The Two Cent Release

23 Jan

A small item in The Sporting Life in June of 1906 said John “Jock” Somerlott had been released by Jack Hardy, manager of the Fort Wayne franchise in the Interstate Association.

Four years later, when Somerlott was purchased by the Washington Senators the The Associated Press told the story of his release:

“Salary day at Fort Wayne was an event.  It rolled around regularly, but there was seldom money enough in the treasury to pay the players… (Hardy) didn’t like Somerlott, and Somerlott didn’t just exactly hanker after his manager, and the friction grew as money became scarce.”

Jock Somerlott

Jock Somerlott

Jack Hardy

Jack Hardy

Somerlott said he was tired of not getting paid and playing in front of sparse crowds so he approached Hardy one morning in June with an offer:

“Tell you what I’ll do Jack, I’ll give you every cent I’ve got for my release.”

After Hardy accepted the offer:

“(Somerlott) searched his clothing and allowed the manager to do the same, and the total output was two pennies.  He handed the cash to Hardy and got his release.”

Somerlott signed with the Winnipeg Maroons in the Northern-Copper Country League for the remainder of 1906.  After two years in the Southern Michigan League, he went to the Terre Haute Hottentots in the Central League.  After hitting .282 and .292 in 1909 and 1910, the Washington Senators purchased his contract in August.

Somerlott’s Major League career was brief; he appeared in 29 games for the Senators in 1910 and 1911 hitting .204. He returned to the minor leagues for five seasons after his release from Washington, finishing his career with the Pittsfield Electrics in the Eastern Association in 1914.

Somerlott returned home to Indiana and for many years managed the Angola team in the semi-pro Indiana-Ohio League; among his players was Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer.

Somerlott is a member of the Fort Wayne Baseball and the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association Halls of Fame.  He died in Butler, Indiana in 1965.

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