Baseball History for December 4th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1859 Bill Higgins
1860 Anton Falch
1865 Jay Budd
1867 Ed Mars
1868 Jesse Burkett
1870 Geroge C. (Scoops) Carey
1875 Joe Corbett

His brother was more famous (Heavyweight champion Gentleman Jim Corbett), but Joe was a key pitcher on a very good Baltimore team in 1897 and had a fairly nice career.

1876 John Farrell
1876 Henry Krug
1878 William Denton (Dolly) Gray
1878 Sam Hope
1878 Frank Mahar
1883 Jim Moroney
1884 Victor Joseph (Biff) Schlitzer
1885 Jerry D’Arcy
1885 John Francis (Shano) Collins
1890 Bob Shawkey
1892 Johnny Meador
1893 Luke Nelson
1896 Allen Conkwright
1898 William Capers (Doc) Bass
1902 Chuck Corgan
1916 Ray Sanders
1918 William Metzig
1923 Dick Strahs
1930 Harvey Kuenn
1933 Dick Ricketts
1938 Billy Bryan
1942 Dick Billings
1944 Lee Bales
1953 Charlie Beamon
1954 Tucker Ashford
1956 Barbaro Garbey
1957 Lee Smith
1957 Pat Sheridan
1957 Mike Couchee
1960 David Green
1961 Alexis Infante
1962 Stan Jefferson
1963 Bernardo Brito
1966 Darrell Sherman
1974 Tadahito Iguchi
1975 Ed Yarnall
1980 Gustavo Chacin
1981 Jerome Williams
1982 Matt Fox
1985 Carlos Gomez
1985 Andrew Brackman
1990 Angel Nesbitt

OBITUARIES:

1902 Mike Mansell
1915 Oscar Purner
1919 Joe Peitz
1926 Abel Lizotte
1944 Roger Bresnahan
1954 Tony Madigan
1957 Jimmy Jordan
1958 Red Murray
1962 Ben Cantwell
1962 Jack Smith
1966 Joe Willis
1968 Emil Yde
1971 Walter Ockey
1974 Dick Luebke
1977 Johnny Rizzo
1979 Bert Delmas
1979 Pedro Dibut
1981 Stan Hollmig
1982 Duke Sedgwick
1989 Steve Lembo
1991 Dan McGee
1991 Herb Thomas
1994 Russ Scarritt
2001 Eddie Popowski
2010 Ken Lehman

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1943 MLB suspends Phillies owner William Cox for betting on his team’s games. Kennesaw Mountain Landis had a no-tolerance policy – Cox was out for life.

1957 The Bonus Baby rule is nixed. The rule forced players who got bonuses greater than $4000 to spend two seasons on the MLB roster. The problem, of course, is that most of the kids were resented by veterans and, being unprepared for the majors, lost two years that could have been better spent building a resume and getting experience in the minors…

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1931 Washington sends Bump Hadley, Sad Sam Jones and Jackies Hayes to the White Sox for Carl Reynolds and John Kerr.

1940 Brooklyn sends Gus Mancuso, John Pintar and $65K to the Cardinals for Mickey Owen.

1950 Brooklyn drafted Roy Face from Philadelphia in the Minor League draft.

1952 Detroit sends Virgil Trucks, Hal White and Johnny Groth to the Browns for Owen Friend, Bob Nieman, and Jay Porter.

1957 Cleveland sends Early Wynn and Al Smith to the White Sox for Minnie Minoso and Fred Hatfield.

1964 Washington sends Claude Osteen, John Kennedy and $100K to the Dodgers for Frank Howard, Ken McMullen, Pete Reichart, Phil Ortega and (later) Dick Nen.

1968 Houston sends Mike Cuellar and Enzo Hernandez to the Orioles for Curt Blefary and John Mason.

1974 Montreal sends Ken Singleton and Mike Torrez to the Orioles for Dave McNally, Rich Coggins, and Bill Kirkpatrick.

1989 Minnesota drafts Shane Mack from the Padres in the Rule 5 Draft.

2002 Los Angeles sends Mark Grudzielanek and Erick Karros to the Cubs for Todd Hundley and Chad Hermansen.

2007 Florida sends Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Burke Badehop, Frankie De La Cruz, Mike Rabelo, and Dallas Trahern.

Quick story about this. I told this to my son, Casey. In looking at the players it turns out that Burke Badenhop has the same birthday as my son. When I told him that, Casey declared that Badenhop was the best player on the Marlins. I have been a fan and rooted for Burke ever since.

