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“His Enmity was a Thing to Fear”

22 Oct

Johnny Evers’ 1913 Chicago Cubs finished a respectable 88-65 in third place, but the first-time manager was forever bitter about the season; Henry Farrell of The Newspaper Enterprise Association said, “he almost cried (and said) every ball player on the club, with the exception of (pitcher) Larry Cheney, laid down on him.”

Johnny Evers

Never in first place after May 8, the team was never closer than 10 games back after July 8. Farrell asked Cheney, who won 21 games, what went wrong:

“Johnny ruined himself by worry. He couldn’t understand how players could be so dumb and he began to fancy that they had grievances against him. He thought there was a religious clique working against him and he worried himself into a condition where he was in no state to think about the game immediately at hand. I tried to tell him that his superstitions were foolish, but you know Johnny. He couldn’t be convinced.”

Farrell said as a player and later as a manager, there was “nothing moderate” about Evers, “He is an extremist in every trait…a violent man in his likes and dislikes.” A walking contradiction, he was:

“(O)ne of the smartest men that ever played baseball. He was the crabbiest, fightin’est, most sarcastic, meanest-tongued player that ever wore a spiked shoe ad at the same time he was and is yet, one of the nicest and finest little gentlemen that ever lived.

“His enmity was a thing to fear; his friendship a possession to be treasured.”

Farrell said in addition to Evers’ well documented feud with teammate Joe Tinker, Evers, “during the turbulent days of career he was on the outs with almost everyone he knew.”

Evers’ inability to “understand why his Chicago players couldn’t do the right thing when he had told them what to do. He couldn’t understand that there is such a thing as instinct.”

Evers fared worse in his return as manager of the Cubs in 1921; he was fired August 2, with the team in sixth place with a 41-55 record. In 1924 he managed the Chicago White Sox; he was 51-72, one of three managers of the eight-place club.

Evers,

In 1928, it was announced that Evers would be “assistant manager” of the Boston Braves; Braves owner Emil “Judge” Fuchs managed the team. Farrell said the past “troubles and disappoints” had “softened his disposition,” and the presence of Fuchs, “a cool, even-tempered individual,” would serve Evers well.

Evers drew a three-game suspension a month into the season– Evers’ lineup card had flipped Joe Dugan and Emil Clark in the batting order and “Dugan’s hit was disallowed, (Freddie) Maguire was called out for not taking his proper turn at bat, and Evers was ejected for his oratory,” by umpire Ernie Quigley.

The Braves under Fuchs and Evers finished 56-98 in eighth place.

“Wouldn’t Hesitate to Soak a Ballplayer with his good Right Mitt”

18 Oct

Upon being named president of the National League in 1910, Thomas Lynch spoke to a reporter from The New York Telegraph about his experiences as an umpire from 1888 to 1902:

“The personal discussions and individual adventures I had with the old-time ball players were innumerable. In those days umpires were not nearly as well backed up as now, and they frequently had to depend on nerve and a good right swing to protect them. Brawling players—usually good fellows off the field, but wild to win by any means—were many and they made the umpire’s life a burden.”

Thomas Lynch

Lynch said, “The old Cleveland Cub,” the 1888 Spiders, who included Jesse Burkett, Cupid Childs, Jimmy McAleer, and Chief Zimmer stood out as, “pests when it came to nagging umpires.”

The team, he said, “had a queer trick—testing the umpire’ disposition to find out how far they could go and get away with.”

Burkett would approach Lynch:

“’How do, Mr. Lynch?’ He would say, ‘Nice weather we’re having. Guess we’ll have a pretty good game this afternoon.’

“If I happened to be feeling good-natured and sociable, I would naturally answer, ‘Sure. Glad to see you looking so well,’ or something along those lines.”

Burkett would then tell his teammates, “(He’s) feeling fine and happy. Work on his good nature, pals.”

Lynch said s from there, “They tried to slip something over on me every inning and tried to help my affable mood help them along.”

The would also argue louder and “start an awful howl” when disagreeing with a call, “Figuring that I was feeling too good natured to fine the or put them out of the game, they would fairly riot around me for five minutes after every decision that displeased them.”

If Lynch were in a bad mood when Burkett approached:

“Being bad-tempered or out of humor, I would either pay no attention to this greeting or answer with a grunt.”

Burkett

In that case, the team was told:

“Cheese it fellers…He’s got a horrible grouch on. Better let him alone this afternoon.”

