Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Couple of Louie Alamda Stories

I once asked Louie about why his final season was so lackluster, had he been injured, and did that also contribute to his retirement. Almada retired when he was just 30 years old.

Louie told me: “No, Carlos, I had been hitting pretty well until about mid-season, and at it was at that time that I decided— once and for all— to retire and go into the produce business, which I had been working in during the off-seasons since I was playing up in Seattle. Anyway, once I made that decision, my mind was no longer on the game, and my batting really suffered.”

Another time, I asked him why his brother’s career also dropped off so quickly. “Melo,” he told me, “Couldn’t stand being thrown at. ‘Louie,’ he once said to me, ‘They’re throwing at me because I’m a Mexican!’ ‘No, Melo,’ I told him, “They’re throwing at you because you’re a batter!’” But that was Louie, and Melo would have nothing of that. Louie always had guts, and was always ready to take anybody on. He even took on McGraw at 19 years old by writing a letter to Judge Landis to secure his release from the Giants, when the Giant manager sent him to the minors. Melo, on the other hand, became obsessed with the notion that pitchers had it in for Mexicans— or him personally. Had he played today, I’m sure he would have been at least a near Hall-of-Famer. But then was then, and now is now. Pete Coscarart, who played with Melo, told me that the moment one pitcher found out that Melo could be intimidated by a brush back pitch, every pitcher in the league began throwing at him like there was no tomorrow.

On a personal note, I’ll be leaving for my semi-annual research trip up to Sacramento to continue work on my project to document and compile stats for all the professional (and semi-professional) leagues that played in California from 1878 through the 1968 season. I will not being posting during the week I’ll be away, and so the above will be my last post until then.

To enlarge Louie Almada’s complete career record, click on the image.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Friend Dies

My friend Louie Almada died a few days ago, and this obituary was forwarded to me by Mark Macrae. Louie and I became friends when I returned to California in 1993. I would go up and visit with him at his home in San Marino every couple of months until he moved to Carmel to be close to his family up there. I last visited with Louie and his wife Lígia last year. I spent two wonderful hours with him, and though Louie had noticeably slowed down, he still was a wealth of information on the Coast League.

Over the years, I recorded some sixty hours of his reminisces on his career in baseball, and his life both before and after that. Louie and I also shared a love for the lidia de toros bullfighting doesn't capture the sport— and we would talk in Spanish for hours on the great toreros of yesteryear, many of whom he had seen personally.

I loved the man. And will miss him greatly. I will write more about Louie later on. The above photo was Louie’s favorite. He gave it to me many years ago. It was taken at Vaughn Street Grounds by the Portland Oregonian photographer when Louie played for Seattle.


BORN: September 7, 1907

PASSED AWAY: September 16, 2005

Known to all his friends and family as "Popa Lou," Louis Joseph Almada, passed away at his home in Del Mesa, Carmel on September 17, 2005, having just turned 98 the previous week. At his side were his wife of 73 years, Ligia Davila Almada, and his daughter, Cristina Biegel.

Popa Lou was born on September 7, 1907 in El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico. He came to Los Angeles at the age of seven with his parents, Baldomero and Amelia Almada. The senior Mr. Almada was in the foreign service for the Country of Mexico and posted to Los Angeles.

Within his first few days of living in America, "Louie," as he was then known, discovered the game of baseball and, in order to join in a game at the local playground, he learned English in about a week.

Louie Almada attended Los Angeles High School where he starred for the "Romans" on both the baseball and football teams. In the 1960's, in a poll conducted by the Los Angeles Times, he was voted the all-time most outstanding quarterback in "Roman" history. At his graduation, he received college scholarship offers from U.S.C. and from Notre Dame to play football.

However, his first love was baseball, where he was a terrific pitcher and power hitter under his mentor and inspirational force, Coach Herb White. His statistics in both baseball and football were so impressive that he was voted the Outstanding High School Athlete in the State of California for 1927, a list later joined by Ted Williams, John Elway and Greg Louganis, to name a few. In a memorable exhibition staged at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles in 1927, Louie Almada struck out Babe Ruth and it became the rage of

the Los Angeles newspapers.

Turning down the football scholarships, Mr. Almada signed a $5,000 contract to play for the New York Giants, then managed by the legendary John McGraw, a team which included future Hall of Famers, Mel Ott, Rogers Hornsby, Burleigh Grimes, Bill Terry, Freddie Lindstrom, and Ed Roush. In Spring

Training camp at Sarasota, Florida in 1927, he made the major league roster and was labeled "The Caballero from California." Slated to be the first major league player born in Mexico, Louie got hurt as the team barnstormed up the eastern seaboard and wound up never actually playing in a game at the venerable Polo Grounds. In two years, his younger brother, Mel, did become the first Mexican player to make it to the big leagues. Their careers were chronicled in an Internet article entitled "Beisboleros: Latin Americans and Baseball in the Northwest, 1914-1937."

Mr. Almada played 11 years in the Pacific Coast league. His picture at bat will forever adorn the cover of that league's almanac of all the players to have played in the PCL since its founding in 1903.

In 1999, the Seattle Mariners honored Mr. Almada at the opening of their $500 million new ballpark, Safeco Field. At a ceremony before the game, nine "legends" of Seattle baseball, wearing their retro uniforms, were introduced to the capacity crowd and their faces shown on the Jumbotron in center field. The announcer told the story of Mr. Almada's three years playing for the Seattle Indians between 1930 and 1932; the fact that he normally was a .300+ hitter, but when a sportswriter noted that on Thursdays, when ladies were let in for half price, he hit over .400. Thus, the sportswriter dubbed him, "Ladies Day Louie" and that is how he was introduced at the ceremony, the oldest of the legendary players at 91 years of age. Following the ceremony, he was asked by a sportswriter how he liked the new ballpark and he was quoted in the Seattle newspapers as saying, "I think I could hit here, I'd just need someone to run for me."

After his baseball career ended, Mr. Almada went into the produce business in Central California, the Produce Market in Los Angels, and later in Nogales, Arizona. He retired in 1977. He and his wife lived in San Marino, California for 50 years before moving to Carmel in 1999.

Mr. Almada is survived by his wife, Ligia Davila Almada, his son Charles Almada and his daughter, Cristina Biegel, along with grandchildren Anthony Almada, Andrew Almada, Brandon Kirsch and Jacob Biegel, and a recently born great grandchild, Ava Almada.

A funeral mass will be held at ____a.m./p.m. on Saturday, September 24th at the San Carlos Cathedral in Monterey. Burial will take place at a family plot in Covina, California. The family suggests that any contributions in memory of Mr. Almada be made to __________________________.

Mr. Almada had one final wish: To be known as "The Noblest Roman of Them All." That will be affixed to his headstone upon his burial.

