At spring training in 1921, Branch Rickey, vice president of the St. Louis Cardinals as well as the club’s field manager, was looking over the rookies in camp at Orange, Texas. Turning to veteran shortstop Doc Lavan, he said, “Tell that bat boy to get out of the infield.” Advised that the “bat boy” was a rookie infielder named Earl Adams, Rickey exploded. “Judas Priest! Is that the child we paid $750 for?”1
Adams — who was 5-feet-4½ tall2 — did not stick with the Cardinals that spring and found himself out of the St. Louis organization a year later. But he became a regular with the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates, acquiring the nickname “Sparky” along the way, and Rickey eventually brought him back to St. Louis. Adams helped the Cardinals win National League pennants in 1930 and 1931, batting .303 over those two seasons and ranking first among the league’s third basemen in fielding percentage.
Earl John Adams was born on August 26, 1894, in Newtown, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, to Edward and Elizabeth (Jones) Adams.3 Edward’s family was German and had lived in the region for more than 100 years; Elizabeth’s parents immigrated from Wales before her birth.4 Earl was their second son and the youngest of their four children.
Schuylkill County lies in the south anthracite coal field of eastern Pennsylvania. In 1904, the county’s 105 mines employed 35,000 men and produced 14.5 million tons of coal.5 Edward Adams worked in the mines all his life, as did his eldest son, Bert.6 Earl took jobs there as well, first working as a slate picker separating impurities from the coal as it moved along a conveyor.7
Earl attended elementary and high school in Tremont, about three miles from Newtown. As a student he picked up the nickname “Rabbit” on the baseball field because of his size and speed. He left school before graduating to train as a machinist at a nearby mine but continued to play baseball, joining the Tremont town team and later the semipro Cressona Tigers, an independent club that played tough teams in the region. His boss at the mine allowed him to work nights so he could fit in games with the Tigers. “I never lost an opportunity to play baseball,” Adams told a reporter years later, “and in the back of my head was the thought that some time, some day, a scout would see me play and sign me up.”8
While working full time and playing as much baseball as he could, Adams began dating Bertha Frew, a miner’s daughter from Newtown.9 They were the same age, born on the same day. Their courtship included trips to his ballgames on his motorcycle, with her riding in the sidecar.10 They married on Saturday morning, August 26, 1916, their mutual 22nd birthday; that afternoon Adams played shortstop for the Tremont team in a loss to Williamstown.11 The next day, he was at shortstop for Cressona in the finale of a three-game series against Minersville. His triple and two runs helped the Tigers win 8-2, earning the team $100 and 60 percent of the gate receipts.12
A scout found him three years later. Adams was playing for Cressona in July 1919 when Charles “Pop” Kelchner of the International League’s Reading Coal Barons signed him to his first professional contract.13 The jump from semi-pro ball to Double-A, then one rung below the major leagues, proved too steep. He was released after going 1-for-11 in four games but drew praise for his defense. “Young Adams playing at shortstop is a regular acrobat,” said the Reading News-Times. “The kid pretty nearly stands on his head to get the hot ones.”14
In March 1920, Adams signed with Danville in the Class D Piedmont League.15 Pop Kelchner, who had returned to scouting for the St. Louis Cardinals,16 made the arrangements.17 The Danville club had a mediocre season, but Adams excelled. He led the league in hits with 157 in 119 games, ranked second in doubles (33) and home runs (9), and fourth in batting average (.326). His .931 fielding percentage led the shortstops, as did his 420 assists.18 According to the local newspaper, he was also “one of the most universally liked men who ever played in Danville.”19
The Cardinals purchased Adams’ contract in August,20 and the following spring Rickey mistook him for a bat boy. Despite his error, Rickey was not convinced that the diminutive infielder could stand up to a rigorous season of play. “He wanted to prove to me that I was too small and too light so he worked me from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day,” Adams recalled. “In three weeks he got me down from 158 pounds to 137 and then he said to me: ‘Young fellow, I knew you were too small for the major leagues.’”21
Rickey sent Adams to Syracuse in the International League for the 1921 season. According to one assessment, he “ranked about second” among the league’s shortstops, trailing fellow Schuylkill County native Joe Boley of Baltimore.22 In 164 games, all but one at shortstop, Adams collected 174 hits, batted .266, and recorded a .927 fielding percentage.23 The Syracuse Herald described him as not only “a dangerous batter in a pinch” and “a splendid leadoff man,”24 but also “about the most popular man on the Syracuse club.”25
Adams had a good spring training with the Cardinals in 1922, but the club settled on Specs Toporcer to share the shortstop job with Lavan. Initially ticketed for Syracuse again, Adams instead wound up at Wichita Falls in the Texas League. According to the Syracuse Herald, Stars president Ernest Landgraf, who co-owned the club with the Cardinals, refused to meet Branch Rickey’s price for Adams.26 An account from the St. Louis Star, however, made no mention of money, quoting Rickey: “[Adams is] going to become a big league star some day, but I’ll have to lose him right at this moment because [Landgraf] has refused to take him from me.”27 Rickey sold Adams’ contract to the Wichita Falls Spudders, releasing him outright on April 10.28
Near the midpoint of the Texas League season, when Adams was hitting well over .300,29 the Chicago Cubs purchased his contract for a reported $20,000 and sent three players to Wichita Falls.30 The Chicago Tribune called Adams the Texas League’s “leading infielder” and noted that he “performs at either second or third base or shortstop.”31 Adams reported to Chicago at the end of the Texas League season, which he finished with 209 hits, a .340 batting average, and a .942 fielding percentage.32 In his major-league debut September 18 at Brooklyn, he played second base and went 2-for-4 against Dazzy Vance, driving in one run and scoring another as the Cubs won 4-3.33
In 1923, Adams — by then known as “Sparky”34 — opened the season on the bench. Early on he substituted occasionally at shortstop for Charlie Hollocher and in late July took over the job full-time when the Cubs captain left the club with a stomach ailment that defied diagnosis and ultimately ended his career.35 Adams started 74 games at shortstop and hit .289 in 95 games overall. Because of Hollocher’s illness, the two men again shared the position in 1924. Adams began and ended the season as the starter and hit .280 in 117 games, 82 at shortstop.36 Over both seasons, he demonstrated solid defense, speed on the bases, and clutch hitting.37
