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Top Ten Tuesdays: Olde Tyme Baseballe
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
For those of you that are under 150 years of age (I imagine the over-100 population - the few that know how to use the internet - is my target audience, obv), you might be shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU, to know that there was baseball going on back in the 1800's. In fact, baseball was quite popular across the nation and there were even bona fide baseball stars back in the day!!! What's more, based on the stories about these men, baseball was apparently the chosen occupation for the instable, the mentally ill, and the insanely unlucky. Don't believe me? Please, read on...

Top Ten Crazy Factoids About 1800's Baseball Players

10) Will "Whoop-La" White pitched 680 innings for Cincinnati in 1879.
9) After retirement, jackass racist Cap Anson toured on the vaudeville circuit.
8) "King" Kelly, who was
often accompanied by a black monkey and a Japanese valet had a popular song written about him: Slide, Kelly, Slide:
Your running's a disgrace!
Slide, Kelly, slide!
Stay there, hold your base!
If someone doesn't steal you,
And your batting doesn't fail you,
They'll take you to Australia!
Slide, Kelly, slide!
Slide, Kelly, slide!
7) Connie Mack was a cheapskate. He had a theory that a team would be most profitable if they started strong but ended up finishing in 4th place (
"A team like that will draw well enough during the first part of the season to show a profit for the year, and you don't have to give the players raises when they don't win.")
6) Mordecai Brown
lost parts of two fingers on his right hand due to a farm-machinery accident in his youth - but he parlayed that "handicap" into a crazy curveball (and sidenote: Between Brown and Antonio Alfonseca, the Cubs are probably the only team to have featured both a three-fingered pitcher and a six-fingered pitcher on their all-time roster.)
5) Ed
Delahanty was kicked off a train by the train's conductor for being drunk and disorderly in 1903 - the conductor said Delahanty was brandishing a straight razor and threatening passengers. After being kicked off the train, Delahanty started his way across the International Bridge (near Niagara Falls) and fell or jumped off the bridge to his death.
5) Hughie Jennings had some of the worst luck ever: he was once beaned by a pitch in Philadelphia and was unconscious for 3 days, fractured his skull diving head-first into an empty swimming pool at night (let's assume he thought the pool was full), and then fractured his skull again and suffered a concussion and broke both legs and his left arm in a car accident. All those head injuries were not good for his poor brain; eventually he suffered a nervous breakdown.
4) After retiring, Kid Nichols took up a bowling career: he opened bowling alleys and eventually won the Class A bowling championship at age 64.
3) John Clarkson was known to be extremely sensitive to criticism. Cap Anson noted said "not many know what amount amount of encouragement it took to keep him going." Anson recalled: "Scold him, find fault with him, and he would not pitch at all. Say to him after a game: 'Grand work, John, I will probably use you again tomorrow, for we've got to have that game,' and he would go out the next day and stand all batters on their heads.'
2) On the way to the park in Detroit one day, Ty Cobb was attacked by a couple of men. He beat on of them into such a bloody pulp that the man's face was impossible to distinguish and he was having trouble breathing. Cobb went to the park with a knife wound in his back, played the game and got a few hits. Shortly after, the badly beaten body of the man he beat up was found not far from the park. Cobb later told a sportswriter that he believed he killed that man.
1) Pitcher Rube Waddell wrestled alligators in Florida and had habit of holding up the start of games he was scheduled to pitch while he played marbles with children outside the park. He was also known to be easily distracted on the mound and fans of opposing teams would hold up puppies and shiny objects which seemed to put Waddell in a trance.

Read Last Week's Top Ten:
Players Whose Names Better Not Be On Mitchell’s List


posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, December 11, 2007  
  • At 7:41 AM, Blogger Travis said…

    Mordecai Brown debuted with the Cardinals in 1903, and Ty Cobb with the Tigers in 1905, not in the 1800's. Here are two others to replace them:

    1) Al Spalding, despite hitting well over .300 for his career AND winning over 250 games between the National Association and the new National league, retired from both playing and managing in 1877, at age 27. He became even more successful as a businessman than he had been as a baseball player, starting a sporting goods empire and taking a tour of all-stars all over the world to showcase the new American sport.

    2) Jim Devlin, who at 28 years of agein 1877, won 30 games and set a record by pitching every inning (559 of them) for his team, the Louisville Grays, never played in the majors again. he was banned for life after it became known that he and another teammate had agreed to throw a game in return for a pay-off from gamblers. Ironically, after baseball, he became a Philadelphia cop, which I guess allowed him to remain crooked while still wearing a uniform, but died destitute at age 34, up to his armpits in gambling debts.

  • At 10:58 AM, Blogger james said…

    You made me read their wikipedia pages. Rube Waddell was the funniest, can you imagine a player today leaving the dugout to follow a firetrucks. Thanks it was great stuff.

  • At 7:41 AM, Anonymous The Distractornator said…

    I get distracted everytime I see one of your video blogs

  • At 7:48 AM, Blogger Sarge said…

    Welp, there goes #2 off of last week's list!

  • At 7:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The link provided on Ty Cobb's name states that the story of him killing man is very likely untrue.

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