A 1924 advertisement for Southern California-based Farmers & Merchants Bank featuring Jimmy Austin:
Jimmy Austin (or James “Pepper” Austin), the wild-cat third-sacker of the St. Louis Browns, is another of Farmers & Merchants famous depositors.
Jimmy Austin is entering into his twenty-first year in baseball; he is assistant manager and coach of the St. Louis Browns, on which team he has played for fourteen years; he is holder of the world’s speed record for circling the bases.
He has long been a consistent savings depositor of the Farmers & Merchants’ and has relied on us to make many of his investments. Only recently we purchased three lots and a house for him at Laguna Beach and paid Spot Cash for them out of his savings.
Jimmy can retire anytime he wants to, and when he does, he will have more than enough to satisfy the average man’s idea of wealth–And his accumulations have been made by his habit of depositing regularly to his savings account in the Farmers Merchants Bank
In 1930 Conlon–then a proofreader for The New York Telegram–told the story of how he came to capture what the paper called “the greatest baseball action picture ever taken.”
“Cobb was running wild on the bases that year, and the Tigers were fighting for a pennant. I used to spend a lot of time down near third base chatting with Jimmy Austin who was a good friend of mine.
“Ty had worked his way down to second that day and the batter was trying to bunt. As the pitcher’s arm went back to throw the ball Cobb sped for third. Austin backed into the bag for the throw and Cobb hurled himself into the dirt, spikes flying.
“My first thought was that my friend Austin was going to be cut down by the Georgian. I stood there motionless with my box in my hand. I saw a blur of arms and legs through a screen of flying dirt It was a bright day and I could see Cobb’s lips grimly parted and the sun glinting off his clenched teeth.
“Austin never got his hands on the catcher’s throw. He was knocked over. He wasn’t hurt, however, and I was relieved because we were pretty good friends.
“Then I began to wonder if by any chance I had snapped the play. I couldn’t remember, but I decided to change plates anyway. It was lucky that I did, because when I printed up my stuff that night, there was the whole thing, as plain as day.”