Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Biscuits beaten 13-10

Down by 11, the Skitz chipped away at the Mobile lead but fell short by just three runs. The 13-10 final was brutal for the home pitching ERA, but errors made five runs unearned for the Baybears. With over 30 hits combined, it was oldies night at the ball park, the hits just kept on coming!
The BayBears had as many hits last night as these guys

Only four homers, two by each team - both sides batted around, Mobile in the second and Montgomery in the eighth inning.

Every Baybear had a hit.
Mobiles Mike Freeman was 5-for-5, leadoff hitter Inciarte had four hits in six trips to the plate and missed the cycle by a homer.

Southern League leader in Batting Average Nick Evans only managed two knocks.

Jon Griffin fell to third place in average, his two-for-five dropping his batting average to .390. One of Griffins hits was a mammoth homer in the 7th inning, his first of the season.

For the home team G-Man had three hits, Mahtook and Estrada each with two - Mahtook fell short of the cycle, needing a triple. He did blast a homer of his own, of the three run variety.

A 10:35 start means a quick turnaround for the two teams, and a packed house for the day game. Matt Buschmann will be called on to slow the BayBears hit parade, Holmberg will take the hill for visiting Mobile.




Looking again at the 1909 Climbers roster, one of my fave topics, George Whiteman is a name that doesn't stand out to the casual observer, but is one of the most interesting characters on the team, and perhaps in all of baseball. 
Today is the first installment, covering the early years and first appearance in the majors.

George was known as "Lucky", a name perhaps brought with him after his first career - daredevil. The Climbers outfielder would go on to star in the RedSox last World Series before the Babe is traded and is one of, if not the most prolific minor leaguer in history. SABR describes him as a "cross between Roy Hobbs and Crash Davis" and he is forever connected with Hall of Famers Babe Ruth and Tris Speaker.
He is connected with two curses and a string of pennants and championships.

Among the nicknames he garnered during his career are "Chief", "Whitey" and "Bandit Pete" but Lucky seems most appropriate for this man and the events of his life, which included winning a batting championship, a world series title and repeatedly taking teams to the top of the standings.

George was born in Peoria Ill in December of 1882 to a German immigrant mother and presumably, a father.

Little is known about his early life, but it is thought he was brought up in that small town setting, likely until he was able to make his own way.

That way was as a diving daredevil.

Beginning in his teens, he and his partner would appear at carnivals and fairgrounds, diving from a tower into a barrel of water. It was a popular stunt act of the era, barrel jumpers and bridge jumpers were often advertised by promoters, drawing the curious to see the death defying performers tempt fate.

When George's partner was killed in a dive, the act fell apart and Whiteman looked for a new career. 


George Whiteman with Boston
George "Lucky" Whiteman came to baseball late, at age 22. The outfielder-third baseman quickly begain putting in over a hundred games annually, starting in '05 with Waco, then Cleburn and two seasons in Houston.

In 1906 with Cleburn, Lucky won a pennant and a batting title in just his second season. His .281 average was second on the Railroaders, but the team leader didnt get enough at bats to qualify for the league title so Whiteman won it even though he trailed by over a hundred points!

It was in the following year that he joined the Houston Buffaloes, where he was not so lucky to find that he had to split time in the outfield with a teenage Texan named Tris Speaker.

Whiteman clubbed five homers and hit pitchers for a pedestrian .242 pace with Houston, yet the RedSox were desperate for warm bodies and scouted Lucky to join them in Boston. Luckily for Boston, Buffaloes owner Doak Roberts wanted out of the baseball business and demanded the RedSox take young Speaker along with Whiteman the top prospect, or no deal.



1907 was the first of Lucky's trips to the big leagues. Whiteman got into four September games at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds.

spacious outfields were often ringed by fans, in play!

Beginning September 13th, George Whiteman appeared twice as a pinch hitter and twice in the RedSox outfield where he handled his two chances cleanly and also picked up his first two career hits and first career RBI.

Future HOF Tris Speaker, the throw in

Tris Speaker also made his first foray into the lineup the day before Lucky, on September 12th, at just nineteen years of age. He would stay in the game for twenty-one more seasons, not a bad throw in to the trade. Speaker would be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937.

Cy Young 1908
On the other end of the spectrum was the veteran of the Boston pitching staff. 40 year old Cy Young would win 21 games for the lowly Sox to lead the team in victories. Young wasn't anywhere near done yet though, winning another 51 games over the next four seasons on his way to that staggering 511 career wins.

Young had spent a week managing the Boston team, and three other managers would fill out the lineup card for the Red Sox - just before the season began Chick Stahl, manager of the team, committed suicide under very mysterious circumstances.

Chick Stahls death may have resulted from Stahl being told to cut Collins from the team. The subject of Stahl's last words "I couldn't help it...it drove me to it..." remain a mystery.

The season went downhill quickly after that.

Other than Young, the Boston Americans pitchers lost more games than they won. The team batting average was a paltry .231, six of the regulars hit less than .245. Only the 100+ loss Washington Senators were worse than Boston in the standings that September.

The Sox had dealt an aging Jimmy Collins, a future hall of famer himself, to Philadelphia early in the summer, creating an opening on the roster for a fourth outfielder. Collins was the first Boston manager, but had been suspended multiple times and given the manager chair over to Stahl after 1906.

Scout George Huff signed both Texas league prospects to fill the Boston outfield needs. Boston was the perfect situation for a Texas League player to break into the big leagues.

to be continued!

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