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2012 BBHA Summer Newsletter

2012 BBHA Summer Newsletter

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  • 1. Boston Braves Historical Association Newsletter Summer 2012 www.boston-braves.com _____________________________________________________ VOLUME 21, ISSUE 2 A complete list of individuals who performed with the Braves during their National League championship season of 1948 can be found at Visit Our Commemorative Pavers At many sources. In fact, full biographies of each Fenway Park member of this illustrious group were written as part of a joint project between the Boston Chapter! Thanks to the generosity of our Royal of the Society for American Baseball ResearchRooters, we have placed three commemorative (SABR) and the BBHA. The resultant productbricks at Fenway Park. We took advantage of the was the highly recommended book, Spahn, Sain“Fenway Park Etched in History Brick Program” to and Teddy Ballgame: Bostonʼs almost Perfectmemorialize the Boston Braves and the BBHA. Baseball Summer of 1948.Word finally reached us from the Red Sox as tothe location of our memorials. We invite all to ! Whether that book and other listings areview and enjoy these markers the next time you complete depends upon how membership in theattend a game or take a tour of Fenway Park. ʼ48 Tribe is defined. A recent inquiry received via the BBHA website has caused us to reexamine! All of the pavers have been placed in the our views. A sports historian and writer in Ohioconcourse between Gates B and C under the contacted us for assistance in substantiating ableacher stands. A site locator map can be found claim made by the son of a deceased careerat: http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/ballpark/ minor league ballplayer that his dad had spentbrick_locator.jsp. Our bricks have been placed as time in the majors with the Boston Braves.follows: Although with the big league club, the father “Honoring the never appeared in an official game. The sonʼs recollection was that his dadʼs experience Boston Braves occurred sometime early in the season in the late 1914 World Series Champs 1940s. His father was a left-handed pitcher by 1948 NL Champs the name of Ed Post. 1876-1952 ! The bulk of available records regarding Gate B, Section 12 major league status, especially of the era in Dave Roberts Section question, are based on at least a one-time appearance in an official regular season box ********** score. Perhaps the most notable example of a Commemorating solo Boston Braves major league appearance is The Annual Pre- that of Steve Kuczek who had but one at bat in Season Braves his career and made the most of it. Kuczek swatted a pinch hit double on September 29, VS. Red Sox 1949, attaining a perfect lifetime batting average City Series of 1.000. 1925-1952 ! Our quest would have to take a more Gate C, Section 2 difficult path since the name Ed Post never made Frank Malzone Section it onto a line-up card nor did he otherwise toe the ********** pitching rubber during an official big league contest. Boston Braves Historical ! Ed and his brother Wally starred on the diamond at hometown St. Henry High School in Association Ohio. They would alternate between pitching and Gate C, Section 1 playing first base. Wally would go on to become a Pedro Martinez Section long-ball hitting outfielder with the Reds and Phillies and spend 15 years in the majors. Lost Member of the ʼ48 Champs ! Ed Postʼs career record consisted of four seasons in the minors. He spent 1945 and 1947! in Class D ball in the Ohio State League. As a 1
  • 2. 19-year-older just out of high school, Post Boston Braves family but also part of the ʼ48achieved a 4-3, 2.88 record with the unaffiliated pennant winners.Middleton Rockets, the leagueʼs first placefinisher. After spending 1946 in the Army, Post Who Broke The Door?returned to the same circuit but this time joinedthe Muncie Reds who were affiliated withCincinnati. His career blossomed in 1947 as he ! The current baseball season has beenwent 19-8 and led the league with a 2.02 ERA. highlighted by a number of conflicts concerningThe Post brothers were the mound aces for questionable calls by umpires. Many argumentsMuncie. 17-year-old right-handed brother Wally have been intense, involving harsh language andfinished at 17-7 with a 3.33 ERA. even physical contact. Suspensions and fines have followed as have calls for the institution of! Ed Post was the property of the Redsʼ top more replays and other technical enhancementfarm team, the International League Syracuse tools to assure accurate decisions. TodayʼsChiefs, when the Braves drafted him. The Tribe commentators would have you believe that anplaced him on its 1948 major league roster and, exceptional level of conflict has arisen.liking his chances to stick, included a biography of Unfortunately, many of these broadcasters andhim in the “Boston Introduces” section of the scribes possess only a fleeting knowledge ofannual