Baseball History for December 3rd

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1853 Tim Manning
1872 Patrick Henry (Cozy) Dolan
1873 Frank Shannon
1878 Walt Dickson
1884 Joe Birmingham
1886 Bill Crouch
1886 Delos Drake
1888 Louis Drucke
1891 Larry Gilbert
1901 Bennie Tate
1902 Al Spohrer
1912 Charlie Wagner
1915 Charles William (Butch) Wensloff
1918 Joe Cleary
1919 Clarence Eugene (Hooks) Iott
1922 Joe Collins
1924 Fred Taylor
1925 Harry Simpson
1926 Al Corwin
1931 Bill Harris
1936 Clay Dalrymple
1936 Dave Eilers
1939 Ed Connolly
1939 Ron Stillwell
1940 Rutherford Eduardo (Chico) Salmon
1942 Jose Pena
1943 Jerry Johnson
1945 Steve Huntz
1945 Lou Marone
1946 Greg Washburn
1947 Wayne Garrett
1947 Gerry Pirtle
1951 Lafayette Currence
1952 Larry Anderson
1953 Bob Pate
1953 Pat Putnam
1956 Mark Bradley
1958 Mike Martin
1960 Gene Nelson
1963 Damon Berryhill
1964 Steve Carter
1964 Jeff Carter
1964 Darryl Hamilton
1969 Kevin Morgan
1970 Paul Byrd
1973 Robert Ramsay
1976 Gary Glover
1977 Chad Durbin
1978 Matt Childers
1979 Eric Hull
1981 Chris Snelling
1982 Manny Corpas
1984 Tobi Stoner
1987 Andy Oliver
1990 Miguel Gonzalez

OBITUARIES:

1930 Harry Baumgartner
1938 Guy Hecker
1939 Frank Killen
1942 Chad Kimsey
1943 Mike Grady
1945 Bill Kay
1948 Fred Buckingham
1948 Gus Bono
1949 Pete LePine
1957 Jack Ness
1962 George Scott
1963 Nellie Pott
1969 Roy Wilson
1974 Cy Twombly
1976 Leo Townsend
1977 Bill Bonness
1986 Bob Moorhead
1994 Earl Johnson
1996 John Bateman
1997 Vic Lombardi
2000 Red Nonnenkamp
2002 Jug Thesenga
2003 Jay Difani
2005 Herb Moford
2005 Roy Valdes
2006 Ernie Oravetz
2006 Billy Klaus

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1962 Players led by Frank Crosetti and John Schulte file a suit to make sure that any changes in pension payments include players from the past.

1968 After the year of the pitcher, Major League Baseball agrees to shrink the strike zone and lower the heights of mounds.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1940 The Browns purhase Denny Galehouse and Fritz Ostermueller from the Red Sox.

1956 Cincinnat drafted Maury Wills from the Dodgers in the Minor League draft – and later sent him back.

1957 Baltimore sends Billy Goodman, Tito Francona, and Ray Moore to the White Sox for Larry Doby, Jim Marshall, Russ Heman, and Jack Harshman.

1960 Cleveland sends Harvey Kuenn to the Giants for Johnny Antonellia and Willie Kirkland.

1963 Milwaukee sends Del Crandall, Bob Shaw, and Bob Hendley to the Giants for Felipe Alou, Ed Bailey, and Billy Hoeft (and later Ernie Bowman).

1969 The Mets send Amos Otis and Bob Johnson to the Royals for Joe Foy.

1974 Houston sends Lee May and Jay Schluter to the Orioles for Enos Cabell and Rob Andrews.

Also, Dick Allen was traded to the Braves for a player to be named later and cash. Allen didn’t want to be there – he held out until he was transferred to the Phillies. Atlanta sent Jim Essian to the White Sox to complete the trade in June.

2002 The White Sox send Keith Foulke, Mark Johnson, and some money to the Athletics for Billy Koch and (later) Neal Cotts and Daylan Holt.

2018 Seattle sends Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz and money to the Mets for Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Justin Dunn, Gerson Bautista, and Jerred Kelenic.

Baseball History for December 2nd

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1855 John Haldeman
1864 John Hibbard
1869 Tom Stouch
1875 Mike Kelley
1876 Roscoe Miller
1880 Tom Doran
1889 Bob Jones
1889 Howard Armstrong
1892 John William (Chick) Smith
1893 Tommy Vereker
1895 Art Jahn
1896 Gene Bedford
1896 Mike Wilson
1898 Hal Leathers
1899 Ray Morehart
1903 Don Brennan
1905 Leon Williams
1906 Johnny Welch
1913 Glenn Crawford
1934 Andre Rodgers
1935 Harry Taylor
1946 Pedro Borbon
1948 Wayne Simpson
1949 Jay Kleven
1950 Bob Kammeyer
1951 Adrian Devine
1954 Julio Cruz
1964 Walter William (Chip) Hale
1968 Darryl Kile
1969 Steve Sisco
1975 Mark Kotsay
1976 Eddy Garabito
1978 Peter Moylan
1980 Eric Reed
1982 Wyatt Toregas
1988 Brett Eibner
1992 Gary Sanchez
1992 Charlie Tilson

