Baseball History- How Cleveland Become the Indians

Baseball History- How Cleveland Become the Indians

This story begins on October 24, 1871, with the birth of Louis Sockalexis. He was a member of the Penobscot Indian tribe in Maine. He grew to be six feet tall and had a muscular build in which he would use to become a spectacular athlete in his youth. He was the best athlete among his peers and went on to play semipro baseball and that was when he got noticed.

In 1894, he played baseball at Ricker Classical Institute in Maine and also played on various teams during the summer. One of his teammates, Mike Powers, convinced Louis to enroll at Holy Cross to play baseball. Sockalexis was a Catholic and a decent student and quickly was accepted.

He proceeded to bat .436 in 1895 and .444 in 1896 for the Holy Cross team. Along with that, he was a star athlete on the first football team in 1896 where he excelled as the running back. In the spring, he ran track and many days he won as many as five first-place medals. However, it was baseball that he got the most notice playing. It has been reported a few professors measured one of Sockalexis’ throws and claim he tossed in 413 feet.

The major league teams had a keen interest in him but the Cleveland Spiders had two players that had direct connections to Holy Cross athletics. In 1896, Sockalexis and Powers left school and enrolled at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. He last no more than three months before he was kicked out of school as they both got into a fight at a tavern over a girl and basically destroyed the place.

With no college affiliation and no baseball, he signed with Cleveland in the winter and worked hard on training in the offseason to make the club in the Spring? He showed up in top shape and impressed manager Patsy Tebeau that he made the squad. One sportswriter was impressed with the Penobscot Indian player and referred to the team as “Tebeau’s Indians.”  The name didn’t stick but it planted a seed for later in baseball history.

Spring training was a time for Sockalexis to impress the baseball world. The Spiders played their first intrasquad game on April 2. Tebeau divided the team into the “Indians” and the “Papooses,” and Sockalexis, batting cleanup for the Indians, drilled three hits, scored three runs, and threw a runner out at the plate from deep right field. He was a wonder.

Things went well until early July when it was discovered Sockalexis has a huge problem with drinking alcohol in excess. That evening it is said he either jumped or was pushed out of a second floor window at a brothel that he frequented and promptly injured his ankle very badly. When he got back to the club, he was sent to a doctor that put a cast on it for almost a week. While his team was on the road, he was drinking every night a the local tavern.

There are stories galore from here on out about how he lost his baseball skills as they eroded due to inebriation. He dropped fly balls, he couldn’t run the bases properly and now moved from team to team trying to hang on in baseball but to no avail. He left baseball in 1898 and went back to Maine to play on some local teams. He played in 94 major league games.

Back in Maine, he tried to teach other children to play baseball even after taking a job in the logging industry cutting down trees. But at the age of 42, he suffered a heart attack and died. In 1915, team owner Charles Somers was looking for a new name for his team when he decided to revive the name that was given almost 20 years before and called it the Indians.

 

 

The Worst Team in Major League History

The Worst Team in Major League History

It started with the Cleveland Spiders in the 1890’s. They had been a decent team until their owners purchased a second team which was the St. Louis Perfectos in 1899.

The owners decided they wanted to excite the fan base in the new city so they dumped their roster from Cleveland to St. Louis. The Spides were really bad as they lost 11 games in a row 6 times during the season and their best pitcher was rookie Harry Colliflower. He won one game and lost eleven times.

Once while in Cincinnati while staying at their hotel, they talked a local tobaccoist named Eddie Kolb to be their starting pitcher for the next game. He lost 19-3.

Fans began staying home and not attending the games and the locals quit calling them the Spiders and smacked the nickname “Exiles” or “Wanderers” as the team name.

The team had a final recordd of 20 wins and 134 losses. Baseball executives and league brass began a move to outlaw owning more than one team.

