Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Legendary Rube Waddell and Connie Macks A's in Montgomery

On this date in 1906, Montgomery will welcome the first players as Connie Mack brings his Philadelphia Athletics to town as they begin spring training. The Mackmen are the reigning American League Champions, having lost the World Series to the New York Giants the previous fall.
Cornelius MacGillicudy, aka Connie Mack


Lefties Rube Waddell and Eddie Plank are the star pitchers for the A's, along with Chief Bender and Jack Coombs the Philadelphia team is stocked well with arms bound for the HOF. Rube Wadell is the best drawing pitcher of the American League from 1900-1910, his 349 strikeouts are still the single season record by a lefthander in the AL.
Athletics at World Series 1905

The batting side is populated by catcher Ossie Schrecongost, he is the Rube's roommate - Ossie recently held out during contract negotiations until his agreement included a clause stipulating that Rube would no longer eat crackers in bed. Seriously.

Harry Davis and Danny Murphy on the right side of the infield at first and second base, respectively. On the left its SS Monte Cross and 3b John Knight. The outfield is Topsy Hartsel, Socks Seybold and Bris Lord.

Rube Oldring
Rookie Eddie Collins is among the hopefuls in spring training, on his way to a Hall of Fame career. Another young ballplayer, Rube Oldring, is getting a chance at making the majors with the A's after playing for Montgomery the previous season.

Art Brouthers

The player in camp the folks in Montgomery are pulling for the hardest could be Art Brouthers.

Brouthers is a Montgomery native who has played his way up the chain the past few seasons in Bham, Shreveport, New Orleans and last year for his hometown Montgomery Senators.

Brouthers will make the team, and on April 14th he will play his first MLB game.

However his last MLB game will be in June. Oh well, you win some you lose some.


Portrait of George Waddell
Rube Waddell is the star of the A's for his childlike mentality and unusual antics, as well as his incredible pitching ability.

Rube Waddell's stay in Montgomery is in some ways microcosm of the legend of the Rube. Certainly some of the most endearing and amazing stories either happened or were repeated during his stay here.

Rube is known as Rube and more than any other player with the nickname Rube is Rube.
Known to chase fire engines and wrestle alligators, Waddell is a fearless giant who led the AL with his 1.45 ERA last year but missed pitching in the World Series due to a shoulder injury from horseplay over a straw hat. Some wondered if gamblers paid Rube to sit out the series.

In Montgomery, his acts fuel the legend that is the Rube.
wrestled alligators

Waddell is on his way to the practice field one morning, likely the concrete enclosure that would later become Cramton Bowl, when he encountered a group of people gathered around a horsecart stuck in the streetcar tracks. The cart was stuck fast, noone could move it and the streetcar system was becoming snarled due to the blockage.

Rube stepped forward from the crowd and pulled the wagon off the tracks himself to the cheers of the onlookers.

In a game during spring in Montgomery, Rube Waddell was pitching when a hot liner was hit back through the pitchers box. Wadell snared the ball barehanded, just before it would have hit the umpire in the head. Folks said Rube saved the officials life, the umpire standing behind the pitcher was common in games with only one ump.

wore red undershirt for luck
Another classic Rube Waddell moment occurred when a fire broke out on Decatur Street. Rube always unable to resist following a fire brigade when he heard sirens, dashed out into the street to follow the sound of the sirens. Once he located them, he donned a helmet and grabbed a hose to help douse the blaze. The locals were reportedly impressed, but Rube had already helped put out fires in Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, Washington and other major cities.

But Rube was in town to train, Connie Mack was going to make sure they didnt have another spring anywhere near Mardi Gras (dont ask!). Waddell had been on his best behavior over the previous winter, after the shoulder injury might have cost the team the World Series, all Rube had done was hunt and fish before showing up to camp about twenty five pounds too heavy. For manager Connie Mack, it was the best he could hope for and he set about getting the Rube in shape.
Won a 20 inning duel with Cy Young

One of the tricks used by Mack on the Rube was to make him Ball Captain. Any player who needed a ball had to see Rube. Rube liked the idea, as he had been known to offer any old baseball to a bar as "The Ball I beat Cy Young With" for an unlimited drink tab. However Rube didnt realize that it also meant keeping up with all the foul balls, the star pitcher chasing every stray foul and climbing walls to retrieve balls hit over the fences.

