Friday, May 27, 2016

Biscuits Beaten, The Goat


The Biscuits fell to the Generals on Thursday. Lets ask Manager Brady Williams what he thought...



Yeah, thats about how everyone felt about it!

SP Hu was ejected too
It was tough to watch as the umpire crew blew call after call, pretty much screwing up anything that could be screwed up. Everyone has bad days, but it made it a long and frustrating game.

Da Beers Man!
At least it was cheap beer night!

Its good to know that the season isn't lost, the Generals have to face us a few more times over the next couple days and Montgomery doesn't quit when they are down a few runs.

The Skitz did try to make a game of it late, but came up short in the end. Its a huge series, the biggest one of the first half, the team needs to put it in the past and bounce back.


RP Jeff Ames
I asked Jeff Ames about his new pitch, a cut fastball, "A work in progress" he called it but said he was throwing it regularly in his appearances and felt it was coming along. Ames agreed a person doesn't just roll out of bed one day and start throwing a cutter, calling it "a feel pitch".




"First pitch fastball" and a big smile was the reply I got when I asked Johnny Field what the pitch he had hit to tie Wednesdays game was, it sparked a tenth inning walk off rally. Johnny tripled in the late innings on Thursday, sparking late inning runs for the second day in a row.


SO NICE WE WANT IT TWICE
Look for Brad Boxberger to make his second rehab appearance in Fridays game, likely the first guy to come out of the bullpen. Unless a reliever is needed in the middle of an inning, rehab guy needs to start the inning!
Biscuits rehabbing MLB reliever Brad Boxberger

HISTORY TIME!
Friday is Montgomery History Night, a promotion I have been looking forward to since the last one got rained out in 2013! Lots of cool presentations on the board with facts and history, probably former Rebels to toss out the first pitch and plenty good stuff on tap.

To go with the History Theme, today I have the info on Montgomery's GOAT. The
Greatest Of All Time pitcher for us is actually a Goat himself. A knuckleball hurler so popular the team held "Goat Walker Day" to honor him.

THOMAS ROYAL WALKER - THE GOAT
Roy Goat Walker, likely on Goat Walker Night, he played all nine positions that game!
I stumbled across him as I went over old newspaper clippings. One sentence in a Milwaukee paper from 1942 led me to one of the most significant players in our cities baseball-rich history. 

He is called Roy or more often by his nickname, Goat.


A mention as part of an article on older players who might inhabit MLB rosters if WW2 takes its toll on the available players includes....



YOUNG WALKER
Walker w/MGM
Thomas Royal Walker first pitched for Montgomery in 1927, winning 17 games. He is a mainstay in the pitching rotation through 1929, picking up double digit victories each season to put his total at 63 wins in three seasons for the Lions.

An average season for Walker is about 16 wins, over 200 Innings Pitched and an ERA usually under 3.25. His knuckleball tossing helps Montgomery win a title in 1928.

Walker also gets into games in the outfield. For three straight seasons Walker picks up over a hundred at bats a year, batting as high as .299. In his first season with Montgomery, 1927, he hits a pair of homers to win a game.


He gets sold, as an outfielder, to Nashville at the end of the 1930 season. Its a deserved promotion for his fine work in B league Montgomery. Nashville is about as close to the major leagues as Roy will get.
Walker with Montgomery 1928

I'm pretty sure that 63 victories would put Goat Walker at or near the top of the Montgomery Wins list. But Goat isn't done. He kicks around the Piedmont and Sally leagues through the 1930s. Roy is just as good for them, twice winning twenty games for Jacksonville with his knuckleball.

In one game story from Goat's time at Jacksonville, he is mentioned as having helped hold the crowd back while police escort umpires from the field after a questionable call. While in the sixth inning of the second game of a doubleheader, with the tying runner at second base, umpires called the game at midnight in favor of the visiting team. Fans knew the league rule was that no inning could be started after midnight, and were up in arms that the game was handed over. Goat helped distract the mob while police helped the umps to the train station for a get-away!


