Bobby Keefe (COURTESY OF BILL LAMB)

Bobby Keefe

This article was written by Bill Lamb

Bobby Keefe (COURTESY OF BILL LAMB)During a professional pitching career that spanned the Deadball Era, right-hander Bobby Keefe won more than 200 games. Regrettably for him, only 16 of these victories came while in a major league uniform. A curveball artist, Keefe’s time in the bigs was sidetracked by untimely health problems, a periodically sore arm, and the perception that his slender physique made him an unsuitable candidate for sustained mound use. After he left the game in 1921, Keefe, an intelligent, well-educated man, pursued various endeavors before settling down as the postmaster of his hometown in Northern California. Heart disease brought his long, eventful life to a close in December 1964 at age 82.

Robert Francis Keefe was born on June 16, 1882 in Folsom, California, then a sprawling but sparsely populated mining town located outside Sacramento. He was the oldest of three children born to middle-aged Robert Keefe (1832-1914), and second wife Delia Foley McDerby (1851-1928), a widow with two children of her own.1 The elder Keefes were among the Irish Catholic immigrants drawn to California in the early 1850s by the promise of a better life in gold mine territory. The blended Keefe-McDerby family was devout and exceptionally tight-knit. The frequent interaction of its members was chronicled for decades in the Folsom Telegraph, the weekly community newspaper.

By the time young Robert was born, Robert Keefe had risen from humble gold miner to mine operator and local property baron, an affluent pillar of the community. As a result, Bobby and his sisters Margaret (born in 1885) and Frances (1887) were raised in comfort. Young Bobby (or Robbie as he was called in Folsom) was educated in the one-room public schoolhouse erected on Keefe property in Willow Creek Hills, while his sisters went to parochial school in Sacramento.2 During the summers, Robert toughened up his son with work in the family gold mine, but allowed him ample time off for playing baseball with the Folsom town team.

Bobby graduated from high school in June 1897,3 but at 15 was deemed too young to leave home. The following year, he matriculated to Santa Clara College (now University), a Jesuit-run institution situated about 150 miles south. Santa Clara had fielded a baseball team since 1883 and proved a fertile spawning ground for professional talent.4 During Keefe’s time there, the Broncos were coached by recent graduate Charlie Graham,5 later a catcher for the 1906 AL Boston Pilgrims and thereafter a longtime Pacific Coast League manager and club owner.

During his first year at college, Keefe remained on the sidelines, doing his ballplaying back in Folsom during the summer. But in spring 1900, he made the Santa Clara varsity as a pitcher-outfielder and saw occasional action.6 Bobby assumed regular mound duty in 1901, dropping an early-season 7-6 decision to Stanford, the only time that Stanford would beat Keefe in five matchups. The San Francisco Chronicle was suitably impressed, reporting that “Little Keefe, the Santa Clara twirler, pitched a good game, sending six Stanford men to the bench without hitting the sphere.”7 Unfortunately, the descriptive conveyed an impression that would dog Keefe throughout his pitching career: that he was small and somewhat fragile. Although of better-than-average height (5’11”) and muscle-hardened by summer vacation work in the mines, Keefe was light (155 pounds), slender-framed, and boyish in appearance. Warranted or not, the young hurler’s unimposing stature engendered persistent doubt that his arm could withstand prolonged use, a particular concern on the warm-weather West Coast, where the baseball season was lengthy and relentless.

Unlike Santa Clara teammate Hal Chase and other collegiate players of the era, Keefe was a bona fide student, graduating in June 1902 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He spent that summer pitching and playing shortstop for an amateur team in New Castle, California.8 But college eligibility rules were either unenforced or non-existent, so he returned to pitch and play center field for Santa Clara in spring 1903. Among his notable post-graduation performances was a three-hit, 14-strikeout shutout victory over future Chicago Cubs standout Orval Overall and the University of California, 10-0.9

Keefe entered the professional ranks later that summer, signed by college mentor Charlie Graham, now manager of the Sacramento Senators of the Pacific Coast League, an independent circuit outside Organized Baseball.10 After his initial outings Keefe was released by Sacramento, but returned to the Senators after “being pastured with the amateurs for several weeks.”11 He finished his maiden pro season with a 15-14 record, about on par with the 105-105 log of Sacramento, overall.

