the Terriers under the assumed name “Hank King”. Keupper jumped to the Federals for good in 1914.

Keupper jumped his Federal League team, too, but only for a couple of days to marry Lena Durgess, the daughter of Dr. W. J. Durgess of Johnson City, IL. Like his baseball career, his marriage ended rather abruptly. He later married Amy (or Amie) Fry, but they never had children.

His baseball career over, Keupper returned to central Illinois where he worked a variety of jobs, including farming, mining, and owning a grocery store in Shawneetown and Pittsburg, IL for several years.

A year after his wife, Amy, passed, Henry died on 14 August 1960.

SOURCES:

“Rapid”, Cincinnati Enquirer, 01 November 1908, Page 37.

“Keupper Goes to Indianapolis”, Decatur Herald, 02 April 1909, Page 3.

“Johnny Duggan Traded For One Henry Kuepper”, Nashville American, 8 Febriary 1910, Page 6.

“Henry Keupper Has Been Sick”, Decatur Daily Review”, 02 August 1913, Page 5.

“Lost Blooming Pitcher Is Found Playing With Feds”, Rock Island Argus and Daily Union, 05 August 1913, Page 3.

“Hank Keupper Gets Married”, Quad-City Times, 24 April 1914, Page 20.

“Ball Players Come With Bat in Hand”, Bloomington Pantagraph, 20 April 1915, Page 11.

“Rites Wednesday for Henry J. Keupper”, Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, IL), 15 August 1960, Page 3.

US Census Data, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930.

US Draft Registrations, World War I and World War II.

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Baseball History for June 24th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1865 Billy Nash
1867 Jake Stenzel

Originally a catcher, but such a fine athlete he moved easily to centerfield. Got his start playing as an amateur in his hometown of Cincinnati, then signed with Wheeling, West Virginia, where he changed his name from Stelzle to Stenzel… Cap Anson signed him for Chicago in 1890, but as a catcher. That failing, he became an outfielder while playing in Spokane, Portland, and Columbus. He returned to the majors in 1893 with Pittsburgh where Stenzel became a batting force, clearing .350 for the middle part of the 1890s for the Pirates and later the Orioles. On 6 June 1894, he was among the first to hit two homers in the same inning against Boston. He was traded to Baltimore prior to the 1897 season for Steve Brodie – and helped the Orioles take the Temple Cup from Boston.

His demise was swift – he lost his batting eye and was done by 1899. He opened a bar that was close to the ballpark in Cincinnati and remained at that location for nearly 20 years. Just after the new year in 1919, he came down with an illness that stole his life quickly, too – he was just 51 years old.

“Jake Stenzel”, Pittsburgh Press, 24 December 1912, Page 8.

“When the Pirates Made 4 Homers In One Inning”, Brooklyn Eagle, 14 January 1923, Page 49.

“Jake Stenzel, Star Slugger of the Old Pirates Team, Dies”, St. Louis Star & Times, 06 January 1919, Page 15.

“Jake Stenzel, Ex-Pirate Star, Answers Call”, Pittsburgh Daily Post, 07 January 1919, Page 11.

William Akin assembled Stenzel’s SABR Bio.

1869 Kirtley Baker
1869 John Weyhing
1872 Jack Katoll

Came up with Chicago in the National League, but jumped to the American League in 1901 and was okay (11 – 10, 2.81 ERA, though he allowed a bunch of unearned runs). When Baltimore was jolted by the exit of the evil John McGraw, he moved there and finished the season with the Orioles, where he went 5 – 10 in 13 starts and two relief appearances. After that, he was banished to the minors and semi-pro leagues for good.

1876 Bill Hanlon
1882 John Kull
1884 Willy Fetzer
1886 Doc Cook
1887 Henry Keupper

Henry Keupper was a side-armed lefty, tall and stout, who jumped from his minor league post in Bloomington to pitch for the St. Louis Terriers of the Federal League. Henry Keupper went 8 – 20 for St. Louis, but because he was a “jumper” – and the National and American Leagues were trying to get rid of the Federal League – the National Commission frowned about jumpers to that league and Keupper would be banished from professional baseball for good.

1889 Paul Musser
1892 Howard Fahey
1892 George Harper
1904 Bobby Reeves
1907 Rollie Hemsley
1914 Hal Kelleher
1915 Buster Adams
1917 Al Gerheauser
1923 Mel Hoderlein

Mel was a Cincinnati area infielder – quick and agile – who spent the better part of a decade as a minor leaguer waiting for a chance to play in the big leagues.