Joe Bauman Dies

Minor League home run record holder Joe Bauman died yesterday. As a samll homage, I will post his career record. His record speaks more eloquently than any words I can come up with.

click on record to enlarge

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

From The Sporting News, June 23, 1900

Employment Opportunity:

Wanted— Two ball-playing cigar makers; steady job year around; union wages; pitcher and infielder preferred. Tarbert & Overton, Newkirk, O. T.

Note: Rolling cigars and playing ball in the Oklahoma Territory?

Will the Real John Tobin Please Stand Up!

There was a John Tobin who starred for the St. Louis Browns in the 1920s, and finished up his pro baseball career in the Three-I League in 1931.

No, the John Tobin we have been looking for is John Lawrence Tobin. Tobin's claim to fame is that he hit 4 Home runs in a game on June 15, 1936 while playing for Marshall in the East Texas League. This feat was discovered by Davis Barker several years ago. Barker is an expert on minor league ball in East Texas. He also finds that Tobin played in 4 games for Tyler of the East Texas League in 1931.

The Howe News Bureau has a contract card for him, and it lists his minor league record:

1934 Paris-Lufkin West Dixie League 3b-ss 125 G
1935 Jacksonville West Dixie League ss-of 93 G
1936 Marshall/Henderson East Texas League ss-3b, 143 G
1937 Charleston Middle Atlantic League 3b, 14 G
1937 Palestine East Texas League 3b, 58 G

The card gives his year of birth as 1908, and there is a note that he was made a free agent by the New York Giants in 1933.

The Baseball Encyclopedia has a listing for John Martin Tobin. He pinch hit for the New York Giants in 1 game on September 22, 1932. He was born on January 8, 1906 at Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, and he died on August 6, 1983 at Rhinebeck, NY (Rhinebeck is near Kingston, NY). We have not found a contract card for John Martin, nor have we been able to conclusively find him playing anywhere else in Organized Baseball other than the one pinch hitting appearance for the Giants.

A player named Tobin (no first name) played in 24 games for Muskogee and Hutchinson of the Western Association in 1932. He played shortstop and hit a miniscule .174. This is hardly the kind of hitting record that would normally rate a promotion to the majors.

All this raises several questions: Were John Martin Tobin, the Giant, and John Lawrence Tobin, the minor league player, one in the same person? What was John Martin doing in 1932 to deserve being signed by the Giants late in the season? What was he (or the two John Tobins) doing in 1933?

I am hoping that someone in Massachusetts can check the local papers on the occasion of Tobin's debut with the Giants. If he was still living in Massachusetts, it would be worth mentioning in the paper. Also, if someone has access to a Kingston paper, maybe it had an obit on Tobin. Kingston had several papers and the Kingston Library has several newspapers on microfilm, but they don’t loan out their microfilm.

By Bob McConnell

Monday, September 19, 2005

This Week in the California League, June 11-June 17, 1900

Games scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17.

On Saturday at San Francisco, Stockton beat Oakland behind the 5-hit pitching of Jimmy Whalen. He gave up two runs, all in the first inning, and he didn’t give up another hit until the seventh. George “Chief” Borchers, on the other hand, had his Waterloo over the last three innings. Up until the seventh he had led 2-1, but in the seventh he gave up 2 runs, followed by three in the eighth, and one more for good measure in the closing stanza. In all, he gave up 7 runs on 8 hits.

At Sacramento, Jay Hughes started out pitching his usual superb game, and after the sixth inning, he had piled up a 7-1 lead, primarily on two home runs by Big Bill Hanlon, and another one by Truck Eagan. In the seventh, the wheels came off Jay Hughes’ game, yielding 6 runs on 6 hits. He settled down the next inning, but Heinie Krug got what turned out to be a game-winning home run, a solo shot. Ham Iburg had gone in for Tom Fitzpatrick the inning prior, and he picked up the win by completely shutting down the home club, not even allowing a man to reach first.

On Sunday, however, Iburg had three bad innings, all spread out: two in the second, three in the fourth, and finally, four in the seventh. He was in the game the whole way, but lost 9-8 to Demon Doyle, who went the distance for the Gilt Edge club. Of note, Big Bill Hanlon hit his third home run of the weekend while going 4 for 5, including a double to add to his homer.

At Oakland on Sunday, Candy Beville beat George Babbitt of Stockton 8-2. Babbitt, who was Stocktons starting shortstop, was used when the club needed another starter the team came to the Bay Area for a three-game set, rather than the normal two-game series. Because the “country teams” could afford to pay for a third pitcher on the staff— who would be used only every three weeks or so— the mound duties fell upon one of the regulars in the lineup. Oakland and San Francisco, on the other hand, played more often at home, and would carry a third pitcher.

In the afternoon game at Rec Park, Stockton manager George Harper pitched a two-hitter in route to an 8-1 win over Mike Steffani. In going the distance, Steffani only had one bad inning, but in that inning— the sixth— he gave six runs.

Note: Up until this week, I had one more game played in the league than did The Sporting News. Starting this week (June 11-17), The Sporting News’ standings become unbalanced; i.e., one more loss than the total wins for the four clubs. The following week it remains unbalanced in the same fashion, three weeks down the line, The Sporting News comes up with one more game played than I have, and remains that way, I believe, until the finish of the season. The Sporting News gives games scores for the week right under their standing, and I have matched that to my box scores, and have not found the extra game.

In compiling averages, I am not surprised when individual team records do not match, because it seems as if every source (newspaper) has different standings at one time or another, and more often than not, after a holiday. What I generally worry about is the total number of games played in the league. One can figure out who’s right and wrong pretty easily if you know how many games were played total. I went to the library yesterday, and didn’t find an extra game between June 2 and July 8, where The Sporting News’ standings once again come into balance. (I like to follow the Sporting News standings, and games scores, because they appear to be sent by the league to the paper.)

Just before the library closed, I checked the San Francisco Chronicle, and found that they published standings in the Saturday June 7 edition (prior to games being played that day), and gave both Sacramento and Stockton one more game played than I have. The next time I go to the library I will go over all the dates between April 1(the first day of the season) and June 2. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find the discrepancy— or at least find where the SF Chron’s standings begin to diverge.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

