From A Researcher’s Notebook (1983)

This article was written by Al Kermisch

This article was published in the 1983 Baseball Research Journal


Pitcher Faber Walked Seven Times in Row As Batter

On July 14, 1915, Urban “Red” Faber of the White Sox defeated the Philadelphia Athletics 6-4 at Chicago. In the fourth inning of that game Faber was hit by a pitched ball by Joe Bush and then stole second, third and home to become one of the handful of major league players to make the record book for that feat. But Faber did not deserve that honor since the Athletics, using delaying tactics to have the game called because of rain, made no attempt to put him out. The storm never materialized and ironically the run that Faber scored proved to be the winning one. However, one month before, Faber walked seven times in a row in games played on June 18 and June 22, but never made the record books, which show Billy Rogell, Tigers, 1938; Mel Ott, Giants, 1943; and Ed Stanky, Giants, 1950; sharing the record of seven walks in a row. In the game at Philadelphia on June 18, Faber won the game 11-4, and walked successively in the third, fourth, sixth and eighth innings. In his next start at Cleveland on June 22, Urban beat the Indians 9-6 and walked in the second, third and sixth innings for seven bases on balls in a row. His skein ended in the eighth inning when he popped out to shortstop Ray Chapman. Faber was not a good hitter but apparently knew the strike zone.

When Editor Joss Interviewed Pitcher Joss

Hall of Famer Addie Joss, whose brilliant career in the majors was cut short in 1911 when he died two days shy of his 31st birthday of tubercular meningitis, had a great love for baseball and also enjoyed writing about it. His ambition was to be a full-time sporting editor when his playing days were over. He spent several of his winters in Toledo, Ohio, as sporting editor of the Sunday Times-Bee, and also contributed baseball articles to the Daily News-Bee and covered several World Series for that paper. After winning 21 games in 1906 for his second 20-game season in a row, Joss received a 1907 contract from Cleveland calling for $300 less than he made the season before. Addie was very unhappy with the offer and threatened to retire from baseball and stay on his editor’s job full time. The editor of the Sunday Times-Bee thought it would be a good idea for sporting editor Joss to interview player Joss about his salary situation with the Indians. Joss’ story about himself appeared in the Sunday Times-Bee on February 24, 1907, and read as follows:

Several weeks later, on March 9, Joss made a trip to Cleveland and huddled with the owners of the Cleveland club. After a confab that lasted half an hour, Addie signed for a flat $4,000 without any “ifs” or “ands” and departed for spring training.

The Hall of Fame Robinsons of Baltimore

Of the four Robinsons in Baseball’s Hall of Fame only Jackie, the Brooklyn Dodger star, did not have a Baltimore connection. Frank Robinson came to the Orioles after an outstanding career in the National League and sparked the club to four pennants and two world championships in six years. Brooks Robinson spent his entire 23 major league seasons in a Baltimore uniform and his third base heroics are legendary. Brooks, one of the finest gentlemen ever to play the game, was ecstatic over his induction into the Hall of Fame and also extremely proud that his former teammate and fellow traveler from Arkansas, George Kell, made it at the same time. Brooks still remembers vividly the thrill of his first appearance in a major league opening game, the Presidential opener in Washington in 1957. The 19-year-old Robinson started at third base while on the other end of the infield was the veteran Kell, playing first base that day. To top it all off, the Orioles won their first opener since returning to the American League in 1954, a 7 to 6 victory over the Senators in 11 innings.

Wilbert Robinson may be remembered by many as the jolly old manager of the Dodgers from 1914 through 1931, but he was an outstanding catcher in his playing days and No. 1 receiver for the colorful Old Orioles of the 1890s. In fact, Wilbert played for Baltimore in three different major leagues – the American Association, National League and American League – and one minor league – the Eastern. Besides, he played for Baltimore pennant winners in both the majors and minors. He was on the National League winners of 1894 through 1896, and in 1908 he came out of retirement long enough to help Jack Dunn win the first of his eight Baltimore pennants. Wilbert’s playing record does not include the 30 games he played for the 1908 Orioles nor the one game he played for the club in 1907. The following items should be added to his record:

 

Club

League

Pos.

G.

AB

R

H

2b

3b

HR

Pct.

1907

Bal.

EL

C

1

4

0

2

0

0

0

0.500

1908

Bal.

EL

C

30

103

9

22

2

3

0

0.214

                       
               

PO

A

E

Pct.