A high school star at Batavia High School, he went to the minors right away in 1942. Nearly to AAA, the Red Sox took over ownership of his minor league franchise and suddenly he was stuck behind Vern Stephens, Bobby Doerr, Billy Goodman, and an aging Lou Boudreau. After three years, two as an all star infielder for Louisville, he finally got a chance when injuries opened a spot in 1950. He was traded to the White Sox and Washington where he closed out his major league career in 1954.

He returned to Cincinnati to work in production control for Cincinnati Milacron, but never gave up his love of baseball. He helped form the Mount Carmel-Glen Este Booster Club, where they formed youth baseball programs and found and maintained ball fields and parks. His long baseball life, successful at so many different levels, contributed to his enshrinement in the Clermont County Sports Hall of Fame.

Hoderlein passed on 21 May 2001.

Andrews, Cindi. “Melvin ‘Mel’ Hoderlein, Sr. played for Red Sox, Senators”, Cincinnati Enquirer, 23 May 2001, Page 20.

1925 Jack Banta
1935 Charlie Dees
1937 Jim Campbell
1938 Don Mincher
1951 Ken Reitz
1951 Mike Bruhert
1956 George Vukovich
1957 Doug Jones
1958 Tom Klawitter
1962 Charlie Mitchell
1973 Kevin Hodges
1973 Ryan Nye
1973 Rob Ryan
1979 Jason Romano
1980 Doug Bernier
1986 Phil Hughes
1987 Juan Francisco
1987 Sam Freeman
1989 Robbie Ross

OBITUARIES:

1906 Joe Strauss
1907 Billy Klusman
1922 Dan O’Leary
1926 John Gillespie
1928 Frank Cox
1940 Bert Adams
1940 Axel Lindstrom
1957 Jack Burns
1959 Jim Hitchcock
1959 Joe Ogrodowski
1963 Jud Wilson
1965 Johnny Humphries
1967 Roy Castleton
1969 Jack Perrin
1974 Joe Burns
1984 Jim Roberts
1986 Loy Hanning
1987 Fred Newman
1991 Bud Swartz
1992 Vern Curtis
2003 Jack Bruner
2006 Chink Zachary
2011 Richie Myers
2012 Darrel Akerfelds

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1933 Arky Vaughan has a five-for-five day with five RBI – and completes the cycle.

1962 Rocky Colavito gets seven hits (in ten at bats) in an extra inning loss for the Tigers. In 22 innings, Colavito gets six singles and a triple, but the Yankees had the last laugh.

1991 Dave Winfield logs a five-for-five day – and completes the cycle for the Angels.

2003 Brad Wilkerson completes his first of two career cycles – this one for the Expos on a four-for-four day with four RBI.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1912 Washington selected Hippo Vaughn off of waivers – he had just been waived by the Highlanders.

Also, pitcher Bill James was purchased from Seattle by the Boston Braves.

1958 Los Angeles signed amateur infielder/outfielder Ron Fairly.

1963 Washington purchased Don Zimmer from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

1964 Minnesota signed amateur infielder Rod Carew.

1993 Florida sent Trevor Hoffman, Andres Berumen and Jose Martinez to the Padres for Gary Sheffield and Rich Rodriguez.

2004 Three team deal – Houston sends Octavio Dotel to Oakland and John Buck to the Royals. Kansas City sent Carlos Beltran to the Astros. And Oakland sent Mark Teahan and Mike Wood to the Royals.

2012 Boston shipped Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox for Brent Lillbridge and Zach Stewart.

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Baseball History for June 23rd

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1850 George Bird

A centerfielder with Rockford in the National Association in 1871 – and not necessarily a good one.  MLB Profiles says he was the last living player of that first “major league” season, living to the ripe old age of 90.

1861 Henry Jackson

Horace Fogel gave him a shot at first base with Indianapolis in 1887 and it didn’t work out.

1875 Jerry Nops

His 20th victory as a rookie for the Orioles in 1897 came at the expense of Louisville, who had given the start to their own newcomer, Rube Waddell.

Nops had a nice, if brief, career.  After a tryout with Philadelphia, he was moved to Baltimore.  When Baltimore was removed from the NL, he followed his teammates to Brooklyn for a year then signed with Baltimore in the AL in 1901.  After that, he pitch from time to time in the minors or semi-pro leagues.  When not playing ball he was a bar owner or bartender…

1877 Jack Hardy

Backup catcher for three teams between 1903 and 1910 – was tolerably successful in the minors, but never could hit with the MLB teams.