1939 Pioneer League Notes

1939 Pioneer League Notes

Note:  Gary Fink recently finished a great piece of work by filling in the gaps in the 1939 Pioneer League, a league, I might add, that severed as a feeder league for the Pacific Coast League.   Fink compiled averages for all the less-than players, plus averages for multi-team players, Here are the notes that accompanied his compilation, which you should find quite interesting.
Elden A. Lorenzen played with three teams in the Pioneer League in 1939.  Lorenzen is listed in the guide as playing in 99 games as a catcher for Pocatello, Lewiston, and Boise, but he actually played LF for 42 games, caught 38 games, played first base for 7 games, third base for 5 games, and RF for 3 games.  The guide also listed him with 349 AB and 67 hits, which works out to a note very impressive .192 BA.  I always thought that was odd because, when I compiled his playing career, he batted .265 in 1938 in the Texas Valley League and .283 in 1940 in the Pioneer League. Of course, he was with three teams in 1939, so that might explain it.  Also, on September 17, the last day of the season, the fans at Boise gave their catcher/outfielder a "baby walker.”  You see, "Pop" Lorenzen had a 3-month-old son living in Los Angeles, whom he had as yet not seen. So, maybe, I reasoned, that was why Elden hit so poorly that year.
I decided to break down the records of the nine players who played for more than one team that year in the Pioneer League. The totals for the box scores pretty much matched the totals that were listed in the guide for 1939.  For pitching there was one game difference for Dearden and one complete game different for Soule. For batting there was one game difference for Dearden and McConnell, and a one at bat difference for Linde, Meyer, and Soule. However, when I got to the hits, I found a one hit difference for Dearden— and a big difference for Lorenzen, some 30 hits more than his official total stated in the 1940 baseball guide.
I then went to the team totals and put in the totals I had compiled for the multi-team players and the totals I had compiled for the players not listed in the guide. For Boise, I put in the 268 at bats and the 79 hits I had compiled for Lorenzen and the guide totals and the guide total for players listed plus the box scores totals of players not listed matched perfectly! The total were 4,453 at bats and 1,325 hits. For Pocatello, I put in the 50 at bats and the 14 hits for Lorenzen plus all the other totals and the hits matched perfectly, while the at bats were one off.  For Lewiston, I put in 31 at bats and 4 hits for Lorenzen plus all the other totals. The at bats were three off and the hits were 10 off. However, the Lewiston's paper had the batting averages listed through out the year and they give Lorenzen 31 at bats and 4 hits.
So while the at bats remain the same, give Elden Lorenzen 97 hits instead of 67 hits. And that raises his batting average from .192 to .278.  Not bad for a catcher.  And in line with his other seasons.
Elden "Pop" Lorenzen died on February 2, 1977, in Glendale, California, so he will never know of this discovery.  
The New SABR Guide to Minor League Statistics states that, for the 1939 Pioneer League, the names of players who played in "less than 10 games" or pitched in "less than 45 innings" are listed.  That turns out to be incorrect, as only the names of players who pitched in less than 45 innings are listed in the guide.
The guide lists 46 players who pitched  less than 45 innings.  I actually found 48 players in that category. Add John Linde and Paul Smith.  Both played for Lewiston. Linde was an outfielder who pitched in 8 games.  Smith, who pitched for Hollywood earlier in the season, pitched in 6 games for Lewiston.
For the less than 10 games batters there are 46 players listed.  There were three players who played 10 or more games, but they were not listed in the batting section. They were: Clarence Beers who played in 52 games, Clarence Federmeyer who played in 10 games, and Elbert White who played in 11 games.  Beers is listed in the pitching section, and White is listed in the position section and the less than 45 IP section of the 1940 Guide.
I was able to get a first name for all the players except for one: a fellow named Oberness.  Oberness pitched one game for Boise on May 12. He was one of four pitchers who pitched for Boise that day and he is credited with the lost. He is not listed in any of the transactions listed for the Pioneer League that year. There is no contract card for him at the Cooperstown's Baseball Library.  There is nothing mentioned on him in any of the six newspapers, except for the box score. There is no listing of an Oberness in the Social Security Death Index, and there is no listing of an Oberness in the 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 United States Census.
When I compiled the win and loss totals from the box scores and matched them with the guide, I found out that Rene is listed in the guide with 8 losses; however, I only came up with 7 losses from the review of box scores. Rene is not listed as one of the four pitchers for Boise that day. Is Oberness a phantom player? Could Rene actually be Oberness? Of course, any one who has looked at the transactions for any league during any season knows that they are far from complete. The S.S. Death Index is not complete. The United States Census for each year has never been complete. So who knows?
Harold Ritter started out as a catcher for Boise, he played in 36 games and compiled a .184 batting average.  His last game was on June 22, when he was injured after being hit in the shoulder by a batted ball.  
On July 10 the umpires failed to make it to the game between Ogden and Boise. Ogden's Augie Navarro and Boise's Harold Ritter, both injured catchers, filled in as umpires for the games and called "them right.”  On July 14, it was reported that the President of the Pioneer League Jack Halliwell , who hired Harold Ritter to umpire for the rest of the season.
Phil Sarboe started out as an umpire in the Pioneer League, then on June 24 he submitted his resignation to the League President. On June 28, he appeared in the lineup for Lewiston. He went on to play 25 games for Lewiston, mostly at 2B and 3B and batted .239.  He did not finish out the year with Lewiston, however, as he had to go to his new job as head football coach at a high school in Aberdeen, Washington.
The 2nd Edition of The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball lists Herb Sanders as the manager for the whole year with Lewiston. Actually, he got fired in June, his last game being on June 24. Lou Garland replaced him the very next day, June 25, and remained the manager of the team for the rest of the season.
Gary Fink  
April 23, 2005

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Research Request by John Benesch

A Research Request by John Benesch

If I had to list the data most wanted, it would be the following:

*1902 California League: Leaders in Doubles and Triples [McConnell
identified Dunleavy as the HR leader with 8]. [Householder is credited with
36 2B's after 78 games in either TSN or SL.]

*1900 Western League: Leaders in Doubles, Triples and HR's. [I compiled the
potential leaders from the limited box scores in The Sporting News.]

*1905 South Texas League: Houston's Edmonton and Hunter are listed with
identical batting figures [except for games played 123/122]: 455 AB;79 R;139
H;36 SB;22 SH;34 BB;4 PB;.305 BA. Since the RUN and HIT totals are league
leading figures, it would be nice to know to whom they belong and what the
missing entries might be.

*1908 Texas League: Galveston's Bob Edmondson [again] is listed @ .391
[143/336] in the Reach Guide but omitted from the Spalding Guide for batting
but included in the Fielding averages. While Reach fails to include Extra
Base Hit Figures, Spalding includes names and totals of players with 10 or
more Doubles, 5 or more Triples and 1 or more Homers. Edmondson failed to
make any of the lists. The BA runner-up in Reach is Salm with a .304 figure.
Spalding has Salm at the top with that figure. Assuming Edmondson did play
in the TL in 1908 his Extra Base totals might well have been league leading.

Note: If anybody can help John with the above, please contact him at the following email address:

Friday, September 16, 2005

From The Sporting News, July 7, 1900

From The Sporting News, July 7, 1900.

Answers to Readers:

Reader—Mobile: Manager has general control of players and captain is in charge when a team is on the field, subject, however, to orders of manger, who is not allowed by the rules to coach or appeal to umpire unless he is player-manager, but is done frequently. Every National League club has a captain, who is paid on an average $600 in addition to his regular salary.