National League Green Book. baseball history beyond the current era. Back in! According to newspaper articles, Post left the days when Boston had its Braves, incidents ofthe spring training camp in Bradenton and extreme bad behavior involving the gameʼstraveled north to Boston for the start of the ʼ48 arbiters took place on and off the diamond.campaign. He was assigned uniform number 34, ! A case in point involves a late seasoninherited later in the ʼ48 season by bonus baby game in 1951 at the Wigwam. BrooklynʼsJohnny Antonelli. Post achieved a bit of Dodgers came to town struggling to maintain theirnotoriety when he struck Braves catcher Bill top spot in the Senior Circuitʼs standings. TheirSalkeld on the head during pre-game practice on advantage over the second place Giants hadMay 8. The backstop suffered headaches for evaporated from 13 to 2½ games when theyseveral days. came to Boston for four contests commencing! When the Braves visited the Cubs in with a September 25 doubleheader.Chicago on May 13, Post was photographed at ! It had been another disappointing seasonWrigley Field by one of the picture-takers in the for the Tribe. The Southworth era ended on a sadWindy City that specialized in procuring player note and Jury Box hero, Tommy Holmes wasimages for resale. summoned from his managerial post in Hartford! Newspaper and photographic evidence of to take the helm. While the team won more thanEd Postʼs time in the majors was further they lost (48-47) under Kellyʼs lead, the Bravessupported by a notice published in The Sporting struggled to stay in the first division and fanNews of May 26 that Post had been sent by the support continued to drastically erode from its NLBraves to their Hartford Chiefs farm club on May championship days. In the meanwhile, their19 as the Tribe made its final cuts to comply with neighboring American League rivals were in theroster size restrictions. In all, Post sat on the midst of another close pennant fight.Braves bench through the first 24 games of the ! The series commenced with a twi-night1948 season. Tuesday doubleheader. The Braves had returned! Post made a strong debut with the Chiefs. home after suffering six straight losses on theIn his first start on May 26, the lefty faced the road. In seeking his 22nd victory in the opener,Wilkes-Barre Barons and pitched a two-hit Warren Spahn decided to exchange his numbercomplete game, winning 6-1. On June 25, Post “21” jersey with teammate George Estock, whonearly no-hit the Barons. He was one putout possessed the numeral of Spahnieʼs targeted winaway when an opposition batter singled. Still, he total of 22. It was “mission accomplished” for therecorded a complete game 4-0 victory. future Hall of Famer as the Braves swept theUnfortunately, the remainder of the season did not Dodgers before a gathering of 5,670 fans.go as well. Post finished with a 4-10 record and ! Now only a game ahead of the Giants,ended his association with the Braves. He Brooklyn regrouped the following day andappeared briefly with the independent Greenville humbled the Braves, 15-5, behind big DonMajors of the Big State League in 1949 but his Newcombe. The day contest drew a meagerprofessional career was over at age 23. 2,444 to the Wigwam.! Postʼs declining performance was ! With every game a “must win” for theattributed to the reoccurrence of an injury suffered Dodgers, tensions were high on September 27during obstacle course training while in the when the Bums sent ace Preacher Roe to themilitary service. Ed Post passed away in August mound to face rookie lefty Chet Nichols. Roeof 1978 at age 52. Brother Wally was also 52 was seeking his 23rd win of the season whilewhen he died in 1982. Given the above, we Nichols had a shot at capturing the Nationalbelieve that Ed Post is not only a member of the League ERA crown. The Braves were still grumbling about Jackie Robinsonʼs “bush” steal 2
  • 3. of home the previous day when the Dodgers had mission resulted in a temporary delay. Terwilligeralready locked up the lopsided victory and grounded out to third and Nichols struck out Andythreatened revenge. Despite the drama Pafko to secure the win. Only a half-game nowassociated with this contest, only 2,086 showed separated the Senior Circuitʼs top two ball clubs.up for this Thursday afternoon Ladies Day game, And the Braves clinched fourth place, securing aincluding some 321 female fans. Sportswriter few hundred dollars for each player.Gene Mack, Jr. would later comment that it was a ! The Dodgersʼ anger continued unabated“crime that only 2086 Bostonians turned out towitness probably the most exciting game played after the game. Since the umpiresʼ room was closely situated between the playersʼ quartersin the Hub this season.” beneath the stands at Braves Field, the! The hard-fought contest was tied 3-3 disgruntled Bums were provided with a furtherheading into the bottom of the eighth. Braves left opportunity to express their displeasure. Whatfielder Bob Addis singled to center, followed by a followed would later be headlined in the next-Sam Jethroe single that sent Addis to third. Earl dayʼs newspapers as a “riot under the stands.