Lynch said he was not aware of what was happening despite Cleveland doing the same to every umpire, until “Zimmer put me wise,” later in the season

Lynch said he always thought it “best not to hand then any personal abuse,” and was proud to have “never called a ballplayer any names.”

The new league president called his former colleague Tim Hurst—the two were members of the National League umpire staff together from 1891-1902— “a unique and amusing character of the diamond,” who “played the umpiring game the other way,’ and:

“(B)elieved in answering ballplayers in their own coin.”

When players argued with Hurst, “with any ornamental language,” the arbiter would, with his “ready Irish wit,” would reply in a manner “that left the offender dazed and a target for the ridicule of his own pals.”

Hurst also “wouldn’t hesitate to soak a ballplayer with his good right mitt or on a decision when he thought it was necessary to teach a disturber a lesson.”

He told of a run in Hurst had with the Orioles, “a fearful gang when it came to fighting umpires,” in Baltimore:

“One afternoon the Orioles were being trimmed and were fighting like wild cats. Presently they bubbled over and burned up the grass around the home plate with their phraseology. Tim answered them in kind, stormed all of them, chased one or two, and still they kept troubling.

“At last, Jake Stenzel slid for the plate. He looked safe to the stand and to everybody, in fact, but Tim. ‘You’re out,’ yelled Hurst. Jake sprung up and rushed at Hurst.

“’ What did you call me out for, you spiflicated rother of a lop-eared mule?’ howled Jake.

“’I called you out, you hungry-looking sheep-stealing Dutchman,’ said Tim, ‘because your face gave me a pain. Now get out of the game.’ And Jake departed.”

Tim Hurst

Lynch retold a version of a story repeated frequently, with some different details, over the years about a game in Cleveland against the Orioles. Patsy Tebeau of the Spiders indicated the “wild-eyed crowd” with only a rope separating them from the field, and said to the umpire:

“The first bum decision you give, Tim, we’ll cut those ropes and let the mob in on you.”

Hurst did not respond. Later:

“Joe Kelley came up. He hit a long foul, way off the line. ‘Fair ball,’ yelled Tim. ‘Run, Joe, run,’ Then turning to Tebeau, he shouted, ‘Now cut the ropes you four-flushing hyena.”

Hugh Fullerton told essentially the same story in 1911 in “The American Magazine.” In his version was a game against Chicago and Jimmy Ryan was the batter who hit the foul home run. In this version, as Ryan rounded the bases,

“Hurst turned and shook his fist at Tebeau, shouting: ‘Cut the ropes, ye spalpeen, cut the ropes.”

“So I let go a Right”

15 Oct

The Tabasco Kid had softened. Kid Elberfeld, a man so contemptuous of umpires he hit a few and once told John McGraw, “I intend to fight ‘em as long as I live,” as 64-year-old in 1939 said he’d changed.

Elberfeld was asked by Val Flanagan of The New Orleans Times Picayune if he still held the same antipathy for the men in blue:

“No, There’s a couple of nice fellows out there now.”

Elberfeld singled out John Quinn in the American League and Polly McLarry, who after a major league career that lasted 70 games with the Cubs and White Sox, worked as a minor umpire for a decade in the South.

Flanagan was shocked:

“it was unbelievable—to hear this ancient umpire-baiter, who had battled the boys in blue from Maine’s tall pines and hills of snow to where palmetto breezes blow, speak such kindly words about an arbiter.”

The former player and manager, “Old, wrinkled and with just a few whisps of hair framing a shining bald head and a pair of horn-rimmed spectacles athwart his battle-scarred nose.”

Flanagan said, “nothing loosens the tongue of the ‘Kid’ as to inject a few casual remarks about yester-year.”

Elberfeld told his version of one of his altercations with umpires a decade and a half earlier which ended when he punched an Atlanta police officer after being thrown out of a game.

Elberfeld

“The arbiter instructed the bluecoats to see that he went, peacefully or otherwise, and when the Kid balked, one of the John Laws reached over and bopped him one on the ear to show him who was the authority.

“’I didn’t see who hit me, but I figured it was the cop standing just beside me,’ the Kid said, ‘so I let go a right and whammed one of the other cops on the jaw. They took me down and put me right in the jug.”