In 1925 Adams became the Cubs’ regular second baseman. George Grantham, who had held the job for two seasons, was traded to the Pirates in a six-player swap that brought shortstop Rabbit Maranville, first baseman Charlie Grimm, and pitcher Wilbur Cooper to Chicago.38 The deal prompted pennant talk on the city’s north side.39 But Maranville broke his right ankle in a mid-March exhibition game40 and started only 71 games as the Cubs finished last for the first time in franchise history.41
Adams, however, made the most of his opportunity to play every day. By the season’s halfway point his performance had caught the eye of Chicago sportswriter Irving Vaughan. Adams “is playing a whale of a defensive game and is also hitting well and running the bases,” Vaughan wrote.42 He ended the year leading the league’s second basemen in putouts (354), assists (551), and fielding percentage (.983).43 Installed in the leadoff spot after the first month of the season, Adams hit .287 with a .341 on-base percentage and stole 26 bases, third in the league. Once again, a sportswriter described him as the team’s most popular player, adding that he “won his way into the hearts of Chicago fans because he delivered.”44
He also established a reputation as a tough infielder who, despite his small size, could not be intimidated while turning the double play. “If somebody kept coming in high, I’d throw the ball right for his head,” Adams recalled years later. “If he tried to spike me, I’d walk all over hands, face, anything.”45 And he possessed the strength to make the payback hurt. “Adams was a little fellow in size, but he was as strong as any man I ever saw,” said Frankie Frisch, an adversary who later became a teammate. “Now and then some big guy would get smart with Sparky, all in fun of course, and Adams would soon have him pinned to the ground.”46
Under new manager Joe McCarthy, the Cubs improved to fourth place in 1926, seven games behind the pennant-winning Cardinals. Adams, who turned 31 in August, played a major role in the team’s resurgence. He played in 154 games, hitting .309 with a .367 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot, and his career-best 4.6 WAR was fifth among National League position players. Adams led the league in plate appearances (701) and at-bats (624) and ranked third in hits (193), fourth in doubles (35), and second in stolen bases (27).
The Cubs again finished fourth in 1927, and Adams had a frustrating year as McCarthy shuttled him around the diamond. When play began, the 1926 infield was intact: Grimm at first base, Adams at second, Jimmy Cooney at shortstop, and Howard Freigau at third. But Cooney and Freigau were both traded in early June, and McCarthy moved Adams to shortstop and then to third. Adams wound up starting 55 games at second, 39 at short, and 52 at third. Offensively, he batted .292 with a .335 OBP in 146 games.
On November 28, 1927, the Cubs traded Adams and reserve outfielder Pete Scott to the Pirates for outfielder Kiki Cuyler, whose feud with manager Donie Bush had landed him on the bench at the end of the season and during the World Series loss to the Yankees. Both clubs expected to benefit from the deal. With Cuyler joining Hack Wilson and Riggs Stephenson, the Chicago Tribune said the Cubs were said to have “an all-star outfield.”47 Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Press opined that the Pirates had obtained “a sterling second sacker, thus eliminating the only weak spot in [their] infield.”48
Adams was not happy in Pittsburgh. He roomed with Lloyd Waner, which proved to be a mismatch. Waner was not only a good hitter but “a good drinker, too,” recalled Adams, a teetotaler. And Waner was hardly alone on the Pirates. His brother Paul was notorious for his drinking, and Adams said that “there wasn’t a one on the club who didn’t get drunk.” He also did not get along with fellow infielder Dick Bartell, who was appropriately nicknamed “Rowdy Richard.”49
On the field, the Pirates fell to fourth place in 1928, nine games behind the champion Cardinals. Adams started strong at the plate and was hitting .317 at the close of play on May 2. He then came down with a cold but stayed in the lineup, and his average dropped steadily over the next 14 games, settling at .257 on May 20. The next day he was confined to bed, diagnosed with bronchitis that quickly morphed into influenza, causing him to miss 15 games.50 Rejoining the starting lineup on June 12, Adams went 3-for-5 in a rout of the Phillies,51 but two days later a Pittsburgh Press columnist was wondering whether the Pirates had gotten their money’s worth in the Cuyler trade.52
Bush nevertheless stuck with Adams, who finished the campaign with a .276 batting average and a .357 OBP in 135 games. The highlight of his season was a streak of 235 errorless chances, touted at the time as a modern record for an infielder.53 During the streak, Adams played 38 consecutive games without an error, a dozen at second base and 26 at shortstop.54
The 1929 Pirates finished in second behind the Cubs but were further out of the top spot than the previous season. Adams was relegated to a utility role after a knee injury in a spring exhibition game still hampered him when the season began.55 He started 19 games at shortstop, 16 at second base, and 11 at third while relieving at all three positions. At the plate, he .260 with a .316 OBP, his worst performance in seven full major-league seasons.
Given Adams’ lack of playing time, it seemed clear that he did not fit into the Pirates’ future plans.56 However, Rickey had kept an eye on the versatile infielder, and on November 26 the St. Louis Cardinals purchased his contract.57 Several years later, the sum was reported to be $10,000 — “a bargain,” Sid Keener wrote in the St. Louis Star-Times.58
When the deal was made, the Cardinals planned to try Adams at second base, with Frisch moving to third and Charley Gelbert remaining at shortstop.59 That proved to be the opening day lineup as the Cardinals lost to the Cubs.60 On May 7, however, manager Gabby Street moved Frisch back to second base and installed Adams at third.61 Except for a platoon experiment in July with Andy High, a left-handed hitter, Adams was the regular third baseman for the remainder of the season,62 although he shifted to second base or shortstop when Frisch or Gelbert was injured.63
The ball was lively in 1930, and the pennant-winning Cardinals averaged .314 as a team — the eight regulars hit a combined .323 — while scoring 1,004 runs, the modern National League record. Adams batted .314 with 55 RBIs, both career bests, in 137 games. Of those, he started 104 games at third base, where his .966 fielding percentage led the league.
