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
tshipman
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP - 2016 February 1: Donald Trump spends $450,000 on red baseball caps in just three months
(2369 - 3:36am, Feb 07)
Last: Joe Kehoskie

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - February 2016
(208 - 3:19am, Feb 07)
Last: Into the Void

NewsblogJonny Gomes: Sayonara, For Now: Why I’m Playing In Japan
(7 - 3:13am, Feb 07)
Last: Infinite Yost (Voxter)

NewsblogSchoenfield: Top 5 Hall of Fame classes
(45 - 2:12am, Feb 07)
Last: bjhanke

NewsblogCiti Field and Yankee Stadium Could Become Off Limits to Smokeless Tobacco
(11 - 12:47am, Feb 07)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogChecking the facts ... yup, MLB still has greater parity than the NFL
(3 - 12:34am, Feb 07)
Last: bbmck

NewsblogJose Bautista says he’d like to be a Toronto Blue Jay for life - The Globe and Mail
(37 - 12:26am, Feb 07)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogWANTED: New home for American League baseball team | Tampa Bay Times
(4 - 10:53pm, Feb 06)
Last: ptodd

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1990 Discussion
(23 - 9:45pm, Feb 06)
Last: DL from MN

NewsblogPadres say they’re not rebuilding, plan to compete in 2016 | SanDiegoUnionTribune.com
(2 - 8:01pm, Feb 06)
Last: Hank G.

NewsblogScott Boras, other baseball minds propose anti-tanking measures - Buster Olney Blog- ($Insider$)
(69 - 6:46pm, Feb 06)
Last: GrumpyFan

NewsblogSuddenly Frugal Yankees Playing Long Game With Eye On Bryce Harper
(68 - 6:07pm, Feb 06)
Last: bbmck

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread - February 2016
(57 - 4:48pm, Feb 06)
Last: Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play

NewsblogThe Wainwrightization of Rick Porcello | FanGraphs
(16 - 1:24pm, Feb 06)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogStephen Strasburg: This Could Be the Year | FanGraphs Baseball
(1 - 12:20pm, Feb 06)
Last: jingoist

Page rendered in 0.1144 seconds
47 querie(s) executed