Note: I have been trying to explain to researchers as far back as I can remember about the term “ manager” and “captain,” and how they changed somewhere in the 1910s.   In the mid-1880s, the “manager” was prohibited from sitting on the bench, and I believe that’s where “captain” became “field manager,” and “manager” became “general manager.”  

Thursday, September 15, 2005

This Week in the California League, June 4-June 10, 1900

Games scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10.

On Saturday in Stockton, Demon Doyle and Jimmy Whalen faced off in what turned out to be the best pitched game of the year. Both pitched 3-hitters, but Jimmy Whalen wound up on the winning side of a 1-0 game. Both pitchers struck out two men, but Doyle gave up four walks, and that lead to the only run scored, in the fifth inning.

The two Bay Area clubs began a three-game set at Rec Park on Saturday. Fireman Tom Fitzpatrick and Ham Iburg combined for a 5-2 win, with future major league umpire George Hildebrand going 3 for 4 for the winners.

On Sunday, Oakland swept the two games from the Wasps by scores of 6-5 and 9-6. At Oakland, Wasp field manager Ed Pabst hit a home run, but it wasn’t enough to pull the club over the line. In the second game at Rec, the Oakland Dudes put the game away in the first inning by scoring 6 runs, capped by a Doc Moskiman home run, and then coasted to the 9-6 win. Tom Fitzpatrick took the loss.

At Stockton, the Sacramentos got their second shutout of the weekend, this time by Jay Hughes, who gave up 3 hits while striking out 5 men. George Harper lost again for Stockton, this time by a 5-0 score.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Roscoe Coughlin, Bill Sline, Frank Milliken and Walpole Joe

Roscoe Coughlin photo

Joe Morgan is a true New England character. No, I’m not talking about the Hall of Fame second baseman, but rather the former Boston Red Sox manager. Hereabouts in New England when you say “Joe Morgan,” no one thinks the Hall of Famer. Everyone knows you’re talking about Walpole Joe, a local boy from Walpole, Massachusetts who made good.

Joe frequently shows up at SABR meetings in the Boston area. He is always good for a few obscure but interesting stories. About ten years ago I caught his attention by asking him if he knew anything about Roscoe Coughlin. Joe stopped his gabbing in mid-sentence, turned to me and said, “What do you know about him?”

Now, virtually no one on earth knows very much about Roscoe Coughlin. Well, I imagine Carlos Bauer knows a lot since Roscoe pitched for Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco in the California League from 1888-1890 winning 30 games in 1889 and 27 more in 1890. He pitched for a number of years in the Eastern League and Eastern Association and I have his career wins at over 200, though I have misplaced his complete record and am unable to locate it at the moment. Coughlin began and completed his pro career in the New England League, working for Lynn in 1887 and Brockton in 1897.

Coughlin – real first name was William – was born in Walpole, Massachusetts, 62 years before Joe Morgan. Morgan, who holds a degree in history from Boston College, has researched the large number of minor league players who came from Walpole.

Coughlin, a veteran of the Spanish-American War, died in the Old Soldiers Home in Chelsea, Massachusetts, in 1951. Some sources say he was a member of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.

Since our initial contact regarding Coughlin, Joe and I have exchanged information on a number of other local players. One in particular was Bill Sline.

“Spitball Bill” Sline began his career with three straight 20-win seasons – all coming in the New England League. He was 20-9 for Concord in 1905 and then 21-10 and 23-8 the next two seasons playing for Jesse Burkett in Worcester. From 1908 through 1913 Sline hurled for Providence in the Eastern/International League. He won 17 games in 1909, a season split between Providence and the New England League, and 16 games for Chattanooga in 1914 before finishing with a 7-18 season for Manchester in 1915. Like Roscoe Coughlin, Sline started and finished his career in the New England League. While in the New England circuit, Sline authored two no-hitters, a 7-0 contest versus Lowell on June 29, 1909 and a 2-0 game against Fitchburg on June 5, 1915. I have his career mark at 158-141.

Now Sline was a guy that I lacked biographical data on for years. Eventually, and I think Bob Richardson was the one who passed it on to me, it was determined that Sline was from, of all places, Walpole, Massachusetts. At the next opportunity I had to speak with Joe Morgan, I asked if he knew any people in Walpole named Sline. Sure, Joe said, he used to have a female high school math teacher named Sline. As a matter of fact, Joe once needed special tutoring in math and he received it at the teacher’s home. While there, the teacher’s father, an older man in his 60s, used to ask Joe, who was a local star for the high school team, how his game was coming along. So Joe and the old man – Bill Sline – frequently conversed about the game. The old man, born in Walpole on October 4, 1883, never mentioned to Joe that he had played 11 seasons in the minors.

Bill Sline had passed away on November 17, 1956. At Joe’s insistence, I passed along Bill Sline’s career statistical record – I have game by game for every season but his last – to his daughters. On March 9, 1998 they wrote:

Dear Dick –

Thank you for sending the ‘stats’ on our father. We knew he was a pitcher – but we were not born till a few years after he left baseball.

We are having it reproduced for our nephews (two of them).

The younger one will be especially happy as he has always felt cheated as he never knew his grandfather.

Again, thanks for taking the time to do this.


Ellie and Margie Sline

In addition to Coughlin and Sline, Walpole, Massachusetts, has one other minor league 20 game winner that I am aware of – Frank Milliken who turned in a league-leading 20-9 mark for Lowell in the 1933 New England League. Milliken was born in Walpole on July 5, 1906 – 24 years before Joe Morgan – and died on May 11, 1966. His pro career was short and uneventful – just an additional total of 9 wins and 13 losses while pitching in the Eastern league in 1930 and 1931 and then with Lowell and New Bedford in the 1934 Northeastern League.

My favorite Milliken game was played on July 10, 1929 at Fallon field in the Roslindale section of Boston. He was pitching for the Roslindale of the Boston Twilight League and won a 2-0 pitching duel from Bill Jackman and Philadelphia Colored Giants.

By Dick Thompson

Monday, September 12, 2005

From The Sporting News, May 7, 1898

From The Sporting News, May 7, 1898.

On baseball writing, when Detroit was “out west”& Omaha must have been close to China:

Baseball writing is an art, and out in the wild and woolly west the writers have reduced it to a fine art, says the Detroit Tribune.  When a club is shutout they do not call it a “goose-egg.” but expressively say the nine was “horse collared.”  The crowd upon the stands are compared to “flies upon a sore toe.”  Of [Wallace] Hollingsworth, the Omaha shortstop, the World Herald says: “Now, ‘Holly” is one of the few living relics of those obsolete-times, a direct descendent of the weezygees whose awful wisdom has been lost, their arts and sciences scattered to the four or five winds, leaving only a few old hoopskirts and tomato cans an evidence of their radiancy and splendor.  A paucity of these curiosities, however, continuing steadfast to their pristine glory, kept a strangle-hold on their purity and preternatural power.  They are all in their graves now, but ‘Holly,” he stands alone like a wart on a dray horse’s hind leg, felicitous in the knowledge that he has been granted permission to live in Omaha, and that his mind is bright and clear as that of his forefathers.