1884 Dick Egan

Longtime infielder with the Reds, Bridegrooms, and Braves.  Nearly made it to 1000 games – but his bat left him as he got to 30 years old…

1890 Bill Calhoun

Played three games at first base for Boston (NL), getting one hit in his thirteen at bats.

1890 Harry Williams

Omaha native who played some first base with the Highlanders from 1913 to 1914.

1891 Al Clauss

Pitched in five games for the Tigers in 1913 – lost one decision.

1891 Johnny Priest

Highlander infielder who got in 10 games from 1911 to 1912.

1894 George Weiss

Yale alum who was a baseball man for life and, because he ran the Yankees during the Stengel era, is also a member of the Hall of Fame.

Daniel Levitt wrote his SABR Bio.

1895 Jack Smith

Longtime Cardinals and later Boston Braves outfielder – had a .287 career batting average in more than 1400 games, but in truth he wasn’t that good a hitter.  No power but very quick kid…

1900 Bill Harris

Won more than 250 games in the minors, but 24 games in the majors – though his MLB career spanned 18 years.

Bill Nowlin wrote his SABR Bio.

1902 Leon Pettit

Minor league veteran who got two chances to pitch in the majors in his 30s – 1935 with Washington and 1938 with the Phillies.

His baseball register starts in 1928, but he had to be doing something else for years before that.

1906 Ray Foley

His first game was on Independence Day as a pinch hitter… Went 1/2 in his two games in 1928.

1907 Dusty Cooke

Outfielder for the Yankees and Red Sox in the 1930s.  Hit .305 as a near regular in 1935, but most of the time he was a fourth outfielder.

1910 Bill Perrin

Lefty from New Orleans who made one start for Cleveland in 1934 and got slaughtered.  The rest of the time he was a pretty successful pitcher in the minors – mostly around New Orleans.

1912 Gene Ford

University of Iowa grad who pitched in five games in the late 1930s with Boston and the White Sox.  There isn’t a huge paper trail here – might be worth a research project, too.

1913 Bill Cox

Pitcher of the 1930s, mostly in the American Association – but got to the majors with the Cards, White Sox, and Browns.

1915 Johnny Humphries

Indians and White Sox pitcher who played during the war years, went to UNC, and died one day after turning 50.

Might be worth a research project…

1915 Aaron Robinson

Mark Stewart tells the story of the Yankee catcher who trained Yogi Berra.

1916 Ken Jungels

For five of six seasons, Jungels got brief tryouts with the Indians and Pirates.  It never worked out.  Instead, he spent many seasons working the high minors – except for his tour during the war…

1917 Bubba Floyd

Longtime minor leaguer who got three games with the Tigers in 1944.  Batted .444 with a double and a walk.

1917 Jack Sanford

Not the guy who won the ROY in 1957 – this was the Virginia native and Richmond Spider who briefly played first base for the Senators in 1940 and 1941 – went off to the war – and came back for ten games in 1946.  Spent the next decade in the minors – PCL, Southern Association and Carolina League…

1920 Deacon Donahue

Briefly a reliever for the Phillies during the war…  Looks like he got the call to battle in 1944 and never made it back to baseball.

1924 Harry Schaeffer

Five games with the Yankees in 1952, spent time in the AA and PCL before going back to college and becoming a high school teacher and coach.

1931 Karl Spooner

One of my first biographies on this site – a Dodger lefty who blew out his shoulder because of a knee injury – could have been a frightening third starter next to Koufax and Drysdale.

1933 Dave Bristol

Minor league infielder who spent forever as a coach and manager.  Trivia answer to the question, “Who was the manager Ted Turner took over for in 1977?”

1937 Tom Haller

University of Illinois grad who was a fine, tough, and likeable catcher for the Giants and Dodgers for more than a decade.  Spent time as a coach – passed away in 2004 of the West Nile Virus…

Alan Cohen penned the bio of this three time allstar and tough guy for SABR.

1949 Dave Goltz

Minnesota native, went to Minnesota State, then was drafted by the Twins.  Won 20 games in 1977, 113 – 109 in his 12 years career.

Lee Temanson wrote his bio for SABR.

1956 Tony Johnson

Got two cups of coffee – one each with both Canadian teams (go figure).

