Tag Archives: Red Dooin

Lost Advertisements–Pat Moran for Sloan’s Liniment

22 May

patmoran

An advertisement that appeared late in the 1919 season featuring Cincinnati Reds Manager Pat Moran:

“‘When my players get sore, I don’t rub them the wrong way;  I use Sloan’s Liniment–it penetrates.’

“Moran knows how to keep his men fit for the pennant scramble–keeps Sloan’s handy for emergency.  ‘Glass arm,’ ‘Charley horse,’ stiffness, soreness, bruises, rheumatic aches, are quickly and comfortably relieved.  Penetrates without rubbing, keeping the boys ready for the winning game.”

The 1919 World Series was the fourth for Moran.  He played in two with the Chicago Cubs (1906 and ’07) and managed two, (the other was with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1915).

Moran replaced Charles “Red” Dooin as Phillies manager after the team finished in sixth place in 1914.  Under Moran, the team won 10 of their first 11 games and won the National League with a 90-62 record.

In September, Frank Menke of The International New Service said:

“Moran deserves ranking among the greatest managers the game has ever known.  It is the wonderful leadership of the red-faced, gray-haired Irishman that has put the misfit Phillies where they are today.”

Moran

Moran

Menke said Moran was saddled with a team consisting primarily of “castoffs,’ and “one wonderful pitcher (Grover Cleveland Alexander).”

Moran followed up the 1915 pennant with two second-place finishes, with teams Grantland Rice of The New York Tribune said the manager had little to work with beyond pitcher Alexander:

“(T)hose astounding Phillies, piloted by a leader who has never received anywhere near his due recognition for extraordinary ability to lead a ball club.  need it be said that we refer to Pat Moran?  It needn’t.”

As was his habit, Rice memorialized Moran’s abilities with a poem:

Pat Moran’s no Miracle Man

Nor anything like that;

Nobody ever stands and cheers

The while he tips his hat.

 

Pat doesn’t draw the headline space

Nor yet the picture frames;

Pat Moran’s no Miracle Man–

Buthe’shellatwinninggames”

During his nine-year managerial career in Philadelphia and Cincinnati, Moran compiled a 748-586 record, which included a total of four second-place finishes to go with his two pennants.

During spring training of what would have been his sixth season with the Reds, Moran, who had a history of excessive drinking, became ill in Orlando, Florida.

His former Cubs teammate Johnny Evers came to his bedside.  According to The Associated Press, he said:

“‘Hello John, take me out of here.’ He then lost consciousness.”

He died later that day.  The official cause was Bright’s Disease.

Things I Learned on the Way to Looking up other Things #8

4 Jun

Remember the Maine

Several sources say Harry Stees, who played for the 1897 Shamokin Coal Heavers in the Central Pennsylvania League died in the explosion of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898—it would make him the first professional player killed in action.

The Sporting Life also reported that he had died aboard the ship.

A small item in his hometown newspaper contradicts that story.

Nearly a month after the sinking of the Maine, The Harrisburg Telegraph ran the following Headlines:

“A Fool Joke”

Harry Stees was Never on the ‘Maine’ at Havana or Elsewhere

The paper said a letter had been published in The Daily, the newspaper in the nearby town of Sudbury, Pennsylvania signed by “Mrs. Harry Stees.”  The letter asked for the paper if they could locate Robert Durnbaugh, a teammate of Stees with the Coal Heavers, and have Durnbaugh contact her.

In the Letter Stees is referred to as Theo.  Contemporary references in the Telegraph and census records refer to Stees as T. Harry Stees. The paper said:

“A ‘Telegraph’ reporter located Mr Harry Stees without difficulty at the Peipher Line warehouse, on Walnut Street, this morning, and showed him the clipping.  He stated that he was undoubtedly the individual referred to in the letter, but was positive that neither his wife nor mother had written such a communication to The Daily.  ‘It’s some fool joke, put up on me by someone in town,’ he said.  ‘I have been away from Harrisburg since last September when I returned with Durnbaugh from Shamokin, where we had been playing ball, and I never set foot on the Maine.’  Mr. Stees proposes to investigate the origin of the communication.”