June book Reviews (part 1)

June book Reviews (part 1)

I have had the good fortune to hook up with three publishing companies, Sports Publishing, University of Nebraska Press, and Triumph Books, to search their catalogs and request books to read. In exchange, I give their publicist a fair and honest review of each book. To date, I have completed nearly 50 book reviews in the previous 15 months. The fruits of my labor can be found at KnupSports.

I expect to finish 6 books in June. Here are the first three books that I received as I expect to get a few more on my doorstep soon.

 

JUNE READING (part 1)

 

As a child, Anne Keene’s father, Jim Raugh, suited up as the team batboy and mascot. He got to know his baseball heroes personally, watching players hit the road on cramped, tin-can buses, dazzling factory workers, kids, and service members at dozens of games, including a war-bond exhibition with Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium.

 

 

 

After being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1961 out of Northwestern University, Cross went on to have a nine-year career in the NFL, appearing in two Pro Bowls. After retiring, he joined the Eagles as a coach and remained so until 1971 when a rare opportunity came along to join CBS Sports with no experience.

 

 

 

The author takes a candid and revealing look at the people and events that made Manning’s and his 2007 Giants’ success one of the greatest stories in modern sports history. Complete with exclusive interviews with NFL stars, coaches, and executives.

 

 

MORE TO COME

College Baseball Today- Scores from Opening Weekend

(2/19/18) Here are the scores for the Top 25 teams in College Baseball from the Opening Weekend. Not that Mississippi State lost all 3 games as did Cal State Fullerton. Vanderbilt won two of three from Duke as both teams were ranked. Many will tell you not to put too much stock into the first bunch of games.

1 Florida                 3-0 Siena: W 7-1, 10-2, W 19-2
2 Oregon State      3-0 New Mexico W 5-2, Gonzaga W 4-3, Cal Poly W 16-7
3 Texas Tech         4-0 Maine: W 4-2, W 12-1, W 12-5, W 21-6
4 Arkansas             3-0 Bucknell: W 14-2, W 32-4, W 3-1
5 Florida State       3-0 Xavier: W 11-1, W 7-2, W 5-1
6 North Carolina   2-1 at South Florida: L 4-3, W 12-5, W 9-8
7 TCU                      2-1 at Grand Canyon: W 3-2, W 14-6, L 9-8
8 Kentucky             4-0 Wofford W 6-1, USC Upstate W 6-5, W 10-3, Evansville W 8-4
9 Ole Miss               3-0 Winthrop: W 7-3, W 8-1, W 3-1
10 Texas A&M        3-0 Rhode Island: W 4-1, W 4-3, W 10-2
11 UCLA 3-0 Portland: W 7-2, W 13-0, W 15-3
12 Mississippi State 0-3 at Southern Miss: L 11-0, L 7-4, L 5-2
13 Stanford 3-0 CS Fullerton: W 5-1, W 5-3, W 6-5
14 Vanderbilt 2-1 Duke: W 9-1, L 5-4, W 9-1
15 Louisville 3-0 Richmond W 4-3, The Citadel W 8-3, George Mason W 15-8
16 LSU 1-2 Notre Dame: W 7-6, L 10-5, L 11-3
17 CS Fullerton 0-3 at Stanford: L 5-1, L 5-3, L 6-5
18 Dallas Baptist 3-0 Monmouth: W 7-4, W 5-3, W 15-4
19 Virginia 2-1 UCF L 6-3, Samford W 10-4, Rice W 3-0
20 South Alabama 3-1 Kansas State W 12-5, Oklahoma W 6-5, Virginia Tech W 7-5, Indiana L 8-4
21 Texas 2-1 Louisiana: W 3-0, W 5-3, L 2-1
22 West Virginia 1-2 at Jacksonville: W 5-4, L 7-4, L 2-1
23 Indiana 2-1 Oklahoma L 6-3, Kansas State W 5-0, South Alabama W 8-4
24 Houston 2-1 Holy Cross: L 3-2, W 7-1, W 3-2
25 Duke 1-2 at Vanderbilt: L 9-1, W 5-4, L 9-1

 

Monday finds only 10 games on the schedule for President’s Day.