OBITUARIES:

1893 Bill Gleason
1917 Mike Hooper
1922 Bill Armour
1926 Dave Skeels
1928 Bill Hughes
1934 Scotty Barr
1934 Tom Daley
1937 Frank Chapman
1962 John Scott
1962 Frank Kane
1968 Pete Sims
1972 Rip Conway
1976 Danny Murtaugh
1979 Sam Dailey
1980 Don Padgett
1983 Mike Powers
1990 Paddy Smith
1995 Art Herring
1997 Steve Hamilton
1998 Ben Guintini
1998 Red Roberts
1999 Mike Budnick
2002 Ben Wade
2003 Jim Sheehan
2008 Ted Rogers – Blue Jays owner
2010 Ron Santo
2015 Bob Martyn

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1941 Bill Terry is promoted to General Manager, and Mel Ott is named Player/Manager of the Giants.

1944 Yomiuri Giants pitcher Eiji Sawamura, famous for striking out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Charlie Gehringer, and Jimmy Foxx as a teenaged tosser in an exhibition game ten years earlier, is lost in action when his ship is torpedoed by US Naval forces.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1898 Pittsburgh acquires Ginger Beaumont from Milwaukee in the Western League for Bill Gray and Bill Hart.

1937 Detroit sends Marv Owen, Mike Tresh, and Gee Walker to Chicago for Vern Kennedy, Tony Piet, and Dixie Walker.

1958 Cleveland sends Gary Geiger and Vic Wertz to the Red Sox for Jim Piersall.

1963 In what used to be a first year minor league draft, Boston drafted Reggie Smith away from Minnesota and St. Louis took Bobby Tolan from the Pirates.

1965 San Francisco sends Bill Hands and Randy Hundley to the Cubs for Lindy McDaniel and Don Landrum.

1968 Atlanta took Darrell Evans from Oakland in the Rule 5 Draft.

1970 Pittsburgh sent Bruce Dal Canton, Jerry May, and Freddie Patek to the Royals for Jackie Hernandez, Jim Campanis, and Bob Johnson.

1971 Houston sent John Mayberry and David Grandgaard to the Royals for Jim York and Lance Clemons.

Also, the White Sox acquired Dick Allen from the Dodgers for Tommy John and Steve Huntz.

Later that day, the Dodgers sent Doyle Alexander, Royle Stillman, Sergio Robles and Bob O’Brient to the Orioles for Frank Robinson and Pete Richert.

1990 Toronto sent Junior Felix and Luis Sojo (and later Ken Rivers) to the Angels for Willie Fraser, Devon White, and Marcus Moore.

Happy Birthday, Bill Traffley!

Bill TraffleyBill Traffley was briefly a catcher for Chicago in 1878 then, after a run through the minors, he returned to play in the American Association from 1883 to 1886 with Cincinnati and Baltimore. Likely the first major league player born in Staten Island, he spent a long time playing for and managing teams in Des Moines before succumbing to tuberculosis on 23 June 1908 in that city. Just digging a little through newspapers, I saw him called “Wild Bill” and “Appetite Bill” (Detroit Free Press, 04 Jan 1899, Page 6.)

According to his childhood friend, John Ullrich, his family left Staten Island for Chicago in the 1860s, beginning his career in the early 1870s on a city team “…that was then the whirlwind of the town. It was called the ‘Onwards’ and was one of the fastest corner lot teams that Chicago ever saw play… When he was young he worked in a rolling mill. He made $4.50 a day. His duty was to guide the great ladle when they poured the molten iron… Often times when Billy’s father thought he was working in the mill he was out on the common playing ball…

“…A. G. Spaulding was at that time pitching on the Chicago team and
‘Silver Vance’ was the catcher. One time, ‘Silver’ was taken down sick and Spaulding sent for ‘Billy to take his place… Not a ball got past him and from then on his reputation as a ball player was established… In those days they wore no mitts. They caught everything right off the bat with never a flinch.

“…Billy used to have lots of money but he spent it all on his first wife who was an invalid.”

“Boyhood Friend Tells of Traffley”, Des Moines Register, 25 June 1908, Page 10.

“Bill Traffley, the old Cincinnati and Baltimore catcher, used to be considered the biggest eater in the profession. Bill could go through a $4-a-day hotel bill of fare like a small-pox rumor through a village…”

“Champion Eaters.”, Nebraska State Journal, 15 November 1891, Page 14.