There was no follow up on the story, but T. Harry Stees was a prominent figure in amateur and semi-pro baseball in Harrisburg into the 1930s.

T. Harry Stees, circa 1915

T. Harry Stees, circa 1915

It appears he was not the first professional player killed in action.

Stees, 1919

Stees, 1919

Anson’s Old Bat

Despite a broken ankle received while sliding on May 23 sidelined “Silent” John Titus for much of the season, the Philadelphia Phillies’ outfielder had his highest single-season home run total–eight in just 236 at bats, his previous high was four in 504 at bats in 1904.

John Titus

John Titus

The Philadelphia Record claimed it was due to a bat he had acquired that season:

“Cap Anson’s old base ball bat is helping the Phillies in their flight toward the National League pennant.  This relic of early baseball is now owned by John Titus.

“When everything broke badly for Anson and he lost his fortune…that bat had to be auctioned off.  Pat Moran, then a member of the Cubs, but now (Phillies Manager Charles “Red”) Dooin’s first lieutenant, was the purchaser of the club.  He bid against several members of the cubs team.

“Moran had the bat shortened as soon as it was his, so that today it doesn’t look much like the clubs that Anson used, but Moran says that ‘the wood is there.’

“Titus was looking over Moran’s club one afternoon toward the close of (the 1910) season and asked to be allowed to hit  a ball to the outfield with it…’Silent John’ used the bat just once and after that nothing but the possession of it would satisfy him.

“Immediately Titus began to negotiate with Moran for the bat…Finally Moran yielded, knowing that the bat would do Titus more good than it would do him.”

The Record described the bat:

“(D)irty and black from tobacco juice and frequent oiling, but the wood is in perfect shape.  Probably no bat in baseball is as thick as this one.  From the pitcher’s box it is said it reminds one more of a cricket bat in width.”

Titus told the paper:

“Anyone can hit with that bat of Anson’s.  When a fellow is hitting, he feels that there is something to life, after all.  What pleases a fellow more than to see a ball dropping over a fence?  Another one I guess.  Every player likes to hit home runs.  It gives a player lots of ginger and confidence when he is hitting them on the nose.”

Several newspapers picked up versions of the story throughout the season, but there was no later mention of the bat, or its eventual fate, in the Philadelphia press.

George Chalmers

5 Aug

George “Dut” Chalmers is one of only seven big league players born in Scotland.  He came to New York City as a young child and, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer “his baseball education was begun” with the Bradhurst Field Club which played their games at 145th and Lenox Avenue.  He also played on amateur teams in Hoboken, New Jersey and Red Hook, Brooklyn.

After attending Manhattan College, Chalmers began his professional career in 1909 with the Scranton Miners in the New York State League, managed by Gus ZeimerThe Sporting Life said:

“In George Chalmers, the giant young Manhattan College grad, Zeimer has landed what looks to be the prize-package pitcher of the league.   His work has been sensational.”

There are no complete statistics for 1909, but the following season the 22-year-old Chalmers was 25-6 for Scranton; finishing second in victories to 23-year-old Syracuse Stars pitcher Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander who was 29-11.

The Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader said Chalmers:

“Looks like one of the very best in the minor leagues, having a major league head and everything in the pitching line, including fine control and a spitball.”

At the end of the 1910 season the Philadelphia Phillies acquired both of the New York League’s star pitchers; Chalmers was purchased, for either $3000 or $4000, depending on the source, and Alexander was obtained through the Rule 5 Draft.

Both rookies made the club after spring training in Birmingham, Alabama.  Six years later The Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger said of Chalmers’ first days with the 1911 Phillies:

“Chalmers came with an elaborate trousseau, together with lots of pinch neckwear and considerable toggery that aroused the brunette population of Birmingham to deep, empurpled envy. “

chalmersasadude

George Chalmers, left, with teammate Alonzo Earl “Crossfire” Moore Displaying the style “that aroused the brunette population of Birmingham to deep, empurpled envy. “
Caption reads “Chalmers as a Dude.”  Photo from Chalmers’ personal scrapbook.