               

4

1

0

1.000

               

145

25

3

0.983

Rickey’s O.B. Debut a One Day Affair

Branch Rickey, who was one of baseball’s most outstanding administrators, learned his craft from the ground up. After playing and coaching college baseball, he played in several minor leagues, advanced to the majors as player, then manager, and finally emerged as a front office genius. Rickey started his O.B. career in 1903 with Terre Haute in the Central League. His published playing record has no details of his stay with that club. There is no mystery, however, to Rickey’s stint with Terre Haute since it was only a one-day stop.

After coaching Ohio Wesleyan University’s baseball team in 1903, Rickey planned to join a group of Delaware, Ohio, college stars and barnstorm for the summer. On June 19, the last-place Terre Haute club was short of players since several of its cast had jumped to the outlaw California State League. The club picked up five Columbus, Ohio, amateurs to fill its ranks, Branch Rickey among them. The Columbus contingent did not help much since Wheeling drubbed the home club 10-2. Rickey caught the entire game, going 0 for 4, and had three putouts without an error. The next day the amateurs were on their way back to Columbus. Several days later Rickey received a good offer from the LeMars club of the Iowa-South Dakota League and took off to join that team. That really launched his career in Organized Baseball.

Tom Brown Had Six For Six Game in 1883

On September 4, 1883, Tom Brown, Columbus right fielder, who was in his rookie major league season, had quite a day with the bat as his team swamped Baltimore 21-4 in an American Association game in the Monumental City. Brown, a native of England, registered six hits in six times at bat, including two doubles and two home runs, but for some reason his performance is not included in the record books. This game, between the bottom two clubs in the Association, received a great deal of attention in the Baltimore press, not over Brown’s great batting but because of the poor playing of several of the local players. It seems that six of the Baltimore players attended a masked ball at Kernan’s Hotel the night before and stayed out all night. Shortly after leaving the hotel, pitcher Hardie Henderson engaged in a dispute with a young clerk on Baltimore Street about a girl. In the midst of the dispute, a policeman appeared and took the two men and the girl to the station-house, and all three were locked up. Henderson was released in the morning and though he had little sleep he attempted to pitch in the after noon. He was batted all over the lot, giving up, nine hits and nine runs in just three innings. Columbus continued the assault on Gid Gardner and Bob Emslie, two others who attended the masked ball.

The following day Manager Bill Barnie fined Henderson and catcher John Sweeney $100 each for drunkenness, Emslie and Gardner $10 each for being out late at night. Getting back to Brown, he had quite a series in Baltimore as Columbus won three of four games. He had 14 hits in 20 times at bat, including three doubles, two triples, three home runs and 10 runs scored.

Elton Chamberlain Another in Ambidextrous Class

Tony Mullane and Larry Corcoran will have to move over in the ambidextrous department to make room for Elton “Icebox” Chamberlain among those who pitched with both hands in a major league game. While both Mullane and Corcoran lost their games, Chamberlain was victorious in his effort for Louisville in. the American Association. Elton pitched with both hands on May 9, 1888, in a game against Kansas City at Louisville. Enjoying a big lead, Chamberlain pitched the last two innings of the contest with his left hand, allowing four hits and no runs in an 18-6 rout. The following excerpt is from the Louisville Courier-Journal of May 10, 1888: “Chamberlain had the big Kansas City batters at his mercy, and at the end of the fifth inning, when the score stood eight to nothing, but two scratch hits had been made. Afterwards he eased up, and in the last two innings pitched left-handed, when four of the eight hits were made.”

Tim Flood Jailed in Toronto in 1907

Baseball fans throughout the country may have gotten a few laughs out of the incident in Toronto on August 4, 1983, when Yankee slugger Dave Winfield accidentally killed a seagull while warming up in the outfield before the game. Winfield was taken to a police station after the game and had to post a $500 bond before he was released. You can rest assured, however, that Winfield breathed a sigh of relief when the charges were dropped the next day.