Rube started getting annoyed and giving the stinkeye to teammates who seemed to foul off a few more than usual. For Connie Mack, making Rube run around during practice was a good way to get the moody ace into shape.

wont pitch if he can watch a parade
Waddell was always prone to having fun and enjoyed Montgomery as it offered some new experiences. On the second day of practice, rain canceled the outdoor events and the team found themselves with nothing to do. Rube found an indoor roller skating rink near the team hotel and soon the Athletics were on wheels for the first time. There were some concerns about injury, the large players whizzed around madly and seemed to figure it out pretty quickly, though not before causing a little havoc!


Rube found trouble where trouble wasn't and sometimes trouble found him. In Montgomery Rube was walking on Bell Street when he was knocked on the head and had $40 cash taken from him.
Friends found him and he was taken and treated, but Connie Mack wasn't convinced. Connie Mack paid Rube in small amounts to lessen Rubes ability to drink and gamble in excess.

Mack may have felt Rube had spent the money and was after more to continue binging on the Montgomery nitelife.

gets mad if someone eats more oysters than him
While in Montgomery Rube perfected a new pitch - his "Slowball" was a knuckle-changeup that included a wild horse laugh. Intended to disrupt the hitters concentration, the crowd loved it.

Waddell loved fresh gulf seafood, and was known to eat up to six dozen raw oysters in a sitting.

Monday, February 24, 2014

febru-waiting for Biscuits to rise

Slow going for Biscuits news!
Pitchers and catchers have reported, the team has had their fan-fest, and now we have just to wait and see what happens in training camp.
No boozers, chasers, or has-beens!

Hak Ju Lee has reportedly looked good in camp as he works his way back from knee surgery.

Matt Moore threw his first bullpen and reportedly felt good. Moore has said he feels more prepared this season than in previous springs.

Tim Beckham, also working back from a knee injury, is on track in his recovery but wont take the field until June.

Desmond Jennings has put on 10-15 lbs of muscle over the offseason. He will be given a chance to lead off.

Alex Colome was shut down last year with a sore elbow, but has declared himself "ready to go".

Maxx Tissenbaum was included in the Logan Forsythe trade, and could be in line to become a Biscuit later this summer. He has two XX's in his name, a first in Skitz names!

Other than that, its been all research.
Anybody got a photo of Palmer G. Snedecor? Hit me up if you do!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Skitz Lid

Not much on field news, but I got my new Biscuits hat.

Called a "Spring Melt" cap, it was available from New Era's European website or from a couple sellers on eBay. I saw it and asked the Biscuit Basket if there were plans to carry it, however the head of the team shop had never heard of it and googled it while we were on the phone! They hadn't seen it before and said it wasn't available for them to order from New Era here in the states.

No plans to add it at the Biscuit Basket and only available online from Europe? It sounded shady to me but I logged in and risked it, sending about 30 British pounds for the cap. It arrived in ten days and looks pretty happenin.

So if you cant do without one and want to trust the international shipping, it sounds like the only way to get it!

The team has twice tweeted the youtube link to new manager Brady Williams phone comments.
So uh, nothing drastic in terms of facts going public. Even the front office has to recycle a little!

Feb 11 1905
The Montgomery Baseball Club reorganizes, with E.E.Winters as president and treasurer.

Winters listed as gen mgr
Winters is the general manager of the cities main streetcar operator, the Montgomery Traction Co. For the streetcar
company, having a baseball team playing in nearby parks generated a steady summer income carrying fans to and from afternoon games.

Pickett Springs was a popular destination for tourists and travelers as well as locals, drawn to the theater and casino.

casino and theater report 1904-5

Molesworth won a batting title w/Mgm
Also run by Winters, the entertainment district of the early 1900s was swept up in baseball fever. Pickett Springs Athletic Park quickly became home to the Montgomery Senators, led by popular outfielder Carlton Molesworth.

This change in leadership comes just a year after Traction Co head WH Raglan purchased the team and made considerable improvements to Athletic Park.

However Raglan stepped down from the streetcar company and the baseball team, perhaps forcing the sale of the team - the Little Rock entrepreneur changed jobs more often than suits in the early 1900s!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Welcome Back SnapBack

While not much has happened in the past few days in terms of action, there is plenty of info to share, so I will jump right into it.