“Torgeson bounced to Jackie Robinson at second ! Dascoli and his crew had retired to theirand Robinson threw to Roy Campanella at theplate in an attempt to cut down the runner. Game dressing room and locked its door. The events that followed were steeped in controversy. A parkaccounts indicate that Robinsonʼs throw was a bit attendant claimed that Jackie Robinson kickedoutside, causing Campy to pivot a bit to the right.This provided an opening for Addis to reach the the door repeatedly, splintering its upper and lower panels, while “screaming unprintable wordsplate in a spikes-first slide as the Dodgers catcher of indignation and resentment.” Campanella, whomade a half-spin tag. Home plate umpire Frank had returned to his civvies, was said to have beenDascoli spread his palms to signal that Addis wassafe. Boston scribe John Gillooly remarked in among others taking part on this incident. Park superintendent Al Oliver and six Bostonthe next dayʼs newspaper account that “It was a patrolmen assigned to the Wigwam were promptlycourageous call; one which could cost Brooklyn aquarter of a million dollars.” summoned to the scene but order had already been restored.! Campanella immediately and vehemently ! Reporters at the scene indicated that theprotested the call to Dascoli. In doing so, he also battle had turned verbal behind the locked doorsslammed down his mitt. The home plate arbiterquickly gave the backstop the heave-ho, further of the Dodgersʼ and arbitersʼ rooms. “Player--ʻYou are a ___ ___ ___.ʼ” “Umpire--ʻThe same goesincensing Campy and the Dodgers. Dascoli was for you.ʼ” “Player--ʻYou can go to ___.ʼ”surrounded by angry visitors. Remarks by coachCookie Lavagetto led to his banishment as well. “Umpire--ʻAnd thatʼs for you.ʼ” Said a Braves player, “Iʼve seen fist fights, but Iʼve never seenEmotions failed to cool and the Dodgers anything like those guys pounding on that door. Ifcontinued to ride Dascoli from the dugout bench. they donʼt get suspended, nobody will ever getDascoli spoke to fellow umpire Jocko Conlanand the latter was ordered by his chief to clear suspended.”everyone from the bench and into the clubhouse ! When questioned, Robinson loudlywith the exception of manager Chuck Dressen denied the allegations. “Anybody who says I did itand coach Jake Pitler. The players had to cross is a damned liar.” “Whenever Iʼm in a crowd andby Dascoli as they departed their dugout on the something happens, right away itʼs me.”first base side of the field to enter the tunnel Robinson admitted “I know who did it but Iʼm notsituated by the third base home dugout to access saying who.” Robinson couldnʼt resist adding,their room. Future Celtics great Bill Sharman, “He [Dascoli] was run out of the Internationalwho had just been called up, was among the League he was so bad, and then they let himDodgers exiles. He would never appear in a big work up here.” “He chokes up worse than theleague contest. Writer Gillooly described the players.”eviction trek as a “pitiable procession; no doubtstingingly profane.” ! Preacher Roe also admitted to knowing the guilty party and refused to identify the culprit.! Campanellaʼs ouster would have a “But it wasnʼt Jackie, Iʼll take an oath on that.”significant bearing on the game and, ultimately, Another Dodgers player said, “quite a few of ourBrooklynʼs drive for the pennant. The soon-to-be boys either kicked or pounded it on their way to1951 NL Most Valuable Player was replaced in our dressing room.”the lineup by Rube Walker. In the top of theninth, Pee Wee Reese doubled and advanced to ! Dodger coach Clyde Sukeforth issuedthird on a Robinson ground out. Instead of the damning statements not only against Dascoli but also baseball commissioner Ford Frick, then alsoclutch-hitting Campanella, Dressen was forced tocall upon little-used Wayne Terwilliger as a the acting National League president. “Dascoli ispinch-hitter for the weak-hitting Walker. In order a bad umpire, thatʼs all. No other umpire would have acted so hastily....I donʼt blame Dascoli,to make the move, Dressen had to send his though. He is more to be pitied. Heʼs not bigbatboy, Stan Strull, to the distant clubhouse toretrieve the player. Given the inconvenient enough for so important an assignment. I lay thelogistics of the ballparkʼs layout, the batboyʼs blame on Frick. He must know, as everybody else does, that Dascoli is incompetent. He never 3
  • 4. should have assigned him to a series as the Braves drew only 7,091 and 13,209,important as this.” Chuck Dressen added, “Heʼs respectively, to their Gaffney Street grounds.just not competent thatʼs all.” “Weʼve had troublewith him all year--as far back as spring training.” Knot Hole Gang Regulations! After Dascoli emerged from the dressing ! The Boston Braves unique youth-friendlyroom, he offered his take on the matter. approach traces back to the early days of the“Campanella didnʼt touch Addis until his feet Fuchs era and remained in place until the club leftcrossed the plate.” Robinsonʼs hurried throw was for Milwaukee. Thin cardboard membership IDssufficiently off the mark to provide the opening to were often issued to area youth through cityAddis. As to Campanellaʼs ouster, Dascoli waved recreational departments and YMCAs. Duringhim out of the game not because of language or Depression days, the card and a nickel wouldphysical contact. “He threw his glove. When they allow its possessor into a left field pavilion sectionthrow their glove, itʼs automatic. Itʼs got to be. If of Braves Field. A number of our members wereyou didnʼt, the next time theyʼd throw the center once such “gang” members, ages before the termfield bleacher at you.” took on negative connotations.! The Braves supported Dascoliʼs account. ! Along with the benefits of membershipAddis, a former Brooklyn farmhand, unflinchingly came obligations in the form of regulations. Whatclaimed that he was safe. Manager Tommy follows is the set of rules in place in 1951:Holmes stated, “He got in under him. I saw the KNOT HOLE GANG REGULATIONSwhole play.” Many of the Braves felt thatBrooklynʼs vehement protest was totally ! Members must be between the ages ofunjustified and that Campanellaʼs reaction was 10 and 16 years.only a gesture to cover up his failed attempt. ! There must be a leader with every group! Respected Boston baseball writer Harold of ten boys. Leaders must be 18 years of age orKaese opined that most observers agreed with older. They can be male or female. LeadersDascoliʼs decision. However, Kaese added that should come with their boys and must report tothe umpire had the reputation of having “more the Knot Hole Gang Supervisor, Mr. Williamnotches in his right thumb than Wyatt Earp ever Flaherty, at the gate for the purpose of assisting inhad on the butt of his six-shooter.” In the scribeʼs the supervision of the entire “Gang” as soon asopinion, the arbiter from Danielson, Connecticut their members have been seated in the sectionhad always been too quick to eject players. “He reserved for them.is allergic to protests. Players say he has the ! Boys should not be at Braves Field morebiggest rabbit ears in the business.” than one half hour before the game starts.! The dayʼs events were reported to the ! Use the Babcock Street entrance gaterecently anointed commissioner of baseball, Ford opposite Ashford Street, below the regular thirdFrick. For such bad behavior, the National base pavilion entrance.Pastimeʼs top official decided to fine Robinsonand Campanella $100 and Roe $50. Adjusted for ! Ungentlemanly conduct on the part ofinflation, these “hefty” assessments today would members admitted will not be tolerated and willtotal $830 and $415, respectively. Frick pointed cause privileges to be revoked. It is up toout that “these fines are not for actions on the everyone to be certain that courtesy prevails andfield, but for those in the runway on the way to the that Knot Hole Gang rules are obeyed.clubhouse.” Other loose-lipped participants in the ! Remember the Knot Hole Gang has beenpost-game melee escaped punishment. enjoying games as guests of the Braves! Braves manager Tommy Holmes, a Management for 27 years. All they ask in returnresident of the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, for their generosity is that you have a good timereceived threats against his family during and and by your good behavior assure everyone elseafter the series in the form of letters and of having a good time too.telegrams. He was accused of favoring the ! Knot Hole Gang membership privilegesGiants in the pennant race. Before the Dodgers are a reward of merit for helpfulness and goodgames, other conspiracy theorists had speculated conduct as a member of the organization to whichthat the Tribe would roll over for the Dodgers due you belong.to lingering animosity towards the Giants.Ironically, one year later, Holmes would return NATIONAL LEAGUE KNOT HOLE GANGhome to a spot on Brooklynʼs active roster and Louis R. Perini, Presidentplay in the World Series against the Yankees. Alvin G. Kenney, Secretary! The Braves werenʼt through influencingthe 1951 Senior Circuit pennant race. They Braves Field Trilogyfinished the season at home against the Giants. Movies-Jazz-Dancing-Fireworks!Despite their best efforts, the Tribe could not stopthe New York juggernaut and lost both contests, ! The hunger for revenue during the Greatsetting the stage for the “Shot Heard ʻRound The Depression/Prohibition era led to some creativeWorld.” Despite the importance of these games, non-sports uses of Braves Field. One of the more 4