As St. Louis mounted a late-season surge to the championship, Adams contributed with both bat and glove. At the close of play on August 8, the Cardinals were in fourth place with a 53-52 record, 12 games behind league-leading Brooklyn but won 39 of their last 49 games to take the flag. During that stretch drive, Adams started every game, hit .332 with a .367 OBP, drove in 27 runs, and scored 38. And his defense, sportswriter Red Smith noted, “saved enough games for the team to represent the difference between the championship and the field.”64 Shortstop Gelbert agreed: “I never saw a fellow come up with so many great plays in the pinch.”65
One such play occurred at Ebbets Field on September 16, with first-place Brooklyn holding a one-game lead over St. Louis. The game was scoreless until the top of the tenth, when the Cardinals pushed across a run. In the bottom of the inning, Adams moved to shortstop after an injury to Gelbert. With the bases loaded and one out, Brooklyn catcher Al Lopez slapped a hard ground ball to short that, according to one sportswriter, “took a sudden bad hop and almost got away,” but Adams “made a spectacular play when he leaped up, snared the ball, and threw to Frisch,” who turned a game-ending double play.66 The Cardinals then led Brooklyn by a percentage point67 and never trailed again, finishing the season with a 21-4 record in September.
For Adams, the season was vindication. “I just wanted to show [Pittsburgh owner Barney Dreyfuss] that he was wrong in his judgment when he sold me,” Adams told a reporter when the Cardinals were on the verge of clinching the pennant. “I wanted to show him I could still have a good year.”68
Neither Adams nor his teammates fared well in the World Series, however. In stark contrast to the regular season, the Cardinals hit only .200 as Connie Mack’s Athletics prevailed in six games. Adams managed only three singles and one RBI in 21 at-bats but continued his sterling defensive play.69
Calls for his replacement began immediately. “The Cardinals need a third baseman badly,” J. Roy Stockton complained in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Sparky Adams served well enough to help win the pennant, but he is on the downgrade and was one of the World Series slumpers.”70 In November, owner Sam Breadon touted Eddie Delker as a potential third baseman for 1931 but also made clear he was satisfied with Adams. “If Delker doesn’t come through for us, you’ll see Adams back on the job,” Breadon said.71
But Delker, another Schuylkill County native,72 was hampered by injuries during spring training,73 and Adams was again at third base when the 1931 season began. He started 136 games at third base as the Cardinals repeated as National League champions, and his .963 fielding percentage again ranked first at that position. Batting leadoff,74 he hit .293 with a .340 OBP in a year that saw batting averages drop across the league — the result of a deadened ball and elimination of the sacrifice fly from the scoring rules75 — but belted a career-best 46 doubles to lead the senior circuit and scored 97 runs, most on the club and sixth in the league.76 He also finished ninth in the voting for the National League MVP award, which went to teammate Frisch.
A badly sprained left ankle kept Adams out of most of the World Series, a rematch against the Athletics that the underdog Cardinals won in seven games. The injury occurred on September 20 during a pre-game “field day” at Sportsman’s Park featuring various competitions between Brooklyn and St. Louis players. Adams won the bunt-and-run event but caught his spikes in the first-base bag when attempting to post the fastest time circling the bases.77 The ankle was so swollen that the Cardinals feared a broken bone.78 While x-rays taken the next day showed no fracture,79 the ankle was still swollen and bandaged at a workout the day before the Series opened, causing Adams to favor it at bat and in the field. “It looks like I might miss the first two games,” he said.80
Adams made his first appearance in the third game, in which the Cardinals bested Lefty Grove at Shibe Park. He went 0-for-3 and aggravated his injury. At the end of the fifth inning he limped off the field after making “a gorgeous stop” of Bing Miller’s hard-hit grounder and forcing out Jimmie Foxx at second.81 Jake Flowers was at third base when the Cardinals took the field in the sixth, and there was concern that Adams was out for the remainder of the Series.82 But he attempted to return two days later in the fifth game. Batting leadoff against Waite Hoyt, he lined the game’s second pitch over third base.83 It “should have been a double,” Adams recalled, “but my leg hurt so much that I only made it to first base.”84 High immediately replaced him, and Adams did not play again in the Series.
In 1932, Adams played in only 31 games, hitting .276. He started 30 games at third base, completing 29 of them. The one he did not finish was on May 17 against the visiting Boston Braves. After drawing a walk from Ed Brandt in the bottom of the third, he advanced to second on Frisch’s single to right but injured his right knee when he rounded the bag. Carried off the field, he was taken to the hospital, where the team doctor diagnosed a ruptured ligament.85
Returning to play on July 14 as a pinch-hitter against the Giants, Adams exacerbated the injury when he dodged an inside pitch from Jim Mooney. Unable to complete the at-bat, he refused help as he left the field, limping badly.86 A week later, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis granted his request to be placed on the voluntarily retired list for the remainder of the season.87
Adams opened the 1933 season at third base for the Cardinals, batting leadoff in a loss to the Cubs.88 But on May 7 Branch Rickey traded him, along with pitchers Paul Derringer and Allyn Stout, to the Cincinnati Reds for shortstop Leo Durocher and two pitchers, Dutch Henry and Jack Ogden. As for Adams, Rickey “guaranteed that the leg is 100 percent efficient this season and that [he] is in shape to play every day.”89
That he did, playing in all of the Reds’ 137 games after joining the team and starting all but three. From his familiar leadoff spot, Adams hit .262, fourth among the regulars, with a .320 OBP in 600 plate appearances. Cincinnati, however, finished dead last. In 1934 Adams had a part-time role as the Reds again wound up in the cellar. He hit .252 with a .307 OBP in 301 plate appearances, playing 38 games at third base and 29 at second.90
Cincinnati offered Adams a contract for 1935 but, after looking at the numbers, he sent it back unsigned. Rather than play for what he described to his hometown newspaper as “practically expenses,” he instead planned to “spend his time fishing.”91 The Reds released him in February.92 In April he purchased a 50-acre farm, reportedly ideal for fishing and hunting, near his home in Tremont.93
But the 40-year-old Adams was not yet finished with baseball. On April 27 he signed with the Rochester Red Wings, the Cardinals’ International League farm team. Rickey sweetened the deal with signing bonus.94 The Cardinals soon transferred him to their American Association club at Columbus, where he hit .286 in 110 games, primarily at second base.95
By September, Adams made up his mind that the season would be his last. “I have been in [professional] baseball 17 years and I think it is time to quit,” he said.96 He was not entirely finished with the game, however. From 1936 through 1938, he was player-manager for his hometown semipro team, the Tremont Miners.97 The highlight of the 1938 season was a July 7 exhibition game in which the Miners defeated the visiting Philadelphia Phillies 2-1.98
Farming responsibilities kept Adams from returning as Tremont’s manager in 1939.99 Apart from the farm, in 1947 Adams and his son Earl Jr., a mechanic,100 opened a service station and garage in Tremont.101 Sparky retired from running the business in 1960, shortly before the 1930 Cardinals gathered for a reunion in St. Louis, and thereafter rented it to a Tremont man until selling it in 1972.102
Adams died at age 94 on February 24, 1989, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Pottsville, 12 miles from his Tremont home.103 His wife Bertha passed away on May 9, survived by the couple’s two children, Earl Jr. and Doris Adams Enders, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.104 Sparky and Bertha Adams are buried at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ Cemetery in Tremont. Their headstone is engraved with a ball, glove, bat, and St. Louis cap, plus this summary of his MLB career: “13 yrs. Major League — World Series 1930-1931 — World Champions 1931.”105
Adams was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.106 As a major-leaguer he hit .286 with a .343 on-base percentage in 1,424 games and was among the top fielders in the National League at two positions, an impressive record for someone once mistaken for a bat boy.