WONT STOP
The Goat just keeps pitching and he keeps winning games. After four seasons in Jacksonville where he won 74 games, he lands back in Montgomery in 1940.

1940 Goat note
 At the age of 36 he is living up to the nickname Goat, but he is still wins games on both sides of the ball. In 1940, Tom is a 20 game winner and leads the circuit in victories.

1941 Goat note
1941 is a down year, he gets just 11 wins for the Rebels. Its the only year he has a losing record in Montgomery. Goat is the hero in at least one contest, driving in the winning run with an 11th inning bunt.


1942 is one of the great seasons by a pitcher in Montgomery history, as Goat Walker wins 20 games, loses just 7 and posts an ERA of 2.76.


GOAT TOPS THE LIST
1940s Cramton Bowl
Walker totals 116 Wins for Montgomery, which is going to be tough to beat! Not to mention he makes the twenty game winners list twice.

Goat Walker Night - a career highlight for Walker as he managed Montgomery - probably in 1940 - the team held a night in his honor. During the game, Walker played all nine positions in front of one of Cramton Bowls biggest crowds.



JUST WONT STOP
Goat Walker
Walker keeps on chugging along, at age 39 he moves on for one season with Memphis where he wins ten more games. After a year in indie ball, Goat is back with Memphis in 1945. In 1946 Roy Walker pitches for the Selma Cloverleafs in a handful of games.

After two years out of the game, Walker returns to pitch again for Selma in 1949 at the ripe age of 45. He wins four and loses a few more in 23 appearances. He is now almost 20 years older than the average age of the Southeastern league players!


GOAT FINALLY HEADS HOME

Roy Walker hangs up the spikes for good after 1949, closing a career with an eye-popping 226 Wins -169 Loss total.

His lifetime 3.16 ERA is stellar over nineteen seasons. He hits .256 at the plate in his career, picking up over 100 at bats in most years by being a serviceable outfielder as well as a great starter.



His career could be even more impressive than is known, there are gaps in the B-Ref data. Unaccounted for are three prime seasons, age 29-31, and a couple years later around age 40. Those uncredited seasons could be time spent in indie ball or simply with a different spelling or assumed name.


Born in 1903 on November 5th, in Pike County, the righthander is listed as 5'11 and 165lbs. There were ten Walker kids, but only Roy and two others survived past the age of three.

 Walker lived in Selma after his time pitching, he also spent some time in Pensacola and around the South.

Thomas Royal Walker - the All Time Montgomery Leader in Wins.

I learned he passed away on 11 September, 2003, at 99 years of age Goat Walker's endurance went beyond the diamond.


Roy Walkers 12 straight victories is a Montgomery record.










1 comment:

Alan Horn said...

Great stuff on Goat. He is my grandmother's brother. Goat didn't live to be anywhere near 99. He died in his 70's. He was living in Pensacola, Florida at his death. His college name was Troy State Normal School. It was later Troy State Teachers College, then Troy State College, then Troy State University and now is know as Troy University.
Goat played for Troy. His nephew, John Columbus Horn played for Troy around 1950 and John's nephew, Tommy Horn (me)played for Troy in 1970 and 71. Tommy Horn's nephew Michael Horn played junior college baseball for
Central Alabama in Alex City around 1990. Michael was the SS for the AUM Dixie baseball Montgomery team that won 3 world series and was runner up twice in the 1980s. He now coaches at Faulkner(JV) in Montgomery. He played 3B for Jeff Davis High School in Montgomery. I have a ton of pictures etc. on Goat Walker. I worked with Clarence Watkins (Goat portion) of his recent book (Baseball In Montgomery).
My contacts are: Tommy Horn 334-372-3044. Email: thorn@troy.edu
or alanthorn15@gmail.com My brother, Charles Horn(Michael's father)
purchases season tickets to the Bisquits games. He sits along the first base line in the single row of seating at the concession stand level.

Tommy Horn