Virginia Tech/Kansas St.

BYU/CSUN

Stony Brook/Nicholls State

Indiana/Coastal Carolina

Cal Poly/Gonzaga

Indiana State/UNLV

Washington/Sacramento St.

St. Mary’s (Cal.)/CSU Bakersfield

New Mexico/Oregon St.

Stanford/UC Davis

 

I Graduated Last in My Class

It’s time I came clean. Not many people know this fact about me. Some would say they aren’t surpised. 🙂 I graduated last in my class in the 8th grade. True fact. I will get back to that later. What I want to let you know about will be from my Junior High school years. I will touch on the 7th grade tournament but I am saving the majority of that for a complete blog all by itself. These are some random thoughts about Junior High School

 

JH was Cool

These years were very cool. It was the first time in your life you got to move around for classes and you had some freedom between classes. It was a couple of years of experimenting and actually being able to participate in sports every night after school that made Junior High a special place. It was also cool to get out of Manito.

 

Dancing

There was an odd phenomenon called dancing. It was a horrible thing to do in Junior High school. The problem with this was it required that male and females to touch each other. But what came with it was the stigma of knowing how to dance. The school always had a back-to-school dance about the second week of the year. It was from 7-9 in the gym. The vast majority of the boys hung together and the girls all huddled off to the side. Every once in awhile some couples put on an attempt to dance but that was far and in between. What went on was the gossip that floated around the gym. Some girl would come over to the boys and tell us so and so like one of the boys. Later, a boy floated over to the girls and told what had been said in their group. This went on for about an hour and a half. By the time you worked up the courage to ask a girl to dance there was 15-20 minutes left. It was a definite social experiment.

Another thing that happened was in PE, Mrs. Rossi would have a unit in dancing. This was not good. You could actually get paired up with a girl that carried cooties and you had no control over it. She lined us up and we called out a number and that was our partner. We did that several different times and was quite embarrassing.

 

Arts and Crafts

 

We had to take Arts and Crafts. Mr Guy was the teacher and he was a very odd duck. Now for me, this was one of the worst classes that I could be in. I had/have absolutely no talent in art or in the making of crafts. It was a boring class to be in. One assignment was to sculpture something. I didn’t do until he announced that it was due tomorrow so those not done should take their sculpture block home to complete. I had done nothing to mine at all. Mid-evening, my brother Lyle asked me what it was and what was supposed to be done with it. I told him and explained I wasn’t going to do the work. He said very little and I went to bed. Lo and behold, in the morning there was this great looking sphinx sitting on the table for me to take to class. I was a bit embarrassed because I knew and everyone knew I had no talent. I took it to class and turned it in. Just before the bell was to ring, Mr. Guy called me up and asked me if I had actually completed the project or did someone else do it. What am I to do? Just what I need to do to get a decent grade…. I told him I did it all by myself. I got an A on the project but he and I both knew I didn’t do it. Thanks, Lyle!

 

Baseball

It was a blast. Two weeks before the first day of class we are practicing baseball every day. I had never experienced anything like it and Junior High was going to be so much fun. As the practices progressed, it appeared I was going to be the starting shortstop as a 7th grader on the 8th-grade team. Until….. one practice the catcher (I don’t remember who it was) got a ball fouled off his knuckles and broke two fingers. Coach Rudd took me aside and said I was to be the teams’ catcher for the season. I was just happy to play and that year and that position was a lot of fun. Jim Petty was a fireballing pitcher and he and I had played baseball in the summer for years. I loved being catcher as you were into every play of the game.

I remember two particular plays and they likely were in different games. I wasn’t a power hitter but a gap man. I was up in the bottom of the 6th inning and we were down 2 runs and the bases were loaded. Do you think I hit one out of the park? Well, not exactly. I hit the ball hard just over the second baseman’s glove that rolled on the grass in the outfield and just kept rolling and rolling. I was fast enough to make it a grand slam and we won in the 7th inning by two runs.