Back in 1907, Tim Flood, a former major league player, who was captain and second baseman for the Toronto club of the Eastern League, was sent to jail for charging into an umpire in the sixth inning of a game in Toronto on June 25. Flood had become so incensed at umpire John Conway after being thrown out of the game that he jumped at the umpire feet first, striking him in the chest. The umpire’s padded chest protector prevented any injury. Flood went to the dressing room and while changing clothes was arrested by a police captain and an acting detective and taken to a police station. He was released on bail but the next day was sentenced to 1 5 days in jail at hard labor. Officials for the ball club tried desperately to have the jail term changed to a fine but the magistrate would not alter his decision. The following day a petition was filed with the Ministry of Justice in Ottawa for the pardon of Flood. The ballplayer spent nine days in jail before the Department of Justice ordered his release on July 4. He had lost about 15 pounds during his short stay in jail. Since Flood had been suspended indefinitely and barred from further play in the Eastern League, he was sold by Toronto to Columbus of the American Association.

Ruth’s Laminated Bat Banned in 1923

With all the furor caused by George Brett’s celebrated pine tar bat, it is interesting to note that even the great Babe Ruth had a bat declared illegal in 1923. In mid-season, Ruth used a laminated bat which was manufactured for him by the old Detroit slugger Sam Crawford. The bat consisted of four pieces of seasoned wood carefully glued together. The Yankee slugger used the bat for several weeks and had good success with it before it was declared illegal. When the Babe got the message from American League President Ban Johnson banning the bat, he was puzzled at the action. He did not know the bat was illegal nor was he aware of any complaint being made over its use. Ruth probably was caught in the backlash of a protest made by Washington over a bat used by Ken Williams, the Browns’ home run slugger. Williams’ bat had been bored out and a wooden plug inserted in the base end. In his decree, Johnson stated that any bat used in the American League had to be made of one solid piece of wood, but that rule was not retroactive and that no protests of games in which “trick” bats were used would be considered. Johnson further stated that any player using a bat that did not conform to the new regulations would be automatically subject to five days’ suspension without pay.

Ruth may have been unhappy over the loss of his pet bat, but the loss of it had no effect on his season’s performance. He finished at .393, his highest batting average ever. Only Harry Heilmann, who batted .403 for Detroit, outhit him. Ruth led the league in home runs, runs scored, total bases, RBIs, and received a major league record 1 70 bases on balls, which attested to the fact that American League pitchers considered any bat used by the Bambino that year a lethal weapon.

Unusual Five-Inning No-Hitter in 1884

In 1884 St. Paul was a late-season entry in the Union Association. The club played just nine games, all on the road, won two, lost six, and one was a tie. After losing its first four games, St. Paul won its first major league game at St. Louis on Sunday, October 5, by the score of 1-0 in a five-inning game, curtailed by rain. The winning team failed to make a hit and the starting pitcher on the losing side struck out all six batters he faced. Charley Sweeney, who earlier in the season had fanned 19 Boston batters while pitching for Providence, started out as if he wanted to beat that record. In the first two innings he fanned six batters in a row, with only one batter getting as much as a foul off him. The St. Louis manager decided to save Sweeney for the tougher Cincinnati series coming up and moved him to left field, bringing in Henry Boyle to pitch the rest of the game. Boyle did not allow a hit in the three innings he worked but St. Paul scored an unearned run in the fourth inning on two errors and a stolen base. Jim Brown pitched for St. Paul and gave up but one hit – a single by Sweeney.

It was indeed ironic that Sweeney moved to the outfield without a protest. It was just such a move earlier in the season when he was with Providence that led to a major crisis for that club. On July 22, Sweeney was pitching against Philadelphia and enjoyed a 6 to 2 lead after seven innings. Manager Frank Bancroft thought it would be a good idea to rest Sweeney and asked him to change places with young Cyclone Miller, who was playing right field. When Providence took the field for the eighth inning, Sweeney was not in his position. He had gone to the clubhouse and when Bancroft went after him and ordered him to the field, Sweeney cursed him out and started to change clothes. Bancroft called in one of the directors of the club who also ordered Sweeney to play, but he still refused. When threatened with suspension, Sweeney just laughed and said he could make more money away from Providence. Providence had to play the rest of the game with eight men and the Phillies scored eight unearned runs in the ninth to win 10-6. After the game, Sweeney was expelled from the club and eventually signed with the St. Louis Unions.

First Regular NL Umpires Had No Protection

In pre-game ceremonies at all National League parks on June 26, 1983, the Senior Circuit marked the 100th anniversary of the appointment of its first regular umpiring staff. In contrast to the prestige, job security and benefits enjoyed by major league umpires today, National League umpires of 1883 had no protection whatsoever. All it took to remove an umpire that year was for four of the eight clubs to register an objection. As a matter of fact, the authority to remove an umpire was covered right in the official playing rules. Section Six, Rule 64 of the 1883 National League Playing Rules read as follows: “A League umpire shall be removed who shall be objected to in writing by four League clubs after the commencement of the championship season, and, in the event of the resignation, removal or expulsion of any League umpire, the secretary shall have the power to appoint a suitable person to fill the vacancy thus created.”