As told by Ed Hickey…

“Bill had a peculiar way of giving signals. He always put his hands to the side of his mask before making the signal. If he wanted a straight ball he had a way of puckering his lips, and if a curve, he would open his mouth. It made no difference to him what sort of curve the pitcher threw. Lots of times, when old Bill would open his mouth for a curve ball, his hands up at his face like blinkers on a bridle, the pitcher would make Bill open his mouth wider. Still sometimes the pitchers wouldn’t see, and I’ve actually seen old Bill open that mouth of his until I could see one corner of it where I stood on third. The pitcher could have thrown the ball into that mouth and the ball wouldn’t have scraped the sides in entering…”

“Jay Andrews Fooled ‘Em”, Buffalo Times, 22 November 1900, Page 10.

“Des Moines, Ia., July 10. – The passing of “Bill” Traffley, former manager of the Baltimore and Des Moines teams, in this city last Wednesday evening, ended the life of one of the men connected with the game in the formative days.

“Traffley was a catcher in the days before catchers wore a mask, a breast protector, or even gloves, and his death from tuberculosis was induced, according to the physicians who attended him in his last months, from the blows of balls which hit him in his earlier days as a catcher. The constant hammering of foul tips weakened the bones of the chest, affecting the lungs, and ending in the attack of the ‘white plague.’

“Throughout the west Traffley will always be known as the manager who was at the head of the Des Moines team when it made the world’s record of twenty-five games won in succession…

“For the last few years, Traffley had been out of the game, working in a number of the buffets of the city. Last year, when his health began to fail, he secured the management of the Granger, Ia., independent team and spent the larger part of the summer there in the hope that the outdoor life would benefit him. This failed, however, and while his last illness was short, he was seen but little after he returned to the city.

“Traffley was 48 years old at the time of his death. He left a wife and five children.”

“Bill Traffley Dead”, Wichita Daily Eagle, 12 July 1908.

Des Moines later played an exhibition game against Omaha in early September to raise money for a monument in his memory.

“Will Honor Bill Traffley”, Des Moines Tribune, 01 September 1908, Page 5.

I can’t find a birth record, so I’m remiss in noting that I cannot find his parents – but Traffley was born 21 December 1859 in Staten Island.  His brother John appeared in one game for Baltimore – one assumes that he was invited in an emergency basis by his brother.  John is listed as having been born in Chicago – which suggests that Traffley was likely of German heritage and his parents hadn’t been in the United States long when William was born.  Anyway….  William Franklin Traffley married Ella P. Groom of Maryland, and by 1900 they had four children, Ella, Nettie, Lillian, and William, Jr.  Bill was listed as a base ball manager, with three of the four kids in school. (Son, Harold, came later, after the census enumerator took the family data in 1900.) In fact, the birth locations give you a sense of his minor league treks, too. Ella was born in Maryland, Nettie was born in Iowa, Lillian in South Dakota, William in Illinois, and Harold in Iowa.

Baseball-Reference.com (Bill Traffley)
Baseball-Reference.com (John)
Findagrave.com
Findagrave.com (Photo Source)
1900, 1910 US Census
Iowa Marriage Records
Baltimore (1889) and Des Moines (1897, 1902, 1907) City Directories

Baseball History for December 19th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1864 Mike Drissel
1874 Welcome Gaston
1875 Christopher Andy (Burley) Bayer
1875 James Francis (Kid) O’Hara
1882 Paul Krichell
1886 Henry John (Doc) McMahon
1887 Art Butler
1891 Claire Vernon (Pep) Goodwin
1892 Jack Farrell
1892 Fred Thomas
1893 Paul Strand
1894 Ford Frick
1897 Ramon (Mike) Herrera
1898 Lou Koupal
1899 Sam Dodge
1900 Wally Gilbert
1900 Ernest Lee (Tex) Jeanes
1906 Tom Sullivan
1915 Eddie Yount
1915 Mickey Witek
1917 Ray Poat
1918 Bill DeKoning
1918 Tommy O’Brien
1923 Vern Freiburger
1924 Herb Gorman
1924 Rex Barney
1933 Gordie Windhorn
1934 Al Kaline
1935 Tony Taylor
1936 Jack Kubiszyn
1943 Walt Williams
1944 Rob Gardner
1945 Geoff Zahn
1945 Art Kusnyer
1955 Kevin Stanfield
1956 Stan Cliburn
1956 Stew Cliburn
1956 Tom Lawless
1962 Clay Parker
1962 Bill Wegman
1964 Mike Fetters
1965 Chito Martinez
1966 Joe Slusarski
1967 Doug Johns
1970 Tom Wilson
1973 Jose Silva
1975 Russell Branyan
1976 Jason Kershner
1978 Vinnie Chulk
1978 Mark Woodyard
1978 Andy Cannizaro
1978 Marshall McDougall
1979 Chip Ambres
1979 Rafael Soriano
1982 Jeff Baisley
1984 Ian Kennedy
1985 Michael Taylor
1987 Aaron Loup
1989 Ian Parmley
1990 Tim Cooney
1992 Edubray Ramos
1992 Austin Williams
1993 Jose LeClerc

