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Old October 23rd, 2008, 03:35 PM   #11

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Re: BASEBALL - The Early Years


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Originally Posted by Bucephalus View Post
OK, I'll bite. Please tell the story of "Three Men on Third".

As far as the history of Baseball is concerned, as a kid I remember watching Cal Ripken play at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore (now demolished, of course). Almost everything about baseball since then has been a bit disappointing, really. Speaking of not-quite-so-modern baseball history, did you get the chance to watch the movie "61*" about Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle (released in 2001)? I thought it was quite well done.
Yes. I saw the movie and enjoyed it very much. Mantel was one of my heroes when growing up. As you know the movie was made by Billy Crystal who is a big Yankee fan. Bless Chrystal for buying Mickey's glove at auction for 50,000 U$ dollars. A classy way to get money to the widow without the embarrassment of appearing charitable.
I especially like the brief scene of Ruth's widow with Mrs. Maris at the ball park waiting for Roger to break the record. A well played scene of the joy felt by Mrs. Maris contrasted with Mrs. Ruth...well it must have been a sense of grief. Another piece of memory receding into the past. WOW powerful.

I'll get to the 3 men on base, since you haven't hear it, a little later. Thanks for asking.

Last edited by Pedro; October 23rd, 2008 at 06:04 PM.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 04:44 PM   #12

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Re: BASEBALL - The Early Years


This is from the book Three Men on Third and other wacky events from the world of sports.
By Carl Sifakis.

For over three decades, until the Brooklyn dodgers deserted that borough for the sunnier climes of Los Angeles, there was a famous joke that originated when a fan had to leave Ebbets Field before the completion of a Dodgers game. As he entered the cab, the driver asked him how the contest was going. “Pretty good,” the passenger replied. “The Dodgers have three men on base.” The cabbie responded, “Yea, which base?”

In their later years, the 1940s and 1950, the Brooklyn Dodgers took their baseball seriously. Before that time they were known as the Daffiness Boys, and the daffiest of them all was Babe Herman, who besides being a great hitter and a dreadful fielder was a genuine eccentric when negotiating the base paths. The Babe was the sparkplug for the crazy time the Dodgers ended up with three men on base -- the same base.

The game with the Boston Braves was tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh with the bases filled and one man out. Hank DeBerry was on third, Dazzy Vance on second, and chuck Fewster on first, with Herman at bat. Herman hit a hard drive to right, and the runners held up a moment to see if the ball would be caught, an eventuality the Babe had never seemed to take into consideration when running the bases. The ball banged against the fence. DeBerry came in to score and Vance rounded third and headed for the plate. Fewster was between second and third when he was shocked to see a steaming Herman bearing down on him, also on his way to third. Mickey O’Neil, coaching at third, also spotted Herman making his mindless headlong dash. “Back, back.” O’Neil screamed. Vance, almost home, stopped, thinking the frantic instructions were meant for him, and turned back for third. Fewster, running for his life, got to the base standing up just as Vance came sliding in from home and Herman from second. It was a miracle Fewster was not spiked coming and going. Needless to say there were three confused Dodgers there, while coach O’Neil slammed his cap to the dirt.

The Boston third baseman got the ball after it had been thrown home and tagged Vance and Herman but actually missed the tag on Fewster, who just sort of wandered off the baf in a daze. In point of fact, the Boston third baseman had not actually tagged a soul. The lead runner Vance was entitled to the base, so the tag o him was meaningless. There was also no need to tag out Herman, since he was out automatically for passing Fewster. Meanwhile, Fewster simply decided a double play had ended the inning. He started for behind second base to pick up his glove on the short outfield grass and take up his fielding position there. Finally Doc Gatrea, the Boston second baseman, called for the ball and slapped the tag on Fewster, who would have been safe if he had simply gone back to second. With the tag, the umpire yelled, “Fewster, you’re out.” Fewster said, “I thought I was out five minutes ago.”

That ended the confusing inning with one run in. Babe Herman never could understand why he was subjected to so much abuse about his funning on the play, and for years he chafed that the description of the play was botched over the years. True, as he contended, he had not triple into a triple play as some said, but had merely doubled into a double play. And he observed years later: “Only time I can thin of when a fellow drives in the winning run and the press makes him a goat instead of a hero!”
Herman was technically correct, but there remained just one way to describe the daffiest Dodger of them all: Good hit, no field, insane run.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 08:57 AM   #13

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Re: BASEBALL - The Early Years


Great story, Pedro. It sounds a bit like some of the intramural softball games we used to play in college. Too bad this wacky play took place before the television era. That would be a highlight I could watch over and over again...

Thanks!
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Old October 24th, 2008, 10:20 AM   #14

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Re: BASEBALL - The Early Years


That was one of my two favorite baseball stories.
Here is the other one which comes from Low and Inside by H. Allen Smith and Ira Smith.

“It can get mighty hot in Minnesota in the summertime, and it was hot that fourteenth of July in 1903 when two teams, representing the towns of Benson and Willmar, tangled in a double header.

