Tag Archives: Jimmy Lavender

“Many say he was so Modest he Hated to have his Picture Taken”

30 Mar

In the winter of 1918 Malcolm MacLean of The Chicago Evening Post wrote about the peculiar reactions of a few players to photographers:

“It may happen that a pitcher does a phenomenal streak of work and his photo should run.  It may be the only one of him in stock that has been used time and again—so often, in fact, that it is all but worn out.

“Hence it is necessary for a photographer to snap said fellow’s photo on the ball field.  Ninety-nine times out of a hundred this is a pipe. Yet there are exceptions.”

MacLean said he recalled a handful if examples of players refusing:

“In practically every case it was that uncanny thing known as ‘baseball superstition’ that made it difficult, almost impossible, to get them to pose.

(Urban) Red Faber, of the White Sox, on two occasions (during the 1917 season) lost ball games after he had been snapped.  So he announced his intention of refusing to pose again until the White Sox won the American League championship.  Another member of the Sox, Charles (Swede) Risberg, joined him in the declaration. And they stuck to it.

Red Faber

Red Faber

“The day after the title was clinched both Faber and Risberg were among the easiest fellows on the squad to photograph.  In their case it was ‘superstition’ and we don’t know they could be blamed.  If a player keeps winning, only to have the streak smashed the day his photo is taken, well we have an idea we’d do the same thing.”

MacLean said during Rube Marquard’s 19-game winning streak the Giants’ pitcher refused to allow a Chicago photographer to take his picture.  MacLean said he and a cameraman approached the pitcher on July 8, 1912:

 “’Nothing doing,’ he said.  ‘Come around any time you want after I’ve lost a game and you’re welcome to all you want.’  It so happened that Rube lost that day, Jimmy Lavender hanging the bee on him, and the following afternoon Rube posed and posed and posed.”

MacLean said Jim Thorpe was a particularly difficult subject to photograph when he began his major league career, but not due to superstition:

“When Thorpe first came to Chicago with the Giants, he was the most widely advertised athlete in the world.  He was fresh from his triumphs in Sweden on the track field and from the gridiron at Carlisle.

“Many say he was so modest he hated to have his picture taken.  At any rate, many a film and plate was wasted on him because he would turn his face away, throw up his arm in front of him, or do something also to ruin the exposure.”

Jim Thorpe--Airedale fan

Jim Thorpe

Another difficult member of the Giants was catcher John “Chief” Meyers, who MacLean said would brush past photographers, saying:

“’Aw, you’ve got all of me you want,’ It was decidedly exasperating, especially when publicity is what helps keep major leaguers in the majors.”

Two other oft-photographed pitchers had their own particular quirks.

MacLean said:

“It will surprise many to learn that Ed Walsh, of the White Sox…refused to pose on the day he was expected to pitch…Few men were snapped so frequently as Ed when he was in his prime, yet we venture to say no man ever got a photo of him—when Ed knew it—on the day he was to work.

Eddie Plank, of the Athletics…was one of the easiest of all men to photograph, but it was exceedingly difficult to get a good one of him.  The reason was he kept tossing stones at the camera or twisting up his face in some farcical fashion.  And when other players were being taken Ed would throw peddles at them, trying to have them distort their faces.”

Eddie Plank

Eddie Plank

Lost Advertisements–“Yell For Your Team–And Help Them Win”

6 Dec

cubssoxmegaphoneA 1912 advertisement for a free megaphone available from “the driver of any one of The Chicago Examiner automobiles at ballpark.”

The Chicago Cubs and White Sox played 25 City Series’ between 1903 and 1942 (not including their World Series in 1906).  The first, in 1903 ended in a tie–both teams winning seven games before the series was forced to end because the player’s contracts had expired.  The Cubs won in 1905 and 1909, but the Sox won 18 of the next 22.

The 1912 series began with a 0-0 tie.  White Sox pitcher “Big Ed” Walsh held the Cubs to just one hit–a Joe Tinker double.   Cubs pitcher Jimmy Lavender held the Sox to six.

The highlight of the game came in the second inning.  With “Ping” Bodie on third and Rollie Zeider at bat.  The Chicago Tribune said:

“Zeider took a spitter for one ball, then hit the second for a high bounder to (Heinie) Zimmerman.  Bodie tried to score, but Zimmerman ran in stabbed the ball with his bare hand and got Bodie at the plate.”

The picture shows where Zimmerman was playing Zeider (B) and where he fielded the ball (A).

The picture shows where Zimmerman was playing Zeider (B) and where he fielded the ball (A).  Ping Bodie is tagged out by Cubs catcher Jimmy Archer.

The second game of the series also ended in a tie, 3 to 3.  The Cubs then won three straight, but the White Sox came back and won four in a row to take the series.

The 31-year-old Walsh, who was 27-17 in 62 games (41 starts, 32 complete games) and 393 innings pitched,  appeared in six games for the Sox, starting four.  He would only win 13 more games over parts of the next five seasons.

cubssoxmegaphone1912

1912 Cubs/Sox Megaphone coupon from The Chicago Examiner