The four regular NL umpires were Stewart M. Decker, Bradford, Pa.; Frank H. Lane, Norwalk, Ohio; William E. Furlong, Kansas City, Mo.; and Albert F. Odlin, Lancaster, N.H. Odlin was a law student who had attended both Dartmouth and Amherst colleges. He had never umpired a professional game but had considerable experience in college circles and came highly recommended. His career as an umpire, however, was short-lived. He lasted about three weeks after getting into hot water with some of his decisions during a series in Detroit. William G. Thompson, president of the Detroit club, initiated the action against Odlin and got three other clubs Buffalo, Philadelphia and Boston – to go along with him. Odlin’s dismissal was carried out by the following terse telegram sent to him in Chicago by the secretary of the National League. “Washington, D.C., May 23 – Four clubs protest. You are removed. See Rule 64. N.E. Young.” Young then filled the vacancy of the staff by appointing George W. Burnham of Milan, Mich.

Phillies and Baltimore Tailenders 100 Years Ago

Perhaps it was poetic justice for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Baltimore Orioles to meet in the 1983 World Series. One hundred years ago – in 1883 – the Phillies in their first season in the majors finished a dismal last in the National League with only 17 victories and 81 defeats. At the same time, Baltimore finished last in the American Association with a mark of 28-68. It was Baltimore’s second year in the majors, both ending in the cellar. The Orioles and Phillies were in the NL together from 1892 through 1898. When Ned Hanlon’s Old Orioles were in their glory – three pennants and two second-place finishes from 1894 through 1898 – the Phillies were one of their favorite patsies. During that five-year period the Orioles won 46 games from the Phils against only 13 defeats for a .780 average. Moreover, Baltimore went two full years without losing a game to Philadelphia. From August 7, 1 895, through August 2, 1897, the Orioles defeated the Phils 22 straight times with one tie early in the streak. The long winless drought for the Phillies finally ended on August 3, 1897, when Al Orth beat Bill Hoffer 5-2.

Joe Altobelli Joins Select Group of Managers

    By directing the Orioles to the 1983 world’s championship over the Phillies, Joe Altobelli joined a select group of managers who won the World Series and also the Junior World Series, the series that was contested between the International League and American Association for many years. Altobelli was pilot of the I.L. Rochester Red Wings who defeated the A.A. Denver Bears in 1971. Others who managed World Series and Junior World Series Winners and the minor league clubs they won with were: Joe McCarthy, Louisville A.A. in 1921; Casey Stengel, Toledo A.A. in 1927; Billy Southworth, Rochester I.L. in 1930 and 1931; Eddie Dyer, Columbus A.A. in 1942; Walter Aiston, Montreal I.L. in 1953; and Ralph Houk, Denver A.A. in 1957. If you include the series of 1904 and 1906 in which Buffalo of the Eastern League, predecessor of the International League, defeated St. Paul A.A. two games to one in 1904 and Columbus A.A. three games to two In 1906, George Stallings, the manager of the Miracle Braves of 1914, can be added to the list.

Rookie Homered Off Matty and McGinnity Same Day

Emil Batch joined the Brooklyn club in September 1904 and hit two home runs in 94 times at bat. Both homers came in his first week and, in fact, in one day – September 16 – in a double-header against the Giants at the Polo Grounds. Although the Giants won both games, 2-1 and 5-3, Batch hit a fourbagger in each game and each time off a premier National League pitcher – off Christy Mathewson in the first contest and off Joe McGinnity in the second. Matty was 33-12 and McGinnity 35-8 in 1904. Batch’s home run off Mathewson was a real rarity and it would take close to ten years before another Dodger would hit a home run off him. On April 14, 1914, in a game at Brooklyn, the Giants and Dodgers met in the first game that John McGraw and his former teammate and first lieutenant, Wilbert Robinson, would oppose each other as major league pilots. The Dodgers broke open a close game with five runs in the seventh inning as they won 9-6, beating Mathewson in his season debut. The big blow in that inning was a three-run home run by Zack Wheat, the first roundtripper by a Brooklyn batter off Matty since the Batch homer in 1904.

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