When Sacramento did not field a club for the 1904 season, Keefe followed Senators club owner Mike Fisher to the Tacoma Tigers of a newly formulated PCL, now officially a Class A circuit.12 Joined by former college adversary Overall (32-25) and right-hander Bill Thomas (27-24), Keefe gave the lie to suspicions about his durability. He posted a team-best 34-15 (.694) record, with a 2.40 ERA over 438 2/3 innings pitched, for the pennant-winning (130-94, .580) Tacoma club. Keefe’s work quickly attracted attention, and early in the season Fisher reportedly turned down a $2,500 offer for Keefe’s contract “stuck under his nose” by Chicago Cubs field leader Frank Selee.13 Yet despite completing the campaign with impressive numbers, Keefe was not selected by a major league club in the minor league player draft that fall.14

Keefe’s return to Tacoma in 1905 was not altogether happy. The Tigers got off fast, capturing the first half of the grueling PCL split-season with a 63-42 (.600) record. Keefe more than did his part, posting an even better personal log of 20-6 (.700),15 once again attracting major league interest in the process. But with the Tacoma franchise in financial trouble, Fisher held out for a Keefe purchase price that went unmet.16 The situation deteriorated thereafter, with the Tigers tailspinning to a 43-65 (.393) second-half finish. In late August, Tacoma management pulled the plug on the pennant chase and began selling off players in a vain attempt to keep club books in the black.17 Keefe was peddled to the New York Highlanders for an undisclosed sum “known to be up in the thousands.”18 But he was to remain with Tacoma until season’s end (which included the post-Thanksgiving PCL championship playoff between first and second half winners). Like his team, Bobby’s numbers fell off markedly during the latter part of the year. He finished at 30-22 (.577), but with a sparkling 1.61 ERA over a yeoman 468 2/3 innings pitched and a late-season no-hitter against the Oakland Oaks to his credit.19

Bobby Keefe (COURTESY OF BILL LAMB)The following spring, Bobby went to camp with the Highlanders. However, slowed by a bout of malaria, he did not make the club roster, and was optioned to the Montreal Royals of the Class A Eastern League.20 Once there, he posted a decent 7-6 record for a losing club and was being publicly touted for a call-up by New York when sidelined by pains in his side. The cause turned out to be appendicitis, necessitating then-risky surgery. The operation was a success, but expectation of a rapid recovery proved overly optimistic. Keefe’s rehab went slowly and his season never resumed.21

Keefe was fit by spring 1907 and made the Highlanders roster. Once the regular season began, manager Clark Griffith wasted no time getting the rookie hurler into action, handing him the ball on April 15 against the Washington Senators. Normally a harmless right-handed batsman (with a major league career batting average of .093), Keefe unexpectedly contributed to the New York cause by hitting a double off Senators starter Casey Patten and scoring an early run. He later drove in another Highlanders tally with a fly out. But Keefe weakened late and, sabotaged by lousy seventh-inning work by reliever Walter Clarkson, took an eventual 9-4 loss in his major league debut. Thereafter used mostly in relief, Keefe picked up his first victory on April 22 with four innings of barely mediocre pitching (six hits, three runs) behind starter Long Tom Hughes, but again helped out on offense. In the bottom of the ninth, Keefe wangled a lead-off walk and scored the decisive run in an 8-7 win over Boston.

With his record standing at 3-5, albeit with a more than respectable 2.50 ERA in 57 2/3 innings pitched, Keefe was optioned back to Montreal for more seasoning.22 Keefe did not take the demotion kindly, subsequently complaining that Griffith was a hard man to work for — the manager had little patience with young pitchers and promptly went to the hook whenever one “shows signs of going to the bad.”23 But once in Montreal, Keefe did little to change Griffith’s judgment of him. Pitching for another bad (46-85, .351) Royals club, Keefe was worse, going 4-13 (.235) in 18 outings.