1958 Marty Barrett

Arizona State guy – pretty good second baseman with Boston for a good chunk of the 1980s until he suffered a knee injury in 1989.  He blew out his knee a second time while with the Padres in 1991.

1960 John Rabb

Catcher, spent most of his career in the high minors, but gut a few years with San Francisco, Atlanta, and Seattle in the 1980s.

1960 Jim Deshaies

Cubs color commentator on TV, which absolutely confuses me as you’d have to think that there are hundreds of interesting former Cubs who could handle the job.  Saying that, he’s growing on me – smart, clever, and occasionally insightful.

Had a pretty good run with the Astros in the 1980s – they got him when the Yankees asked for Joe Niekro in 1985.

Anyway, his arm went lame as he approached his free agent years and suddenly became a traveler, playing for five different teams in the next four seasons.

1962 Chris Beasley

Arizona State guy – taken by the White Sox in the sixth round in 1982 but passed, the 27th round by the Angels in 1983 (passed on that, too) and by Cleveland in the 9th round in 1984.

Oddly, it was with the Angels that he finally got his call for action in 1991.  He wasn’t half bad (0 – 1, 3.38) but he didn’t have much of a strikeout pitch and after a slow start in 1992 he was done.

1965 Mike Walker

You may not remember Mike Walker or are confusing him with somebody named Mike Walker…  He spent three weeks with the Mariners in 1992.

This Mike Walker was a 2nd round pick of the Pirates in 1986 out of the University of Houston…

1967 Hensley Meulens

Bam Bam – a Dutch power hitting corner infielder who spent a few years with the Yankees, a few years in Japan, and now is a hitting instructor with the Giants.  He was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands – which means, he’s actually Sir Bam Bam…

1970 Juan Castillo

This is the Venezuelan pitcher who got a week with the Mets in 1994 (two starts).  He was more effective as a hitter (1/5) than as a pitcher.

1974 Mark Hendrickson

6′ 9″ Washington State grad who was a starter and swingman for about a decade – I remember his season in Florida where he’d be good for about four innings and then get lit up like a Christmas tree…  Finished 58 – 74 with a 5.03 ERA in a career that spanned five teams.

1982 Matt Daley

Bucknell grad, spent a lot of time in the Rockies chain before he finally got the call in 2009.  Also pitched in the Yankees chain where he called it a career after the 2014 season.

OBITUARIES:

1894 Jimmy Say
1898 William Rexter
1902 John Firth
1908 Bill Traffley
1911 John O’Rourke
1921 Charlie Hall
1924 Shorty Gallagher
1928 Malachi Kittridge
1931 Clarence Cross
1941 Bill Nelson
1949 John Godar
1954 Red Massey
1958 George Boehler
1967 Tookie Gilbert
1967 Al Bashang
1970 Ross Reynolds
1972 Tom Long
1973 Cliff Aberson
1974 Al Boucher
1975 Marty Callaghan
1976 Lon Warneke
1985 Alf Anderson
1989 Rick Anderson
1994 Joe Dobson
1994 Marv Throneberry

I still don’t know why they asked me to do this commercial.

1999 Bert Haas
2000 Bob Tillman
2003 Bob Smith
2006 Leo Wells
2007 Rod Beck

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!

1915 Bruno Haas sets a major league record by walking 16 batters in a nine inning game.  This was the second game of a doubleheader – Connie Mack was giving Haas a tryout – it was his first major league game.  A few weeks and five outings later, he was sent back to the hinter leagues having walked nearly a third (28 of 85) of the batters he faced.

1917 Babe Ruth walks the leadoff hitter, gets angry and gets ejected.  Ernie Shore comes in, picks off the base runner, then retires the next 26 batters to complete a no-hitter.

1930 Hack Wilson goes 5 – 6 with 5 RBI while hitting for the cycle.  The Cubs hang 21 runs on the Phillies.

1963 Jimmy Piersall celebrates his 100th homer, hit off of Dallas Green, by turning around and running the bases backwards (but in the correct order…).  That didn’t sit well with Casey Stengel – I think he got released that week.

1971 Rick Wise has the greatest game a pitcher could have, no?  Two homers AND a no-hitter???  The Reds lose, 4 – 0.  Dave Concepcion drew the lone walk – just three batters struck out.

1984 A game I remember distinctly!!!  Ryne Sandberg homers off of Bruce Sutter in the ninth and tenth inning as the Cubs come back to top the Cardinals.  This put Sandberg on the MVP map… (He went 5 for 6 with seven RBI.)  Lost in the excitement?  Willie McGee hits for the cycle and drives in six runs.

