Monday, March 24, 2014

busy week ahead!

Wow, so much coming up...

Spring brings out baseball in Montgomery, the warm weather drawing the game out of its long winter torpor.

Historically, this is the time of year that our area has had some of its most amazing times - certainly our brushes with the big leagues. And of course, perhaps the biggest baseball headline in Montgomery history takes place at the end of this week....
Ruth and the Yanks play Montgomery on March 29, 1926

here is just a sample of what we have for for this week:

MARCH 23 1934
Cincinnati Reds vs Minn Millers at Montgomery
1934 Cinci Reds

The Redlegs faced the Millers as both worked their way north for the season.

The Reds are a good enough team, though they wont finish well this year they have high hopes for players like Chick Hafey. Future Hall of Famer Ernie Lombardi handles the Reds catching duties.

The Millers are a strong triple-A team, players like Joe Hauser and Spence Harris aren't household names but almost all the Millers players will or already have spent time in the majors.

MARCH 23 1936
Cubs vs Giants in Selma

Cubs mgr Grimm
The Chicago Cubs are barnstorming their way to Chicago from Catalina Island and come thru Alabama?

Its not known who drew up the travel plans, but former Cubs manager Charlie "Jolly Cholly" Grimm wasn't too jolly about it, calling it "the longest road trip in baseball history".

In the days before air travel, the team spent more than a week riding the rails while playing exhibition games in various cities on this trip, Dothan and Selma among them.

MARCH 24 1936
Cubs vs Giants in Dothan

NY Giants Mel Ott was already a tough hitter to face, but a monumental train ride didn't do the Cubs pitchers any favors.

Its a homecoming of sorts, Giants manager Bill Terry began his baseball career in Dothan Alabama, where he was told to go home and find another profession as he was too small and would never cut it.
I dont have page 21, someone took it for the comics
MARCH 24 1906

Montgomery's new team ownership announces its lineup, as well as touts its new playing field of ten acres at Electric Park!

MARCH 24 1911
Our local team defeats Philly NL in exhibition game, walkoff style!

Yes! We walkoff with the victory over the Phillies! Always a good feeling. Too bad Clemens isnt listed on our roster for the regular season, likely a late spring cut.

"Happy" Henry Smith is tho, he would spend time with the Brooklyn Superbas in 1910 before becoming a Billiken in Montgomery and supplying the walkoff RBI double against the Phils.

MARCH 25 1908
Cubs play Mgm in exhibition game
Frank Chance caught a train and met his World Champion Chicago Cubs at Montgomery, where the reigning Champs take on the local Climbers in a lopsided contest.

MARCH 26th 1903 
White Sox vs Montgomery

White Sox manager Nixey Callahan announces that he expects his team to win every single exhibition game during the spring. “The boys are now in fair shape to show their true form. We want to return home with a full string of scalps.”
The White Sox promptly lose to Montgomery, 10-9 in 10 innings.

Montgomery’s manager and star first baseman, Lew Whistler, went 4-for-5 and belted two home runs to lead his team to victory. 
Thank you, Lew!

MARCH 27 1918
At Montgomery, an exhibition between Cleveland and Cincinnatti takes place as the Reds beat the Indians 3-1.

Who are they? Just the usual collection of hall of famers, allstars and infamous characters!

For Cleveland, Tris Speaker returns to Montgomery, where he was an opposing player ten years earlier. Smokey Joe Wood, taking a break from pitching to play outfield, is a deadball era pitching great.

Also with Cleveland, Germany Schaefer, on the cusp of renaming himself "Liberty" Schaefer for the duration of the war as Americans are wary of associating with things German.

Stan Coveleski, Hall of Fame spitball pitcher, he later would be the opposing pitcher in the game that saw Carl Mays throw a pitch that killed Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman in 1920.

On the other side of the diamond, we recently covered the 1918 Reds who were training/barnstorming at Montgomery - manager Christy Mathewson, enigmatic Hal Chase, moody Edd Roush and the crew.
1B Hal Chase

March 28, 1913
Buzzy Wares

The St. Louis Browns make an unusual “trade,” sending infielder Clyde “Buzzy” Wares to the Montgomery team in exchange for the rental of a stadium.

The Montgomery Black Sox will allow the Browns to use their stadium during spring training-rent free in return. Wares will be sent back to the Browns later in the season.

MARCH 28 1926
Yankees beat Dodgers at MGM, 2-0

Dazzy Vance
Dodgers pitcher Dazzy Vance goes six strong innings, striking out six and allowing just one hit, but the bullpen fails to nail it down and the Bronx nine end up scoring a pair of runs late to win it.

MARCH 28 1941
Yankees vs Rebels at MGM

The Yankees again dominate the local nine, scoring early and often to rack up 17 runs.

Red Ruffing
Star pitcher Red Ruffing and reliever Johnny Lindell must have liked Bill Dickey's pitch selection, the Rebels only tallied a single run.

Its okay though, the Rebels will have another chance at a big league team next week when the Cardinals come to town!


We are finally get some moves, though injuries could affect assignments.
Matt Moore took a liner off the face, requiring stitches he doesn't think he will miss any time, but we will see if Mgr Joe agrees.

Eric Bedard will opt out of his contract with the Rays, his opt out date being March 31. It likely puts him out of the running for an appearance at Riverwalk, as predicted by Uncle Mikey.

Jeremy Moore and Eddy Rodriguez were sent to minor league camp last week, and both could be ticketed for the Biscuits.

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