In 1914, before beginning his second season as manager of the San Francisco Seals, George “Del” Howard gave the readers of The San Francisco Call a rare look behind the scenes of a baseball team.
“One of the many difficulties which beset a ballplayer is ‘killing’ time while playing away from home…Del Howard was telling only yesterday how the various members of the Seal squad act while on the road. All the boys are quartered at the same hotel and they usually pass the time in each other’s company. Card playing for the most part is the favorite pastime, with theater-going running a close second.. There are a few of the San Francisco players who like to hide behind a book, others frequent billiard parlors for a game with the cue, but the majority sit around a table and do their best to deal out pairs.”
Howard even shared the team’s rules for road trips:
“Don’t stay out later than midnight.
Don’t fail to answer 8 A.M. call.
Don’t fail to be down to breakfast by 8:15.
Don’t run around to dances
Don’t play ‘craps’ at any time.
Don’t go over 25 cent limit at cards.
Don’t drink to excess.
Otherwise the players are free to do as they please.”
He said of his “don’ts”:
“We haven’t many rules but the ones we have must be observed. We don’t tell a player he mustn’t drink nor smoke but we do take action when the privileges are abused. A player knows best what is good for him and free rein is given him. A player is allowed to remain up until midnight, if he is in good company, and he is required to be up at 8 in the morning. There is nothing to do but it is healthy for him to be out of bed. We breakfast at 8:15. Very few players eat any lunch and at 6 we go to dinner. Then there is a long evening to be faced and t is certainly a problem putting in time.”
Howard then described how some of the Seals’ most popular players were “putting in time:”
“Howard Mundorff is the life of the club. ‘Mundy’ is full of fun and the players gather around him and listen for hours while he tells stories and amuses them. Howard is also one of the card sharks.
“(Jay) Nig Clarke seems to lose himself on every trip and Manager Howard declares that for the life of him he cannot tell just how Nig passes the time.
“(Roy) Corhan plays cards pretty regularly, but he spends a lot of his time writing, for he keeps up a continuous line of communication with his better half, when he is on the road, writing consistently every day.
“Charlie Fanning is a bug with the camera and takes pretty good pictures of all the places of interest. “Skeeter” also knows when to lay down two pair.
“(Albert “Lefty”) Leifield is a very interesting talker and he was a running-mate with Mundorff in amusing the gang.”
Howard said shortstop Harry McArdle was the “most popular player he ever encountered. Mac has admirers in every town and was kept pretty busy keeping engagements.”
As for his time on the road, Howard said, “I walk around and look over things. I was fortunate in having a well-behaved club last season and did not have any trouble keeping them in line…A busher has the time of his life in a strange town, but a veteran only figures to do something to keep busy.”
After a 104-104 fourth-place finish in 1913, Howard’s Seals—minus Johnston, who drafted by the Chicago Cubs and McArdle, who was traded to the Venice Tigers–behaved themselves well enough to finish third with a 115-96 record in 1914. The following season he was replaced by Harry Wolverton who led the seals to a 188-89 season, and the Pacific Coast League championship.