Elberfeld didn’t just battle umpires. He told the story of a 1920 encounter with Charlie frank, the owner of the Atlanta Crackers. Elberfeld was in town with his Arkansas Travelers as two new additions to the roster: Tom Seaton and Casey Smith both were signed after being released by the San Francisco Seals in the Pacific Coast League; Seals owner Charlie Graham said the release was due to rumors of crooked play by both.

When the team arrived at Atlanta’s Ponce de Leon Park, Frank was determined to not allow the Travelers inside. He looked the ballpark and “got a squadron of cops,” to bar entry.

“’I started to climb the fence,’ the Kid explained, ‘and had my team do the same, but Frank threatened to have me arrested if I did.”

Elberfeld said he backed down when he realized Frank wouldn’t. The game was delayed to the next day, Seaton and Smith never player for Little Rock, and Elberfeld lived to fight again.

Elberfeld’s interview with Flanagan coincided with his final return to organized baseball. Having only managed one season in the previous decade, Elberfeld signed on to manage the Gadsden (AL) club in the Southeastern League. He was ejected from a game during his first week.

Elberfeld retired again after the 1936 season; he died in 1944 in Chattanooga, TN.

“Not Half the Player that Buck Ewing was”

11 Oct

Mickey Welch was not happy

In January of 1938, the 78-year-old future Hall of Famer couldn’t believe Joe DiMaggio was seeking a raise to $35,000 for the coming season.

Current salaries were “scandalous,” he told The Associated Press, and having high-salaried players would be “damaging to team spirit,” by making the lesser players jealous.

“’Most I ever got in my life was $4,000 a year,’ he recalled, ‘and that was right at the end of my career. Believe me, I worked for it too. Days I wasn’t pitching I played center field, and in my first year in the National League (with the Troy Trojans in 1880) I had to be at the park an hour or so ahead of time to mind the ‘stile.’”

Welch

Besides taking tickets before games in Troy, Welch was joined on the team by another 20-year-old rookie who would also end up in Cooperstown.  Welch spent his entire career as a teammate of Buck Ewing; the two played together for Welch’s entire career in Troy and New York.

 “Buck Ewing was the greatest catcher who ever lived, was the highest paid man on the team at $3200,”

This was after, “the third year,” the were together in New York; before the 1886 season:

“Buck asked (New York manager Jim) Mutrie for #500, pointing out that he was captain and practically field manager of the team. Mutrie didn’t like it much, but he finally agreed to the raise providing Buck would catch 100 games, which he did.”

Ewing caught 73 games in 1886—he caught 103 in 1888, so Welch either got the number of games wrong, the year wrong, or simply exaggerated. The Spalding Guide said Ewing began earning $3500 in 1886, and then made $4500 in 1888.

Mutrie had just died, on January 24, 1938; and Welch said he couldn’t “imagine what would have happened to their friendship” had he ever held out on his “great pal.”

And, as for the Yankees current holdout:

“This DiMaggio, now, he’s no super player. He’s a low-ball hitter and we would have pitched to him in my day. He never would have seen a ball like that one he knocked out of the park on Cliff Melton.”

DiMaggio hit a home run in game five of the 1937 World Series off of Gants pitcher Melton to give the Yankees a 2 to 0 lead in the third inning—they won the game 4 to 2 and won the series.

Welch summed up his opinion of DiMaggio:

“He’s not half the player that Buck Ewing was.”

Ewing

As for Ewing:

“Now all I want to see is Buck Ewing in this baseball Hall of Fame. There’s a man who was 100 years ahead of his time.”

Addie’s “False Rise”

8 Oct

A syndicated article that first appeared in The Cleveland News said of Addie Joss, then coming off his fourth straight 20-win season:

Addie Joss

“The Cleveland twirling star has batters guessing with his ‘false rise’ ball. The ‘false rise’ is not new. It was a favorite with (Old Hoss) Radbourne [sic] and at various times since that star’s day pitchers having great speed have had the ‘false rise’ in their repertoire.

“The ‘false rise’ is delivered as a straight ball, thrown overhand and released when the hand is at the crown of the arc…The ball is thrown with a sharp backward spin, caused by whipping the fingers downward as the ball leaves the hand.”

Joss’ “False Rise”

Joss’ pitch, “shoots down an inclined plane,” for 55 feet, then, “breaks from the downward to the horizontal.”

