Rube with a Gun

25 Jan

When Rube Waddell was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 1900 season, The New York Telegram presented some “interesting facts” about the “serio-comic pitcher.”

The paper said:

“He is greatly desirous of spreading his circle of acquaintances, and it is not an uncommon thing for him to walk over to the grandstand and shake hands with all the front row after he has pitched a good inning.”

Rube

Tom Loftus, who briefly managed Waddell with Columbus in the Western League in 1899, and would again be his manager in Chicago in 1901, said “he has as much speed” as any pitcher in baseball.

Loftus also told a story about Waddell:

“When he first joined the Columbus nine, he purchased a revolver and took it out to the grounds with him. He practiced with the fence for a target and was severely reprimanded by the captain of the club, George Tebeau, who told him that he might shoot some passerby.

“When they entered the dressing room the argument was resumed again, and Tebeau, losing his temper, slapped Waddell’s mouth. The youngster may have deserved it, but didn’t see it that way, and promptly laid the irate Tebeau in a heap in the corner with a left hander that would have knocked a hole in a stone wall.

“Waddell immediately fled to his hotel, frightened at the possibility of punishment that awaited him. He expected to be expelled from the league”

Tebeau

Loftus “solemnly lectured” Rube on “the enormity of his offense,” and told the pitcher “all would be forgiven,” if he won the next day’s game.

“Waddell promised to do his best and succeeded in holding the other nine down to two hits. “Tebeau complimented Waddell on his good work, and then the eccentric pitcher journeyed through the league telling all the other players how badly he had whipped his captain.”

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