Tag Archives: Harry Hooper

“When I first tried the sunfield I looked like a big boob”

12 Sep

Harold “Speed” Johnson of The Chicago Herald asked:

“Does playing the sun field effect a ballplayer’s batting eye?

“’Yes,’ comes the answer in chorus!

Speed Johnson

Speed Johnson

“Diamond greats who have played the sunfield year after year…say the fellows who must go and get ‘em while looking Old Sol squarely in the face are bound to be handicapped in batting.

“The players who stand in the sun pasture then have to go to the plate immediately are especially handicapped gauging pitched balls.

“Sunfielders who hit .265 would clout 25 points higher each year if assigned to other fields, veterans declare…“The American League’s most difficult sunfields are in the parks at Chicago, Boston, St. Louis, Detroit and Philadelphia.  How Sam Crawford, playing the garden in Detroit for ages, has managed to keep above the .300 mark is one of the wonders of the national pastime.”

Harry Hooper of the Red Sox agreed, and told Johnson:

“’When I first tried the sunfield in 1909 I looked like a big boob.  I missed the first fly ball batted my way by 20 feet.  Fred Lake, our manager, decided I wouldn’t do and put me in left field.’

“’Later, I mastered the sunfield job, but about four years ago my eyes troubled me.  An oculist said I had strained both eyes by looking into the sun…I wore glasses for a year…My eyes haven’t troubled me, however, since I adopted the sunglasses invented by Fred Clarke.  Before I donned them I had to ‘take’ the first ball pitched whether I wanted to or not, after stepping directly from the outfield to the plate.’”

Hooper

Hooper

Hooper continued playing for the next decade for two clubs, the Red Sox and Chicago White Sox, with two of the most “difficult sunfields” in the American League.  He hit .300 or better four times and ended his career with a .281 average;  by Johnson’s estimation, the Hall of Famer would have hit around .306 if he spent his career in left field.

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Lost Pictures–An Off Day

10 Aug

ruthfosterIn August of 1917, the Boston Red Sox were in the midst of a pennant race;  they battled the Chicago White Sox all season long and the race remained tight through August.  But there was always time for fishing, wrote Paul Purman, of The Newspaper Enterprise Association;

“An off day sounds just as good to a big league ballplayer as to anyone else, especially if the off day isn’t rainy, for on rainy days they generally have to hang around the hotel lobbies, which isn’t very good sport anytime.

“A number of the Red Sox are ardent fishermen and on off days you may usually find them at some lake pursuing the elusive bass.

“old clothes, and in some cases, almost no clothes are in order on those Izaak Walton excursionists, but the day is a big rest and the players are usually ready for a strenuous time on the ball field the next day.

“Babe Ruth is one of the club’s most enthusiastic sportsmen.  In the summer he fishes at every opportunity, although he doesn’t forget to report on the days he is to pitch as that other southpaw, Rube Waddell used to do.  Rube Foster and Harry Hooper are other members of the team who prefer fishing to other recreations.”

bosstaff

Foster, left, with Red Sox pitchers Carl Mays, Ernie Shore, Ruth, and Dutch Leonard.

The Red Sox finished in second place, nine games behind the White Sox.

 

Lost Advertisements–Lajoie for Nuxated Iron

7 Aug

lajoienuxated

 

Not to be outdone by Ty Cobb, Harry Hooper and Joe Jackson who also endorsed the new “miracle drug” from DAE Health Laboratories in Detroit in 1916, Napoleon Lajoie took his turn in an advertisement for Nuxated Iron.

Napoleon Lajoie–World’s Greatest Veteran Baseball Player–‘Comes Back’ says Nuxated Iron Has Given him Tremendous New Force, Power and Endurance After 23 Years’ Service He Can Now Go Through The Hardest Game Without Fatigue–Physicians’s Opinion

Lajoie’s testimonial for the product said:

“When a man gets past forty, some people seem to think he is finished, especially where athletics are concerned.  But I believe the way I play today proves that the strength, vitality and youthful ginger which are the chief assets of young fellows, can be possessed to just as a great a degree by a man of my age if he keeps his body full of iron.  Nuxated Iron has put the ‘pep of youth’ into my whole body.”

Most doctors disagreed with Lajoie’s assessment.

