” I had Lamed my Shoulder with Cricket Playing”

5 Dec

Hall of Fame outfielder Sam Thompson was known for his excellent arm.  After four seasons with the Detroit Wolverines, he was sold to the Philadelphia Quakers in October of 1888. Several months after the sale it was revealed that he had a bad shoulder.

Sam Thompson

Sam Thompson

The speculation about how the injury might affect Thompson led The Cincinnati Enquirer to talk to “the old man of base-ball” Harry Wright about the art of throwing:

“Thompson’s trouble was entirely in the shoulder.  His arm muscles or elbow joint never bothered him.  He can, if he chooses, learn to throw without using his shoulder quite so severely as is natural for him.  The correct way to throw is to start the ball at the height of the ear, but after a man has had trouble with any of his throwing muscles he can often change his style of throwing with benefit.  Take Jack Rowe for an example.  He cannot throw naturally, and yet he plays a very good shortstop by snapping the ball with a peculiar wrist motion.  (John) Meister throws in a similar fashion.

Harry Wright

Harry Wright


“When I first tried to play baseball I could not throw twenty yards, and yet I could bowl very effectively.  I had lamed my shoulder with cricket playing.  I knew that I must learn to throw if I wanted to play baseball, so I put in a whole winter of practicing.  I was then living in Hoboken, and every day I would go down to the river and throw stones for an hour or so.  I had to snap my arm and wrist something as Rowe does, and at first, I could not tell where the stone was going to land.  I would throw an old bottle or piece of wood out into the stream and practice at that.  Before spring, I could hit the mark nearly every time, and could throw a ball seventy yards without difficulty.”

3 Responses to “” I had Lamed my Shoulder with Cricket Playing””


  1. Albert Spalding on Superstitions | Baseball History Daily - December 18, 2013

    […] Spalding, will you move other in some other chair?  That was the seat Harry Wright occupied during the games we had with his club.’  Spalding laughed, but hurried out of his place […]

  2. “Such Men are Demoralizing Agents in any Team” | Baseball History Daily - December 19, 2013

    […] he knows to be his superior as a captain or manager.  Ex-captains or ex-managers might serve under Harry Wright, for instance, but they would be restive under the rule of a less experienced and capable […]

  3. “There is a Constant fear that Someday the Men will Decline to go on the field.” | Baseball History Daily - March 31, 2014

    […] number of ball players of various clubs, who know Harry Spence…speak very highly of him.  Sam Thompson says he is a thorough gentleman, well liked by the players, and a fine […]

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