This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and David Bilmes and reviewed for accuracy by members of SABR’s fact-checking team. The author would also like to thank the staffs of the Pottsville Free Public Library and the Tremont Area Free Public Library in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
In addition to the sources cited in the notes, the author consulted Sparky Adams’ player file at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Baseball-Reference.com, and Retrosheet.org.
1 Harry T. Brundidge, “Sparky Adams, The Smallest Player in Either Major, Proves That Size Is No Handicap in Field or at Plate,” The Sporting News, September 24, 1931: 3. A similar account appears in Lee Allen, The Hot Stove League (New York: A.S. Barnes, 1955), 45.
2 Paul Mickelson, “Oldest, Tallest, Biggest, Lightest, and Shortest Players in the Major Leagues,” Memphis Commercial Appeal, March 12, 1933: sec. 1, 15; “Baseball Midget,” Brooklyn Citizen, March 8, 1932: 6; “Baseball Extremes,” Pittsburgh Press, August 25, 1929: sports, 4; Brundidge, “Sparky Adams, The Smallest Player in Either Major, Proves That Size Is No Handicap in Field or at Plate.” Apart from these sources from Adams’ playing days, a later story based on an interview with him lists the same height. Ione Geier, “Schuylkill Major Leaguers,” Pottsville (Pa.) Republican, September 4, 1976: sec. 2, 1. Nonetheless, some sources add an extra inch or half-inch.
3 The Pennsylvania Register of Births for Schuylkill County, accessible at FamilySearch.org, records Adams’ place of birth as Newtown, an unincorporated village in Reilly Township. Adams himself identified Newtown as his birthplace when he applied for a marriage license and when he registered for the draft in World Wars I and II. These records are available at FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com, respectively. His player contract card maintained by The Sporting News also lists Newtown as his birthplace, as do The Baseball Encyclopedia (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 3d ed. 1976), 660, and articles from Schuylkill County newspapers about his baseball career. E.g., Tony Mileshosky, “Tremont’s Sparky Adams One of Rickey’s ‘Mistakes,’” Pottsville (Pa.) Republican, June 19, 1981: 11. Some sources, however, erroneously list his birthplace as Zerbe, a neighboring village in Reilly Township, and at least one states incorrectly that he was born in Tremont, the town where he resided for most of his adult life.
4 At the time of the 1790 Census, Earl’s great-great-grandfather, John Adams, was residing with his family in nearby Pine Grove Township. According to a local history, the family was among those that had been established in the township “practically from the close of the Revolution.” Joseph H. Zerbey, History of Pottsville and Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, Vol. III (Pottsville, Pennsylvania: J.H. Zerbey Newspapers, Inc., 1936), 1048. The 1870 Census shows that Earl’s maternal grandparents were both born in Wales. William Jones was a coal miner who lived in Reilly Township with his wife Margaret and their four children, including Elizabeth, Earl’s mother. During this period, a number of Welsh migrated to Pennsylvania to work in the mines. See generally Ronald L. Lewis, Welsh Americans: A History of Assimilation in the Coalfields (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008).
5 Adolph W. Schalck and D.C. Henning, eds., History of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, Vol. I (State Historical Association, 1907), 112.
6 “Obituary: John Edward Adams,” West Schuylkill (Tremont, Pa.) Press, August 16, 1940): 1; “Obituary: Bert S. Adams,” West Schuylkill (Tremont, Pa.) Press, October 12, 1956: 1.
7 Geier, “Schuylkill Major Leaguers.”
8 Brundidge, “Sparky Adams, The Smallest Player in Either Major, Proves That Size Is No Handicap in Field or at Plate.”
9 Her father, Alexander Frew (1859-1926), was born in County Antrim, Ulster, now part of Northern Ireland. Her mother, Hannah Mary Woods Frew (1863-1922), was a native of Schuylkill County.
10 Margie Peterson, “A Big Leaguer Turns 92 and Remembers,” Pottsville (Pa.) Republican, August 27, 1986: 1.
11 “Wedding,” West Schuylkill (Pa.) Press, September 2, 1916: 1; “Base Ball,” West Schuylkill (Pa.) Press, September 2, 1916: 1.
12 “Labor Day Picnic in Cressona Postponed,” Schuylkill Haven (Pa.) Call, September 1, 1916: 1.
13 “Kelchner To Open Baseball School at Lauer’s Park,” Reading News-Times, July 15, 1919: 9 (reporting that Kelchner would be holding a tryout camp and that Adams had already been signed). Kelchner later took over as manager; his first game was Adams’ last. “Kid Rooters Keep Fans Awake at Sleepy Ball Game,” Reading News-Times, August 5, 1919: 9.
14 “Notes of the Game,” Reading News-Times, July 28, 1919: 10.
15 Adams’ player contract card, The Sporting News.
16 “‘Pop’ Kelchner Is Now Cardinal Scout,” Harrisburg (Pa.) Evening News, January 1, 1920: 9.
17 Brundidge, “Sparky Adams, The Smallest Player in Either Major, Proves That Size Is No Handicap in Field or at Plate,” and Mileshosky, “Tremont’s Sparky Adams One of Rickey’s ‘Mistakes.’”