The article went on to describe the optical illusion caused by the Magnus effect which makes the ball not drop as rapidly and appear to rise. The pitch:

“When mixed with his curve, fast ball, fadeaway, and slow one, the ‘false rise’ gives Joss a box of tricks unequaled by any other man in the business. And when his calculating brain is added, the human weather strip becomes perhaps the most dangerous pitcher in baseball.”

Ewing’s “Study of the Science of Batting”

6 Oct

Buck Ewing, during his final season managing the Cincinnati Reds in 1899, “wrote” a syndicated article regarding his, “study of the science of batting.”

The article introduction said, “young players would do well to study,” Ewing’s conclusions and promised, “many an old League player could better his stick work,” by following Ewing’s advice:

“Footwork has as much to do with successful batting as it has to pugilism. A player who steps away from the plate as he swings at the ball can be put down as an easy victim for an ‘out’ curve, and it is a pitcher with a very poor heads who does not serve up ‘out’ curves in profusion to such a batter.”

Buck “at the Bat”

The Reds manager said even “good batters” and veterans needed to relearn to “overcome this fault,” but said the worst were “college players” who Ewing dismissed as “notoriously weak batters.”

He said when he worked with players to break this habit, he had, “a box built the size of the regular batter’s box with the sides raised high enough to prevent the player form stepping outside.”

Ewing claimed the box was “an original plan” of his and recommended that “college coachers’ adopt its use.

“Just meet it my boy,” was Ewing’s advice. Too many players under his management made the “great mistake” to “swing fiercely.”

Ewing used a player more than a decade removed from professional baseball as the example of the perfect approach to hitting.
 

“A quick, snappy movement is often better than a swing. ‘Lip’ Pike, one of the best batters who ever lived, had this quick wrist movement and, although he apparently made little effort, he made some of th longest hits on record.

“By just meeting the ball, too, a player can master the art of placing the ball with much greater ease than by a terrific blind swing.”

He said pitchers “were always on to the free swingers,” and “put up a slow one (so the batter) cannot get a good smash at sphere.”

Ewing concluded with the promise, that a batter following those two pieces of advice, “will become a 300 percent batter before you know it.”

Ollie Pickering Gets “Discovered”

4 Oct

Ollie Pickering told The Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1902 the lengths he went to get “discovered” and signed to his first professional contract 10 years earlier:

“I went bankrupt buying postage stamps. I wrote to all the managers I ever heard of asking for a job and enclosing stamps for reply. None of them answered, so I pigged it from my home in Olney, Illinois to San Antonio.”

By “pigged it” Pickering meant he jumped a freight train loaded with pigs.

“Sixteen Hundred miles hanging to the brake rods.”

Pickering said he arrived in San Antonio with one stamp left. He sent a letter to John McCloskey who was managing the Houston Mudcats. McCloskey invited him to Houston for a tryout.

Pickering “lived under a sidewalk” in San Antonio and couldn’t raise the money for a ticket, so hopped another freight train.

“These days a player won’t report without advance money, transportation and Pullmans, but the pig train was good enough for me.”

Upon arrival in Houston—Pickering said it was the first day of the season.

Pickering

“I fell off a slow freight at Houston, hunted up McCloskey and said: ‘I’m here.’ He looked me over and said: ‘Who are you?’ ‘I told him, and he sort of gasped. I had a crop of whiskers with clinkers in them, one shoe and what clothes I wore were tied on with ropes and wire.”

Pickering said McCloskey gave him 50 cents and told him to return in the afternoon for his tryout.

“I blew 10 cents at a barber shop and the rest for grub.”

He headed to the ballpark:

“With a meal inside of me and rigged up in a new uniform I felt like a horse. Nothing could stop me.”

Pickering claimed to get seven hits, “In seven times at bat,” in the game in which he was tried out.

“When the excitement cooled down, I strolled around near McCloskey and wondered out loud if I would do. ‘Come here,’ he said. ‘He hustled me downtown, bought me a trunk, suitcase, suit of clothes, shoes, underwear, shirts, collars; in fact, a whole dude outfit and stabled me at a hotel with real beds in it.”

Pickering estimated his manager spent $25 on him.

“I was stuck on being a ballplayer, and that was how I broke into the game. And you know, it was weeks before I could ride in a Pullman car without holding on with both hands.”

How accurate Pickering’s story was is unknown, but Pickering was referred to by The Galveston Daily News within weeks of his arrival in Houston as, “Pickering, the box car artist.” Although The San Antonio Light said years later that Pickering had, “played several games,” with teams in San Antonio before meeting McCloskey in Houston—suggesting he wasn’t as down and out as related in the story.

