Tag Archives: Pete Childs

Lost Pictures–Pete Childs

9 Mar

A good detective story.

In February, I told the story of Peter Pierre Childs’ one-pitch triple play while he was the manager and occasional relief pitcher for the Portsmouth Cobblers in the Ohio State League in 1910.  While I was able to locate a picture of Childs with Portsmouth, I could not find a high-quality image of him in a major league uniform.  The only one I was aware of was a grainy photo included with Childs’ one-sentence biography in Wikipedia.

After I posted the story, I received an email from Mark Fimoff, co-chair SABR Pictorial History Committee. Mark is one of the foremost baseball photograph researchers and has helped me identify players in photographs in the past.

He has recently discovered two photographs of Childs that have been misidentified for more than 100 years.

petechilds petechildschidailynews2

The pictures are part of the collection from The Chicago Daily News.  The paper, and subsequently, the Library of Congress and the Chicago History Museum misidentified Childs (and also got the year wrong) until Mark discovered the error.

The listings for the pictures say:

“Baseball player Delhanty [sic] standing on a baseball field.”

And

“Baseball player Delhanty [sic] bending forward with hands on his knees standing on a baseball field.”

“Delhanty” is Jim Delahanty, who played with Childs on the 1901 Chicago Orphans.

jimdelahanty

Delahanty

pchilds

Pete Childs

Pete Childs

The listings for the photos also say they were taken in 1906.  Mark said, based on the uniform and the centerfield clubhouse visible in the photos—the wood structure pictured was replaced with a brick structure in 1905—the photos could not be from 1906.  Neither Childs nor Delahanty played with Chicago in any season other than 1901–so the photo was taken sometime between mid-July and October of 1901.

—–

 Childs was acquired by the Orphans in July after he was released by the St. Louis Cardinals.  He replaced Cupid Childs (no relation), who had been released by Chicago a week earlier, at second base.

Pete Childs was an upgrade in the field but hit just .229, 29 points lower than his predecessor, Cupid Childs.

The Chicago Inter Ocean said:

“Pete Childs is the best thing, in a fielding sense, Chicago has had since the days of (Fred) Pfeffer.  It is a mystery how a man who moves so fast after a grounder can move so slow in going down to first.  It is probable that Motionless Peter stands on his heels when batting, and that he thus heaves a mound of earth under his hoofs, blocking his passage, when he scoots, and materially jarring his batting average.”

Pete Childs was released by Chicago at the end of the 1901 season.

Pete Childs’ Pitch

27 Feb

After seven seasons in the minor leagues, 29-year-old Peter Pierre “Pete” Childs made his debut with the St. Louis Cardinals had a brief big league career as a second baseman with the Cardinals. Chicago Orphans and Philadelphia Phillies in 1901 and ’02.

Pete Childs

Pete Childs

He then returned to the minor leagues for more than a decade and became manager with the Portsmouth Cobblers in the Ohio State League, where he also played infield and occasionally pitched in relief.  It was as a member of the Cobblers where he had, arguably, the most efficient relief appearance in the history of organized baseball.

On June 18, 1910, Portsmouth was losing 4 to 3 to the Marion Diggers when the diggers came to bat in the bottom of the eighth.  Portsmouth pitcher Frank Harter gave up four hits and hit a batter; the Cobblers also committed an error.  Three runs had scored and the bases were loaded with no one out.

With his team down 7 to 3 The Marion Star said the manager and second baseman “Childs essayed to do the pitching and traded places with Harter.”

With the bases loaded, Childs faced Marion outfielder William Colligan. He threw one pitch.  The Portsmouth Evening Times said:

“Colligan smashed the first ball to the fence in center field, and (Portsmouth’s Frank) O’Day went up against the fence and made the catch with one hand.  (Emmett “Turk”) Reilly had gone to second and (August “Gus”) Epler counted from third.”

O’Day threw to the cutoff man, Wesley Hornung; he threw to first to put out Reilly, who stood on second with teammate Al Hummel, and first baseman William Scudder threw to third baseman Ed Conwell for the triple play.

The 1910 Portsmouth Cobblers, Manager Pete Childs 7.  Wesley Hornung 1, Frank Harter 4, William Scudder 5, Frank O'Day 8 and Ed Conwell 16.

The 1910 Portsmouth Cobblers, Manager Pete Childs 7. Wesley Hornung 1, Frank Harter 4, William Scudder 5, Frank O’Day 8 and Ed Conwell 16.

Despite the triple play, Childs’ Cobblers dropped a doubleheader that day but went on to win the Ohio State League championship with an 86-52 record.  Childs won three championships during his five seasons as Portsmouth’s manager.