Friday, May 3, 2013

May Third, midSeries vs Wahoos

The Biscuits took games one and two from the PCola Wahoos, needing only one more victory to seal the series win.
True to form the Wahoo pitching staff has been stingy, however the Skitz made hay while the sun shines and pushed runners across the plate when the chances offered.

Biscuits SP Thompson

Jake Thompson was excellent, shuffling off the April numbers and working deeper into the game.
SP Matt Buschmann

Matt Buschmann kept the good pitching levels up on Thursday, allowing just one run and striking out eight.

home of Paciorek
Joey Paciorek was added to the roster of the Hunstville Stars. Hes from the great baseball family that brought us Jim, his dad, and uncles Tom and John. All the elder Pacioreks have big league time, his dad Jim was a Brewer for 48 games in 1987.



George Whiteman was the hero of the World Series. Writer Hugh Fullerton called him "greater than Cobb". Children followed him, newspapers wanted interviews.

There was no MVP voting for the World Series in 1918, but consider that Babe Ruth had shared a bat during the Series with Lucky, and afterwards gave it to Whiteman, along with Babes first Boston uniform, to thank him for veteran leadership in teaching the Babe how to handle outfield duties in front of the Green Monster.

Writer F.C.Lane caught up with Lucky right after the last game of the series, fans passing were still clapping him on the back and congratulating him on his World Series efforts.

Whiteman himself says this of his playing:
"They all want to talk to me now.
George Whiteman with the 1918 RedSox
It came late, but I have got my chance at last. I was sure I could make good and I guess I have. Not that the experience was so trying to me at that.

I wasn't nervous, I knew what I could do. And I have been on pennant winning teams several times in the minors. But some how or other I never seemed to land in the majors. I was strongly considered many years ago.

In fact I was traded to Boston, this same club, along with Tris Speaker. But I never got a show. Speaker didnt connect at first either, you may remember. But he got his chance and he sure made good. But I never seemed to get a chance, I was allowed to drift back to the minors and though I was signed several season later on, and played some fourteen games with a fine batting average, I drifted back just the same. It seemed to be my luck.

news of Yankee signing
"I cannot explain it exactly. I think I have been good enough to play in the majors for some years. But I never seemed to get the publicity that some other fellows get. I believe it was that as much as anything. If people dont know about you it's a cinch they won't care a great deal to get you on their club. Some fellows are lucky in this thing. The writers seem to come around them and to write them up. But they seldom came to me.

1915 Montreal signing news
So I went plodding along year after year, hoping that something would break. I had about given up hope when this chance came and I said to myself 'It is the last chance you will ever get and it is up to you to make good.' I worked hard all the time. I did my best. I am not sure I could do as well again, but it will always be satisfaction to me to know that I was able to do good work, work that I can be pleased with even if the opportunity did come to me when I had about given up hope.

If it hadn't been for this season no one would ever have heard of George Whiteman, I suppose. And there you are. I don't know how many other players there may have been in the minors that no one has ever heard of either, who might have delivered the goods if they had a chance.

It's a hard game, professional baseball, and no one can tell me that you don't have to have some luck as well as ability to rise very far in it.

But, while I think that I should have had a chance a long time ago, I am satisfied. I have had my day, as brief as it is, I am certainly better off than hundreds of other fellows who never had their day at all." 

Lucky Whiteman
Georges .250 batting average during the series doesnt seem much, but the Red Sox team batting average was just .186 and Whiteman had five hits, two walks, was hit by pitch once, reached once on an error, stole a bag, scored twice, drove in three runs, hit the line drive that Flack dropped to allow two more runs to score.

In the field he had one error against him, but the runner didnt score - he made five putouts in the first game of the series, made a circus catch in the final game of the series to save a one run lead. He had an outfield assist in a double play, he also threw a Cubs runner out at the plate.

Boston owner Harry Frazee announced after the World Series that the Red Sox would be keeping George Whiteman in 1919.

Then the war ended. In February Babe Ruth signed to return to Boston, and Lucky Whiteman was placed on waivers, with the purpose of giving him an unconditional release.

Babe would play 1919 with the Red Sox before being famously traded to the Yankees, and consummating the Curse of the Bambino that had its origins in the World Series of 1918 - the last championship the Red Sox would win in the 20th century.

After hearing of his availability, Toronto secured the veteran to play left field once again. Lucky hit .302 with 39 doubles in 1919 and held out for more money the next spring. He got it, and rewarded the team with a .271 average as the Maple Leafs won 108 games in the 1920 season.

In July of 1920 it was known that Lucky would not return to Toronto the following season.

In 1920 Lucky took on a new task, managing the Houston Buffaloes as well as playing left field back in the Texas league.

1921 Houston Buffs
Hitting .280 with Houston that year and entering into a working agreement with Branch Rickey to be an affiliate of the StLouis Browns, becoming the first affiliated minor league team.  In this way, Lucky and Rickey began the farm system that is used in baseball to this day, forever changing the way teams are organized.

38 year old Lucky Whiteman would stay in Texas as a player and manager for another ten seasons.

Lucky would play 25 games in the outlaw PCL league with the Oakland Oaks in 1923, then back to the Texas League to split time between Wichita Falls and Galveston.
1923 Oakland Oaks

Always putting in over a hundred games a year, always hitting the ball well - Lucky posts batting averages over .270 every season after his World Series appearance until his final year.

At age 46, more than ten years after winning a World Series with Babe Ruth and the Red Sox,  Lucky Whiteman hits .267 and knocks ten home runs for Winston-Salem in the Piedmont League before hanging up the spikes for good.

When he does finally walk away, he does so as the career leader in minor league hits, third all time in doubles and third all time in triples.

He is also at the top of the list of games played in the minor leagues - a record that still stands seventy-four years later.

In 3,282 minor league games, George Whiteman collected 3,388 hits, had 671 doubles, 194 triples, stole 556 bases and batted .283 over 24 seasons.

Due to his jumping to the federal league, Whiteman was never given the championship medallion. He wrote many letters to baseball officials to try to persuade them to allow it, but to no avail. Finally in 1993 Whitemans family was given the crest at Fenway Park

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