Note: Speechless, I’m left.  

Sunday, September 11, 2005

This Week in the California League, May 28-June 3, 1900

Game were scheduled for Decoration Day, Wednesday May 30, and Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3.

On Decoration Day, San Francisco and Oakland squared off at Rec Park, and the Wasps put game out of reach early on. Candy Beville of the Dudes lasted but three innings, and in that time managed to give up 6 runs on 9 hits. Ham Iburg cruised to an 8-3 victory. Ed Pabst, field manager of the Wasps (i.e., captain), led the team in batting, going 2 for 5, with a double and stolen base and scoring three times.

Over at Sacramento, Jay Hughes put together another 3-hit masterpiece, but yielding one run. Jimmy Whalen wound up on the losing side of a 5-1 game.

On Saturday, Jimmy Whalen lost for the second time in a week. He gave up 5 runs in the first inning, and manager George Harper went in himself and pitched a great game the rest of the way, giving up three scattered hits striking out six and not walking a man; however, errors led to three more runs. On the other side of the ledger, Tom Fitzpatrick pitched a decent game up until the ninth, when gave up two runs, and barely held on to the 8-5 win.

Sacramento was at Rec Park to face the Oaklands, but as Dizzy Dean used to say: “They shudda stood in bed.” Demon Doyle gave up 12 runs, including 4 in the first inning, which put the game away then and there.All tolled, the Dudes collected 15 hits, led by Doc Moskiman with 4, including a double and triple, and first baseman Ed Hutchinson, who added a home run and a double. Except for giving up 2 runs in the sixth, Mike Steffani sailed to a 12-2 victory.

The first game of the Sunday doubleheader was called with two out in the ninth so the teams could get back across the bay for the afternoon game. Candy Beville and Jay Hughes pitched a 3-3 tie on the Oakland side of the bay. Hen Stultz hit an inside-park home run to left field.

At Rec Park in the afternoon, Demon Doyle took another drubbing, giving up 6 runs on10 hits in five innings, before field manager Brick Devereaux had seen enough and replaced him with shortstop Truck Eagan. Jack Drennen colleted 4 hits, and Claude Schmeer 3 for the winners. Doc Moskiman won his first game of the season 10-1, and got 2 hits and scored 2 runs himself.

Iburg and Whalen face off at Goodwater Grove in Stockton on Sunday. Ham Iburg started off a bit shaky, allowing 3 runs in the first two innings. But the Pirates came back with 1 in the second and 2 in the third to tie the game at three. It stayed that way until the seventh, when Jimmy Whalen began to tire. In that inning, he gave up a run on 2 hits, making the score 4-3. He repeated the one run on two hits eighth inning, and lost the game 5-3. Catcher Russ Pace of of Stockton carried off the batting honors with three singles in four trips to the plate.

After the week’s games, Oakland had closed within two games of the league leading Sacramento club.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Charley “Demon” Doyle

One of the things that amaze people about baseball in California is how many players played for years in various league around the state. I have a database of cards on some 7,400 players so far, but nowhere near finished. Many players spent five of more years in baseball in California. Even African-Americans like Eddie Smith and Horace Wilds put in eight and fives seasons respectively in California professional leagues.

Charley Doyle was born in San Jose California on November 13, 1875. He began as a right-handed pitcher, but in mid-career hurt his arm, and continued his career as an outfield. Later on, he would become a player-manager.

The 5-11 Doyle’s career lasted longer than most, but there were a number of other players of the era who spent as many years as Doyle in various leagues around the state. Some like Brick Devereaux and Rube Levy played more seasons. Devereaux began his career in 1892, and I have tracked him through the 1913 season in the Cal State League. Rube Levy, the most popular of the early California League players, began his career in 1881 with the Californias of San Francisco in the New California League, and played every season there was a league in California until

Most of Doyle’s career was spent playing for club in Sacramento. Demon Doyle lived in Sacramento after his career ended, and he died there on December 9, 1950.

Demon Doyle & His Stops in California Based Professional Baseball Leagues

1896 Oakland/San Jose (Cal)
1898 Sacramento (Pac States)
1898 Sacramento/San Jose (PCL)
1899 Sacramento (Cal)
1900 Sacramento (Cal)
1901 Sacramento (Cal)
1902 Sacramento (Cal)
1903 Sacramento (PCL)
1904 Tacoma (PCL)
1905 Tacoma (PCL)
1906 Fresno (PCL)
1907 Sacramento (Cal St)
1908 Sacramento (Cal St)
1909 Sacramento (Cal St)
1909 Sacramento (PCL)
1910 Sacramento (Cal St)
1912 Sacramento (Cal St)

Friday, September 09, 2005

This Week in the California League, May 21-May 27, 1900

Games were scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Stockton came in “from the country,” and on Saturday Jimmy Whalen was loaded for bear. He pitched a two-hit shutout, but had some trouble throughout the game as he gave up seven base-on-balls. The win extended his record to 8-1. Tom Fitzpatrick, who pitched for the Wasps, gave up 3 runs on 7 hits.

Over at Sacramento, the home club beat Oakland 4-3 in a hard-fought game. Charley “Demon” Doyle game up three runs in the first two inning, but pitched a shutout the rest of the way. Opposing pitcher, Mike Steffani, gave up the winning run in the sixth inning, and then shutdown the Sacramento offense from then on.

On Sunday, over at Oakland, Stockton took its second straight game from San Francisco 3-2, with Ham Iburg losing another heartbreaker in the tenth inning. In the afternoon tilt, Tom Fitzpatrick pitched his second game of the weekend. This time he came up on top, 4 to 3.

At Sacramento, Oakland scored 3 runs off Jay Hughes in the first inning, but Sacramento matched that, plus one, in the bottom half of the inning. After that rocky start, Hughes was unconscious, yielding only two hits— and no runs—the rest of the way. Doc Moskiman, pitching for the Dudes, gave up 7 runs and 9 hits. Big Bill Hanlon hits his fourth home run of the season.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Jimmy Whalen in Montreal, 1906

Jimmy Whelan was very visible as one of the top pitchers in the California & Pacific Coast Leagues around the turn of the century, pitching exclusively on the West Coast from 1898 thru 1905. Carlos Bauer is in the midst of providing us with an invaluable opportunity to relive the 1900 California League day-by-day, allowing insight into how the game was played and who played it.

My own research work focuses on a day-to-day view of Organized Baseball in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from the 1890 season thru 1960. The aforementioned Jimmy Whalen had the nebulous distinction of being the Montreal Canucks’ 2nd best pitcher during the 1906 Eastern League season. Only John Pappalau displayed more intestinal fortitude. This team, usually known as the Royals but operating in disguise to protect both the guilty and innocent, was prodded to a 57-83 record by an out-of-control Jimmy Bannon (thru August 16th) and an immediately shell-shocked Malachi Kittridge, good for 7th place, 8 games ahead of the Ed Barrow managed Toronto Maple Leafs. The Toronto squad would rebound to the EL championship in 1907; while it only got worse for Montreal in 1907, relabeled the Royals, as they imploded their way to an 8th place 46-85 record.

