Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Governor’s Sox: “Otey and Jackie: An Unlikely Rivalry”

Jonathan Eig, points out this “great story on Jackie Robinson’s tryout with the Red Sox.”

I asked former Fenway office boy, Monsignor Thomas Daly. He knew the ins and outs of everyone and everything that went on at Fenway Park in the mid-forties. He could still recite the address of almost every employee of the ball club in 1945 (including Lefty Grove’s in Lonaconing, Maryland).  Daly had attended the Negro League exhibitions at Fenway in the mid-forties, but he had never heard of Jackie Robinson auditioning for the team.

I even asked former Yankee General Manager, Lee MacPhail, now 93-years-old, who started working for the Yankees in 1945 when his father Larry became a co-owner of the team.  All I received back was a curt, non-memory of the event. “No. I never heard of that.”

When I finally dialed the number of the oldest living Red Sox player, and one of only two players from the 1945 Red Sox roster still living, I wasn’t expecting much.

My modest expectations were completely blown away with what I found.  Here was a 95-year-old, cup of coffee, war call-up named William Otis “Otey” Clark of Boscobel, Wisconsin, not just telling me that he had heard of the tryout, but describing important details of the day he threw to the Kansas City Monarchs shortstop and future trailblazer, Jack Roosevelt Robinson. He said, “Joe Cronin would say ‘take a little off’ and all of that.”

...Otey told me that his manager, Joe Cronin, called him up the day before and asked him to be at the ballpark at 10 am.  He explained, “Cronin chose me because I had good control.” When he got there, he dressed and went out to the bullpen to warm up.  According to Otey, Robinson hit well, but didn’t have a strong enough arm to play shortstop.  He said, “I didn’t think he could throw from the hole behind third.”

Repoz Posted: March 01, 2011 at 09:37 PM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, red sox, special topics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. spike Posted: March 02, 2011 at 02:56 AM (#3761099)
Nice story. I wish the writer would have fleshed out the details of the tryout a bit more, but still, I enjoyed it.
   2. Bob Evans Posted: March 02, 2011 at 04:19 AM (#3761161)
Jesu, I'm in Boscobel pretty often for a flatlander (or for anybody for that matter) and I had no idea they had a player from there.

Boscobel's main claim to fame is as the birthplace of the Gideon Bible.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Phil Birnbaum
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogNew York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius, who is replacing Derek Jeter, is already garnering jaw-dropping praise from veteran teammates like Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, particularly for his fielding and baseball smarts | FOX Sports
(39 - 3:44am, Mar 27)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1903 Ballot
(4 - 3:06am, Mar 27)
Last: bjhanke

NewsblogNippon Ham ordered to pay ¥41.9 million for failing to shield spectator from foul ball
(7 - 3:04am, Mar 27)
Last: Bob T

NewsblogFive toughest roster dilemmas this spring | MLB.com
(20 - 2:27am, Mar 27)
Last: if nature called, ladodger34 would listen

NewsblogA Fresh Start | The Players' Tribune
(5 - 2:10am, Mar 27)
Last: if nature called, ladodger34 would listen

NewsblogBoras: Cubs using business, not baseball, if Bryant stays in minors - CBSSports.com
(14 - 2:08am, Mar 27)
Last: Cargo Cultist

NewsblogReport: Mets cut ballpark security to save money
(11 - 2:07am, Mar 27)
Last: if nature called, ladodger34 would listen

NewsblogCallis: Ranking the best farm systems of the past five years
(19 - 2:02am, Mar 27)
Last: if nature called, ladodger34 would listen

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - March 2015
(1321 - 1:56am, Mar 27)
Last: tshipman

NewsblogFormer Cardinals player punched at St. Louis County gas station after racial slur
(15 - 1:20am, Mar 27)
Last: Shibal

NewsblogOTP - March 2015: You’re out, tobacco: Bill would ban products at all California baseball venues
(3485 - 1:05am, Mar 27)
Last: Joe Kehoskie

NewsblogBill James Mailbag - 3/24/15 - 3/26/15
(41 - 12:49am, Mar 27)
Last: tshipman

NewsblogMLB Worth $36 Billion As Team Values Hit Record $1.2 Billion Average
(44 - 11:10pm, Mar 26)
Last: ptodd

NewsblogCubs' Ricketts reveals Wrigley renovation might take extra year
(3 - 11:09pm, Mar 26)
Last: Spahn Insane

NewsblogNot so fast, Matthew Lucroy!
(16 - 10:53pm, Mar 26)
Last: Spahn Insane

Page rendered in 0.1845 seconds
48 querie(s) executed