Friday, April 21, 2006

From Davis Barker Found in TSN, Jan. 1939

From Davis Barker: Found in The Sporting News, January 1939

Too Many Baseballs Lost on Homers, Spa Will Heighten Fence

HOT SPRING, Ark.—  Too many baseballs went over the short right field fence at the home field of the Hot Springs Bathers last season, so they’re going to raise the barrier this year.

Officials of the Spa club hadn’t planned to do much improving to Ban Johnson Field this year until they read the report of Club Secretary Warren Banks.  It showed an expenditure of $894.04 for baseball, 84 dozen of them.  Most of them, Banks explained, went over the 200-foot right field fence.  So the club decided to raise the fence by 15 feet, along with the other improvements

More home runs were hit in the Spa park last year than in any other park in the Cotton States circuit.  Club officials also pointed out that the short field had long been a hindrance to pitchers, many fly balls which should have been easy outs going for easy outs going for hits against or over the barrier.

This got me thinking about Gavvy Cravath.  With the short right field fence at Baker Bowl, he— or so I thought— changed his swing to hit balls over that short barrier.  Larry Zuckerman found so many home run balls by Cravath going over the right field fence, he asked me if were possible that Cravath might have been a left-handed hitter.  I did some checking, and found an article about Cravath aiming for the inviting right field porch.  I thought that it began in Philadelphia.

Later on, I found that Cravath began experimenting with the inside out swing to take advantage of the Minneapolis ballpark, Nicollet Park, prior to that.


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