Jimmy Whalen would last the majority of one more year in the East, pitching for Williamsport in the Tri-State League in 1907, before departing for the orange groves and sunshine of California again to close-out the year pitching twice for Oakland. His game-log for the 1906 Montreal squad was: Reach provides an “Official Record” of 12-17-.414 in 30 games pitched, 26 complete games, 333 hits allowed in 246 innings pitched, 121 runs allowed, 53 bases on balls and 71 strikeouts. Box scores, reviewed in multiple (Gazette, Star, Herald, La Presse) Montreal newspapers, the Toronto Star, the New York Times, and The Sporting News, often do not agree with each other. Hence, the ambiguity reflected above. My approximate running totals above largely confirm the “Official” numbers with one profound discrepancy, hits allowed. I’ll continue to refine this chart as the materials I’m able to access allow.

By Neil Raymond

Help Needed by Researcher Bob McConnell

Help Needed by Researcher Bob McConnell

George Stutz is listed in the encyclopedia as batting left handed. He played in 1926 with the Phillies.  He had a long minor league career from 1910 through 1927. His BATS are listed in the averages published in the baseball guides for three years (1922-24 in the Michigan-Ontario League).  He is listed as batting right handed all three years.  Stutz played from 1910 thru 1914 in the Tri-State League, then a few years in the Three I League,  then the American Association, Southern Association, Western League, and finally four years in the Michigan-Ontario League.   Can anyone verify that he was, in fact, a right-handed batter?  Or conversely, a left-handed batter. Bob McConnell

Note: Anyone who can answer this question can post on the comments area, or contact me via the above email address.  Thanks.

From The Sporting News, July 21, 1900

From The Sporting News, May 26, 1900.

In The International League:

[Jay A.] Andrews, the Bisons’ Third Baseman, Is a Superstitious Fellow

It is a well know fact that most ball players are superstitious, but when it comes down to the real thing, Doctor Andrews, who plays Buffalo’s third base so well, is probably the most superstitious of’em all.

One of Andrew’s queer hobbies is that the bats must be crossed when they lie in front of the bench.  On the occasion of the first Indianapolis-Buffalo game Andrews called a turn that that opened the eyes of the Bisons.  Just as Sheron, who was the first man up, stepped to the plate to bat, Andrews happened to look at the pile of bats and at once jumped into the air, at the same time shouting: “Four runs this time.  It’s cinch. Never failed yet.”

“Sit down; you’re crazy,” replied Dan Shannon, who was just a bit nervous.

“I tell you we’re going to get four runs this time.  Do you see that?” he asked, pointing to the pile of bats.

“See what?” asked Shannon.

“Why, those four bats sticking out further than the rest.  That means we’ll get just that many runs.  Just you wait and see.”  Everybody coughed, but “Doc” was evidently very much in earnest , so they waited, all thinking how they’d kid the third baseman when the side was out.  Then Shearon made a hit.

“Here’s the starter,” cried Andrews, rubbing his hands.  “The next man’ll get his base on an error,” and so he did.  Magoon fumbled the ball while Gettman went to first and Shearon perched on second.

“There’s three hits coming,” remarked Andrews, as he picked out a bat.  Just then Billy Hallman cracked out a hit and brought Shearon in, while Shannon was forced to crack a smile as Andrews poked him in the ribs, Carey went to bat and hit safely and scored Gettman.

“Watch me!” said Andrews, as he ran to the plate,  The first ball pitched he cracked for a hit, and as he stood on first he yelled, “Didn’t I tell you?” to Shannon.  Andrews went out at second, but a moment later Carey came trotting home on Knoll’s long fly, making the fourth run.

“Whenever you see bats fixed that way, look out for runs,” observed Andrews.

“All right,” replied Shannon.  “Shove out about six of those sticks and we’ll win sure, Halligan.”

“That doesn’t go.  Don’t touch’em for Heavens sake,” fairly screamed Andrews.  “The bat boy has to do it when he isn’t thinking.”

The players all had a good laugh over the circumstances and, no doubt, some of them became coverts to Andrew’s base ball religion.

Second baseman Billy Hamilton, in discussing base ball superstition in general and the Andrews variety in particular, recently said: “Any player will  feel good if he sees a load of barrels on the way to the grounds, because it means a lot of hits for his team, but this fellow Andrews goes crazy when he sees one. He jumped out of his bus and ran behind it all the way to the grounds in Detroit, because he discovered that 13 men in uniform were riding in it, and at Indianapolis he ran outside the grounds to find a bat boy.  He wouldn’t have one from the stand or the bleachers.  It meant bad luck.  Andrews watches the bats the way a cat watches a mouse.  If one of’em get crossed over another he jumps into the air and nearly has a fit.  Queer thing this superstition.”

Note: Jay Andrews played in the Pacific Coast League in 1903, but I never found anything about Andrews being anything near being a flake.  One would read, however, about what a great fielding third baseman he was.  Andrews hit .263 for Portland and Seattle in 101 games that season.  The slick fielding third baseman never played in the majors.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

This Week in the California League, May 14-May 20, 1900

Over the weekend, Sacramento took two out of three in San Francisco and Oakland. Jay Hughes, as expected, won the Saturday game at Rec Park in laugher, 10 to 1. On Sunday morning, Big Bill Hanlon tried his hand at tossing the horsehide, but gave up 9 or the 10 runs scored by San Francisco. Truck Eagan then came in and did a respectable job for the rest of the game.

Goodwater Grove in Stockton had the home team sweep the two-game set. On Saturday, Whalen and Mike Seffani went at it for twelve innings, locked in a 1-1 tie. In the thirteenth, Steffani gave up the game winner. Candy Beville of Oakland gave up only one hit over the first four innings, but then fell apart in the fifth, giving up four runs on five hits. Beville was then replaced by Steffani, but it was too late by then.

Over the two day, pitching predominated, but on Saturday the Dudes’ first baseman, Ed Hutchinson, got four singles in five times at bat to fatten his league leading batting average.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Jimmy Whalen

Jimmy Whalen

     I always wonder why Jimmy “The Whale” Whalen never got a shot in the Big Leagues.  After all, Whalen put together five 30-win seasons, plus a couple of 20-wins seasons.   Yesterday, when I was trying to dig up some information on the untimely demise of Big Bill Hanlon, I stumbled across the following note on page one of the December 2, 1905 Sporting News:

Whalen Has a Grievance

Special to the Sporting News.
New York, November 29.— Jimmy Whalen, one of Griffin’s new twisters from the Pacific Coast, has announced that he will go to the “bush” leagues next season unless the New York Club pays his expenses both ways from and back to California.  He has signed for a good salary and it has never been the custom for major league teams to pay travelling (sic) expenses until after the players report, Whalen will have to buy his own ticket.