Keefe attended Highlanders camp in spring 1908,24 but was again farmed out to Montreal.25 Upon his return, he promptly threw a one-hit, 4-0 shutout at the Newark Indians on April 28, with only a swinging bunt standing between Keefe and his second professional no-hitter.26 He then settled in as a middle-of-the-rotation starter, going 15-12 (.556) in 32 games for the fifth-place (64-75, .461) Royals. Keefe returned to Montreal for the 1909 season, but his career seemed stalled. He slumped to 13-18 (.419) in 38 games, but closed the campaign on a high note, getting that second no-hitter, a 3-0 beauty fired at the Buffalo Bisons on September 11.27

Approaching age 28 and returning to Montreal for the fourth straight year, Keefe revived his by-now dormant major league prospects with an outstanding 1910 season. Pitching for yet another sub-.500 Royals edition, Bobby posted an excellent 22-12 (.647) record, allowing only six base hits per nine innings pitched over 291 frames. Keefe’s work did not go unnoticed. In a surprise, his former manager — Clark Griffith, by then Cincinnati Reds field boss — was the pitcher’s most ardent suitor.28 In late August, Griffith got his man, sending a reported $3,500 to Montreal in exchange for the rights to Bobby Keefe.29

Keefe came to 1911 Reds spring camp equipped with a pitch that he had long been working on but only recently felt confident enough to use in game situations: a fadeaway inspired by Christy Mathewson-inspired.30 Manager Griffith was also now firmly in his corner, informing the press that Keefe’s previous lack of progress had been mostly health-related. The Reds skipper declared, “Last year, he came back and pitched the best ball of his career and, incidentally, the best ball in the Eastern League. Keefe has remarkable control and is cool under fire.”31 The primary concern expressed about the pitcher by the baseball press was a familiar one: that his physique would prove too frail to handle the workload expected of Deadball Era starters.32 The press, however, admired Keefe for his no-excuses candor. Although he generally pitched well that season, Bobby readily acknowledged when his work was substandard, offering no alibis.33

Inserted into the Reds’ five-man starting rotation in May, Keefe quickly found success, winning his maiden outing handily against the Chicago Cubs, 13-2, with a complete-game performance that had one sportswriter hailing him as a “new idol for the Reds.”34 He followed up with three more winning starts. But as the season progressed, he let a number of additional victories slip from his grasp via late-inning control lapses and occasionally failing to field his position properly.35 Still, Keefe was the most reliable starter on a club destined for a sixth-place (70-83, .458) finish. And like most Deadball Era starting pitchers, he was expected to perform relief chores, too, his questionable stamina and arm strength notwithstanding. In one such outing, Keefe silenced the doubters (for a time), fanning an NL season-high six consecutive St. Louis Cardinal batters.36

Yet as the press had feared, the workload inevitably exacted its toll on the slightly-built Keefe. On September 12, he pitched a complete-game five-hitter against the Chicago Cubs but dropped a 3-2 decision, undone by Cincinnati fielding miscues and the six walks that he issued. Although a month remained on the 1911 schedule, Keefe did not pitch again that season, sidelined by a dead arm. Up to that point, he had been the Reds’ best pitcher, his modest 12-13 final record disguising a staff-leading 2.69 ERA and 1.161 WHIP. In 234 1/3 innings pitched, he yielded just 196 base hits (good for a commendable .229 OBA), striking out 105, while walking 76.

