Tag Archives: Filling in the Blanks

Filling in the Blanks—O’Laughlin, 1913 Owensboro Distillers

2 Oct

Baseball Reference lists “O’Laughlin” with the Owensboro Distillers of the Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee (Kitty) League.

”William “Bud” O’Laughlin (misspelled O’Loughlin by some sources) was born near Owensboro, Kentucky in 1888 and became a well-known amateur and industrial league player for teams in Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana. In 1913 he played third base for the Owensboro Distillers in the Kitty League and the following year was, for a time, with the Evansville River Rats in the Central League, but he apparently did not appear in any games with the team.

On January 16 of 1918 O’Laughlin became one of several professional players who shared a similar cause of death; shot by a jealous husband.

The Lexington Herald said O’Laughlin was on the street in Boonville, Indiana with a woman when he was approached by a man named Clyde Barnhill:

“O’Laughlin was in the company of Barnhill’s wife and they were on the way to a show when it is alleged that the woman’s husband walked behind the couple and fired a bullet into O’Laughlin’s head.  He fired two bullets at his wife who fled down the street.”

O’Laughlin died early the following morning.

The Cincinnati Enquirer said:

“After Barnhill was caught and overpowered he attempted to shoot himself…there were cries of ‘Lynch him, lynch him’ from the mob that gathered on the streets.”

The Indianapolis Star said that Barnhill “will plead the ‘unwritten law.’ It is said Mrs. Barnhill was insanely in love with her husband’s victim.”

Newspapers in Kentucky and Indiana reported all the scandalous details two months later when Barnhill stood trial for killing O’Laughlin, who The (Hopkinsville) Kentucky New Era called “a favorite with Kitty League players.”

Barnhill testified that he simply approached O’Laughlin and his wife to “compromise the matter” when “O’Laughlin turned and put his hand in his pocket to pull a thirty-eight-caliber blue steel revolver…It was a question of who shot first.”  As for shooting at his unarmed wife, Barnhill said “I guess I was crazed.”

After 17 hours of deliberation the jury found Barnhill guilty of manslaughter; The Indianapolis News said: “The defendant was well pleased with the light verdict and was congratulated by  numerous friends after it was read.” He was sentenced to serve from two to twenty-one years in prison.

O’Laughlin, the former Kitty Leaguer is buried in Boonville.

Note: Baseball Reference lists a “Bud O’Loughlin” with an incorrect death date of January 19, 1915  in Booneville (Sic), Indiana as a member of the 1911 Spokane Indians in the Northwestern League—that O’Loughlin was a pitcher, and it is highly unlikely he is the same player.  (This same incorrect date and misspelled town appeared in The Sporting Life in 1916)

Filling in the Blanks, Pearson, Minneapolis Millers, 1884

18 Apr

Baseball Reference lists “Pearson” as a pitcher for the Minneapolis Millers in the Northwestern League in 1884.

Edward Pool Pearson’s professional career was brief and ended dramatically.

Born in Waterloo, New York in 1859, Pearson attended Hobart College, where he studied mathematics.

He pitched three seasons with the Hobart team—his battery mate there was James Adelbert McCauley, who also made his professional debut with the Millers in 1884, and went on to play with the St. Louis Browns, Buffalo Bisons, Chicago White Stockings and Brooklyn Grays in the National League and American Association.

jim McCauley, Pearson's teammate at Hobart and with Minneapolis

jim McCauley, Pearson’s teammate at Hobart and with Minneapolis

Pearson was 5-7 with a 1.54 ERA in 13 appearances with the Millers when he took the mound to pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers on August 7.  According to The Associated Press:

“Pearson, the pitcher for the Minneapolis Club, while delivering the ball, broke his arm above the elbow.  It broke with a snapping sound that could be heard all over the diamond, the ball rolling along the grass to the Captain’s line.  Pearson uttered a loud cry of pain and fell to the ground.  He was immediately carried to a doctor’s office, where the broken bone was set…The accident will necessitate his retirement from the diamond, as he has no desire to ever play ball again.”

After the injury he  returned to Hobart, graduated in 1885 and received a Master’s Degree in 1889.  Pearson died in 1932.

Filling in the Blanks—Eastman, Huntington 1913

18 Feb

Baseball Reference lists “Eastman” as a player with the 1913 Huntington Blue Sox in the Ohio State League— he quickly became one of the biggest baseball stories in the spring of 1913, and just as quickly disappeared from the game.

George A. Eastman was born in South Dakota.  In 1862 his grandfather was one of the 284 Santee Sioux warriors who participated in the  Dakota War and  had their death sentences commuted by Abraham Lincoln—38 others were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota.

His father John Eastman was a farmer and Presbyterian minister in Flandreau, South Dakota and his uncle, Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman was a prominent writer, nationally known lecturer and activist.

Exactly when Eastman began playing baseball is unclear, but in 1912 he played on a semi-pro team in Sisseton, South Dakota with former Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher Homer Hillebrand.  According to The Pittsburgh Gazette-Times Hillebrand “Considered him very promising material,” and recommended Eastman to Pirate manager Fred Clarke, the paper said “Clarke says Indian players are the style, and the Pittsburgh club will be in style.”

George Eastman in Hot Springs, 1913

George Eastman in Hot Springs, 1913

When Eastman joined the Pirates in Hot Springs, Arkansas, The Gazette-Times, who of course dubbed him “Chief,” said:

“Eastman is a well built fellow, from the baseball standpoint.  He is 5 feet 10 ½ inches tall, weighs 150 pounds and is very fast.”

The paper said Eastman’s preacher father “does not know much about baseball, and does not think very well of it as a profession.”

