A Few Short Baseball Tales
Odds & Ends
By Jack Coll
Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of baseball articles, with no baseball due to the coronavirus I’m hoping to fill the small hole in the heart of baseball fans everywhere.
Below is a few short stories from the past pertaining to the great American past-time, I hope you enjoy them.
Back in the fall of 1915 the Philadelphia Phillies were in the World Series against a strong Boston Red Sox team, the Phillies posted a 90-62 record under manager Pat Moran while the Red Sox went 101-50 for the season managed by Bill Carrigan. Don’t ask me why the Phillies played 152 games while the Red Sox played 151 games because I don’t know. Phillies fans living in Conshohocken were looking forward to a great World Series as the future Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander pitched game one at the old Baker Bowl winning 3-1. The Phillies were stacked with talent as future Hall of Famers Dave Bancroft and Eppa Rixey were also on the squad. The Red Sox had a few future Hall of Famers as well including Babe Ruth, (Appearing in the first of his 10 World Series, three with Boston before being traded to New York) along with Harry Hooper, Trish Speaker and Herb Pennock.
In game one Babe Ruth only made a pitch-hitting appearance, in game two President Woodrow Wilson was in attendance, making it the first time that a President watched a World Series Game live.
Conshohocken was a strong sports town and by 1915 baseball and football were very popular in the town, but most of the residents were unable to attend the games at the Baker Bowl, remember they were all day games back then and most of the residents worked in the mills. And with no televisions or radios the residents really didn’t have a way to follow the games in progress until the Conshohocken Recorder Newspaper posted a solution in their paper.
FROM THE CONSHOHOCKEN RECORDER NEWSPAPER TUESDAY OCTOBER 5, 1915
The Recorder will issue the results of each of the coming world’s series games, which start in Philadelphia, on next Friday afternoon, between Philadelphia champions of the National League, and Boston champions of the American League.
A bulletin will-be posted as soon as each half inning has been played. Arrangements have been completed to receive the result as soon as the third batter has been retired on each side and a bulletin of the result will be posted immediately thereafter.
Realizing that hundreds of their subscribers and friends in this borough will be interested in the outcome of the series and that it will be impossible for them to see the games, especially those played at Boston, the Recorder had made special arrangement’s to get the results direct from the field on which the games are being played.
All those interested in the baseball classic of the year can ascertain the score at the end of each half inning by watching the bulletins which will be posted in front of the Recorder office.
Unfortunately the Phillies lost the series 4-1, Boston won game two 2-1, game three 2-1, game four2-1 and game five 5-4. Fred Luderus hit the only home run by the Phillies. Since the Phillies failed to hit a home run in the 1950 World Series, it marked their only World Series home run until the 1980 World Series.
1915 marked the second straight year that a Boston team beat a Philadelphia team in the World Series, the Boston Braves had swept the Philadelphia Athletics the year before.
Fifteen years later the Philadelphia Athletics were playing in the World Series and Conshohocken residents had a different way of getting the game results. Most games started at 3:00 and by 2:30 large crowds of Conshohocken residents could be seen standing around the store front of James Meaney’s Appliance Store once located at 44 Fayette Street, next to John & Sophie Hot Dogs and Hamburgers, later May’s Luncheonette. The crowd of baseball worshipers gathered early and usually pushed out onto Fayette Street, Mr. Meaney would run an extension cord and plug in one of his better model radio’s, (with a price tag on it) outside the store on the sidewalk and turn the volume up for all in attendance to hear the play-by-play call.
As most of us know the Philadelphia Athletics beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 behind the pitching arms of Lefty Grove and George Earnshaw. The Athletics had six future Hall of Famers in the dugout including Connie Mack, (manager) Mickey Cochrane, Jimmie Fox, Lefty Grove, Eddie Collins and Al Simmons. The Cardinals also had a pretty strong line-up with six future Hall of Famers including Dizzy Dean, Jim Bottomley, Frankie Frisch, Gurleigh Grimes, Chick Hafey and Jesse Haines.
