THINGS TO DO:
reacquaint myself with layout of home
talk to neighbors/squash rumors of alien abduction in April
catch up on five months of emails
convince family pets I do indeed live here full time in the winter
locate warm clothes
catalogue scorebooks from this summer
try to remember what tv shows are worth watching
update the blog
Hey, we can knock that last thing off the list!
With the last out of the World Series, the offseason began again. Days have passed with little to no Biscuits news and that will mostly be the norm moving forward, as fans are well aware. Posts in the winter tend to lean towards history/research, where we have some interesting items coming, starting with today.
So here is what we got...
TWO FORMER BISCUITS GET RINGS
As Biscuits. the two of them could not be more different - on one side is young left-handed starting pitcher David Price, who spent a couple months as a prospect dominating Southern League hitters. Price seemingly shook hands with every single Biscuits fan and became immensely popular over three months in Montgomery.
Still, to many Montgomery fans, those are both "our guys" all the way.
BISCUIT V BISCUIT
But it was not the first postseason matchup of ex-Biscuits.
On September 30th of 2014 the former Biscuit Jason Hammel of the Royals faced another ex-Biscuit in Oakland's Stephen Vogt in the AL Wild Card Game. Vogt walked in the second inning and struck out in the 4th in the rare postseason matchup of two Montgomery players.
ONE BISCUIT HAS TWO RINGS
The first former Montgomery Biscuit to win a World Series ring? I believe that honor belongs to Jean Machi, who won a title with the San Francisco Giants in 2012 and again in 2014.
PAIR OF FORMER BISCUITS NAMED MLB MANAGERS ON SAME DAY BOTH WORE SAME UNIFORM #25Charlie Montoyo and Rocco Baldelli were both hired as major league managers, in one day sending the number of former Biscuits managing MLB teams from zero to two in a matter of hours. In a wildly strange twist, as Biscuits both wore #25 with Montgomery!
Rocco found out that rehabbers were not held to the same dress code and facial hair requirements minor leaguers were restricted to. He decided not to shave until he made it back to the majors and was well past scruffy during his stay in double-A.
While working his way back to the bigs as a player, Rocco showed determination and excellent skills during his time in Montgomery, as well as an easy-to-talk-with personality.
He also provided his fellow Biscuit players with lavish postgame feasts and set a precedent that all following big-league rehabbers had to buy dinner for the team.
|2004 Opening Day Montoyo|
Montoyo also led some bad teams in the early days of Biscuits lore. In 2005 the club was so awful he made a clubhouse speech to the players before the All-Star break that included "take this time off to decide if professional baseball is really the right career for you."
Someone asked, so I looked em up!
Getting the last ever RBI for the St. Louis Browns franchise in 1953, he spent most of his career in the minors and wrote a book about it. Called "Out of the Park: Memoir of a Minor League Baseball All-Star" it should be on the to-read list of all fans. Mickelson compiled over 1300 hits in his minor league career but only got cups of coffee with the Browns, Cubs and Cardinals.
With Montgomery in 1950, the slugging first baseman hit .417 with 21 homers and 33 doubles in 300 plate appearances. It was an offensive onslaught that punched holes in outfield fences and opposing pitchers ERA's.
Twelve of Mickelsons home runs cleared the fences at newly minted Memorial Stadium, later to be known as Paterson Field, and earned the young man a dozen new pairs of pants thanks to a promotion by a local tailor. For each home run at the new park, a new pair of pants from George Williams mens clothiers!
The Rebels of 1950 were a Juggernaut under popular skipper Charlie Metro, winning 77 and losing just 54 games as a B League affiliate for the St. Louis Cardinals.
|1950 Montgomery Rebels, Mickelson center in back row|
Born in 1926, Ed Mickelson is the oldest living Montgomery Rebels player with MLB experience.
Henley managed the Rebels in 1961, his first assignment as a rookie skipper came at the helm of the Tigers Montgomery affiliate, having played for the Bham Barons the previous three seasons.
With Montgomery, Henley appeared in seven games as an outfielder/pinch hitter, getting a pair of hits in seven trips to the plate. More importantly, he was only able to muster a 56-62 record in the class D Alabama-Florida League. Montgomery finished fourth and fifth in the split season under Henley, who would would head to Lakeland after just one season with the Rebels.
Henley, who homered in his first major league game with Pittsburgh, would manage throughout the minors for the Tigers and Dodgers systems over twelve seasons.
His major league playing time was cut short after a dramatic on-field injury was incurred when Henley ran into an outfield wall chasing a fly ball. Henley sustained a fractured eye socket and separated wrist. Gail Henley is notably proud of his first MLB hit, which came off of Warren Spahn.
Born in 1928, Gail Henley is the oldest surviving Rebels manager.
This edition has just two baseball entries, but they are hugely important in the development of the game in our area. The first baseball champions are crowned and the most serious financial push towards hosting a professional baseball team comes in this weeks history.
NOVEMBER 1868 - ALABAMA CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
|As reported in the NY Clipper|
Montgomery is comprised of former Confederate military officers and well-to-do locals with athletic aspirations, led by slugging first baseman A.T. Pearsall.
The Mobile club consists of cast members of the Mobile Amateur Dramatic Society, thusly their team being called the Mobile Dramatics. The Dramatics are led by Confederate war hero John Payne (who keeps cropping up in my research as a much larger figure in the Alabama sporting and cultural scene than initially known).
NOVEMBER 12 1904
Sporting News reports Mr. Jos. E. E.Winters made a stock company of the Montgomery club and put some shares on the market which sold "like hotcakes".
Starting in 1903, the Montgomery franchise would be bought and sold several times, practically every year as the city tried to figure out how much it could/would spend on players and which league had an opening.
The purchase by Joseph Winters begins this parade of new owners and increased quality of players as well as improved fan experience with the building of new facilities. It also connects the baseball team to the city public transportation system, with Winters the head of the trolley car company, the two would be closely connected during the first quarter of the 20th century.
NOVEMBER 16 1875
Buffalo Bills Show makes its first visit to Montgomery, an early incarnation of the western show called Buffalo Bills Combination acting troup. It would become the largest touring attraction to appear in the city when it returned in 1879 as a Wild West spectacular, but this early trip was among Bill Cody's first touring ventures and saw fantastic success in Montgomery.
The famous cowboy scout would make six appearances in Montgomery through 1912.