Lost Pictures–Rube in Kenosha

17 Jan

Rube Waddell’s short stay in Wisconsin in 1901 has been written about extensively.

When Waddell took the mound for the Kenosha Athletics for the first time on October 13–after facing them as part of the Burlington club earlier that month–The Kenosha News said:

“(W)hile  a crowd of 1500 rooters shouted themselves hoarse Waddell kept the heavy batters of the Chicago Spaldings, the crack amateur team of the West, on his staff, and after nine of the fastest innings ever seen on the Kenosha diamond the Chicago players were forced to concede the victory to Kenosha by a score of seven to two.”

The News said Waddell spent a total of 27 days town, and the newspapers there and in nearby Racine sometimes battled over which town Waddell preferred. When Rube left Kenosha to play football in Racine after the baseball season, The Racine Journal Times taunted:

“Rube Waddell, the widely known baseball pitcher has made up his mind to locate in Racine and bid adieu to Kenosha and all the people of that town…Waddell says he is through with Kenosha for all time and will pack his trunk and move to Racine this afternoon.”

The paper also said:

“Rube says he is done with professional baseball and hereafter will be found in the amateur ranks. He prefers football to baseball every time.”

Waddell did stick around Kenosha long enough to be photographed with the Athletics:


The 1901 Kenosha Athletics—Top, Jack Conney,, William Eaton, manger Edward Alleman, team secretary William Swift, George Steffen, Gus Freitag, Fred Hanks; center row Babe Ollenbook, William Bowman, Bob Henderson, Arthur Hubbard, R. Klpf; first row Rube Waddell, umpire Joe Percente, and Peter Breen













One final note, Percente, the umpire, was also a fairly famous boxer in the Midwest, who fought lightweight champion Battling Nelson four times. Knocked out in the second round by Nelson in 1900, in 1901 Percente  beat him in a six round decision and less than a week later, the two fought to a six round draw.  Nelson won their final fight, an eight round decision in 1902.




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