18 Reach 1921 Official American League Baseball Guide (Philadelphia: A.J. Reach Co., 1921), 327, 329; Spalding’s 1921 Official Baseball Record (New York: American Sports Publishing Co., 1921), 207, 209.
19 “Baseball Notes,” Danville (Va.) Bee, July 17, 1922: 7.
20 Adams’ player contract card, The Sporting News.
21 Brundidge, “Sparky Adams, The Smallest Player in Either Major, Proves That Size Is No Handicap in Field or at Plate.”
22 “Earl Adams Reported Sold to Chicago Cubs for $20,000,” Syracuse Herald, July 5, 1922: 14. Boley was born and raised in Mahanoy City, about 25 miles east of Adams’ Newtown birthplace.
23 Spalding’s 1922 Official Baseball Record (New York: American Sports Publishing Co., 1922), 128, 132.
24 “Earl Adams Reported Sold to Chicago Cubs for $20,000,” Syracuse Herald, July 5, 1922: 14.
25 L.J. Skiddy, “Listening Post of Sportsdom,” Syracuse Herald, April 15, 1922: 7.
26 “Earl Adams Reported Sold to Chicago Cubs for $20,000,” Syracuse Herald, July 5, 1922: 14.
27 “Sid Keener’s Column,” St. Louis Star, April 2, 1932: 8. In an earlier column, Keener wrote that after Landgraf “refused to accept Adams as the shortstop at Syracuse for another season,” Rickey was “forced to dispose of Adams” to the Wichita Falls club. “Sid Keener’s Column,” St. Louis Star, March 25, 1930: 18.
28 “Mueller Will Probably Be Out of the Cardinal Lineup Tomorrow,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 11, 1922: 17. Whatever the particulars of the Adams episode, it motivated the Cardinals to find a friendly buyer for Landgraf’s half interest in the Stars. Sid Keener put it succinctly: “It is a matter of official records that Landgraf later was ousted from his post at Syracuse because of the Cardinals’ loss of Adams.” “Sid Keener’s Column,” St. Louis Star, March 25, 1930: 18. In July 1922, Philip Bartelme, former athletic director at University of Michigan, acquired Landgraf’s half-interest in the Syracuse club. “Landgraf Retires as Stars Head; Sells to Philip Bartelme,” Syracuse Herald, July 3, 1922: 9. When Rickey was a law student at Michigan, Bartelme had hired him to coach the baseball team, and the two men remained close friends. Lee Lowenfish, Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman (Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2007), 49-50.
29 During the first half of the Texas League season, which ended July 1, Adams hit .321 in 74 games. “Calvo, Phelan and Kraft Among Pather Regulars Hitting .300,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 9, 1922: 13.
30 Various news stories put the purchase price at $20,000. E.g., “Spudders Sell Adams for 2 Players and $20,000,” Houston Post, June 28, 1922: 10; “Earl Adams Reported Sold to Chicago Cubs for $20,000,” Syracuse Herald, July 5, 1922: 14. R.O Harvey, president of the Wichita Falls Spudders, called that figure “exaggerated” but said the purchase “was probably the biggest deal ever made” by a Texas League club. “Texas League,” The Sporting News, July 13, 1922: 5. According to Adams’ player contract card maintained by The Sporting News, the Cubs paid $15,000.
31 “Cubs Buy Touted Busher; Braves Open Here Today,” Chicago Tribune, July 7, 1922: 12.
32 “Texas Circuit No Longer To Be Rated as a Pitchers’ League,” The Sporting News, October 26, 1922: 6 (final Texas League statistics).
33 “Rookie Adams Leads Cubs in 4-3 Victory,” Chicago Tribune, September 19, 1922: 17.
34 As late as his 1922 season in the Texas League, Adams was still called “Rabbit.” E.g., “Spudders Sell Adams for 2 Players and $20,000,” Houston Post, June 28, 1922: 10. In a 1931 interview, Adams said he got the nickname “Sparky” from Rabbit Maranville when the veteran shortstop joined the Cubs in 1925. “We can’t have two Rabbits on this ball club,” Adams recalled Maranville telling him. “From now on, you’ll have to be something else.” Brundidge, “Sparky Adams, The Smallest Player in Either Major, Proves That Size Is No Handicap in Field or at Plate.” This account has since been repeated. E.g., Allen, Hot Stove League, 46. However, press reports referred to Adams as “Sparky” or, less frequently, as “Spark Plug,” since his first spring training with the Cubs in 1923. E.g., “Rookies Star as Cubs Top Angels in 10 Innings,” Chicago Tribune, March 17, 1923: 16 (“Sparky”); “Cubs New Infield Suits Bill Killefer,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 23, 1923: 2A (“Sparky”); Dick Down, “Fresno Fans Will See Star Boxmen in Games Between Cubs, Bees,” Fresno Bee, March 23, 1923: 18 (“Spark Plug”).
35 Frank Schreiber, “Balked by Rain, Cubs and Giants Play Pair Today,” Chicago Tribune, July 28, 1923: 8 (noting that Adams played shortstop on July 26 “in place of the ailing Charley Hollocher” and drove the game-winning run); “Hollocher Quits Cubs; Illness Is Given as Reason,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 5, 1923: 4S.
36 Hollocher’s last game was on August 20 against Boston. On September 4, manager Bill Killefer announced that he had given the shortstop permission “to go home and attempt to regain his health, so that he might participate in the city series against the White Sox.” “‘Holly’ Sick Again, Quits Cubs for Home,” Chicago Tribune, September 5, 1924: 24.
37 E.g., “Adams Showing Class,” Spokane Daily Chronicle, August 2, 1923: 16 (Adams had three hits in win over Braves and “made some pretty plays in the field”); James Crusinberry,“Sparky Adams Clouts Out 2-1 Win for Cubs,” Chicago Tribune, July 19, 1924: 6 (Adams’ bases-loaded line drive over third base with one out in the tenth inning gave the Cubs a walk-off win against the Phillies); James Crusinberry, “Cubs Win Again and Gain a Full Game on Giants,” Chicago Tribune, July 21, 1924: 15 (in defeat of Braves, Adams singled to drive in the tying run and stole home to put the Cubs in front to stay).