Weeks later, there appeared to be no improvement, with Keefe’s arm still “so sore he can hardly use it.”37 Nevertheless, he attempted to give it a try during the annual post-season state championship match against the American League Cleveland Naps. But Keefe was ineffective and lasted less than four innings in his lone appearance. Before he went back home to California, however, Keefe was reserved by Cincinnati for the 1912 season.38

Keefe showed new Reds manager Hank O’Day little in spring camp, but made the club roster nonetheless. Nor was he much use during the regular season, ineffective as both a starter and in relief. On July 26, a dismal relief outing — three walks in four batters faced — led to a 9-4 loss to Brooklyn and spelled the end of Keefe’s time with Cincinnati. With his record standing at 1-3 and an unsightly 5.24 ERA in 68 2/3 innings pitched, Keefe was sold to the Rochester Hustlers of the Class AA International League.39 Although he rebounded with several excellent seasons for Rochester, Keefe never got another call-up. His major league career thus ended with a 16-21 (.432) record in 75 games spread over parts of three seasons pitching for second-rate ball clubs. Keefe’s 3.14 ERA over 360 2/3 innings pitched was respectable, as was his 1.284 WHIP (based on 334 base hits, plus 129 walks and eight hit batsmen), while he struck out 154 batters. In the end, it was health and arm problems, plus apprehension about his durability, rather than a lack of stuff, that curtailed Bobby Keefe’s tenure as a major leaguer.

Once in Rochester, Keefe (by then 30 years old) seemed a new man. He debuted with a dominating 7-0 shutout of Baltimore on August 8, allowing just two infield hits.40 He promptly became a staff mainstay. for a second-place (86-67, .562) Rochester club. In 10 late-season games, Bobby went 7-3 (.700) with a 0.984 WHIP. He allowed only 63 base hits in 82 2/3 innings pitched during this stretch, striking out 32 while walking 18.41

As soon as the campaign was over, Keefe returned to Cincinnati for the personal highlight of his year: marriage to stenographer Margaret Carroll, like himself born to Irish Catholic immigrants. Their 52-year, happy union yielded four children — Helen (born 1913), Carol (1917), Robert Gael (1921), and John (Jack, 1924) — whose academic and athletic accomplishments would delight the couple in the years to come.

Keefe returned to Rochester for the 1913 season, and posted more excellent numbers for another second-place club. In 35 appearances, he went 21-12 (.636) and demonstrated that his arm had recovered by tossing 273 innings and recording 99 whiffs. Despite those comeback stats, no major league club selected him in the minor league player draft that fall. Nor did the newly arrived Federal League approach him, despite its need for established playing talent. Without much other recourse, Keefe returned to Rochester the following year, posting similar, if slightly reduced, numbers. In 30 games, he went 17-10 (.630), striking out 102 in 242 1/3 innings. But again, there was no National/American/Federal League interest in him at season’s end. Only Rochester, which again reserved Keefe, wanted him for 1915.42

Keefe desired to continue playing, but with a wife and baby daughter to support, he needed to combine near- and longer-term objectives. In order to relocate the family to his native West Coast, Bobby purchased his release from Rochester.43 He then advertised his availability to Pacific Coast League teams, trying to assure those concerned about his arm strength with the disclosure: “I’ve been saving my arm these late years, and I have discovered that there are eight fellows out there in the field in addition to myself, so I don’t try to strike them out as I did when I was with Tacoma.”44 The Portland Beavers took Keefe at his word, but the association did not work out. The combination of a slow start (2-3 in 13 games), poor pitching luck, and excess arms on the Portland staff prompted the club to release him in mid-July.45

At first it was reported that Keefe had decided to retire.46 But he soon succumbed to the urge to pitch some more, signing with the Spokane Indians of the Class B Northwestern League. Against lesser competition, Keefe reverted to winning form, going 7-4 (.636) for Spokane in second-half season action.47 Having now notched over 200 victories in his professional career,48 Keefe then called it quits — at least for a time.

The Keefe family initially settled in Bobby’s hometown of Folsom. In late 1917, however, the local newspaper reported: “Mr. and Mrs. Robert Keefe and children are preparing to leave for New Mexico, where Mr. Keefe will have a position with a mining company.”49 That position turned out to be driving a truck.50 In July 1921, Keefe relinquished his New Mexico job to launch an improbable comeback with the San Francisco Seals of the PCL.51 The pitching-strapped Seals were managed by Charlie Graham, Keefe’s college mentor at Santa Clara and a longtime friend. But whether the reentry of Keefe (by then 39) into Organized Baseball was Graham’s idea or his own is unclear. In any event, the engagement proved little more than a lark, with Keefe reserved for inconsequential relief appearances. In 10 games for San Francisco, he did not register a decision. He retired from the professional ranks for good at season end.

