Things I Learned on the Way to Looking up other Things #10

21 Jul

Trash Talk, 1886

The Philadelphia Times reported in July of 1886 about a feud between two American Association pitchers; Brooklyn Grays rookie Steve Toole and St. Louis Browns star Dave Foutz:

“Steve Toole says Foutz is the ugliest player in the Association.  Foutz returns the compliment by saying that Toole is no pitcher, but his face paralyzes the batsmen.”

Dave Foutz

Dave Foutz

Steve Toole

Steve Toole

The National Convention—1867

The Nashville Union and Dispatch’s take on a decision which would reverberate for the next 80 years:

“Still Against The Negro—The National Convention of base-ball players in session at Philadelphia last week resolved that no club composed of persons of color, or having in its membership persons of color, should be admitted into the National Association.

“To show the significance of this action we may state that there were four hundred and eighty-one clubs represented in this convention including clubs from the following states:  Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon and Nebraska.  From which it is evident that the Northern base-ballists are opposed to Negro equality.”

Boss Schmidt—Throwing and Fighting

Charles “Boss” Schmidt is best known for leaving Ty Cobb with two black eyes and a broken nose in 1907 after Cobb slapped a black groundskeeper and choked the man’s wife when she attempted to intervene;  he also was a member of three pennant-winning Detroit Tigers teams (1907-1909).

Charles "Boss" Schmidt

Charles “Boss” Schmidt

During the era when several players received tremendous publicity for catching balls dropped from great heights. Schmidt received only minimal attention for an impressive throwing feat in 1909.

The Tigers were staying at Washington’s Arlington Hotel during an August series with the Washington Senators when Schmidt, according to The Associated Press:

“Charles Schmidt of the Detroit baseball team threw a 10-cent baseball from Vermont Avenue in front of the Arlington over the eight-story Shoreham Hotel (the one torn down in 1929, not the Omni Shoreham which was built in 1930 and is still standing), which faces on fifteenth Street.  He took a run, and the ball went up until it disappeared over the roof line of the hotel.  It was later found in Fifteenth Street.  Whether it cleared the building entirely or bounced from the roof is not known, but it was a splendid throw, for the distance from where Schmidt stood to Fifteenth Street is nearly 400 feet.”

shoreham

The Shoreham Hotel, Washington D.C., the eight story hotel Schmidt cleared with “a 10-cent baseball.”

Schmidt participated in two professional bouts in Fort Smith, Arkansas after the 1911 season—he won a six-round decision and participated in one four-round no decision.  While some thought Schmidt could potentially fight champion Jack Johnson (who some sources say he spared against during this period), it’s clear Schmidt never took seriously the idea of fighting Johnson.

In a letter later printed in The Detroit Times Schmidt told a friend:

“This white man’s hope bunk is the biggest joke ever put over on the public.  I admit I like the boxing game, but I have never even considered gathering a living from the roped arena.  I like to do just four things.  Play ball, fight, hunt and eat.  Boxing is all right for a little amusement when it’s too cold to play ball…As for this dope on my being the white man’s hope, somebody is loon, it sounds like a squirrel talking to a nut.

“I have joined the Tigers again, and mean to show by my playing that I am with the team heart and soul.  Whatever my personal opinions have been, whatever my playing is, whatever critics have said about me, no one can say that I have not given the Detroit team the best I have…I don’t know who this guy is who has been sending fight dope from Fort Smith about my challenging Jack Johnson, but whoever he is, he ought to get a job in New York.  He could sell J. Pierpont Morgan a nicely enameled brick without difficulty.

“Yours is peace, prosperity and pennants, Charlie.”

Despite being released by the Tigers before the beginning of the 1912 season, Schmidt remained true to his word that baseball, not boxing, was his sport of choice.  His big league was over, but he continued as a player and manager in the minor leagues until 1927.  He never fought again.

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One Response to “Things I Learned on the Way to Looking up other Things #10”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Comiskey’s “Sandusky Terror” | Baseball History Daily - September 15, 2014

    […] preliminary training.  (Browns owner Chris) von der Ahe had trouble in signing his star pitcher (Dave Foutz) that year, and when I looked over the list I found that I needed twirlers and needed them badly.  […]

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