38 Irving Vaughan, “Grimm, Cooper and Maranville Traded to Cubs,” Chicago Tribune, October 28, 1924: 23.
39 James Crusinberry, “Cubs and Sox Both Stack Up Well for 1925,” Chicago Tribune, December 21, 1925: sec. 2, 3.
40 “Rabbit Breaks Ankle as Cubs Nose Out Angels,” Chicago Tribune, March 16, 1925: 19.
41 The Cubs initially planned to play Maranville at second base, the position he had manned for the Pirates in 1924. That left the shortstop job open, with the club holding out faint hopes that Hollocher might return. But manager Killefer put Maranville at shortstop and moved Adams to second base during spring training. When Maranville was injured, the Cubs obtained veteran Ike McAuley from the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League to fill in at shortstop. “Cubs Get Fast Shortstop in Trade with Angels,” Chicago Tribune, March 28, 1925: sec. 2, 1.
42 Irving Vaughan, “Cubs Great Here, Not So Great There,” The Sporting News, July 2, 1925: 2.
43 His fielding percentage set a short-lived major league record, surpassed the following season by Max Bishop of the Philadelphia Athletics. Adams’ mark remained best in the National League until 1943. “Yearly League Records for Fielding % as 2B,” https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/fielding_perc_2b_leagues.shtml.
44 Edward C. Derr, “Chicago Cubs May Be Surprise of League Next Year,” Los Angeles Evening Express, December 9, 1925: 35.
45 Dick Sarge, “Earl Sparky Adams Holds Hall of Fame Credentials,” Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News, undated clip from Adams’ player file, National Baseball Hall of Fame Library.
46 Frank Frisch and J. Roy Stockton, Frank Frisch: The Fordham Flash (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1962), 104.
47 Irving Vaughan, “Cubs Get Cuyler; Trade Adams, Scott,” Chicago Tribune, November 29, 1927: 23.
48 Lou Wollen, “Acquisition of Adams Rounds Out Pirate Infield,” Pittsburgh Press, November 29, 1977: 30.
49 Mileshosky, “Tremont’s Sparky Adams One of Rickey’s ‘Mistakes.’”
50 “Bush To Switch Lineup,” Pittsburgh Press, May 21, 1928: 28 (Adams had been affected by a cold for several days, refusing to leave the lineup, but ‘last night has condition became worse and . . . a physician found the little infielder feverish with symptoms of bronchitis”); “Pirates Seek Another Win,” Pittsburgh Press, May 25, 1928: 1 (Adams and Pie Traynor “are still fighting off attacks of influenza”); “Time To Get Going Thinks Donie Bush,” The Sporting News, May 31, 1028: 3 (Adams and Traynor were out with “the grip,” and Adams “was ailing for some time before giving up, and his condition was reflected in his play”); “Pirate Notes,” Pittsburgh Press, June 9, 1928: 13 (Adams apparently “is not yet fully recovered from his attack of the flu”). Years later, Adams said in interviews that he had suffered from pneumonia. Sarge, “Earl Sparky Adams Holds Hall of Fame Credentials,” and Mileshosky, “Tremont’s Sparky Adams One of Rickey’s ‘Mistakes.’” Influenza frequently progresses to pneumonia, the leading cause of death in the United States until 1936. John M. Barry, The Great Influenza (New York: Penguin Books, 2005), 152. Sulfa drugs, the first medications effective against bacterial infections, were developed in the late 1930s. The Food and Drug Administration approved one such drug, sulfapyridine, in 1939 for treating pneumonia. Thomas Hager, The Demon Under the Microscope (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2006), 238-241.
51 Charles J. Doyle, “Bucs Set Slugging Mark in 15-4 Win,” Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph,” July 13, 1928: 22.
52 “Ralph Davis Says,” Pittsburgh Press, June 14, 1928: 38 (“Thus far Adams has hardly lived up to advance notices, although he has played good ball.”).
53 “Sparky Adams Errs on His 236th Chance,” Dayton Herald, September 8, 1928: 13; “Cards, Outhit, Win From Pirates, 6-3,” New York Times, September 8, 1928: 11; “Swatting Slump Latest Affliction of Pirates,” Pittsburgh Press, September 8, 1928: 9; James J. Long, “Sport Comment,” Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, September 8, 1928: 7; James M. Gould, “Gould’s Gossip,” St. Louis Star, September 10, 1928: sec. 2, 4. Some reports put the number of chances at 227. E.g., “Streak Broken,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 8, 1928: 14. The previous mark was 149, set earlier in the season by Fresco Thompson of the Phillies. Adams passed Thompson on August 23. “Pirate Notes,” Pittsburgh Press, August 24, 1928: 29.
54 The streak began on July 31 after Adams, playing second base, booted a ground ball in the seventh inning at Boston and ended in St. Louis on September 7 when he misplayed a grounder to shortstop in the eighth inning. Adams moved from second to shortstop on August 15 after Bartell, filling in for the injured Glenn Wright, hurt his ankle. When Bartell returned after missing six games, he played second base. Adams’ “brilliant field play” convinced manager Bush to keep him at shortstop, where he remained until the errorless streak ended. “Pirate Notes,” Pittsburgh Press, August 16, 1928: 28; “Pirate Notes,” Pittsburgh Press, August 21, 1928: 27.
55 Adams was hurt in a game at Phoenix as the Cubs journeyed east from their spring training camp in California. Lou Wollen, “Pirate Notes,” Pittsburgh Press, March 27, 1929: 34; Lou Wollen, “Pirate Notes,” Pittsburgh Press, March 30, 1929: 15; Lou Wollen, “Pirate Notes,” Pittsburgh Press, April 4, 1929: 33. Lou Wollen, “Pirate Notes,” Pittsburgh Press, April 13, 1929: 14. The injury “prevented him from hitting his stride” when the season started. Walter W. Smith, “Sparky Adams, a ‘Has-Been’ Last Season, Is Star with Cardinals,” St. Louis Star, September 25, 1930: 18.
56 The Adams deal “came as no surprise in local baseball circles, as it had been known for some time that the little infielder would not be retained here.” James J. Long, “Sports Comment,” Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, November 26, 1929: 27.
57 Charles J. Doyle, “Sparky Adams Goes to Cards for Cash,” Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, November 26, 1929: 27.