For the remainder of his life, Keefe resided and worked in and about Folsom, pitching for the town team into his early 40s. Although it is speculative, it seems probable that following the death of their mother in February 1928, Bobby and his siblings came into a substantial inheritance, as the ensuing Great Depression seems to have had little effect on the frequently reported recreational, vacation, and travel plans of the extended Keefe family.52 In 1931, Keefe secured a position as deputy county assessor for Sacramento County.53 Thereafter, the local spotlight shifted to the Keefe children, town academic and athletic standouts. By the time of American engagement in World War II, older daughter Helen had embraced a religious vocation, becoming Sister Mary Clotildes. Younger daughter Carol, a nurse, became a commissioned WAC officer, while sons Gael (Army) and Jack (Navy) also entered military service. Meanwhile, back in Folsom, their father assumed the position of acting town postmaster.54 In 1946, his appointment was made permanent by President Harry S. Truman and confirmed by the US Senate.

Postmaster Keefe was among the four old-timers honored by the PCL’s Sacramento Solons during 50th anniversary celebrations of professional baseball in the state capital.55 Following his retirement from the Post Office in 1957, Bobby and Margaret Keefe briefly made their home in Billings, Montana, before settling into their final residence in Sacramento. By now, the elderly ex-pitcher was suffering from degenerative heart disease. Robert Francis “Bobby” Keefe died at home on December 6, 1964.56 He was 82, and had lived a long, productive life. A Requiem Mass said at St. John’s Church in Folsom was followed by interment in the parish cemetery. Survivors included his wife, four children, three grandchildren, and other Keefe family relatives.57

 

Acknowledgments

This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and Jan Finkel and fact-checked by Chris Rainey.

 

Sources

Sources for the biographical information imparted above include the Bobby Keefe file maintained at the Giamatti Research Center, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, New York; US Census and family data accessed via Ancestry.com; and certain of the newspaper articles cited below, particularly coverage of the Keefe family published in the Folsom (California) Telegraph. Unless otherwise noted, stats have been taken from Baseball-Reference.

 

Notes

1 Robert Keefe’s first wife, Irish immigrant Mary (maiden name unknown), appears not to have given him any children and died sometime in the 1870s.

2 The teacher at the Willow Creek Hills school was Bobby’s older half-sister Mary McDerby.

3 “Graduated Pupils,” Folsom (California) Telegraph, July 17, 1897: 3. His high school diploma was awarded by the Sacramento County Board of Education.

4 Deadball Era major leaguers who played at Santa Clara included the notorious Hal Chase, plus Charlie Graham, Frank Arellanes, Elmer Stricklett, Harry Wolter, Willie Hogan, and Al Carson.

5 Graham doubled as a classroom instructor in Greek and Latin.

6 On June 4, 1900, Keefe was the Santa Clara hurler in a scoreless-tie game against UC Santa Cruz.

7 “Stanford Wins Out in Ninth,” San Francisco Chronicle, March 30, 1901: 4.

8 As reported almost weekly in the Folsom Telegraph.

9 See “Overall Is Batted Hard,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 26, 1903: 3, which contrasted the slightly-built Keefe to his hulking 6’2”/220 lb. mound adversary.

10 As reported in “Mike Has New Pitcher,” Sacramento Evening Bee, June 2, 1903: 5; “Has Signed with Sacramento,” Folsom Telegraph, June 6, 1903: 3; and elsewhere.

11 “Senators Win Another Game,” Sacramento Bee, September 5, 1903: 2.

12 Organized Baseball’s Pacific National League disbanded after the 1903 season, with the Tacoma Tigers and several other PNL clubs folded into its replacement, the now officially-recognized Pacific Coast League.

13 “Sporting News,” Watertown (Wisconsin) Republican, May 11, 1904: 4.

14 Although he posted less-than-Keefe numbers, physically imposing hurling teammate Overall was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds.