The World Series victory was Connie Mack’s fifth and final series win in Philadelphia, Mack won in 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929 and 1930. The Athletics moved to Kansas City in 1955 and then Oakland in 1968 where they have since won four more titles, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1989. If you’re wondering who has the most October World Series titles that would be the Yankees with 27.
The Conshohocken Recorder gave residents first hand scores of the World Series 105 years ago in hopes of selling more newspapers, James Meaney provided the play-by-play for residents 90 years ago in hopes of selling more radios, and that’s the way it was all those years ago.
Here’s one you didn’t see coming, I think the Animal Rights Organization would have been OK with this one, NOT. Again from the Conshohocken Recorder Newspaper. I keep mentioning that the Conshohocken Recorder was in fact a newspaper, our younger and newer residents in the town have never heard of the “Conshohocken Recorder” and many of them are wondering what that is, or was so. The Conshohocken Recorder was a newspaper that was founded in 1869 by Charles Smith. The Recorder was a weekly and for many years a bi-weekly paper. The Recorder ceased operation back in 2008 and it’s been twelve years since the paper had been in circulation.
So nearly eight decades ago in 1941, well, this is the headline:
FROM THE CONSHOHOCKEN RECORDER, FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 1941
Trick Donkeys make “Donkeys” Out of Local Men in Baseball Game
A dozen donkeys made a dozen and a half “donkeys” out of a lot of humans here last night. But nobody minded the transition from man to animal. It was all “good, clean fun,” for a good cause, and the final score generally speaking, was a good 100 for the public as far as laughs were concerned.
Specifically, the score was Conshohocken Lions 3, Business Men 2, in the annual thrilling, spilling, milling Burro Baseball Game staged under the auspices of the rip, roarin’ Lions. An audience that overflowed the grandstands and numbered dozens of standees howling with continual glee as the players hit, were hit, fell from balking donkeys, missed base by a donkeys nose, and engaged in all the novel athletics that a Burro Baseball Game affords. The game was held at the Conshohocken Athletic Field. (The “A” Field)
Polka-dotted red jerseys designated the Lions. “The Business Men are in the red so often,” said the Emcee. That tonight we’ll let them have another color.” The color was navy blue, polka dotted in white. Hides of players on both teams were navy blue, trimmed in black, when the rollicking contest ended.
Sam Glass, jury commissioner, fireman, Lion and burro-buster made one of the unique plays in the game. Seated on his trusty donkey, the animal went completely in reverse as Sam gave chase to a spinning ball. Most Spectacular of the evening’s side-splitting spills had as its protagonist, Forrest Blakesley, glassman. “Sweetpea,” his un-trusty burro threw him for a loop.
George Smith, president of Town Council, has no difficulty at all in handling that august body. But the carcass of a baseball-playing burro is another thing. George, playing first base just couldn’t get anywhere with his steed. Clyde Parker riding the same donkey in another part of the game was also delayed in transit.
Donkeys also answered to their name—including Gracie Allen, WPA, Midnight, Ginger Rodgers and Mae West. Nick Talone, Ronald Coder and “Mutt” Moore scored the runs for the Lions; Barney Forrest and Albert Warrell for the Business Men.
Lions: George Smith, Robert Hague, Forrest Blakesley, Ronald Coder, Nick Talone, Roy Ellam, George March, Jerry Kehoe, E. F. Moore, Sam Glass, Robert Hissner and Prosper War.
Business Men: Charles Miller, E. A. Forrest, Leonard Talone, Albert Warrell, Paul Mitchell, Nelson Quigg, E. A. Lorenz, Clyde Parker and Wally Smolinski.
Proceeds of the annual event will be used for welfare activities by the Lions, Prosper War was chairman.
I hope you enjoyed this article, if you didn’t at least I took your mind off the coronavirus BS for five minutes! See ya next time on Talk’in Baseball