58 Sid C. Keener, “Baseball’s Rags-to-Riches Story — The Cardinals,” St. Louis Star-Times, January 16, 1946: 18.
59 Ray J. Gillespie, “Cardinals Purchase ‘Sparky’ Adams from Pittsburgh Pirates,” St. Louis Star, November 26, 1929: 18; Martin J. Haley, “Cardinals Buy Adams from Pittsburgh and Reveal Butler’s Release,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 27, 1929: 10.
60 Martin J. Haley, “Cards Usher in Season by Dropping 27-Hit Slugfest to Cubs, 9-2,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 16, 1930: 20; Charles Regan, “Cubs Amass 15 Hits to Defeat Cards, 9 to 8,” St Louis Star, April 15, 1930: sec. 2, 1.
61 Walter W. Smith, “Street Shakes Up Infield Cards’ Infield for Series with Phils,” St. Louis Star, May 7, 1930: 20.
62 Ray J. Gillespie, “Fisher and Adams Become Regulars in Cards’ Lineup,” St. Louis Star, August 1, 1930: 18.
63 E.g., William McCullough, “Dodgers Defeat Cardinals, 6-5, in 12th Inning,” Brooklyn Daily Times, June 15, 1930: 1A (Adams at shortstop in place of Gelbert); J. Roy Stockton, “Cardinals 2, Cincinnati 1,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 27, 1930: 1B (Adams substituting for Frisch at second base).
64 Smith, “Sparky Adams, a ‘Has-Been’ Last Season, Is Star with Cardinals.”
65 “Charles Keener’s Column,” St. Louis Star, March 23, 1931: 14.
66 Lee Scott, “Cardinals Play Sensational Ball Behind Hallahan to Blank Dodgers in Thrilling Tilt,” Brooklyn Citizen, September 17, 1930: 6. For a similar account, see Martin J. Haley, “Cardinals Regain Lead by Beating Robins 1-0 in Tenth,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 17, 1930: 1 (Lopez “bounced a hard ground ball to short [that] took a bad hop and was about to clear Adams’ head when he grabbed the pellet with his bare hand [and] threw to Frisch at second base”).
67 J. Roy Stockton, “Cardinals in First Place After Defeating Robins, 1-0,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 17, 1930: 1B.
68 Smith, “Sparky Adams, a ‘Has-Been’ Last Season, Is Star with Cardinals.”
69 One hit, and the RBI, came against Grove in the first game, on October 1 at Shibe Park. Adams collected his second and third hits off Earnshaw, who pitched the second game and started the fifth. “Play-by-Play,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 1, 1930: 1B; “The Play-by-Play Account,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 2, 1930: 1C; “The Game Play-by-Play,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 6, 1930: 1B. On defense, Adams robbed Jimmy Dykes of a double down the line in Game 2, saving a run because Mickey Cochrane followed with a homer. Martin J. Haley, “Highlights of the Game,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 3, 1930: 18. And in Game 5, Adams started a double-play on a tough grounder by Mule Haas. He “raced over, grabbed the ball and while still in the air tossed to Frisch,” who forced Bing Miller and threw to Bottomley at first base to nab Haas, “by no means a slow runner.” Herman Wecke, “Great Fielding Plays Were Deciding Factors in Every One of Six Series Games,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 10, 1930: 9C.
70 J. Roy Stockton, “Third Baseman and Slugging Outfielder Chief Needs of Cards,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 20, 1930: 8C.
71 “Sid Keener’s Column,” St. Louis Star, November 20, 1930: 16.
72 Born in Palo Alto, he grew up in St. Clair. Geier, “Schuylkill Major Leaguers.”
73 Delker, who had seen limited duty with the Cardinals in 1929, hurt the same leg that he seriously injured at Rochester in 1930. He opened the 1931 season with St. Louis as a utility infielder but was soon sent to Columbus. “Delker’s Trick Leg Still Bothers Him; May Cost Him Place as Extra Infielder,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 20, 1931: 2E; “Sid Keener’s Column,” St. Louis Star, March 23, 1931: 14; “Cards Obtain Benes, Infielder; Delker Goes to Columbus,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 28, 1931: 1B.
74 On April 24, Street moved Adams into the top spot for the season’s eighth game after center fielder Douthit, the club’s regular leadoff hitter since 1927, got off to a slow start at the plate and injured his hip. Adams remained in the leadoff position when Douthit returned to the lineup in late May and and after the outfielder’s trade to Cincinnati on June 15.
75 Charles C. Alexander, Breaking the Slump: Baseball in the Depression Era (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 37-38. As another writer wryly observed, the changes were made “to cut averages so that club owners could feel comfortable in cutting salaries.” Bob Broeg, The Pilot Light and the Gas House Gang (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1980), 94.
76 Ironically, none of his two-baggers came in a doubleheader against the Cubs on July 12 which, thanks to an overflow crowd that spilled on to the outfield, produced nine doubles in the first game and a record-setting 23 in the second contest. Adams was 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter in the opener and had one hit, a single, in the second game. Martin J. Haley, “45,715 See Fighting Cardinals and Cubs Split Double-Header,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 13, 1931: 1.
77 Sarge, “Earl Sparky Adams Holds Hall of Fame Credentials.”
78 Thomas Holmes, “Adams May Be Out of World Series as Result of ‘Field Day,’” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 21, 1931: 23. By contrast, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch downplayed the injury as “not of a serious nature.” Herman Wecke, “Sparky Adams Has Sprained Ankle; Not Likely to Miss World Series,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 21, 1931: 1B. The game itself was notable in that Gabby Street, a few days shy of his forty-ninth birthday, caught three innings, his first major-league appearance since 1912. In the top of the first he threw out Babe Herman attempting to steal second base.
79 “Cardinals’ Notes,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 22, 1931: 6.
80 Martin J. Haley, “Adams Likely to Miss Series Opener Tomorrow Due to Ailing Ankle,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 30, 1931: 9. Street was worried. “Don’t know whether Sparky’s leg is going to stand up throughout the series,” he told another reporter. “Sid Keener’s Column,” St. Louis Star, September 30, 1931: sec. 2, 4.
