“Shows Big Leaguers how to Catch Flies”

15 May

During the summer of 1921, The Washington Times told their readers about a new figure seen working out with the Senators at Griffith Stadium. who “caused no little comment among fans.”

Under the headline: “Shows Big Leaguers how to Catch Flies.” The Times said:

“Big things as a ballplayer are predicted for Walter Morris, twelve years old…Walter is pronounced by members of the Washington team a natural-born ball player.  With the crack of the bat, he starts skinning in the general direction of the sphere’s destination and seems to get there just in time, without apparent effort to remove the old apple from the atmosphere.”

Walter Morris, the Senators 12-year-old phenom

Walter Morris, the Senators 12-year-old phenom

Outfielder Bing Miller told the paper:

“That kid shows a lot of talent.”

[…]

“Bing lives in Walter’s neighborhood and takes an interest in him.  His attention was attracted by the lad’s performances on the neighborhood sand lots.  Groundskeeper (Reddy) O’Day also is a neighbor and Walter Johnson lives not far away, all of which accounts largely for young Morris’ privileges at the ballpark.  Sometimes Johnson drives the kid to the game in his auto.”

Morris' ride, Walter Johnson

Morris’ ride, Walter Johnson

Despite the high expectations for the 12-year-old, Walter Morris would never play for the Senators or anyone else.

He traded baseball for academics;  Morris was a professor of Religion at Goucher College in Baltimore from 1949 until 1971.  He died in Maryland in 1991.

Walter Morris--post baseball at Goucher College.

Walter Morris–post-baseball, teaching at Goucher College.

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