Want more memories of that game?  Read Scott Ferkovich’s recap for SABR.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1890 Boston signs outfielder Paul Hines.

1891 Washington signs Buck Freeman.  It was a brief visit – he’d spend most of that decade in the Eastern League before returning to Washington in 1898.  Freeman was a LEGIT power hitter in his day.

1953 Milwaukee signs bonus baby Joey Jay.

1958 Cincinnati sends Steve Bilko and Johnny Klippsteain and two players to be named later (Art Fowler and Charlie Rabe) to the Dodgers for Don Newcombe.

1970 Houston trades Mike Marshall to the Expos for Don Bosch.  People didn’t know how good Marshall was about to become…

1976 Mike Marshall is back on the move – leaving the Dodgers and heading to Atlanta for Lee Lacy and Elias Sosa.

 

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Happy Birthday, Jack Zalusky!

A long-time minor league player from Minneapolis who just missed being a member of the early 1900s Chicago Cubs, John Francis (Jack) Zalusky played in seven games with the New York Highlanders at the end of their first season in the Big Apple. He got five hits in his sixteen at bats (and a walk) drove in a run, scored twice, and struck out five times.

Jack Zalusky

Born 22 June 1879 to Frank and Barbara Zalusky (his father was a Minneapolis police officer), and one of seven baseball playing boys, Zalusky was a catcher at the University of Minnesota.  Zalusky starred there, and was called “…the corner stone of the university team of 1900, which was probably the best team the ‘U’ ever had.”

After a stint playing semi-professional baseball in Rock Rapids, Iowa, he followed another Golden Gopher, Walter Wilmot, to the Louisville Night Riders of the Western Association for the 1901 season. This team was loaded with former National League players, including Germany Smith, Jouett Meekin, and Gus Weyhing. The team started in Louisville, but finished in Grand Rapids – and finished by winning the Western Association pennant. Zalusky’s fine season got him a contract with Chicago in the National League and he went to spring training where he showed considerable promise.  However, the Remnants had a load of good young catchers (Johnny Kling and Frank Chance, for starters) so he was sold back to the Minneapolis Millers for 1902 – a team managed by Walter Wilmot.

1902 Chicago at Spring Training

The 1902 Chicago Remnants in spring training.  This photo appeared in the Chicago Inter Ocean on 04 April 1902.  Zalusky is at the bottom left.  Frank Chance is in the middle of the front row, manager Frank Selee wears a top hat in the middle row and Joe Tinker is centered in the top row.

Zalusky didn’t get off to a good start in Minneapolis. For starters, the Grand Rapids ownership claimed they still held the rights to Zalusky. That group moved their team to Columbus for 1902 and they started calling him Jumpalusky – and even got the fans and other owners and managers to give Zalusky a hard time no matter where he played. On top of that Zalusky very nearly beat out Johnny Kling for the last spot on the Cubs roster. He could have been a member of those future World Series teams had things broken the right way.  The New York Highlanders tried to trade for him near the end of spring training.  Jack had to be wondering why he wasn’t playing in the major leagues.

Unhappy with the Millers, he struggled for the first two months of the season and was released. He briefly played at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Then, he was offered $200 per month to play with Tacoma in Washington – and their season continued into December, so it was a good opportunity to play and get paid. Considering he started spring training in February – that was a long season…

He was traded to Spokane before the start of the 1903 season where he became a popular player due to his hustle and toughness. The Pacific National League had financial problems, though, as August came to a close. Spokane sold Zalusky to the Highlanders, who had tried to acquire him the previous spring. After his brief tryout there, he was sent down to Toledo (exchanged for Red Kleinow) for the 1904 season but Zalusky jumped that team to head to Altoona, an independent team that apparently offered more per month ($250) than the $185 per month offered by Toledo management. That got him in trouble with the Association owners, who suspended him from professional league play – but he was reinstated and allowed to play for St. Paul in 1905 – only to be released and signed by Indianapolis, then returned because Indy refused to pay for him. Before long he was sold to the Denver Teddy Bears (yes, they were the Teddy Bears) – and despite complaining about being sold there, he actually stayed for four seasons. It was the only time Jack really settled down in one baseball city.