OBITUARIES:

1901 Jim Gifford
1906 Ed Pinkham
1908 Reddy Foster
1916 Doug Allison
1916 John McGuinness
1938 Art Griggs
1943 Bill Bergen
1949 Robert Gibson
1950 Wingo Anderson
1951 Bob Lindemann
1954 Big Jeff Pfeffer
1955 Moxie Divis
1965 John Knight
1967 Walter Tappan
1970 Nap Rucker
1970 Charlie Wilson
1979 Bud Sketchley
1983 Zip Collins
1984 Bill Warwick
1986 Al Stokes
1998 Joe Mack
2000 Lou Polli
2000 Lou Thuman
2002 Claude Crocker
2002 Bob Rinker
2003 Carmen Mauro
2008 Dock Ellis
2012 George O’Donnell

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1990 You needed to stop whomever made this decision from going with it… Tiger management and WJR Radio announce that Ernie Harwell will be relieved of duties after the 1991 season.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1928 Detroit sends Jack Warner to the Senators for Bucky Harris, who becomes the new Tigers manager.

1982 Seattle signs amateur free agent slugger Edgar Martinez.

1985 Cincinnati sends John Stuper, Andy McGaffigan, Dann Bilardello, and Jay Tibbs to Montreal for Bill Gullickson and Sal Butera.

2010 Kansas City sends Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt (and cash) to the Brewers for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi, and Jeremy Jeffress.

2014 Atlanta sends Justin Upton and minor leaguer Aaron Northcraft to the Padres for Jace Peterson, Max Fried, Dustin Peterson, and Mallex Smith.

Also, three teams move eleven players… San Diego sends three players to Tampa, Tampa sends two players to Washington, Tampa sends Wil Myers and threee others to San Diego, Washington sends Steve Souza and Travis Ott to Tampa, and San Diego throws in Trea Turner in June to the Nationals which completes the trade.

Happy Birthday, Hub Knolls!

Hub Knolls got a two game tryout with Brooklyn in 1906 after getting a tryout with the 116-win Cubs.  Unfortunately, he got swatted around for 13 hits and a couple of walks in 6.2 innings and earned a ticket back to the minor and semi-professional leagues.

“Our fellows collected only five safe knocks from the moist ball delivery of Sir Oscar Lath Knolls. Sir Oscar is a heaver of some note and has an easy, not to say graceful, motion while pushing the pill. This in itself was deceitful, but the artful dodges of the lathered pellet endowed Sir Oscar with highly deceptive powers. No batters can get hits off a dodging sphere that just crosses the corners of the plate.”

“Standards Suffer Reversal of Form”, Joliet Evening Herald, 03 June 1912, Page 10.

Oscar Edward Knolls was born to William and Mary (Powloski) Knolls in Valparaiso, Indiana on 18 December 1883.  William was of German descent and died in 1891.  Mary was a local Valparaiso girl who gave William eight children (Oscar was #5) and then had two more with a second husband in the early 1890s.   After the turn of the century, Knolls went to work with the mail delivery cars, serving as a station clerk on various lines.

We first learn of Knolls the professional baseball player when he is listed as the captain and pitcher for the Letter Carriers semi-pro team in 1905.  A few weeks later, he was pitching for a successful semi-pro team called the Marquettes.  Racking up a number of high strikeout games, including a 21 K game in extra innings against a semi-pro team called the Schoenhofens, Knolls is called “…the local Rube Waddell” in a Chicago Tribune note.  He eventually received a tryout with Evansville.   At that point, the Chicago Cubs signed him away from Evansville and offered to trade Tufts graduate pitcher Frank Dickinson to Evansville as compensation.  Dickinson, as you can imagine, wasn’t interested…

President Murphy secures the release of Oscar E. Knolls, a pitcher, from the Evansville club of the Central League. Knolls is a giant in stature, being over six feet tall and weighing over 190 pounds when in pitching condition.

He is only 21 years old and is a resident of Chicago, being employed as a clerk in the Edgewater station of the post office. He is said to have a world of speed and was first recommended to Manager Chance last fall. Manager Ryann of the Evansville club predicted much for the new man yesterday.

“The reason I sold him to Chicago,” he said, ” is that he wanted to get into fast company and was not content with the Central League. He is the best young pitcher I have seen in years and his fielding is as fast as his pitching.”

“Not to Play With Chicago”, Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), 23 February 1906, Page 17.

Dickinson had beaten Yale, Holy Cross, and Princeton while at Tufts, earning a look with the Cubs and signing with Chicago after registering for classes in analytical chemistry at the University of Chicago.  This would be as close to a major league pitcher Dickinson would get.

As some of the Cubs headed to spring training, Knolls was actually sent off by a number of his fans and friends at the train station.

