There on the Google results page, in addition to the mug shot of some kid named Ed Rogers who was busted for drugs in Texas, was a listing that I had been hoping to see. As it turns out, a Texas newspaper website confirmed that my grandfather was a 21-game winner in 1912 for the San Antonio Bronchos in the Texas League. Right there was a tiny photo of my grandfather and two of his teammates in uniform. Pay dirt.
The website photo was so small it was impossible to make a decent print from it, so thus began an unsuccessful quest to find a copy of the original. There was no other information to go with it.
But that tiny nugget of information has led me on a decade-long search for more and more details, many of which have come to light as old records began to be posted to historical websites.
...But the major mother lode came when Baseball-Reference.com put its minor league archives online. The listing was missing some details, but it contained information I have found nowhere else: the stats from his entire career. It told me he began his professional career in 1907 at age 23 in the Pennsylvania-Ohio-Maryland League, and he played until he was 29.
I can barely imagine a small-town Arkansas boy moving to the Washington, D.C., area just after the turn of the century, but there was more. He went on to play for the Wheeling (W. Va.) Stogies and the Crackers before joining the Bronchos and Angels.
With obvious talent, and after pitching 1,054 professional innings, why did he never make it to the Major Leagues? I can only guess, but I have a theory: Playing professional baseball in the early 1900s was a bit like running off to join the circus.
...He died at an early age in 1932, when my mother was just 18, so perhaps she never knew the whole story, either. Sadly, I never got a chance to fill her in.
But now it falls to me to keep the story alive. And, believe me, my grandchildren will hear it directly from me. It’s part of our family history now.
Posted: August 17, 2013 at 11:44 PM | 9 comment(s)
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