Another play I remember was in the field behind the plate. No big deal but I remember this. The pitch by Petty got away from me or he threw it wild with a runner on third base and the baseball rolled to the fence. I went back to get it and tossed it backward towards the plate as Jim Petty dove into the runner and he was called out. Just a cool blind throw that ended the inning. I think I remember that because the umpire told me it was the best play he had ever seen in a Junior High game.

 

Getting Stitches

Letting me share two stories with you about getting injured in the 7th grade in PE. One day we were playing flag football. Both the 7th and 8th grade boys played together. I was playing defense when the quarterback threw the ball downfield when I jumped to catch it. Problem was that at the same time on offense Leonard Wheat jumped to catch it and his teeth caught me just above the right eye and I was instantly bleeding all over. Whoever the PE teacher was sent a kid to the office to let Mr. Rudd know we needed an ambulance. He didn’t call anybody. He drove his car out to the field, put me in it and drove m to Havana hospital. It was the first time I ever heard a teacher/principal cuss as we were a fes miles from town he said, “You have a hell of a gash there, Tommy. You’re going to get damn stitches for that.” Well, they called my mom from the school and she met us there. I had 14 stitches. Ten above my eye and 4four on the eyelid. My actual eye had no damage. I went to school the next day.

In the spring I was pitching softball in PE when a line drive smacked me in the right eye. They called my mom and she took me home. I didn’t go to school the next day…….. because it was game one of the 1964 World Series and the Cardinals and Yankees were playing.

 

 

7th grade Basketball

Basketball was a blast. It was about this time of the year that I really started to like girls. However, I will add that it was also becasue girls started liking me. You see, I was the only 7th grader started on the lightweight team. Mark Thompon, Dennis Specketer, John Middleton, Lynn Vogel and myself were the primary starters. We had first year coach/science teach Frank Gassmann, a new SIU grad, as our leader. The core 5 of the team tried to emulate the players from the starting five of the then Bradley Braves. I was Joe Strawder, somebody else was LaVern Tart, another Bobby Joe Mason and I don’t remember the other three.

Our season was loads of fun as we kept winning and winning. We were 22-0 going into the state tournament to be played in Rantoul. It was because of this success that I can remember that my life was a blast. The State Touney brought out the entire towns and neighboring villages along with our own student body with fan busses and such. More on the State Tournament in a few weeks.

 

Jamboree

Remember this? The Mason County Jamboree. I don’t have anything to say about it but I enjoy it and won the baseball toss four years in a row. However, it leads into my next story.

Graduated Last in My Class

I suppose I shouldn’t be admitting this and should be ashamed that I graduated last in my class when diplomas were given out a graduation. I still shake my head but there was to be graduation on Thursday night at the Forman Junior High School. On the previous weekend I was in the Mason County Jamboree on Saturday and all went well. That night I began to feel bad. All day Sunday I laid on the couch in some pain not doing so well. My parents thought maybe I had hurt myself at the Jamboree. They mentioned a rupture and to an 8th grade kid that was an embarrassment.

Finally, Monday morning they took me to the hospital and I was diagnosed with appendicitis. They did emergency surgery Monday afternoon and I got out of the hospital on Wednesday. I missed three days of school for it. Come ThursdayI really hadn’t walked very far but about 5pm I insisted I go to the graduation. My parents allowed me if I walked sparingly. The school was in an uproar as they had practiced the ceremony and now I had put everything out of kilter. So they made an administrative decision. Instead of changing everything they just added me to the end. So, they added a chair for me at the end they called my name to graduate and I  walked up there slowly to the podium and received my diploma. Since I was last the crowd cheered loudly ( I am sure it was ALL for me) and officially graduate last in my class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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