There was a good sized crowd of fans at the station to see the players off, and the departure was enlivened by the singing of the Marquette quartet, which was there to give Oscar Knolls a fitting sendoff and made themselves a decidedly pleasing feature of the occasion. This quartet accompanied the Marquettes on their trips when Knolls was pitching for that club.

“Nationals Off For West Baden”, Chicago Tribune, 07 March 1906, Page 8.

Knolls had impressive moments playing with the soon to be pennant-winning Cubs behind him.

Oscar Knolls. the Chicago lad who allowed the Hoosiers only two hits yesterday, was photographed today in a dozen different positions. Knolls promises to be a find. In action he resembles Chesbro or Powell, but fields better than either, and in addition to his pitching is a good batsman.

“Chicago Nationals Down Indianapolis Team Easily.”, Chicago Tribune, 05 April 1905, Page 10.

As spring training ended, the Cubs figured they had enough pitching and traded Knolls to Brooklyn for Harry Gessler.  Gessler never played for the Cubs (or any other major league team).  With Brooklyn, Knolls got in a game on May 1st and another on May 6th.  In that last game, Knolls was clocked for eleven hits and two walks in 5.2 innings.  He did, however, smack a double as a hitter…  His days as a major league pitcher were pretty much over. Soon after, Knolls ditched Baltimore and was back pitching semi-pro ball in the Chicago area – which eventually earned him a blacklist from professional baseball.  And, at least for a short time, he wasn’t always popular with his teammates.  Having pitched in faster company he would mix really impressive outings with games where he didn’t seem interested in playing with players who weren’t professionals.  When he was on, though, Knolls was difficult to hit.  He duplicated his 21 strikeout game for the Marquettes in 1906 going twelve innings and allowing just two hits in twelve innings.  Knolls was locally famous, and tabbed to face Walter Ball of the Leland Giants, a famous Negro team of the period in an exhibition game.

He got a second look with Joe Cantillon’s Washington Senators in 1907 but didn’t make the team, so he went back to the Marquettes.  By the end of that season, he tried to get reinstated in professional baseball (he was still reserved by Brooklyn), but his application was denied as he was still considered a “jumper.”  In 1908, he landed in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  The next year, he was with Hobart where he beat a team from the city of his birth while striking out 14 batters.  By 1911, Knolls seemed to be running out of pitches in his arm.  At first he was pitching in Joliet, a suburb of Chicago.  Then, he had an arm injury and left that club for other options.  In September, he was released after pitching for Escanaba in Michigan.  Returning home, he landed one more time with the Marquettes that now occasionally played in the Federal League park in Chicago – now Wrigley Field – in 1913.  After that, Knolls is no longer found in box scores.

His career over, Knolls settled down and in 1921 he married Mabel C. Behrens in Indiana.  For years, Oscar and Mabel lived in Chicago while caring for her father, Edward Behrens.  Oscar continued to work for the American Railway Express Company, while Mabel logged hours as a salesperson for a department store.  Knolls was walking along Jackson Boulevard in Chicago on 1 July 1946 when he had a heart attack and passed to the next league.  His obituary listed only his wife as a surviving family member.

Sources:

Baseball-reference.com
Findagrave.com

1910, 1920, 1940 US Census Data
Indiana Marriage Records
Cook County (IL) Death Records
World War I Registration Card
World War II Registration Card
Social Security Application Record

Cava, Pete. “Indiana-Born Major League Baseball Players: A Biographical Dictionary, 1871 – 2014”, Page 109.

“Oscar Knoll Promoted”, Louisville Courier Journal, 24 August 1905, Page 10.

“Local Intelligence”, Woodstock Sentinel, 13 April 1905, Page 5.

“Factory News”, Woodstock Sentinel, 27 April 1905, Page 4.

“Record Ball Day of Local Season”, Chicago Inter Ocean, 18 June 1905, Page 12.

“Jack Vance Quits Spauldings”, Chicago Tribune, 7 January 1906, Page 3.

“News of Sports”, Decatur Daily Review, 7 February 1906, Page 3.

Westville Indicator, 22 February 1906.

Decatur Daily Review, 25 February 1906, Page 3.

“Nationals Off For West Baden”, Chicago Tribune, 07 March 1906, Page 8.

“Chicago Nationals Down Indianapolis Team Easily.”, Chicago Tribune, 05 April 1905, Page 10.

“Gessler Goes to Chicago”, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 23 April 1906.

“Review of Baseball Deals Made Since Beginning of the Century”, Anaconda Standard, 1 March 1914, Page 3.

“Knolls Was Not Hittable”, Chicago Inter-Ocean, 20 May 1906, Page 14.

“Pitcher is Almost Mobbed By His Own Teammates”, Chicago Tribune, 21 May 1906, Page 8.

“Issues a List of Ineligible Men.”, Chicago Tribune, 15 August 1906, Page 8.

