Tag Archives: A Thousand Words

Hall of Fame Batting Grips

22 Nov

A quick one for Thanksgiving.  The batting grips of  Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Home Run Baker, George Sisler and Tris Speaker:


A Thousand Words–New Orleans Pelicans

13 Nov

Another picture I’ve never seen published before—the 1906 New Orleans Pelicans of the Southern Association.

Top, Left to right.

Bill Phillipshe spent seven seasons in the Major Leagues with a 70-76 record; and won 256 games in a minor league career that began in 1890 and ended in 1909.

Mark “Moxie” Manuelwas said to have appeared as a both a left and right-handed pitcher for New Orleans in 1906 and 07, Manuel was a combined 37-26, earning him a second trip to the Major Leagues in 1908, where he posted a 3-4 record in 18 appearances for the Chicago White Sox.

Milo Stratton—a weak hitting (career .185) catcher who played in the minor leagues from 1903-1914.

William O’Brien—a .215 hitting first baseman in 1905 with the Toronto Maple  Leafs in the Eastern League and with the Pelicans in 1906.

Jake Atz—played for the Washington Senators in 1903 and the Chicago White Sox 1907-1909, a minor league manager for 21 seasons he won more than 1900 games.

Art Brouthers—a third baseman who played in 37 games for the 1906 Philadelphia Athletics, Brouthers managed the 1913 Paducah Indians to the Kitty League championship.  After his baseball career he was a hotel detective in Charleston, South Carolina.

Front, left to right

Whitey GueseGuese had several strong seasons in the minors, but in his lone Major League season with the Cincinnati Reds in 1901 he was 1-4.  The Youngstown Vindicator said, “He is a twirler who belongs to the disappointing species known as ‘morning glories.” And, “Seemingly has a heart like a canary.”

Joe Rickert—“Diamond Joe” Rickert stole 77 bases for the Pelicans in 1904; he played 15 games in the Major Leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Beaneaters.

William Blake—an outfielder with 13 different minor league teams from 1902 to 1910 and native of Louisville, Kentucky, little else is known.

Punch Knoll—another long-time minor league manager.  Knoll appeared in 79 games for the 1905 Washington Senators, he appeared in 3 games as a pinch hitter, collecting one hit, at 48-years-old while managing the Fort Wayne Chiefs in the Central League

Chick Cargo—brother of Major Leaguer Bobby Cargo, Charles “Chick” Cargo was a shortstop and 3rd baseman who played 19 seasons of minor league ball.

George Watt—Watt had three good seasons for the Little Rock Travelers, with a 53-34 record from 1902-1904.  He slipped to 20-37 in 1905-06 with Little Rock and New Orleans.  By 1907 he had dropped from “A” ball to “D” ball with the Zanesville franchise in the Pennsylvania-Ohio-Maryland League.  In 1908 he pitched for the Zanesville Infants in the Central League, was release in August after posting a 6-15 record and disappeared.

Joe Gunson’s Mitt

6 Nov

The photo above was taken in 1939.  Former Major League catcher Joe Gunson was donating the mitt he created in May of 1888 to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Gunson caught for the Kansas City Blues in the Western League and made the mitt after a foul tip split his finger.  He told the Associated Press:

“We had a doubleheader scheduled the next day and Charlie Reynolds, who shared the catching with me, had sustained a similar injury…I got the idea to fashion some kind of glove to protect my hand.”

According to the United Press:

“(Gunson) improvised the mitt from a piece of leather, the belt from a Norfolk jacket, a bit of wire, sheepskin padding, and a buckskin covering.”

When Gunson died three years later the Associated Press and United Press called him the originator of the catcher’s mitt.

Over the years, other newspaper articles credited Albert John “Doc” Bushong with developing the catcher’s mitt.  In 1915, The New York Times said:

“(Bushong) wore the largest glove he could find, an added pads until it looked like a pillow…Out of bushings idea grew the idea of the mitt.”

Bushong’s glove was also mentioned in The Brooklyn Eagle in October of 1887, seven months before Gunson said he made his.

Bushong died in 1908, Gunson lived until 1942—longevity gave him a decided advantage in the number of times he was given credit for the mitt in newspaper articles during the first half of the 20th Century.

Currently, baseball historians remain split over which catcher should get the credit.

The Gunson Mitt

The debate may never be resolved. The most likely answer is that catchers in the 19th Century, who like Gunson, according to The Sporting Life, “has hands which for knots and gnarls rival the famous battered-up paws of Silver Flint,” might well have independently and nearly simultaneously developed equipment to protect their livelihood.

%d bloggers like this: