About Jackie, The Baseball Bloggess

Loves the 4-6-3 and the serial comma. All baseball is good baseball, but when the Orioles or UVa 'Hoo's take the field, it's great baseball. Baseball historian ... because baseball touches everything. www.thebaseballbloggess.com And, for the Yoga ... www.peacefulhands.com

Let’s Make 42 A Verb

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Reproduction number #LC-L9-54-3566-O

Maybe it’s just me.

But, every time I see the number 42, I think of Jackie Robinson.

It doesn’t have to be baseball-related.

And, it’s not just on April 15 when baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day.

No. Not just then.

Always.

If I glance at a clock and it’s 42 minutes after the hour.

I think of Jackie Robinson.

If I buy something and the total is $42.

I think of Jackie Robinson.

If it’s 42 degrees outside.

Jackie Robinson.

It always weirds me out to see a college baseball player wearing #42. Should you be doing that? I hope he recognizes the importance of that number on his back.

It’s more than a number now, isn’t it? Continue reading

I’ve Been Thinking …

Dearest Reader,

Every time I sit down to write you, more often than you would think, the words that were perched on the edge of the fattiest part of my brain – (consult your high school biology to “brain-GPS” your way to the cerebrum) – just disappear.

What was it that I wanted to say before the latest bad news got in the way?

Determined to write something … dammit, anything … before this month expires, I made a list.

It’s a list I scribbled on the back of my scorecard last week as the en fuego 🔥🔥 Virginia Cavaliers won yet another game in grand-slamming fashion.

Virginia baseball, currently 21-1 as I write, is off to its best start in its 134-year history.

Here’s a poem I wrote about it for you.

I don’t want to gloat.

So I won’t.

I cobbled the list together on March 19, 2022, as the University of Virginia defeated Boston College 18-1.

First, a test. Can you find the two grand slams?

 

Five home runs. Two grand slams. Fun.

But, back to the list, written on the back of a scorecard between innings. Continue reading

And, Now There’s Baseball

“Little darling, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter.”

© The Baseball Bloggess

Oh, baseball, how I’ve missed you.

Maybe you’re waiting around for Major League Baseball and the Players’ Union to work through their cumbersome labor disagreements. (Spoiler Alert: one side is being an unreasonable, mean-spirited, nogoodnik cheapskate.)

Well, I’m pleased to remind you that today, for college players, it’s baseball o’clock.

I heard that.

I heard you unkindly harrumph-mutter “aluminum bats” under your breath just now.

Stop grumbling and have an open mind.

Sure, maybe the clink of an aluminum bat doesn’t have the same satisfying crackety’crack-crack of a wooden bat.  An aluminum bat also doesn’t explode into devil shards that can put out your eye. Continue reading

It Sure Is Quiet Around Here

January 3, 2022

You can get a lot of thinking done when it’s quiet.

Our power was out for nearly five days last week, the result of a heavy, wet snow that blanketed a big chunk of Virginia and knocked out nearly everyone’s power.

Our not-quite-but-nearly-five-day power outage is not the reason I have been quiet on here for two months now. I have no good reason for that to be honest. Things.

Yeh, it’s pretty … until the power goes out.

But, those powerless days last week were, in their way, quiet.

Although, to be honest, they weren’t completely powerless and they weren’t exactly quiet.

We are extraordinarily lucky to have a generator that feeds the house in times of power outages. But, we felt it necessary to conserve its slowly dwindling tank of fuel, as we worried that it wouldn’t last as long as the outage would, which meant turning the thermostat extremely low – (extremely low by my standards, as I am hothouse orchid) – using lights sparingly, hot water even less, and the oven not at all. Continue reading

There’s No Shame In Harry Chapman’s Truth

Photo: The Baseball Bloggess

“A subject for Thanksgiving should be the fact that the base-ball season is over, and the space in the newspapers devoted to that sport can now be used for original poetry.” ~ The Inter Ocean (Chicago), 1881

Here’s one from 1910:

The Base Ball Season Is Over

The baseball season is over

The players have all gone home

They have done their best

To down the rest

And place our team at the dome.

 

The baseball season is over

Our summer pleasures are done

They’re all “put out”

Without a doubt

And they’ve made their last, lone run.

 

The baseball season is over

There is grief in the small boy’s heart

As he thinks of the days

When he saw the good plays

That our team made like a dart.

It goes on for a few more verses and you can read the entire poem here if you like. It ends like this:

The baseball season is over

Next year will soon roll around

And we’ll get a good start

And dart like a lark

To the head of the column, so long.

 

This poem appeared in a Concordia, Kansas paper in 1910 and maybe “around” really did rhyme with “long” back then. It seems like the author – who is never named – ran out of poetry steam by that last line.

The poem was a tribute to the Travelers, a minor league team that made its debut in Concordia that year … and folded for good the next.

I liked the poem and thought that was the story I wanted to tell you. But, there is one bit of Concordia Travelers business that needs clearing up – and, I promise you, I’m not happy to do this.

Two players on that 1910 team went on to have short stints in the majors.

Concordia Travelers, 1910. Chick Smith, back row, far left. Harry Chapman, front row, second from left. 

Chick Smith, a reliever (something of a rarity at the time), spent five games with the Cincinnati Reds in 1913, pitching 17.2 not-bad innings.

Catcher Harry Chapman played 147 big league games here and there with the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Terriers (Federal League), and St. Louis Browns between 1912 and 1916.

And, here is where our story turns to Chapman.

Photo: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

Continue reading

Consistency

I haven’t been around a lot on here lately.

I’ve been busy.

Stuff going on.