A shortstop, Eastman quickly became the source of great interest in Hot Springs.  The Associated Press said even the Pirates best player took notice:

“Honus Wagner has taken more than a passing interest in the Indian Chief Eastman.  (Wagner) isn’t given to indulging in extravagant statements and when he says a recruit is a ‘mighty good ballplayer’ it means something…and he added that “chief throws like Mickey Doolan (Doolin) and fields just like Jack Miller.”

Honus Wagner

Honus Wagner

The Associated Press said:

“(A) Sioux Indian is burning up things around short field at Hot Springs with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Fred Clarke probably will retain him as an understudy to Hans Wagner.”

The Sporting Life thought he was bound for stardom:

“The Pittsburgh players are very enthusiastic over George Eastman, the Sioux Indian player, now being tried out at short. They say that he is a wonderful natural ball player, including hitting ability. They say he is sure of a place on the team, as he can play most any position and can ‘outhit Larry Lajoie.’

Despite the fanfare, Eastman did not make the team and was released to the Steubenville Stubs of the Interstate League.  It’s unclear whether Eastman ever appeared in a game with Steubenville, and was returned to the Pirates in early May; he was then sent to Huntington for the remainder of the 1913 season.

Eastman hit .210 in 57 games for Huntington.  There is an Eastman who appeared in 18 games in the Central League in 1914, but there’s no evidence that it’s George Eastman, who is never mentioned in connection with professional baseball again.

In fact, the trail for Eastman goes cold from the end of the 1913 until 1937 when he became the first tribal president of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.  He served seven terms as tribal president before his death in 1954.

George Eastman, circa 1937

George Eastman, circa 1937

Filling in the Blanks—Dooley, 1896 Bridgeport Victors

7 Sep

Baseball Reference lists “Dooley”on the roster of the Bridgeport Victors, managed by Hall of Famer Jim O’Rourke, of the Naugatuck Valley League.

Philip Dooley was a 23 year old third baseman playing his first season of professional baseball.  Born in Bridgeport, he had played semi-pro ball the last several years while working for the Bridgeport Gas Company.  According to the Bridgeport Evening Post and Sporting Life Dooley was “The best amateur third baseman in the state.”

On June 6, 1896 Dooley was on a boat with friends on a local reservoir when, it was reported, the boat capsized “(D)ue to the recklessness of his companions in rocking the boat.”   Accounts varied, with some saying Dooley’s companions were able to swim to shore, other saying they were rescued.  In either case, Dooley was unable to get to shore and drowned.

Bridgeport Manager “Orator Jim” O’Rourke

Filling in the Blanks–D. Rambo

22 Aug

Baseball Reference lists D. Rambo as a first baseman for Greenville in the South Atlantic League in 1919, and for St. Petersburg and Tampa in the Florida State League during the 1920s.

Dexter Lovelle “Legs” Rambo was born in Sumter, South Carolina on April 10, 1900.

Rambo hit .146 in 13 games with Greenville in 1919 and became one of the original St. Petersburg Saints in 1920.

An excellent fielder with a weak bat, Rambo was a fan favorite in St. Petersburg and played on and off for the Saints until the team disbanded after the 1928 season.

Rambo was also was a pioneer in the popularization of “Diamond Ball” or softball in Florida.  Rambo managed and played for the St. Petersburg Saints Diamond Ball team throughout the 1930s, including the state championship team in 1931.

Dexter Rambo (Standing 5th from left) with his Florida State Diamond Ball Championship team

Rambo worked for the United States Post office until his death on September 2, 1952 in St. Petersburg.

Filling in the Blanks-J Palatas

8 Aug

Baseball Reference lists J Palatas as an outfielder for the 1942 Washington Red Birds in the Pennsylvania State Association, hitting .278 in 107 games.

Joseph M. Palatas, a Cleveland native, born in 1921, entered the service in September of 1942 and served as a Flight Officer with the 325th Bomb Squadron.

Joseph Palatas, standing third from left

On April 11, 1944 Palatas was wounded when his plane was shot down over Germany.  He managed to bail out with the rest of his crew despite being badly injured.  Palatas was captured and died of his injuries the same day.

Filling in the Blanks–Felts

27 Jul

A semi-regular feature providing more biographical information for a player who lacks a complete profile on Baseball Reference.

For the 1927 Hattiesburg and Meridian Mississippi teams in the Cotton States League, Baseball Reference lists a player simply as “Felts” as playing for both teams.

Every college football fan in America in 1931 knew that the Felts who played in the Cotton States League was All-American Tulane Fullback Nollie C. “Papa” Felts.  That time in the Cotton States ended his collegiate career.

Felts was in the midst of his 2nd career in college football in 1931.  Born February 7, 1905, he had captained the Southern Mississippi football team in 1923, also lettering in baseball and basketball.  Felts left Southern Mississippi to become a teacher and raise a family, and took time out in the summer of 1927 to play 20 games in the Cotton States League.

Nollie Felts

In 1930 Tulane offered Felts a scholarship to play football and attend medical school.  Felts became captain and earned All-American honors in 1931 leading Tulane to an 11-0 record in the regular season and losing 21-12 to National Champions USC in the Rose Bowl.

 Felts’ football career ended the next season.  He was forced to miss the Green Wave’s first game of 1932 with Texas A&M when the Southern Conference ruled him ineligible because of his 20 game career in professional baseball.  Felts claimed he had not been paid by either Hattiesburg or Meridian, an assertion that was confirmed by team and Cotton States League officials, and appealed the decision. The Southern Conference executive committee unanimously rejected Felts’ appeal and he was declared permanently ineligible.

Without Felts Tulane finished the 1932 season 6-2-1, including their first loss since 1926 to in state rival LSU.

Felts turned down several offers to play professional football, opting to finish medical school. He practiced medicine in Hattiesburg, Mississippi until death on November 1, 1974.