“Semi-Pros Take Minor Leaguers”, Chicago Inter Ocean, 30 September 1906, Sporting Section Page 3.

“Great Pitching By Knolls.”, Chicago Tribune, 08 October 1906, Page 10.

“Sporting Notes”, Fort Wayne News, 9 October 1906, Page 7.

“Moran’s Men To Meet Keary’s Marquettes”, Joliet Evening Herald, 23 August 1907, Page 14.

“National Commission Decisions.”, New York Times, 15 September 1907, Sport Section Page 1.

“From the Files of the Kenosha News”, 5 April 1958, Page 7.

“Do You Remember the Day?”, Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso, IN), 23 August, 1929, Page 4.

“Standards Win By Slashing Ball”, Joliet Evening Herald, 03 July 1911, Page 8.

“Players Secured”, Chicago Tribune, 25 August 1911, Page 1.

“Releases Announced”, Escanaba Daily Press, 06 September 1911, Page 1.

“Standards Suffer Reversal of Form”, Joliet Evening Herald, 03 June 1912, Page 10.

“East Chicago to Play Marquettes”, Hammond Lake County Times”, 24 July 1913, Page 5.

“Stricken On Street; Dies”, Chicago Tribune, 2 July 1946, Page 19.

“Knolls, Oscar E. (Obit)”, Chicago Tribune, 2 July 1946, Page 18.

Baseball History for December 9th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1859 Lou Meyers

Only a major leaguer if you believe the 1884 Union League was a real major league – Meyers got in just two games, batting three times for the Cincinnati entry. He did walk once and later scored. His nickname was Crazy Horse, which is a pretty good handle for a guy who played just two games in a low level major league.

Meyers gets a mention in Nemec’s Major League Baseball Profiles not for his baseball prowess (he spent several years in the minors) but because of his tragic ending. After the death of his wife, a despondent Meyers chose strychnine to meet her in the next world in 1920.

1860 Al Hubbard

Went two for six with a pair of RBI and a pair of runs scored for Philadelphia in the American Association.

Hubbard was actually a well regarded player when he was a student at Yale. However, he really didn’t show much of an interest in playing professionally. His claim to fame, if fleeting, was that he formed the first professional all-Yale battery with his good friend Jack Jones in 1883. That remained the only time it happened until Craig Breslow pitched to Ryan Lavernway for the Red Sox in 2012, according to a Yale Bulldog release.

1863 Alexander Donoghue

Altoona native, played locally for about a decade, and got a brief run with the Phillies in 1891. He hit .318 (7 for 22) in six games.

1871 Joe Kelley

Hall of Fame outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles of the 1890s, but his career continued another decade after that. He managed, coached, scouted – a long baseball life.

When his major league days ended after the 1908 season, Kelley had a .318 career average, 2,220 hits, and 443 stolen bases. His prime, from 1893 to 1903, included five seasons of 100+ RBI and six more with 100+ runs scored – and eleven straight years clearing .300. In 1894, he batted .393 with a .502 OBP, 165 runs scored and 111 runs driven home.

Kelley, whose father-in-law owned much of the Baltimore Orioles of the American League in 1902, was one of the conspirators that destroyed that franchise, electing to ditch the team for the Cincinnati Reds.

Jimmy Keenan penned his biography for SABR.

1872 Oscar Purner

Purner had a brief career in baseball and a brief career living under a different name in Arizona.

1872 James Bentley “Cy” Seymour
1877 Bert Blue
1879 Mike Mitchell
1884 Enos Kirkpatrick
1887 Frances Montgomery “Tommy” Atkins
1888 Charles “Curly” Brown
1888 Fin Wilson
1889 Ed Fitzpatrick
1904 Adam Comorosky
1909 Bob Kline
1910 Steve Larkin
1914 Hank Camelli
1917 George Woodend
1918 Clarence Beers
1921 Chuck Kress
1924 Jerry Fahr
1928 Billy Klaus
1928 Joe DeMaestri
1930 Bob Hazle
1941 Darold Knowles
1943 Jim Merritt
1944 Del Unser
1946 Rick Bladt
1947 Jerry Cram
1948 George “Doc” Medich
1952 Bruce Boisclair
1956 Eric Wilkins
1957 Steve Christmas
1957 Ed Romero
1960 Juan Samuel
1961 Bruce Tanner
1963 Tom Magrann
1965 Joe Ausanio
1969 Mike Fyhrie
1970 Tony Tarasco
1971 Todd Van Poppel
1973 Tony Batista
1973 Chris Truby
1976 Chris Booker
1978 Jeff Duncan
1979 Eric Stults
1980 Fred Lewis
1987 Pedro Villarreal
1987 Adam Wilk

Cal State – Long Beach grad taken by the Tigers in the 2009 draft. Made it to the bigs in 2011 and 2012, making three starts and five relief appearances, but not a lasting impression (as a pitcher, that is – by all accounts, Wilk is a pretty cool guy). Bounced around AAA and independent ball for the last few years, including a tour of Korea in 2013, and hopes to land for 2017 after a pretty good year at AAA Durham in the Rays chain last year.