By the way, I never found anything on Big Bill Hanlon, except the family’s death notice in the L. A. Times.

Monday, September 05, 2005

This Week in the California League, May 7-May 13, 1900

As per schedule, games were played on Saturday and Sunday in Sacramento and the Bay Area.

On Saturday, May 12, at Rec Park, Stockton and Oakland battle for twelve innings, with Morrow (a player I have not be able to find a first name for), the Stockton Pirates’ center fielder, doubling and finally scoring on an error. Jimmy Whalen shut down Oakland in the bottom of the twelfth, extending his record to 6-1.

Over at Sacramento, San Francisco won the game in fourth inning by scoring five runs and running the score to 7-2. After that, Ham Iburg cruised to a 10-5 win. Of note, Sacramento first baseman, Big Bill Hanlon, swatted two 2-run home runs. For San Francisco, Heinie Krug also hit a homer. Hanlon would get one shot in the majors, 8 games with the Cubs in 1903. Because the only position he could really play was first base, moving his manager Frank Chance off the bag wasn't a real option, and he returned to California, where he would die prematurely in 1905.

On Sunday, the home club turned the tables of San Francisco, winning by an 11-5 score, knocking starter Tom Fitzpatrick in the fifth inning. Jay Hughes notched his fifth win, against one loss.

Meanwhile, Oakland swept a doubleheader from Stockton by scores of 12-5 and 6-3. In the first game, Claude Schmeer knocked out four singles.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

From The Sporting News, July 21, 1900

From The Sporting News, July 21, 1900.

In The Montana League:
Salary Limit Raised
Montana League is Liberal with its Players

Butte, Mont., July 13— Special Correspondence:— At a special meeting of the directors of the Montana State League held in this city July 11 the salary limit of the league was raised to $1,200 per month. This is considered a good move by the patrons of the game here and elsewhere as it gives the clubs represented a better opportunity to secure good men and pay them good salaries. The league is on a paying basis and players who are fortunate to secure positions here are sure of their money and are accorded good treatment.

President W, H. Lucas should be congratulated on the success of the League as his wise and able management has enabled the people of Montana to see some very clever exhibitions of the great national game.

The San Francisco papers are making a howl over the signing of a number of good men by the Butte management, but they have no kick coming, as the Butte management have been in the open in their business relations with they players and the sooner the California League get under the National Agreement just that soon will the players quit leaving California for more lucrative positions in our prosperous league.

Note: The Montana League stole more than a few players from the California League, but they tended not to be first line players, and, as to pitchers, were the second pitcher in the good-old two-man rotation. The California League, as I mentioned before, was not signatory to the National Agreement because Jay Hughes did want to pitch back East in the Majors, and so the Cal League “arranged it” for him to stay home by becoming an outlaw league.

Professional baseball leagues in Montana has a very long history. They can be tracked at least as far back as the early 1890s, and continued until through the 1920s as one of the prime areas for independent ball in the U. S., with many team being sponsored by mining concerns.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

This Week in the California League, April 30-May 6, 190

Games this week were played on Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6.

On Saturday at Rec Park, the two Bay Area clubs squared off. In the bottom half of the ninth inning of a 1 to 1 game, Oakland had a man on third with one out. Ed Hutchinson lifted on of Ham Iburg’s pitches to short center, where both Heinie Krug, coming in from center was called off by shortstop Kid Peeples, who muffed what would have been an easy catch for Krug, and Billy Hammond, on third, walk home with the winning tally.

Over at Oak Park in Sacramento, Jay Hughes won his game of the season, 6-2 over Stockton. On Sunday, Demon Doyle pitched for Sacramento, and won pitchers’ battle up through the sixth inning, when home club put the game out of reach with three runs. George Harper took the loss.

At Oakland on Sunday morning, the two Bay area clubs battled to a 7-7 tie, so that they catch the boat back across the bay for the afternoon tilt. In that game, Mike Steffani best Ham Iburg 5-3.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.

Friday, September 02, 2005

From The Sporting News, July 14, 1900

From The Sporting News, July 14, 1900.

In the Eastern League:
“Silk” O’Loughlin can well say when he gets old and gray and sits in the corner telling his grandchildren of his palmy days as an umpire, that he was once mobbed for him bum umpiring. He can refer to the episode on July 4, 1900, when over a thousand enraged fans chased him off the grounds, throwing cushions, bottles and rocks at him, while nearly 5,000 watched the performance from the grandstand, sympathizing with the feeling of the thousand, but perhaps not approving openly on their method of showing their belief that O’Loughlin was a robber in a base ball sense.
Reprinted from the Worcester Gazette

That mobbing episode is nothing to brag of. There was no excuse for it even though the umpire was bum.
Reprinted from the Springfield (MA) Union

Thursday, September 01, 2005

From Brockton to Brantford

From Brockton to Brantford: When Amby Kane took the Boys North.

       The late Tom Shea, one of SABR’s founding members, once told me that the trick to doing pre-1920 biographical research was to look closely at the team’s manager, for, more than likely, he brought along a few of the players from his own home town.

     The city of Brockton, Massachusetts is a prime example of the Tom’s theory.  The major league example is Bill McGunnigle, a native of the Shoe City, and his time at the helm of Louisville in the National League.  McGunnigle used Frank Shannon in 1896 and Billy McGee in 1897.  Both were Boston boys who had starred for the Brockton entry in the New England League.

        The minor league example is Ambrose P. Kane and his connection with the Canadian League.  Formed in the spring of 1911 as a Class D circuit, the Canadian League had teams in Berlin, London, Hamilton, St. Thomas, Guelph and Brantford, Ontario. The first five managerial spots all went to Canadians and by the end of April only the Brantford Red Sox had yet to name its pilot.  The final two applicants were F. M. Letcher, the ex-manager of Regina in the Western Canada League, and Amby Kane of Whitman, Massachusetts, a small town located adjacent to Brockton. The Brantford management opted for Kane.

     Kane was born in New Hampshire and just exactly when his family moved to Whitman is unknown but from 1895-1900 Amby was a member of the Whitman Phoenix team, one of the strongest semipro clubs in southeastern Massachusetts.  Kane, then a pitcher, received a tryout with the original Boston American League team in 1901 and at least one team photo of that club identifies “Kane” as the man standing next to Cy Young.

     From 1901-1909 Kane, after hurting his arm, made the rounds as a New England League outfielder, making stops in Lewiston, Maine; Dover, Concord and Manchester, New Hampshire; and Worcester, Fall River, Lowell and Brockton, Massachusetts. He also spent time in the Connecticut League.

