Lost Advertisements–The Biggest Baseball Offer Ever Made

25 Apr



A 1912 advertisement for Globe Soap featuring Billy Sullivan of the Chicago White Sox:


This Outfit Free

“This is Billy Sullivan, one of the greatest catchers who ever stepped on a diamond.  He unequally endorses this offer.

“Billy Sullivan The Star White Sox Catcher says: ‘Boys—this beats any offer I ever saw on a strictly high-grade baseball outfit.  No foul tips can break this mask, and the mitt would stop Ed Walsh’s hardest spit-ball any time.  The baseball is good enough for any league game in the country.  This is surely a great chance for every baseball fan to get this great outfit.’

“Here you are, boys, just what you want for this season of baseball, and it does not cost you a cent.  Just look at this superb baseball outfit!  Electric welded league mask—Special Buck Finish Mitt of selected leather—and a guaranteed First Class Baseball.  This splendid outfit all complete is sent to you absolutely free on positively the biggest baseball offer ever made.  Remember, this is the League outfit recommended by professionals, the star players of the big league teams.  Read what Billy Sullivan, the famous Star catcher of the White Sox, say about this big offer.”

The ad was a little vague about just what was required to get the “outfit.”

Send the coupon now.  this is no soap canvassing proposition.  You don’t have to go around and sell a lot of soap–and you don’t have to take orders for soap.  We do not sell soap by mail and we do not organize soap clubs.  We sell our soap through the dealer, and all we want is a very, very little aid from you and you get this great outfit free.

The 1912 season was the last for the oft-injured Sullivan (aside from single game appearances in 1914 and 16).  Before the season he told reporters he expected to catch at least half the team’s games, but ended up appearing in just 41 games after an April collar-bone injury resulted in the bulk of the early-season work going to Walt Kuhn and Bruno Block.  In August Block was sent to Milwaukee as part of a package for 19-year-old Ray “Cracker” Schalk and Sullivan became a White Sox coach, tutoring the future Hall-of Famer Schalk throughout the 1913 and ’14 seasons.

Billy Sullivan

Billy Sullivan

Sullivan is likely most famous for having caught three of 11 balls tossed from the Washington Monument on August 24, 1910–two months later he opted out of a challenge to catch ” a baseball dropped from an aeroplane sailing at 1,000 feet,”  according to The Associated Press Sullivan said he “still desires to play baseball a few years more…(and) might as well try to stop a bullet as to be on the receiving end of one from an aeroplane.”

2 Responses to “Lost Advertisements–The Biggest Baseball Offer Ever Made”

  1. Chuck McGill April 25, 2014 at 8:02 am #

    They probably didn’t realize it then, but the terminal velocity of a baseball is only about 75 mph, and it will reach that speed after about a 100 foot fall, so a ball dropped from the Washington monument or an airplane at 1000 feet would have the same speed when (if) caught. Of course, the ball dropped from 1000 feet would be more affected by wind, not to mention the difficulty of seeing it when it’s first dropped.


  1. Kid Nichols | Baseball History Daily - June 25, 2014

    […] but when he took a notion to do his best, his playing was beyond criticism.  Ed McFarland and (Billy) Sullivan are two right good men, and then there was reliable old Jim McGuire and Charles Zimmer, both of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: