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World War I Newsbeat

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-21-2017

Bismarck Tribune, September 21, 1917:

The National baseball commission today announced that the world’s series would open on the grounds of the Chicago Americans, October 6, with the second game played there Sunday, October 7.
...
Soldiers now in France and also those who are preparing to fight for liberty, were remembered by the commission. Announcement was made that a 1,000 word story would be cabled to France after each game for the benefit of the soldiers there…

President Wilson and Generals Barry, Carter, Bell and McCain will be invited to attend the series.

“No, that’s cool, you guys have fun at the World Series. Enjoy yourselves. We’ll just hang out here in the trenches getting blown up.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 21, 2017 at 08:21 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Monday, September 11, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-11-2017

Butte Daily Post, September 11, 1917:

BRITISH FIND NOT A LITTLE AMUSEMENT IN AMERICAN GAME

To the average American fan his reading accounts of the game in British papers will be truly interesting. In brief, one of the London contemporaries has termed the sport “Merry Hulla-Ballo.” Thus far the foreign critics have not fully grasped the common expression of “That’s the boy.”
...
While Stanley, the Canadian twirler, was displaying an effective delivery, the fans complained that he was throwing too fast to follow the ball. The Britishers spoke of the extra-base clouts as being very “big” hitting and they were particularly interested in the gloves worn by the players.

Foul balls must have blown their minds.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 11, 2017 at 11:07 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-31-2017

Butte Daily Post, August 31, 1917:

“Sammies” being American soldiers in World War I.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 31, 2017 at 09:53 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-17-2017

Lake County [Indiana] Times, August 17, 1917:

One of the features of the trips taken by the White Sox this year has been their singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.” After marching around the field under the sirection of Sergeant W.S. Smiley they would line up before the stand and sing two verses of the anthem.
...
One of the Sox players told of their first rehearsal. “Rowland got us together in the clubhouse and asked if any of us knew the words of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’,” he said. “There were only three—Benz, Scott and Weaver. The rest knew only short snatches.

“Rowland then told us to sing the two verses as well as we could and those who didn’t know the words could make a bluff until they learned them by singing ‘Hum-hum-hum’.”

“After our first appearance Gandil came into the clubhouse after the game and approached Rowland. ‘I can’t help it, boss,’ he said. ‘I’m a hum-hum-hummer.’”

I think just about everybody would be a hum-hum-hummer on the second verse these days.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 17, 2017 at 10:12 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-16-2017

Tucumcari News, August 16, 1917:

For the present it may be all right that baseball continue. At least it is not mandatory that it cease…but it may be just as well to suggest to the American people that professional baseball is likely to be an incongruity next year.

An American newspaper will sacrifice a great deal of self-respect if it has to print, or does print, box scores and casualty lists in the same issue, says Chicago Tribune.

Baseball already is getting on the nerves of a great many people who know that catastrophic times are ahead or who fear that they may be ahead.

It is fiddling while Rome is burning.

I guess people got used to it.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 16, 2017 at 10:01 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Monday, August 07, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-7-2017

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, August 7, 1917:

“The proposal to sent baseball players to France at the end of the season to entertain soldiers is the most absurd thing I ever heard of.”

This is the way President John K. Tener of the National League felt about it today when told an offer had been made to finance such an expedition.

“The idea of sending a bunch of big huskies over there with their expenses all paid to perform for the benefit of men who are ready to sacrifice their lives for their country is exceedingly repulsive to me. I cannot understand what the man who made the offer could have been thinking of.”

Jeez, don’t tell Tener about the USO.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 07, 2017 at 09:51 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-2-2017

Pittsburgh Press, August 2, 1917:

Dr. Richard C. Hoblitzel, first baseman of the Boston American League baseball team, has volunteered and undergone examination for a commission in the dental reserve corps, it was announced today. Dr. Hoblitzel said he was uncertain when he was likely to be called.

Just your everyday “quality starting first baseman in his late 20s going to France to be a military dentist” story.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 02, 2017 at 09:36 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-27-2017

Pittsburgh Press, July 27, 1917:

A new use for baseball slang has been found. The story is told by a writer describing the experiences of Americans inside the German lines…It was necessary that one American having knowledge of [the news] should acquaint another with what was going on, but the Germans were on watch, listening for every word.
...
[An American said to another:] “Nix on any of these spangled delicatessens (German officers) getting wise, but the umpire-in-chief has chased Heinie out of the lot for his rough work.

(The German ambassador at Washington has been handed his papers by President Wilson.)

“I get you. Are they going to play ball?”

(Are they going to war?)

“Sure, home team has gone to bat with all its stars in the game.”
“What’s the score?”
“Don’t know yet, but the other guys are a lot of bushers, tried to steal second with the bases full.”

Spangled delicatessens?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 27, 2017 at 09:58 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-26-2017

Pittsburgh Press, July 26, 1917:

As far as is known, Pitcher John Miljus of the Brooklyn club is the first major leaguer to be called to the colors via the draft route. Miljus…was ordered yesterday to present himself for examination tomorrow morning.

Strange that the first big leaguer to be drafted to serve in WWI would be known as “The Big Serb”.

In other news on the same page of the Pittsburgh Press, White Sox first baseman Chick Gandil has filed bankruptcy. I think I know a way Gandil can supplement his salary, but Charlie Comiskey might not like it.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 26, 2017 at 10:06 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-19-2017

Grand Forks Herald, July 19, 1917:

It was reported recently on the highest authority in administration circles that the government would draft no major league baseball players for the war.

...the main reason for not interfering with baseball is because of the big part taken by big league baseball owners in urging recruiting and helping in army and Red Cross charities. The drilling of the baseball players has served to gain recruits for all branches of the service.

Moreover the government does not think it good policy to disturb America’s greatest outdoor sport.

Eventually, the director of the military draft decreed that baseball players would have to register for service.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 19, 2017 at 10:17 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Friday, June 30, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-30-2017

Chicago Eagle, June 30, 1917:

Nicholas Altrock is a ball player who can trace his ancestors back to the land of the kaiser. He is a regular German, but thus far has kept it a secret. Now that there is a mix-up between this country and Germany, however, Nicholas has taken it upon himself to be prepared and maintain an attitude of the strictest neutrality.

...he wandered into court in Washington recently and asked that his name be changed to “MacAltrock.” Nick believes the little dash of Scotch will deceive the dear old public and save him from many unpleasant moments on the ball field.

Altrock goes on to say that if he has to, he’s willing to change his name to Michael MacAltrock. (Seriously.)

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 30, 2017 at 08:09 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

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

 

 

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