You know.

You didn’t notice? Hey, don’t feel bad. The cats are generally the only ones who notice my absence … and only when it impacts mealtime. Once they find me, they just sit and stare at me until I feed them.

It’s nice. Makes me feel needed.

The Baltimore Orioles lost 110 games this season. As you can imagine, watching all that losing takes time.

Fun Fact: Do you know how long it takes to become numb to losing? 99 games.

After the 99th loss, you just want to see how many more games they can lose before Major League Baseball steps in and says, “Hey, we love your enthusiasm and all, but maybe Triple A is a better place for you.”

Being the worst isn’t easy. Some seasons you have competition. The Arizona Diamondbacks lost 110 games this season, too.

So, with identical records, who was worse? The Orioles. And, I’ll tell you why. Continue reading

12 Things You Should Know About Fred “Crazy” Schmit

The Buffalo Enquirer, 8/28/1899

Fred “Crazy” Schmit wasn’t crazy.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get on with more important things.

I didn’t just stumble upon Schmit, the long-ago pitcher. I went looking for him. I wanted to find the first pitcher to carry a “cheat sheet” on the mound – someone to show that today’s trend of pitchers tucking info cards into their caps is really nothing new.

Dear readers, meet Crazy Schmit.

Schmit has just a few major league seasons to his name, but there is much to unpack — from his pitcher’s notebook that would make Earl Weaver proud, to his eerily prescient take on baseball matters that remain controversial today to, well, okay, there’s some crazy, too.

I swear, sometimes I think I don’t go looking for these players as much as they come looking for me.

Here are 12 things you should know about Fred “Crazy” Schmit.

1. Frederick Schmit was born in Chicago in 1866.

His parents were immigrants – both arrived in America in 1857. If you dig around in Schmit’s past you’ll quickly discover that newspapers routinely spelled his name Schmidt. Census takers often screwed it up, too. Schmit himself seemed content to spell it whichever way – including misspelling his own name in a self-published book. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Continue reading

9 Years … 9 Things.

It was two weeks ago that WordPress reminded me that The Baseball Bloggess is 9 years old. Happy belated birth’a’versary, me!

I would have written about this two weeks ago, but I was busy watching the Baltimore Orioles sweep the Washington Nationals that weekend. That sweeping by the lowly – but occasionally feisty – Orioles was the tipping point that led the Nationals to, quite literally, trade away 30 percent of their lineup, including sending two beloved players, Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, to the Dodgers.

Dear Washington Nationals Fans,

Sorry about that.

Your Friend, The Baseball Bloggess

Sure, I’m a little late, but I’m ready to celebrate 9 years of honing the qwerty skills I learned in Mr. Brown’s high school typing class. Whether you’ve been reading from the beginning (that’s just you, Editor/Husband) or happened upon this for the first time today, The Baseball Bloggess is glad you’re here and considers you a close personal friend.

From 9 innings to 9 players on a lineup card, baseball is a 9’centric game.

So, here are 9, 9’ish things as I belatedly celebrate the 9-year birth’a’versary of The Baseball Bloggess.

1) The 9th Most Popular Post On This Website: Edd Roush Takes A Nap In The Outfield

I gotta hand it to Cincinnati Reds fans – they love baseball history.

Well, they love this story anyway, of how, in 1920, future Hall of Fame outfielder Edd Roush found a way to take a nap … in center field … during a game. But then, who doesn’t love a good napping story?

Public Domain, via The Library of Congress

Does he look tired to you? Continue reading

The Wheelbarrow

 

 

The True Part: This wheelbarrow sits in the middle of a nearby farmyard. I pass it every time I drive or walk down our road. It’s been there for years, through at least the last two families who have lived there. I don’t know how it got there or why it stays there. But, it got me thinking  …

The Wheelbarrow

He could tell you the exact moment when he knew his playing days were through.

It happened toward the end of a meaningless game on a humid Wednesday at the end of September. He was at bat, a 3-0 count, when Swelter Feeney’s fastball caromed off his wrist. Feeney hit batters all the time, so it didn’t surprise him. If he had jerked away a second sooner, maybe it wouldn’t have hit him square on the bones. But, he hadn’t, and it did. He knew right away it was bad. He knew right away things had changed.

He jogged to first and fought back a grimace. Bones were broken – at least one, probably more – in his wrist. He was sure of that. Teams didn’t have trainers back then and he didn’t need a doctor to tell him his hand would never be the same.

He bluffed his way through the rest of the game – a game they lost – hiding the fast-swelling hand from prying eyes. Didn’t say a word. He didn’t want to lose his job, the only job he ever wanted.

That night he ate nearly an entire bottle of aspirin and tied an old rag around the wrist to quiet the throbbing. He found a pair of old tin snips and, with his good hand, cut a circle out of a pie pan and pushed a thin piece of tin into his glove, loosening the leather laces and splitting part of the glove at the bottom so he could press his swollen hand behind the tin, which, he hoped, would soften the blow of ball into glove. It helped. But, only a little. Continue reading

Baseball & The Moon

“The love of base ball is wide spread. A little six year old was sitting upon the steps, with a base ball in his hand, gazing intently at the moon. ‘Pa, is there only one man in the moon?’ asked he.

“’That’s the tradition my son; the man in the moon is the only inhabitant of that bright world we have ever heard of.’

“After a moment of pause he remarked with a sigh, ‘He must be lonesome, pa, with no one to play base ball with.’”

— The Marysville (Kansas) Enterprise, 1867

Photo: “Kids In June.” The Baseball Bloggess, 6/26/2021

Photo: Pixabay via Pexels.com