15 “Records of Pitchers in the First Season,” Seattle Times, August 9, 1905: 12.

16 As reported in “Gossip about the Players,” Seattle Times, July 25, 1905: 11; “Saints May Go to the Coast,” Minneapolis Journal, July 31, 1905: 9.

17 Tacoma dropped out of the Pacific Coast League after the 1905 season, and subsequently entered the less-competitive Class B Northwestern League.

18 “Keefe of Tacoma Goes to New York,” Los Angeles Herald, August 22, 1905: 11.

19 Keefe faced only 27 batters in the 3-0 gem, with only a second-inning error costing him a perfect game. He subsequently lost both his post-season starts as the Los Angeles Angels captured the 1905 PCL crown in seven games (with one tie).

20 Jersey (Jersey City) Journal, May 1, 1906: 9, and “Condensed Dispatches,” Sporting Life, May 5, 1906: 18.

21 As reported in “Gossip of Sports,” Grand Forks (North Dakota) Herald, July 27, 1906: 2; Uncaptioned, Jersey Journal, August 10, 1906: 11; “Breakfast Food for the Baseball Fans,” San Francisco Chronicle, September 23, 1906: 4; and elsewhere.

22 “Wields the Ax [sic],” Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 4, 1907; “Eastern League Notes,” Baltimore Sun, July 6, 1907: 10; “Sporting Chat,” Muskegon (Michigan) Chronicle, July 8, 1907: 3. Sent out with Keefe was fellow rookie right-hander King Brockett. In return, Montreal sent the more experienced Doc Newton to New York.

23 “Pitchers Don’t Get To See Games,” Kalamazoo (Michigan) Gazette, November 3, 1907: 6. See also, “Gossip about the Players,” Seattle Times, October 9, 1907. Co-exile King Brockett voiced the same complaint about Griffith.

24 Jersey Journal, March 12, 1908: 9.

25 See Will C. Mac Rae, “Chit-Chat of the Sporting World,” (Portland) Oregonian, April 23, 1908: 12; “Latest Notes of Major Leaguers,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 20, 1908: 8.

26 As reported in “Royals’ Second Win over Newark,” Jersey (Jersey City) Journal, April 28, 1908: 9.

27 As reported in “Great pitching Feats Feature the Last Day of Local Baseball,” Buffalo Courier, September 12, 1909: 52; “Keefe Pitched No Hit Game,” Buffalo Illustrated Times, September 12, 1909: 33; and elsewhere. See also, Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, Lloyd Johnson and Miles Wolff, eds. (Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, Inc., 2d ed. 1997), 167.

28 See “Griffith After Hurler Keefe,” Cincinnati Post, August 13, 1910: 6.

29 “Crisp Diamond Notes,” Providence Evening Bulletin, August 31, 1910: 16. See also, Ros, “Bobby Keefe Better Than That $12,000 Beauty,” (Covington) Kentucky Post, December 29, 1910: 6, referring to recently-purchased minor league pitcher Lefty Russell. Other news accounts had Cincinnati sending outfielder Ward Miller and utilityman Frank Roth to Montreal in exchange for Keefe, as well. See e.g., “Ward Miller May Return Next Year,” Kentucky Post, October 29, 1910: 6.

30 “Seven Years To Master Famous Fadeaway Ball,” Cincinnati Post, March 27, 1911: 6.

31 “Attack of Appendicitis Hurt Chances of Keefe,” Cincinnati Post, January 5, 1911: 6.

32 See “Griffith Likes Our Bobby Keefe,” Tacoma (Washington) Times, May 4, 1911: 3.

33 A widely-circulated wire service article. See e.g., “Bobby Keefe Has No Excuse,” Bennington (Vermont) Evening Banner, May 29, 1911: 4.

34 See C.H. Sugar, “New Idol for Reds,” The Sporting News, May 11, 1911: 1.

35 See “Griff Plans Correctly, but Bobby Keefe Blows and Throws Game Away,” Cincinnati Post, July 14, 1911: 6.

36 As noted in “Close Game” Grand Forks (North Dakota) Evening Times, June 21, 1911:3; ““Reds Could Not Catch Lead,” Philadelphia Inquirer, June 21, 1911: 10; and elsewhere. Keefe’s seven shutout innings in relief of Art Fromme were not enough to spare Cincinnati from the 5-4 loss suffered on June 20.