81 Walter W. Smith, “Hallahan May Oppose Earnshaw Again Today,” St. Louis Star, October 6, 1931: 1.
82 “Adams’ Injury Aggravated, May Not Play Again in Series,” St. Louis Star, October 5, 1931: sec. 2, 4.
83 William E. Brandt, “Story of the Game Told Play by Play,” New York Times, October 8, 1931: 28.
84 Sarge, “Earl Sparky Adams Has Hall of Fame Credentials.”
85 Martin J. Haley, “Cards Beat Braves, 4-3; Martin Drives Across Decisive Marker with Double in Third Frame,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 18, 1932: sec. 2, 1.
86 Martin J. Haley, “Mooney Sets Down Cards and Dean, 6-3,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 15, 1932: 6A.
87 “Landis Approves Adams’ Application for Retirement,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 21, 1932: 1B.
88 Paul Mickelson, “Lon Warneke Subdues Cardinals to Give Cubs Inaugural Victory, 3-0,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 13, 1933: 8A.
89 Jack Ryder, “Durocher to Cards — Derringer Comes Here — Others in Deal,” Cincinnati Enquirer, May 8, 1933: 9.
90 Adams was the club’s regular third baseman for much of May and June and took over at second base for the last month of the season after Tony Piet suffered a debilitating injury. His first start was on May 2, when he played third base in place of Mark Koenig, who shifted to first in the absence of a sickened Jim Bottomley. Jack Ryder, “Deeper in Dungeon Depths,” Cincinnati Enquirer, May 30, 1934: 14. When Bottomley returned, Adams sat out a game but then moved back into the lineup. Manager Bob O’Farrell, “desperate after eight straight defeats,” benched shortstop Gordon Slade, slid Koenig into that spot, and put Adams back at third. Jack Ryder, “Losing Streak Broken as Reds Defeat Giants,” Cincinnati Enquirer, May 9, 1934: 12. Except for a six-game hiatus in early June, Adams remained at third base through June 22. Piet was hurt in a collision with right fielder Adam Comorosky during the first game of a doubleheader on August 28. Jack Ryder, “Reds Cop Two to Push Victory Streak to Four in Row,” Cincinnati Enquirer, August 29, 1934: 10 (describing the collision); “Cubs Here Today; Stout-Frey, Pitchers,” Cincinnati Enquirer, September 3, 1934: 35 (reporting that Piet was out for the season because of a concussion and badly strained shoulder ligaments).
91 Fred C. Hatter, “Here and There,” West Schuylkill (Tremont, Pa.) Press, February 1, 1935: 6.
92 “Baseball,” Cincinnati Enquirer, February 24, 1935: sec. 2, 12.
93 “Purchased a Farm,” West Schuylkill (Tremont, Pa.) Press, April 19, 1935: 1
94 Elliot Cushing, “‘Sparky’ Adams to Join Wings,” Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat-Chronicle, April 28, 1935: C1.
95 “Cooney High in A.A. With 224 Hits As Well As .371 Swat Mark,” The Sporting News, January 2, 1936: 6; “A.A. Fielding,” The Sporting News, January 2, 1936: 6.
96 Arch Ward, “Talking It Over,” Chicago Tribune, September 2, 1935: 19.
97 Adams led the Miners to first-place finishes in regular-season play each year, but the team faltered in the playoffs. In 1936, Tremont finished first in the South Anthracite League but lost the postseason playoff to second-place Pine Grove, whose lineup included one-armed center fielder Pete Gray. “Pine Grove Takes Title,” Pottsville (Pa.) Republican, September 28, 1936: 1. The following year, Tremont played in the Central Pennsylvania League, winning the second half of the split season before losing to first-half winner Mifflinburg in the playoff. “Tremont Bows, 11-2,” Pottsville (Pa.) Republican, September 20, 1937: 12. Another circuit change followed in 1938, when Tremont joined the Lebanon Valley League. The Miners again finished first in regular-season play but faltered in the postseason, losing in the first round of the playoffs to third-place Manheim. “Lebanon Valley Baseball Playoffs Start Tomorrow with Tremont at Top and Pine Grove in Fourth Place,” West Schuylkill (Tremont, Pa.) Press, September 9, 1938: 1; “Tremont Eliminated by Manheim,” Pottsville (Pa.) Republican, September 26, 1938: 14.
98 Adams played third base and went 1-for-3 with a single, but the star of the game was Tremont pitcher Les Hinckle. The 5-foot-7 right-hander, who later spent three seasons with Syracuse in the International League, allowed the Phillies only two hits and drove in the winning run with a double. “Tremont Defeats Phillies, 2-1,” Pottsville (Pa.) Republican, July 8, 1938: 20; “Record Breaking Crowd Sees Tremont Defeat Phillies in Exhibition Game,” West Schuylkill (Tremont, Pa.) Press, July 8, 1938: 1; “Tremont Triumphs Over Phillies, 2-1,” Philadelphia Inquirer, July 8, 1938: 21.
99 “Baseball Team Will Have First Practice Next Sunday Afternoon,” West Schuylkill (Tremont, Pa.) Press, April 14, 1939: 1.
100 “Obituaries: Earl Adams,” Pottsville (Pa.) Republican Herald, July 17, 2010: 9.
101 “Open for Business,” West Schuylkill (Tremont, Pa.) Press, July 18, 1947: 7 (advertisement). The garage sold tires and “all types of auto accessories,” repaired engines, and performed state safety inspections. “Don’t Delay! Have Your Car Inspected Now,” West Schuylkill (Tremont, Pa.) Press, June 11, 1948: 3 (advertisement).
102 “‘If You Can’t Play Here, You Can’t Play Anywhere,’ Frisch Tells Big Crowd,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 8, 1960: 4B; “Tremont Business Place Changes Hands,” Tremont (Pa.) Press-Herald, December 21, 1972: 3.
103 “Obituaries: Earl ‘Sparky’ Adams, 94; Former Major League Player,” Pottsville (Pa.) Republican, February 25, 1989: 2; “Obituaries: Earl J. (Sparky) Adams,” The Sporting News, March 27, 1989: 42.
104 “Obituaries: Bertha M. Adams,” Pottsville (Pa.) Republican, May 10, 1989: 2.
105 For a photo of the headstone, see https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/4805/earl-john-adams.
106 “Two To Enter State Hall of Fame,” Pottsville (Pa.) Republican, October 30, 1990: 11.