Pickering bounced around the Southwest before making the major leagues with Louisville Colonels in 1896. He played part of eight major league seasons for six teams. He was th first batter in the American League’s inaugural game; on April 24, 1901, he led off for the Cleveland Blues against Roy Patterson and the White Sox. The Chicago Tribune said:

“Pickering was the first to face him and the first ball of the season was a ‘ball,’ but it was closely followed by a ‘strike’—an American League strike, and not the National League brand…The Pickering raised a high fly which gave (Bill ‘Dummy’) Hoy the first putout of the season.”

Flip-Flap Jones

1 Oct

Oscar “Flip Flap” Jones had a promising rookie season for the Brooklyn Superbas in 1903; he was 19-14 with a 2.94 ERA for the fifth-place club. He was 25-40 over the next two seasons. His major league career was over at age 25; he then spent most of the next decade pitching on the West Coast.

Jones was born in Missouri and as a teenager headed West to pursue his first career: circus performer.

According to Charles Zuber of The Cincinnati Times-Star he was a “trick bicycle rider,” who, “practiced his feats of defying gravitation with small circuses in the Southwest.”

Jones’ act included:

“Leaping over elephants—when the sheriffs allowed the shows to have the animals for awhile—horses, barrels, etc…was one of (his) favorite pastimes, and attired in pink or plae blue tights, he was one of the stars of the Arizona-New Mexico circuit.”

Jones found his way to baseball, according to The Cleveland Press when he realized, “if there is one thing harder than smashing rock, it’s circus life. So, Jones when a minor league manager told him that he saw in him the making of a great pitcher, quickly hocked his wheels and shook the sawdust.”

Zuber said, although Jones was two-years removed from circus life when he arrived in Brooklyn, he was earning a “black mark” with umpires and ultimately earned his nickname, because of some stunts he brought with him from his big top days.

Jones

“Jones’ crime, for which he has been banished on more than one occasion, consists of turning somersaults, forward or back, whenever an umpire gives a decision that has a yellow hue to it and incidentally is a handicap to the Brooklyn team.”

In addition to performing to annoy the umpires, The Brooklyn Times-Union reported during Jones’ rookie season that the pitcher would often coach first base and “amuse the crowd…by Turing back flips.”

Zuber noted that “in the old days” Arlie Latham “would fall down as though dead when a rank decision was handed down,” Jones brought a new flair to Latham’s act with, “gymnastics, cartwheels and handsprings…he worse the decision the greater the number of flip-flops and things he performs.”

Upon his return to the West Coast, Jones won 70 games over two seasons (1906 and 1907) with the Seattle Siwashes and San Francisco Seals in the Pacific Coast League. He also continued to perform when coaching first base.

He pitched through 1914 and later opened a tire store in Los Angeles. Later he operated an auto repair shop in Kansas, and eventually settled in Texas.

While Jones’ circus and bike riding career (he also competed in bicycle races pre-baseball) was over by the time he was 21, and he spent 12 years as a professional ballplayer, his former career was the lede of his obituary; baseball a side note.

He died in Fort Worth, Texas in 1953. The Star-Telegram said:

“He won the title of fastest bicyclist in a contest on the West Coast when he was 17.

“Jones at one time was an acrobat with Ringling Brothers and Barnum Baily Circus. He also was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox [sic].”

“We didn’t kill Albert”

29 Sep

Eddie Collins said of teammate Charles “Chief” Bender:

“I rate Bender among the first five American League hurlers, and he gets this place because he made pitching a fine art. He mastered every natural form of delivery but never bothered with spitters or other trick styles. Both (Joe) Wood and (Walter) Johnson had far more speed, (Jack) Coombs and (Jim) Scott better curves, and (Addie) Joss and (Doc) White more deceptive ‘slow balls,’ but I never saw anyone who could toss all styles with the skill that ‘Chief’ exhibited.”

Collins was “writing” a series of syndicated articles for The North American Newspaper Alliance in 1927:

Collins

Bender’s mechanics made him great, but were “only a part” of his success as “anchor” of Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics pitching staff fir 12 seasons:

“He knew the strength and weakness of every batter; his control was superb, and he possessed such a wealth of courage that facing the strongest teams afforded him his greatest pleasure.”

