Hawthorn: The day the clubhouse boy, Kit Krieger, pitched for Vancouver

From SABR member Tom Hawthorn at The Tyee on September 7, 2018, on SABR member Kit Krieger:

It was the top of the first inning of the final game of the 1968 season, a glorious Sunday summer afternoon in Vancouver. On the mound for the Vancouver Mounties was a tall, skinny teenager in glasses. Kit Krieger had turned 19 four months earlier, and the very next day was scheduled to start his second year of history studies at the University of British Columbia. He had not pitched in a competitive game since Little League, yet here he was in uniform at Capilano Stadium in front of 1,410 fans, sweating and nervous and wondering what the hell he had got himself into.

Krieger was the clubhouse boy for visiting teams at Capilano (now Nat Bailey) Stadium. Before taking to the field, he had laid out gum, candy, and chewing tobacco in the dressing room. He laundered and hung up the uniforms for the Hawaii Islanders players he now faced in the batter’s box, 60 feet, six inches away. Every man in Hawaii’s starting lineup had played, or would play, in the major leagues. Compared to them, Krieger was Charlie Brown. Only later would he come to appreciate how far over his head he was.

The Mounties were ending a woeful season. The team played poorly. The park was in bad shape and patrons were denied the pleasure even of enjoying a beer in the sun. Fans were scarce. On a whim, Krieger suggested to the assistant general manager he could pitch and fill the place with his friends. The assistant took it to the general manager, who then asked the manager, two-time American League batting champion Mickey Vernon, what he thought. “He’s not a prospect,” Vernon said, “but he won’t embarrass us.” It was not a ringing endorsement.

On Sept. 8, 1968, 50 years ago this weekend, the teenager stood atop the mound in borrowed cleats, wearing the uniform of a man called up to the majors earlier in the week.

Read the full article here: https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2018/09/07/Clubhouse-Boy-Kit-Krieger-Vancouver-Mounties/

Originally published: September 11, 2018. Last Updated: September 11, 2018.