     The Brantford Expositor, on May 2, 1911, noted the arrival of their new manager:

     “The Manager, who arrived here yesterday, impressed the officers of the club
     Who met him as being a man who will be able to deliver the goods. Cane (sic) has      already secured a line of men from Massachusetts.”

     And from Massachusetts they came. Over the next three years the Brantford roster was made up of players from eastern Massachusetts, specifically the great Brockton area. Some had previous pro experience, but for most this was their first stop in organized ball.

     First on the list was 18-year-old Mal Barry, a Brockton native who became Brantford’s first baseman and leading hitter.  He led the 1911 Canadian League in hits (141) and was second in the batting race, finishing at .357, just behind Lou Bierbauer Jr.’s .367. Barry hit .315 for Brockton in the 1912 Class B league and then went to spring training with the New York Americans in Bermuda in 1913. It was Mal’s misfortune to end up with the New Yorkers, for Hal Chase was in his prime, and manager Frank Chase also played first base. Barry never played a single major league game but had seasons where he led the International League (1914), the PCL (1916) and the American Association (1917) in fielding percentage for first basemen.

     Brantford’s shortstop in 1911 and 1912 was Lou Courtney. Lou was from Randolph, Massachusetts, just north of Brockton. He had played for Biddeford in the Maine State League in 1909 and had signed to play for Portland in the PCL before misfortune set in. Stepping off a streetcar early in 1910, he was hit by an automobile. Injuries from that accident kept him out of the game for a full season before Amby brought him north. Lou’s best season in Brantford was 1912 when he hit .335 and stole 32 bases. His highest level in pro ball was a short stint with Jersey City in the International League in 1913.

     At third base was Del Orcutt who came to Brantford from Abington, Massachusetts and Brown University after hitting .063 in a handful of games for Brockton in 1910. Blossoming under Amby’s guidance, Del became Brantford’s best all-around player, hitting .294 with 24 steals in 1911. At the end of the season he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers.

     Two Brantford players came from Weymouth, Massachusetts. Ernie “Chub” Coose was a shortstop when not pitching. He hit .292 in 1912 and .261 in 1913. In 1912 he was 14-11 from the hill, topping the staff with 237 innings pitched. Ralph “Buster” Burrill played for Brantford the longest, staying through the 1915 season, copping the batting title that year with a solid .344 mark – significant since the circuit had risen by then to Class B status. Ralph was the nephew of the original Buster – Frank “Buster” Burrill – whose career consisted of brief major league time in the 1890s but close to 20 years for minor league service. Most of Frank’s time was spent in the New England League where in 1899 he was a teammate of Christy Mathewson’s at Taunton.

     Catching from Brantford from 1911-1915 was Matthias A. “Matty” Lamond of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Lamond had a tryout with Brockton in 1910 but was deemed to slow for Class B ball. He never hit for a high average but was an excellent defensive catcher.

     Not to be outdone by the younger team he put together, Amby Kane hit close to .300 in both 1911 and 1912, leading the circuit with 7 homers in 1911.

     The trek north continued for three seasons. Along the way, John McGill, Jack Neafsey, Rafe Kelliher, Casey Cassavane, Amme Plausse, Henry Gero and Johnny Nelson all appeared in Brantford uniforms. All came from the Brockton area, and all left some type of mark in the New England League. Even young Tim Spillane, the captain of the 1913 Brockton high school team played for Brantford. Though it was his first time away from home and he was hobbled by a leg injury, he was a crowd favorite in Brantford despite a .063 batting average in just seven games.

     Al least two players from Kane’s Brantford teams played in the major leagues. Brockton, circa 1910, has a working arraignment with the Brooklyn Dodgers and four Brockton players from that period – Simmy Murch, Pem Finlayson, Eddie McLane and Tommy Catterson – made brief Brooklyn appearances. Catterson was the 1908 New England batting champ and appeared in 28 National League games in 1908 and 1909. He showed up in Brantford for a short time in the middle of the 1912 season, probably as a favor for Amby, hitting .277 in 12 games. Al Tesch, a Brantford middle infielder in 1913 was a member of the 1915 Brockton Colonial League team and appeared briefly in the Federal League.

     Kane’s best finish in Brantford was second place in 1912. The club started off poorly in 1913 and Amby was fired in August.

      In 1914 Kane managed the Taunton, Massachusetts team in the Colonial League, bringing along several of his Brantford players. He also started off his nephew – Frank Kane – on a long pro career that saw stops with the Brooklyn Feds in 1915 and the New York Yankees in 1919. Throughout most of the 1920s Frank Kane was a top International League flychaser, leading the circuit in stolen bases in 1921, and hitting .348 with 112 RBI in 1924.

     Amby’s boys had one last hurrah in organized baseball. That came in 1928 when Lou Courtney managed the Brockton New England League team. Amby and Mal Barry owned stock in the team and Frank Kane closed out his career in the Brockton outfield.

     Frank Kane became an accountant and part-time scout for the Cleveland Indians. He coached Peter Marciano, the younger brother of Brockton heavyweight boxing champ Rocky Marciano. Peter Marciano caught two seasons in the Braves system. Frank Kane died in Brockton in 1962. Mal Barry went into the shoe business in Brockton, dying there in 1960. Lou Courtney became a highway surveyor and engineer. He remained active in the amateur Cape Cod League and the local Brockton baseball scene, helping to shape the careers of Elbie Fletcher and Bill Chamberlain, two 1930s major leaguers from Milton, Massachusetts. Courtney died in Brockton in 1967. Lamond died in 1940, Coose in 1956 and Burrill in 1973. Amby Kane, their manager, passed away in Brockton on November 21, 1936.

By Dick Thompson

This Week in the California League, April 23-29, 1900

This Week in the California League, April 23-29, 1900

This week the San Francisco Wasps, last in the league, added two more to the loss column on Saturday and Sunday. Tom Fitzpatrick— who began his Cal League career with Oakland in 1896, and who had been a mainstay ever since— lost to Jimmy Whalen, 4-2. On Sunday Stockton, put up 7 runs at Goodwater Grove, behind 3-hit efforts by second baseman Ernie Courtney and left fielder Jack McCarthy. George Harper won his second game, and Ham Iburg lost his third.

Oakland and Sacramento opened up at Rec Park in San Francisco, winning on the backs of Truck Eagan who went 4 for 5 and Hen Stultz, batting eighth in the line up, who collected a double and triple in four trip to the plate. Charley “Demon” Doyle pitched a fine game, or as Charles Dryden put in the Examiner: “Doyle, sometimes the Demon, yesterday was a ‘wiz,’” giving uo 3 runs on five hits. On Sunday, Sacramento won 4-3 over at Golden Gate (aka Freeman’s) Park in Oakland. In the afternoon game at Rec, Jay Hughes prevailed for the Senators 5-3, and picking up his third win of the season against only one defeat.

To get a better view of the Standings & Leaders, click on image.