All the players were frazzled by the time the second game began, and when that game went into extra innings they were pooped beyond description.

Thielman, the star pitcher for Willmar, dragged himself up to the plate at the opening of the tenth inning. He swung listlessly at a pitch and got a single. The next batter, O’Toole, met the ball solidly and sent it streaking toward the outfield.

Pitcher Thielman, in spite of his vast weariness, started his sprint around the base paths ahead of O’Toole. Midway between second and third Thielman began to slow down and then to stagger. Reaching third, he collapsed in a heap on top of the bag.

Down came O’Toole from second to find Thielman draped over the bag. O’Toole looked toward the outfield and saw that the ball had not yet been retrieved. He knew the rules. It would be illegal for him to pass a runner. So he picked up the pitcher, hoisted his limp body to his shoulder, and hobbled down the line. Reaching home, he lowered Thielman so that one foot dragged across the plate. Then he himself touched it, just a moment before the ball reached the catcher.

Having effected the scoring of two runs, O’Toole lowered Thielman to the ground and players gathered around. A doctor came out of the stands and bent over the pitcher. Finally he straightened up.
“this man,” he said, “died back there on third base. His heart broke down under the strain.”

Thus a run was scored by a dead man, and if ever an incident in baseball could be labeled “unique,” this one would appear to qualify. Yet the old files show that it happened another time, up in New Brunswick, when the Chatham Stars were playing the University of St. Joseph. This time a man named O’Hara collapsed on third base after a teammate got a long hit, and the teammate carried O’Hara’s body to the plate just as O’Toole had done with Thielman.”

Apparently baseball also has it’s unwritten rules.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 10:24 AM   #15

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Re: BASEBALL - The Early Years


Two great stories. Mucho ...
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Old October 24th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #16

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Re: BASEBALL - The Early Years


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Apparently baseball also has it’s unwritten rules.
Yes, apparently one of them is akin to the "no man left behind" soldier's creed. Of course, this one would be more like "make sure you score all the runs before you call the coroner."

Great story! Thanks.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 12:40 PM   #17

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Re: BASEBALL - The Early Years


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Yes, apparently one of them is akin to the "no man left behind" soldier's creed. Of course, this one would be more like "make sure you score all the runs before you call the coroner."

Great story! Thanks.
I guess the moral for the young is that if you can't score in life, you may score in death. Sort of akin to the 72 virgin thing.
Personally I wouldn't mind going while at bat.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 01:34 PM   #18

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Re: BASEBALL - The Early Years


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Personally I wouldn't mind going while at bat.
There are worse ways to go...
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Old May 6th, 2011, 11:34 AM   #19

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I know this is a stale thread, but nice one. I've been doing some research on stoolball and have even come up with some playable rules and have played it.

In Sussex in the UK they play stoolball a fair amount but there is zero historical evidence that suggests what they play is anything like the original game.

Stoolball is mentioned in a Shakespeare play and is used as sexual inuendo. In a manuscript from 1450 stoolball is banned from being played in churchyards, though there is some doubt if this was originally in the manuscript or added at a later date.
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Old May 6th, 2011, 12:58 PM   #20

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To answer one of the questions in the OP:

Quote:
From Notes on the National Pastime:

"It was a different game in 1890...than the one we know today -- pitchers threw from a flat, squared off area, like a box (hence the still-current phrase 'back to the box' to describe a ball tapped back to the pitcher). They'd only recently started throwing overhand, underhand delivery being the rule till the mid-1880s. The front of the pitcher's box was 50 feet from home plate, which itself was square and not five-sided. Pitchers were not confined by a rubber, allowing them to run, hop, jump, and skip before releasing the ball. The catcher was bare-handed and stood far behind the batter to return the pitch, unless runners were on base. There was one umpire, who moved to the infield when there were men on base, the better to adjudicate across the big pasture. Players wore all-woolen uniforms, though you wouldn't say they were uniform, settling mostly for the same colored sock or top jersey; gloves were for protecting the palm (and some players wore one on each hand, and some...wore none); bats were more like long clubs (some over three and a half feet long); the ball was rubber, yarn, and leather; the ballparks were made of hazardous wood, risking fire and collapse; the outfields were more likely ringed by spectators and horse carriages than walls or fences."

And:

In 1884 a new rule allowed pitchers to throw overhand. This increased pitch velocity, which resulted in soaring strikeout totals and plummeting batting averages.
I'll have to do some research on exactly when gloves first stared coming into use, but I recall that it was also in the late 1800s. And of course if you've seen early gloves, that's really all they were; the earliest fielder's gloves didn't even have any webbing between the thumb and the first finger. The larger padded gloves didn't come into use until sometime in the late 20s/early 30s, I think, except for the catcher's mitt, which came into use about the same time as the overhand pitch was first allowed.

The linked page has a lot of interesting lore about the early days of baseball, for those with an interest.

(Nice job digging up this fine old thread, CuAllaidh!)

Last edited by Recusant; May 6th, 2011 at 01:07 PM.
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