In addition to his fashion sense, Chalmers also impressed the Phillies with his pitching ability.

While Alexander got off to a great start, Chalmers started slow, but after back-to-back victories in July, Phillies manager and catcher Charles “Red” Dooin told The Philadelphia Times:

“That youngster is a great twirler.  You know they told me up in the New York League that Chalmers was a better pitcher than Alexander.

“Of course this is impossible because I think that ‘Alex’ is the greatest pitcher that ever drew breath, but I am going to say there’s not a club in either league which could beat the ball Chalmers has pitched for the last two weeks.

“I think I have another Alexander in Chalmers and if he don’t make good prediction I will say that he lacks the nerve and nothing else.  Chalmers has more stuff than Matty (Christy Mathewson) had.  He needs the experience and knowledge of batsmen, but aside from that he is the best young twirler I have ever seen excepting Alex.”

A syndicated story from The American Press Association said Chalmers had given up other sports for baseball:

“George Chalmers, one of the pitching sensations of the Philadelphia National League team, is a motorcycle rider as well as a box artist.  Before he joined the Phillies Chalmers occasionally picked up a little spare change acting as a pacemaker for Elmer Collins, the bicycle rider.  Chalmers has paced Collins several times in the latter’s races against Bobby Walthour.  Chalmers, however, doesn’t intend riding any more.  He fears a spill that might injure his arm and affect his pitching.

“Chalmers at one time had an ambition to become an automobile race driver.  He gave up this notion when he got his chance to join Philadelphia.  The big right-hand pitcher is not sorry that he sidetracked that ambition, for his pitching now is yielding him a healthy income.”

While he was overshadowed by Alexander, who was 28-13 with a 2.57 ERA, Chalmers had a respectable rookie season posting a 13-10 record with a 3.11 ERA.

In September it was announced that the Phillies would travel to Cuba for a 12-game series with the Almendares and Havana teams in November.  As the October 31 departure date drew near it became clear that, for a variety of reasons, many of the Phillies would not be making the trip.  Most notably Alexander, locked in a contract dispute, and Dooin would remain at home.

Besides Chalmers, the players who made the trip were:

Wallace “Toots” Shultz P

Eddie Stack P

Bill Killefer C

Fred Luderus 1B

Otto Knabe 2B

Hans Lobert 3B/MGR

Jimmy Walsh SS

Sherry Magee OF

Mike Mitchell OF (Borrowed from Cincinnati Reds)

Dick Cotter OF

Chalmers and his Phillies teammates on the beach in Havana, Cuba

Chalmers and his Phillies teammates.  Caption reads “In the surf Havana Cuba”
Photo from Chalmers’ personal scrapbook.

The first game of the series, reduced from 12 to nine games because of the Phillies’ limited roster, took place on November 5.  Chalmers faced Almendares and Cuban legend Jose Mendez; the Phillies lost 3-1.  It is likely Chalmers hurt his arm during the series; he did not start another game, and Schultz picked up the slack, pitching six games, he was credited with the victory in the five games the Phillies won.

Upon returning to Key West the last week of November, Chalmers was briefly detained by authorities. The Philadelphia Times said the ship’s manifest listed Chalmers as American, but:

“On arrival in the states when he had to sign a long paper of identification, he told the officials that he was Scotch and never naturalized…Chalmers was reprimanded and the ship company was fined for carelessness”

Heading into the 1912 season The Philadelphia Times, and the second year pitcher, had high hopes:

“Chalmers is young and has every confidence in himself.  He is big and strong and is a perfect running mate for Alexander the Great.”

But the George Chalmers who returned from Cuba would never be the same pitcher.

More tomorrow.

Special thanks to Karen Weiss, George Chalmers’ great niece, for generously providing copies of photos from Mr. Chalmers’ scrapbook.

Thanks to Mark Fimoff co-chair SABR Pictorial History Committee for identifying Earl Moore in the first picture and correcting my incorrect, original caption placing Chalmers on the right–the information has been corrected in the caption.  October 18, 2013

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