Wilk has his own foundation that helps provide baseball equipment to community and school baseball programs.

1987 Buddy Baumann
1987 Mat Latos

Latos is a starting pitcher and an artist specializing in tattoos.

Tall kid, born in Alexandria, VA but raised in South Florida. Drafted out of JUCO by the Padres he made it to the bigs in 2009 and had three good years. Traded to the Reds for Edinson Volquez and three prospects (Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger) and had three more good years. The last one, however, he was bothered by a sore knee and bone chips in his elbow – both requiring surgery.

A year before he would have been a free agent, the Marlins acquired him for minor leaguers Anthony DeSclafani and Chad Wallach, but he started the year dealing with his knee and never really got going. Traded to the Dodgers, he struggled even more and was released. The Angels gave him a one-week contract to finish the season.

The White Sox took a flyer on Latos in 2016, but gave up on him midway through the 2016 season after Latos struggled through May and June. Washington gave him a minor league deal, let him get in shape and brought him back for a few weeks at the end of the season.  He hasn’t pitched since 2017.

1990 Bruce Rondon

Venezuelan giant (6′ 3″, 275) with a triple digit fastball. Battled shoulder and forearm injuries and missed 2014 recovering from Tommy John surgery. Took a couple of years to get through rookie ball, but once he found his form, he raced up to the majors, appearing for the first time in 2013. It took him a season to find his form again, but he looks like a future closer based on his 2016 season.

Did you know that no Tigers pitcher had ever struck out the side on ten or fewer pitches until Rondon’s eighth inning against the Twins on 24 September 2013?

1991 Adam Engel
1993 Geoff Hartlieb
1994 Hunter Harvey

OBITUARIES:

1884 Pete Morris
1918 Walt Dickson
1920 George Browne
1921 Charlie Morton
1923 Bill Donovan
1930 Dave Rowe
1930 Andrew Bishop “Rube” Foster
1941 Ed Mars
1944 James Arthur “Swat” McCabe
1947 DeWitt Wiley “Bevo” LeBourveau
1950 Mickey Corcoran
1954 Bill McGowan
1955 Curt Walker
1958 Harry Porter “Rube” Vickers
1959 Ferd Eunick
1965 Branch Rickey
1975 Jeff Heath
1976 Wes Ferrell
1978 Dick Siebert
1980 Ted Olson
1982 Jimmy Adair
1999 Whitey Kurowski
2002 Johnny Lazor

YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THAT!!!

1941 Bob Feller is the first major league player to enlist in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1936 Philadelphia sends Pinky Higgins to Boston for Billy Werber

1941 The Yankees send Tommy Holmes to the Braves for Buddy Hassett and Gene Moore, who were both players to be named later.

1953 Washington, apparently in need of Mickey McDermott and Tom Umphlett, deal Jackie Jensen to the Red Sox.

1959 The White Sox peddle Johnny Callison to Philadelphia for Gene Freese.

1965 Baltimore acquires “old” Frank Robinson from Cincinnati for Milt Pappas, Dick Simpson, and Jack Baldschun.

1975 Cleveland purchases Ray Fosse from Oakland.

1976 Atlanta gives up five players, $250,000, and the keys to the city to acquire Jeff Burroughs from the Texas Rangers.

1980 Chicago sends Bruce Sutter to the Cardinals for Leon Durham, Ken Reitz, and Ty Waller.

I don’t think people realize just how great the 1980 Cubs bullpen really was then. Sutter, Caudill, Tidrow, Lee Smith, Willie Hernandez and a couple of others. That’s loaded.

That same day, Pittsburgh sends Bert Blyleven and Manny Sanguillen to Cleveland for Gary Alexander, Bob Owchinko, Rafael Vasquez and Victor Cruz.

1981 New York gets Ken Griffey – the first one – for Freddie Toliver and Brian Ryder.

The real deal, though, was a three team trade that moved Bo Diaz to Philadelphia, Lonnie Smith to the Cardinals, and a few other guys around the horn in Cleveland, St. Louis, and Philadelphia.

1982 Not content with one big trade, the Phillies took Von Hays from Cleveland for Julio Franco, Manny Trillo, George Vukovich, Jerry Willard, and Jay Baller.

1992 Atlanta signs free agent Greg Maddux away from the Cubs.

2011 Florida signs free agent pitcher Mark Buehrle

2012 Tampa sends Wade Davis James Shields and a plus one to Kansas City for Mike Montgomery, Wil Myers and Patrick Leonard.