Collins—who like Mack usually called the pitcher by his middle name, Albert–said Mack favored Bender as his choice in “a single all-important game,” over any other pitcher—born out, he said because Bender pitched the opener in four World Series. Bender was 2-2 in those games, but one loss was a 2-1 loss to Christy Mathewson and the Giants in a game Bender struck out 11. Of the other, against the Brave in 1914, Collins noted:

“The Braves batted him off the slab. Everything went wrong for us in that series anyway.”

Mack also relied on Bender when an exhibition game suddenly became a matter of American League pride.

“After the close of our season in the Fall of ’09 we made an exhibition tour to the coast. On the way we stopped to play the famous Cubs in Chicago. Reaching there we found that this game assumed more importance than attached to an ordinary exhibition. Chicago had always been a good American League territory, but (Frank) Chance had a great team and the White Sox had not done well that season, and the American League supporters were very anxious that we win.”

Mack addressed Bender in front of his teammates:

“Albert, you know you are to pitch. Now Albert, I have asked you to win some important games for me and you never failed. I want you to bring me this game.”

The Athletics beat the Cubs 2 to 0. Ring Lardner of The Chicago Tribune Said:

Bender

“The Cubs lost because Big Chief Bender wouldn’t let them hit.”

 Bender held Chicago to two singles in the victory.

Bender did, said Collins, have weaknesses:

“He was not as strong as (Ed) Walsh, (Jack) Chesbro, Coombs and other great pitchers, and for that reason, and also because any time any batter, however great, made a hit off his delivery he thought the batter was lucky; he never wanted to waste a ball. His system was to throw all strikes, if possible…Occasionally after having the batter 2-0 he would throw one in the groove and get away with it. Then he would return to the bench and grin with great satisfaction.”

His penchant to “grove one” could be costly, Collins said. In game four of the 1913 World Series, Bender was cruising to a victory with a 6-0 lead heading into the seventh inning:

“Two men got on with two out when Fred Merkle came up. ‘Chief’ had just whiffed catcher (Art) Wilson, and was bent on showing up Merkle, who was a corking good hitter, as everyone knew, but who could do little with Bender when the ‘Chief” was careful.”

After getting two strikes on Merkle, and despite “the protests of (catcher) Ira Thomas,” Bender threw:

“A pitch that came across the letters on his shirt Merkle could hit a mile. He just naturally lost that ball and the Giants had three runs.”

Bender held on to win 6 to 5, and as a result, Collins said:

“(W)e didn’t kill Albert.”

“A Trick Which is as Ancient as Baseball”

27 Sep

James Kennedy, the editor of The Alliance (OH) Daily Leader, in 1906, “contributed another to the growing fund of yarns about Mike ‘King’ Kelly.”

Unlike most Kelly stories of tricks sprung on the field, he was on the wrong end of this one.

Kelly

“It was a Fourth of July, back in the later 80s. Boston was playing in Cleveland, with the $20,000 pair, Clarkson and Kelly, in full bloom.”

Cleveland pounded Old Hoss Radbourn and held an 11-4 lead:

“Along about the seventh inning Kel smashed a double to left, just making second. (Cleveland second baseman) Cub (Stricker) held the ball a minute, after it was thrown in, then deliberately walked it up to the Cleveland pitcher and reached out the ball at arm’s length. The pitcher seemed to take it, walked back to the box, and began the usual series of contortions which preceded his delivery.

“Kelly took a good lead off second, Cub bringing a laugh to the fans by lock-stepping him until they were almost halfway to third. Then the little, diminutive, red-headed second baseman lifted his arm and dealt Kelly a resounding whack between the should with the ball.”

Kennedy said it took Kelly:

Cub Stricker

“(A)bout five minutes to realize that Cub had caught him on a trick which is as ancient as baseball.”

Kennedy said Kelly then, “went clear down to second to shake hands with Cub and admit that the horse was on him.”

Unlike so many stories told nearly three decades after the fact, Kennedy was right on nearly every detail.

The game did take place on the fourth of July, in 1889. The second game of a double header—Clarkson and Boston had shut out the Spiders in the first game.

In the bottom of the seventh, down seven runs, Kelly doubled, driving in Dick Johnston to make the score 11 to 5.

The Boston Globe described what happened next:

“While Mike was loafing off second, Stricker stole up to second and put his man out. The crowd yelled for a minute and Kelly then ran to the bench with his head down.”

 The Beaneaters lost the game 11 to 7.

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