The Journal of the American Medical Association took notice of the Nuxated Iron ad campaign and in October of 1916 had this to say about the “miracle drug:”

“Newspapers whose advertising ethics are still in the formative stage have, for some months past, been singing—at so much a song—the praised of “Nuxated Iron.”  The public has been that this nostrum is what makes Ty Cobb, “the greatest baseball batter of all time,” a “winner” and is what helped Jess Willard “to whip Frank Moran” besides being the “untold secret” of Willard’s “great triumph over Jack Johnson.”

All that DAE would say about the ingredients were:

“Formula—The valuable blood, nerve force and tissue building properties of this preparation are due to organic iron in the form of ferrum peptonate in combination with nux vomica (strychnine) phosphoglycerate and other valuable ingredients.

But alas, The AMA Journal was not impressed with the claims made by Nuxated Iron’s endorsements:

“The Journal felt that it owed it to the public to find out just how much iron and nux vomica there were in ‘Nuxated Iron.’  Packages of the nostrum…were subjected to analysis.”

What the analysis found was that the formula that made Ty Cobb a “winner,” offered no health benefits:

“There is only one-twenty-fifth of a grain of iron in each ‘Nuxated Iron’ tablet, while the amount of nux vomica…is practically negligible…In a dollar bottle of ‘Nuxated Iron’ the purchaser gets, according to our analysis, less than 2 ½ grams of iron; in 100 Blaud’s Pills, which can be purchased at any drug store for from 50 to 75 cents, there are 48 grains of iron.”

To sum up their analysis The Journal called the claims made by Nuxated Iron “the sheerest advertising buncombe.”

Cobb was said to have earned as much as $1000 for his endorsement, there is no record of what Lajoie was paid.

Nuxated Iron remained on the market until at least 1921; although by then they had sought a higher power to endorse the product.

Portions of this post appeared in one about the Cobb advertisement for Nuxated Iron, published February 15, 2013.

 

Lost Advertisements–“The World’s Best Pitchers Recommend…”

8 Jul

adreach

A 1910 advertisement for Reach Baseball Goods  “The World’s Best Pitchers Recommend Reach Balls”–from International Book & Stationary Co. in El Paso, Texas.  The ad features “Detroit’s Great Pitcher,” George Mullin, “Another Detroit Expert,” Ed Willett (Misspelled Willetts in the ad), and “Athletics’ Left Hand Star,” Harry Krause.

In 1909, the 20-year-old Krause, who had been 1-1 in four appearances with the Athletics in 1908, became the talk of baseball when he opened the season with 10 straight victories–including six shutouts.  A San Francisco native who played under Hal Chase and was a teammate of Hall of Famer Harry Hooper at St. Mary’s College, Krause was asked by The Oakland Tribune what led to success:

“That’s easy.  A capable manager in Connie Mack, one of the best pitching tutors in the world in Ed Plank, fairly good control on my part and lots of luck.”

The Tribune‘s scouting report on Krause:

“He has a good curve, but many pitchers in the league have a better one.  He has speed, but any number of American League twirlers have more smoke than he.  However, there are very few twirlers, whether right or left-handers, who can equal him in control of the ball.

“He doesn’t appear to have much to the opposing batters when they first face him, but when the game is over they wonder how it came to pass that he let them down with three or four hits and no runs.”

Harry Krause

Harry Krause

On July 18 his luck ran out, Krause dropped his first game of the season, an 11-inning, 5 to 4 loss to the St. Louis Browns.

He went just 8-7 (with one shutout) the rest of the season, but led the league with a 1.39 ERA.

He appeared in only 55 more games over three seasons, winning 17 and losing 20, before a sore arm ended his major league career at age 23.

He finished the 1912 season in the American Association with the Toledo Mud Hens, then returned to California and pitched for 15 seasons in the Pacific Coast League (with a one-season detour to the western League), where he won 230 games.

Lost Team Photos–Harry Hooper’s 1907 St. Mary’s College Team

13 Jun

1907stmarypix

Harry Hooper, Hall of Fame outfielder for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox (standing, far right), with the 1907 St. Mary’s College team.  The team, often called the best  pre-World War I college ballclub, also included pitcher Harry Krause (center, second from left), and catchers Charlie Enwright (center, second from right), and Ed Burns center, middle)–The San Francisco Chronicle referred to the 5′ 10′ Krause and the 5′ 6″ burns as “the midget battery.”

Coach Hal Chase is in the middle row, far left.

After the team’s final game The San Francisco Call said:

“The Phoenix baseball team of St. Mary’s, satisfied that it has conquered the world, has closed its schedule for the season.”