Expect an announcement very soon on the Alfa giveaway. Im told the team is waiting to see the mockup before issuing a release on what the item is.

Many fans are hoping for the Victor Mateo bobblyhead to commemorate the No-Hitter, and I think its a fair chance they will get what they want. Last year the team used an internet vote to choose their subject, this year they didn't let the fans choose. Hopefully they know its Mateo the people are looking forward to.

If not, the Biscuits will hear about it, to be sure!
Some bobbles are better, some are butter

Also we can look forward to the new road alternate tops. I'm told they are gray and will replace the "Silver Surfers" worn since 2007. After we made the playoffs and the league realized our road uniforms were the same color as several other teams home uni's the league dictated that we get an alternate.

Sort of like when the Cubs made the playoffs and the NL forced them to get lights when it was realized that a Cubs World Series would have to be played in day games

Lobstein in alternate road uni
As a result of the new road alternates, the silver tops will be the item of the Jersey Auction this year. A double edged sword, as they haven't been sold since they were gotten meaning lots of great names wore them for game use. On the other side, they are widely considered one of the ugliest shirts in MiLB.

Players like them, as the mesh tops are often cooler in summer temps. I love the grays, and look forward to having a chance to bid on them.

The field is being prepared for the Rays visit and the recent weather issues dont seem to have killed the grass on the playing field.

I was there this week and took a few pics, it reminded me there are just two seasons - winter and baseball. We arent quite to the good one yet.

the Lone Ranger of groundskeepers

The Biloxi city council put off voting on the bond that would pay for their stadium. They were told that it had to be put into action by the end of January or there was a risk of not getting the park done in time.

There is mention of a $10K per game fine if the team doesn't have the proper facilities for game day, so it will be interesting to see how fast the city approves the funding.

If Biloxi drags its feet, would Huntsville host the first few weeks of games? Would anyone attend if they did?

Go out to Lou Thornton Jr.
I mistook him for Jerome Walton this past weekend, and didn't realize who he was till I got home and looked at the baseball he signed for me at the coaches dinner.

"Lou?" I said, "who the hell is Lou, I thought that was Jerome Walton!"

No wonder he looked at me strange when I tried to talk to him about the Cubs curse.

Haha, My bad, Lou!

several ex-skitz made minor leadlines across the globe

Jeremy "Hellboy" Hellickson wont be giving anyone hell till mid may, he had to have his elbow scoped and cleaned out surgically. Might explain his horrendous second half ERA, though he denies being injured until his bullpen session in January. However at that point he described the pain as worse than ever and that his arm "locked up" at that point.

A pile of current and former Skitz were invited to Major League spring training, including but not limited to: Mayo Acosta, Curt Casali, Mikie Mahtook, Cole Figueroa, Lara, Kelly, Liberatore, Mateo,

Juan Sandoval was re-signed. Sadly, more mention was made of his having just one eye than of his mid-90s heat.

The Tampa Rays have signed Jeremy Moore. 

Faithful blog readers will remember Moore from last summer when he challenged me to a fistfight after the game. See, when the guys I was sitting with noticed he was wearing a hat purchased at the team store instead of the fitted cap every other player on the Lookouts had, dude lost it and accosted us repeatedly. He demanded we meet him by the bus afterwards.

I was there.
Moore avoided me, quickly getting on the bus without looking to see if anyone took him up on the offer.

I really look forward to seeing him here and seeing if he decides to wear a real hat.
I will also be sure to inform him the scouting report says he is "nothing more than organizational depth".


Leslie Anderson and Chris Seddon arrived in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants spring camp.

Seddon led the Korean league in strikeouts last year and looks to bolster the already potent Giants starting staff of Utsumi, Imamura, Sugiuchi and Miyaguni.

Anderson took 43 swings in BP on Feb 3, hitting two over the fence and also dropping down about five bunts. Yes, bunts from Leslie Anderson, I thought the same thing. On Feb 2 he hit five over the fence out of his 55 swings.

Abe at the plate
Leslie Andersons nickname will be Toru, given to him by catcher Shinnosuke Abe.

On Feb 1 Seddon threw a bullpen session with Abe catching.

An interview with Biscuits asst GM Scott Tribble, submit your questions now!