Jack Zalusky 2

By then, as happens with all catchers, his back and knees ached and he was able to play more first base. Until 1909, that is. A wrenched knee led to being dispatched to a lower level league in Wilkes-Barre and finally La Crosse in the Minny League for 1910. The La Crosse Outcasts were kind enough to give him a contract that didn’t include a reserve clause – he could sign wherever he wanted when the season ended. What he wanted, after years of traveling, was to return to Minnesota, so Zalusky took on coaching a semi-pro team in Alexandria, Minnesota for a year before hanging up the gear as a paying job.

Though his professional career ended, he stayed in Minneapolis and remained involved in baseball. He played semi-pro baseball into his 40s, umpired in the Northwest Association and, with his brother Joe, was a charter member of the “Old Guards of the Diamond”, an organization of former ballplayers who lived in the Twin Cities. He was a later a guard at the First National Bank and apparently had an enviable stamp collection.

Later in his life, he turned into one of those “Back in my day…” types, claiming he once caught 174 games without missing an inning for Louisville in 1900… (Not true – it was more like 129 out of about 140 games, which was a LOT of work…) He did catch both ends of double headers, though, and he was tough and courageous as a good catcher should be. In 1903, the Spokane Press noted:

“The two days’ rest the team gets now is appreciated by none so much as Jack Zalusky, Spokane’s plucky backstop. Jack is big and bold and is always getting slammed against something or another. When he don’t run into a fence after a foul, the batter tips a foul to his wheels, and to make a real strong play of it, the fellow on the slab often passes Jack a gentle reminder of his service. Hardly a game has been played in which Zalusky didn’t get some kind of a sore spot for his hard work.”

He died on 11 August 1935 after heart disease had taken its toll over the previous seven months. He left behind a wife, Margaret, and a son, Thomas, plus three of the seven brothers (Joseph, Frank, and Anthony). Margaret, for what it’s worth, lived until 1983, passing away at the age of 97.

“Wilmot Nows Has Fourteen Men”, Louisville Courier-Journal, 13 April 1901, Page 10.

“Louisvillke Hopes for Good Start”, Indianapolis News, 24 April 1901, Page 8.

“Wilmot Wins The Pennant”, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 24 September 1901, Page 5.

“Passed Balls”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 03 January 1902, Page 10.

“Youngsters Look Good to Selee”, Chicago Inter Ocean, 01 April 1902, Page 4.

Photo from Chicago Inter Ocean, 04 April 1902, Page 4.

Tinker is #3 in top row, Chance is center of Bottom Row, Zalusky is first in bottom row, and Fred Glade is at far right of front row.

“The Fans’ Day Off”, Minneapolis Journal, 23 April 1902, Page 13.

“Millers Lose Opening Game”, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 24 April 1902, Page 5.

“Caught Off First”, Detroit Free Press, 09 May 1902, Page 9.

“Fans Go Wild With Delight”, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 31 May 1902, Page 2.

“Zalusky Goes to Tacoma”, Minneapolis Journal, 27 August 1902, Page 15.

“Sporting Notes”, The Spokane Press, 02 June 1903, Page 4.

“Lefty Davis Has Returned”, Minneapolis Journal, 25 March 1904, Page 5.

“Millers Lose to the Illini”, Minneapolis Journal, 07 April 1904, Page 8.

“Badly Crippled.” Altoona Tribune, 26 August 1904, Page 3.

Philadelphia Inquirer, 25 June 1905, Page 14.

“Zalusky is Balking”, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 30 March 1906, Page 3.

“Jack Zalusky With Denver”, Altoona Tribune, 04 March 1909, Page 10.

“Western League Gossip”, Wichita Beacon, 17 May 1909, Page 7.

Farrington, Dick. “Jack Zalusky Quits Baseball to Engage in Business Here”, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 24 December 1912, Page 12.

“Old Time Ball Tossers Play Dinner Date”, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 06 December 1927, Page 8.

“Players Babied Too Much Now, Says Jack Zalusky”, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 26 March 1933, Page 5.

“Jack Zalusky, City Ball Figure, Dies”, 12 August 1935, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Page 10.

Margaret B. Zalusky Obit, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 16 October 1983, Page 1-M.

STRANGE BUT TRUE – SAYS HE PLAYED FOR WASHINGTON on 9/2/1903 – the “mini” box says he was in the battery for Washington against New York (Lee, Townsend and Zelusky; Chesbro and McCauley).  They just got the data backwards in the wire feed…

“Diamond Glistenings”, Oregon Daily Journal, 03 September 1903, Page 5.

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