37 Ros, “Short Sport,” Kentucky Post, October 6, 1911: 6.

38 “National League Reserve List Is Issued by Lynch,” Providence Evening Bulletin, September 25, 1911: 16; “1912 Roster Is Complete,” Grand Forks Herald, September 29, 1911: 2.

39 As reported in “Now for Kelly’s Leafs,” Baltimore Sun, August 2, 1912:9; “Ganzel Gets Keefe,” Newark Evening Star, August 2, 1912: 11; “National League News,” Sporting Life, August 10, 1912: 10.

40 See “Keefe Is Invincible,” Baltimore Sun, August 9, 1912: 9.

41 International League pitching stats published in the 1913 Reach Official Base Ball Guide, 240. Baseball-Reference does not provide strikeout totals for Keefe’s 1912 time in Rochester.

42 “The Minors’ Reserve List,” Sporting Life, October 24, 1914: 17.

43 As subsequently noted by Portland sportswriter Roscoe Fawcett in “Rain Robs Beavers of Victory,” Oregonian, July 14, 1915: 16.

44 “Infielder Bates To Join Portland Club Says Manager Walt,” (Portland) Oregon Journal, April 25, 1915: 20.

45 As reported in “Keene and Doane To Be Released,” San Francisco Chronicle, July 14, 1915: 8; “Bobby Keefe Released,” Oregon Journal, July 19, 1915: 6; and elsewhere. Seattle sportswriter E.R. Hughes voiced widespread regret at the popular Keefe’s departure, lamenting that “Bob has not been able to get it going this year.” “Hughes Hugh on Sports,” Seattle Times, July 14, 1915: 13.

46 See “Bobby Keefe Not To Play This Year,” Oregonian, July 19, 1915: 5.

47 In 99 innings pitched for Spokane, Keefe yielded 93 base hits and 26 walks, while striking out 23, per Northwestern League stats published in the 1916 Reach Guide, 263. Baseball-Reference takes no notice of Keefe’s time in Spokane.

48 Including his 1915 record in Spokane, Keefe posted a combined major-minor league career log of 210-165 (.560).

49 “Local Brevities,” Folsom Telegraph, November 2, 1917: 1.

50 World War I draft registration card completed by Keefe in September 1918. His employer was listed as the Gallup American Coal Company of Gibson, New Mexico. Keefe was still a resident of New Mexico and a Gallup employee at the time that the 1920 US Census was taken.

51 As reported in “Seals Sign Bobbie Keefe,” Oregonian, July 20, 1921: 13; “Veteran Returns,” San Diego Union, July 20, 1921: 6; “Bobby Keefe, Veteran Hurler, Joins the Seals,” San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 1921: 14.

52 The comings and goings of the Keefe clan and its frequent social interaction were regularly chronicled in the Folsom Telegraph.

53 “R.F. Keefe Deputy Assessor for This District,” Folsom Telegraph, March 6, 1931: 1.

54 “R.F. Keefe Assumes Postmaster Duties,” Folsom Telegraph, October 6, 1944: 1.

55 See “Bob Keefe Honored on 50th Anniversary of Organized Ball,” Folsom Telegraph, May 8, 1952: 2, and “The Spillway,” Folsom Telegraph, May 15, 1952.

56 The Keefe death certificate lists the cause of death as cardiac decompensation resulting from arteriosclerotic heart disease.

57 “R.F. Keefe, Once Baseball Pitcher, Dies,” Sacramento Bee, December 7, 1964: 12. Nine years later, the remains of Margaret Carroll Keefe were laid to rest besides those of her late husband in St. John’s Cemetery.

Full Name

Robert Francis Keefe

Born

June 16, 1882 at Folsom, CA (USA)

Died

December 6, 1964 at Sacramento, CA (USA)

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