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World War I Newsbeat

Friday, June 02, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-2-2017

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, June 2, 1917:

Hank Gowdy, catcher and hero of the 1914 world’s series, [yesterday] gained the distinction of being the first ball player to relinquish voluntarily the luxurious life of a big league ball player to carry a rifle as a private in the Army. Gowdy [yesterday] left for his home in Columbus, O., to enlist.
...
His teammates were infested with the military fever by his decisive step and a day off, and Stallings fears others will follow suit.

Gowdy spent time on the front lines in France and missed two seasons in the prime of his baseball career. He returned to the army during World War II.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 02, 2017 at 10:00 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-31-2017

Tucumcari News, May 31, 1917, an American soldier tells of organizing a baseball team alongside British soldiers on the front lines at the Somme:

...our first baseman, a Welshman, found an old German hand grenade of the ‘hairbrush’ variety. Being an ardent souvenir hunter, he proceeded to get busy on that bomb with the point of his bayonet…The result of his investigation was right arm blown off and no first baseman.
...
Our shortstop had a bad habit of trying to stop hot grass eaters with his foot—result, the ball would climb his leg and paint his eye blue, green and yellow. After losing two teeth and getting a beautiful lamp he made a ‘holler’ to wear our only mask. I had to give in to him (he was a sergeant). Just imagine a shortstop wearing a mask; wouldn’t it make you sick?
...
Another great difficulty, just when you had a man broken in so that he could cover a bag or play the outfield…said man would stop a German bullet and go on the sick list, losing all interest in baseball. Out of the 33 Tommies originally in the squad, 11 have been been killed and 14 wounded.”

I can’t even imagine what that must have been like. I understand wanting to live life as normally as possible, but the carnage would have been incredible.

Anyway, the whole article is worth a read.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 31, 2017 at 10:07 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Friday, May 19, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-19-2017

Chicago Eagle, May 19, 1917:

John B. Foster, secretary of the New York Giants, agrees with President Barrow of the International league that the game of baseball will not suffer because of war. He believes even that baseball might be stimulated.

“War has never hurt baseball in this country,” said Foster. “As a matter of fact, it was the baseball played during the Civil war by the soldiers which resulted in giving the game its great impetus in this country.
...
“Baseball games have been played repeatedly close to the actual fighting line. One game at Verdun went seven innings before it was broken up by the appearance of hostile aeroplanes.

The baseball fan in me likes that the soldiers at Verdun were playing ball. The part of me that’s mildly obsessed with World War I still can’t even fathom what a horrific place and time Verdun 1916 was, baseball or no.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 19, 2017 at 01:20 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-11-2017

Harrisburg Telegraph, May 11, 1917:

“Big Bill” Lange, old-time Cub player, is ready to play ball to fill a vacancy for a man called to the front…he declared to-day in a letter to John K. Tener, president of the National League.

“When the army drafts all your players,” he wrote, “the chances are you will have to get some players that are 45 and over, so if you do, I will volunteer my services, as I will be 46 on June 6.”

“Sure, I’d listen if a major league ballclub called.”

Lange was a terrific player. He had a career .330 batting average, on-based .400, and stole 400 bases in 7 seasons. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he hadn’t played professional baseball since 1899.

As you’d imagine, Lange’s offer was rebuffed.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 11, 2017 at 10:47 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-9-2017

Grand Forks Herald, May 9, 1917:

Captain T.L. Huston, part owner of the Yankees and the man who originated the plan for drilling baseball players, probably will be the first man in organized baseball to join the colors. Even before he suggested that the baseball players go in for military training Captain Huston offered his services to the war department. Saturday he received orders to report for duty.

Elsewhere in World War I-related baseball news, fans in Cincinnati are divided on whether there should be baseball in 1918 if the war continues, and MLB owners are lobbying to have a proposed tax on their receipts turned into a tax on fans who buy tickets.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 09, 2017 at 12:22 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-3-2017

Pittsburgh Press, May 3, 1917:

Two one-time members of the Giants are going into the army at the earliest opportunity. Eddie Grant, third baseman for McGraw several seasons ago and also pinch hitter, and Harry McCormick, right fielder and pinch hitter when his fielding days were over, have applied to the necessary authorities to go to Plattsburg.

Eddie Grant was killed by an exploding shell in the Argonne Forest a few weeks before the end of World War I. He was an interesting guy - he earned a law degree at the same time he was the Phillies’ everyday third baseman. It’s said that he sometimes annoyed teammates by refusing to yell “I got it!” when calling for a fly ball. Instead, Grant would yell “I have it!”

He was even an intellectual on the ballfield.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 03, 2017 at 10:02 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-2-2017

Harrisburg Telegraph, May 2, 1917:

President Ban Johnson, of the American League, announced here yesterday afternoon that in case the war continued until next spring there would be no attempt to open the 1918 pennant season.

Ban to newsman: Plan will stand if enlisted man’s span near the Gaugin clan doesn’t end.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 02, 2017 at 07:28 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-16-2017

El Paso Herald, February 16, 1917:

BALL PLAYERS TO BE SOLDIERS

American Leaguers Will Be Given Instruction in Handling a Gun This Spring

American league baseball parks during the playing season are to be turned into military training camps and the players are to devote one hour a day to instruction. The league has adopted a resolution which provides that the players shall shoulder rifles as well as baseball bats.

They’re looking at you, Dave Davenport.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 16, 2017 at 11:06 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-2-2017

Seattle Star, February 2, 1917:

Severance of diplomatic relations with Germany, in the opinion of President Weeghman of the Cubs, would not mean the discontinuance of organized baseball for a season.

But Weeghman believes it would be the signal for a general retrenching all along the line in the majors. Training camps might be abandoned, and players who have not returned signed contracts probably would face a further cut in salaries.

“Just at present, it looks like a tough baseball season,” Weeghman said. “I have not feared the players strike at any time, but it will be different should business be affected by war.”

World War I obviously had profound effects on MLB, but it’s awfully convenient that Weeghman used it as an opportunity to subtly threaten unsigned players.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 02, 2017 at 12:14 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

 

 

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