How good were they?

“Perhaps no California team has ever had a more brilliant career than has the 1907 phoenix.  Pitted 27 times against only first class teams, professional and amateurs, it has escaped from the fray without once having to bow to a foe.  Moreover, but 39 runs have been scored against the Phoenix all season, while the Phoenix players have scored 137.  No team made more than four runs on them, and this occurred but three times.  They have had eight shutouts, eight one run games, seven two run victories (and) one three run contest.”

 

Hooper, left, with Red Sox teammate George "Duffy" Lewis after the 1915 World Series

Hooper, left, with Red Sox teammate George “Duffy” Lewis after the 1915 World Series–the two were also teammates at St. Mary’s in 1906.

Ty Cobb, Joe Jackson, Harry Hooper and Quackery

15 Feb

Baseball history is full of stories of products that have been routinely used in the belief they give players an edge.  Some, like steroids and amphetamines have obvious benefits; others like Power Balance bracelets provide none.

In 1916 advertisements began to appear in newspapers and magazines across the country for a new miracle drug from DAE Health Laboratories in Detroit: Nuxated Iron.

An ad featuring Ty Cobb said “Greatest Baseball Batter of all time says Nuxated Iron filled him with renewed life after he was weakened and all run down.”

Cobb said in the advertisement:

“At the beginning of the present season I was nervous and run down from a bad attack of tonsillitis, but soon the papers began to state ‘Ty Cobb has come back, he is hitting up the old stride.’ The secret was iron—Nuxated Iron filled me with renewed life.

“Now they say I’m worth $50,000 a year to any baseball team.”

cobbnux

Other ads for Nuxated Iron began to appear, featuring boxer Jess Willard, cyclist Freddie Hill and baseball stars Harry Hooper and Joe Jackson.  Hooper said:

“Since I have made Nuxated Iron a part of my regular training, I have found myself possessed of strength, power and stamina to meet the most severe strains.”

Jackson said:

Nuxated Iron certainly makes a man a live wire and gives him the ‘never-say-die strength and endurance.”

The illiterate Jackson added: “When I see in the papers ‘Jackson’s batting was responsible for the Chicago victory,” I feel like adding to it—‘Nuxated Iron puts the power behind the bat and gives the needed punch to every play.’”

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The Journal of the American Medical Association took notice of the Nuxated Iron ad campaign and in October of 1916 had this to say about the “miracle drug:”

“Newspapers whose advertising ethics are still in the formative stage have, for some months past, been singing—at so much a song—the praised of “Nuxated Iron.”  The public has been that this nostrum is what makes Ty Cobb, “the greatest baseball batter of all time,” a “winner” and is what helped Jess Willard “to whip Frank Moran” besides being the “untold secret” of Willard’s “great triumph over jack Johnson.”

All that DAE would say about the ingredients were:

“Formula—The valuable blood, nerve force and tissue building properties of this preparation are due to organic iron in the form of ferrum peptonate in combination with nux vomica (strychnine) phosphoglycerate and other valuable ingredients.

But alas, The AMA Journal was not impressed with the claims made by Nuxated Iron’s endorsements:

“The Journal felt that it owed it to the public to find out just how much iron and nux vomica there were in ‘Nuxated Iron.’  Packages of the nostrum…were subjected to analysis.”

What the analysis found was that the formula that made Ty Cobb a “winner,” offered no health benefits:

“There is only one-twenty-fifth of a grain of iron in each ‘Nuxated Iron’ tablet, while the amount of nux vomica…is practically negligible…In a dollar bottle of ‘Nuxated Iron’ the purchaser gets, according to our analysis, less than 2 ½ grams of iron; in 100 Blaud’s Pills, which can be purchased at any drug store for from 50 to 75 cents, there are 48 grains of iron.”

To sum up their analysis The Journal called the claims made by Nuxated Iron “the sheerest advertising buncombe.”

Contemporary sources said Cobb earned as much as $1000 for his endorsement of Nuxated Iron; there is no record of what Hooper or Jackson were paid, but all three disappeared as paid spokesmen for the product by early 1917.

Nuxated Iron stayed on the market, and stayed in the crosshairs of the AMA until at least 1921.  But by then, the company no longer used baseball players to sing their players.

The 1921 ad campaign for Nuxated Iron sought a higher authority to promote the product’s benefits, and featured a picture of Pope Benedict XV under the headline:

“The Vatican at Rome Recommends Nuxated Iron.”

pope