Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Corrected Death Information on Jay Hughes

A Correction & Some Added Information By Alan O’Connor

Alan supplied this information just before the Christmas holidays, but am only getting to it now. This is also a cautionary tale about using one source, which I apparently fell victim to myself.

I just wanted to clarify some info about Jay Hughes. I have the original news account from the Sacramento Bee about his death. He died from a fall off the Sutterville Road over-cross trestle in Sacramento on the "Walnut Grove Line.” This line used to run from downtown Sacramento through Sutterville (now the Land Park neighborhood in the south of Sacramento) to Walnut Grove. The tracks are still there, but the train no longer runs, and the trestle was removed in the early 1960s. I used to walk on— and play on— the trestle on my way to school at a school that backs up to the tracks and was next to the trestle. I grew up within blocks of where he died.

The article also states that his baseball career ended in 1907 due to a back injury.
Through my own research, I found that he was a "driver" (probably of horses) in 1908. From 1909 thru 1911 he worked for the city streets department. In 1912 and 1913 he was a gardener at the state capitol. At the time of his death he lived on a ranch off Sutterville Road and was the caretaker for the Sutterville baseball field.

I have heard second hand from the family that after this he became a bartender and developed a drinking problem which, in all likelihood, contributed to his fall from the trestle.

I appreciate the opportunity to share info about Hughes as he is one of my favorite local players.

Alan O’Connor

Usually the reporters for the A. P. were the best around (way back when that is). When I published the first news account, I never gave it any thought that the A. P. could have gotten it that wrong. Walnut Grove is not Sacramento, and the Walnut Grove Line is not the same as the town of Walnut Grove.

After Alan sent me a copy of the Bee account, he went and photocopied the Union-Republican account. Above I'm posting all three accounts of Jay ughes death, and they point out the reason for checking more than one source, if you can.


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