If you follow baseball history blogs, maybe you’ve bumped into Verdun2’s Blog, a collection of baseball history, player tributes, and poignant remembrances of the author’s time in Vietnam during the war, which always find a baseball spin. Last fall, “v”, the blog’s mysterious author, decided to take a break. He pops back in from time to time, but not with the regularity fans would like.
One of his semi-regular columns was “A Dozen Things You Should Know About” which covered ballplayers … from forgotten greats to Hall of Famers.
I asked v if he would be ok if I took on the “Dozen Things” franchise while he’s on break.
And, he said, “yes.” Even though he knew, deep down, I would take an irreverent and less numbers’y, tone. But, he said “yes” anyway, because he’s awesome.
So, until v’s return … here we go:
12 Things You Should Know About Emmet Heidrick
Emmet Heidrick, one of the greatest outfielders at the turn of the 20th century, was born in Queenstown, Pennsylvania – about 50 miles NE of Pittsburgh – in 1876.
Heidrick’s father Levi, a successful lumberman, followed the trees … and their investment potential. Soon after Emmet’s birth, he bought a sawmill and moved his family to DuBois, Pennsylvania. In 1894, he bought another mill in nearby Brookville and moved his family there, which is where Emmet got his baseball start.
Business acumen must be hereditary, because, no matter his baseball talents, family business not only distracted Emmet Heidrick from the game, but also influenced it.
In baseball’s earliest days, ballplayers generally came from poor, often immigrant, stock. They played ball because there wasn’t much else available. Other jobs open to them were poorly paid, backbreaking, dangerous, and, often, could kill you.
Heidrick, a college boy, came from a wealthy family with a prosperous business. Baseball was well beneath the Heidrick family’s place in society, as the family would remind him.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself … Continue reading