  • 5. unique events took place during the early days of ! A sale price for the ten acre site housingthe Judge Emil Fuchs regime. the Wigwam was arrived at in early 1949, causing the construction industry magnates to abandon! At night, the Wigwam would have consideration of a venue change. The Trustotherwise been empty at the onset of the summer would receive approximately three-quarters of aof 1923 since evening baseball in the Hub was million dollars to relinquish its interest in Bravesstill many years away. Given Braves Fieldʼs Field. The land and ballpark had an assessedconvenient location and easy access via streetcar value of $450,000. The Three Little Steamto its own in-park station, the facility offered an Shovels would now be able claim the diamond asattractive venue where open air entertainment the clubʼs permanent home and be free to makecould be staged under one roof to entice the immediate improvements and plan longer termweary public to part with some hard-earned cash. enhancements. Many years later, a similar! A weekend gala was set for June 25-27 at situation would arise when the John Henry-ledthe Gaffney Street ballpark. Posters were ownership group acquired the Red Sox anddistributed throughout the Boston area to promote Fenway Park from the Yawkey Estate and manythis large scale event. The June dates were billed of their actions would mirror Periniʼs announcedas “opening nights” and tickets went on sale on formula.June 16 at Jordan Marsh, Shepardʼs and Fileneʼs ! From the office of his constructionstores. company in Framingham, MA, Lou Perini outlined! The Loews theatrical organization put three immediate steps and ten longer termtogether a program starting at 8 p.m. each renovation efforts. Boston sportswriter Rogerevening that featured “dancing for 10,000” Birtwell called Periniʼs briefing, “Braves Field--asfollowed by a motion picture and fireworks. Music I see it--in 1955.”was provided by Alex Hydeʼs 40-piece jazz band. ! For 1949, Perini pledged the addition ofAs an additional attraction, the promoter promised 600 more box seats, “with comfortable chairs.” Inthe in-person appearances of 40 motion picture essence, temporary seating of this sort that wasand stage stars. All of this could be had by assembled for use during the 1948 World Seriespurchasing a 50¢ admission ticket. would be made permanent. The effect would! The dance floor consisted of a canvas render the parkʼs seating capacity to abovethat stretched from the Braves dugout over that 39,000. In addition, more “powder rooms” wouldportion of the field where Braves infielders Stuffy be added. A similar much welcomed supplementMcInnis, Hod Ford, Bob Smith and Tony would be instituted by the new regime decadesBoekel would ply their trade during the day. later at Fenway Park! Lastly, Perini indicated thatSigns were posted along a roped-in boundary the team would assume management over allimploring dancers not to wander off of the tarp. previously leased out park snack counters and make menu changes.! A large portable screen was positioned inthe vicinity of second base, providing customers ! Longer term modifications would besitting in the grandstands running from first to phased in over the course of the following sixthird base with an adequate view. The grand years. Perini listed the ten targets as follows:finale consisted of a fireworks display that 1. Increase seating capacity to 50,000.competed with the noxious smoke that emanatedfrom the locomotives in the rail yard beyond the 2. Construct a foot bridge over the Boston andparkʼs left and centerfield borders. Albany Railroad yards to connect the ballpark to the auto parkway along the Charles River.Braves Field As I See It In 1955 3. Build a large parking lot by the Charles River.! With their team fresh off of a World Seriesappearance, Lou Perini and his fellow “Steam 4. Establish a Braves Field railroad station on theShovels” next sought to resolve the status of the Boston & Albany route. The facility would beBravesʼ home field. The ball club had been located at the end of Babcock Street adjacenttenants of the original builder James Gaffney and to the left field foul pole.later, his estate. 5. Remove the Jury Box and extend the first base! Once the Perini-Rugo-Maney triumvirate pavilion to center field.took over control of the Braves, the new ownersexamined potential ballpark sites in the greater 6. Shift the third base side pavilion close to the left field foul line and bring some seating inBoston area as an alternative to the continued back of fair territory in left field.rental of their facilities from the CommonwealthRealty Trust. The principals of the Trust were 7. Place roofs over both pavilions.Essie Gaffney, widow of the later former Bravesowner and Robert H. Davis, whose father was a 8. Decrease the number of grandstand seats to create greater comfort for fans.stockholder and close Gaffney associate. Anoutright purchase of the Trustʼs ownership of 9. Add a restaurant in the park.Braves Field was viewed as the preferredalternative if a reasonable price could be 10.Seek to have the Boston & Albany Railroad increase the use of diesel engines by Bravesnegotiated. 5
  • 6. Field to reduce smoke and ash emission in and of itself would further compound the path of entering the park. vision issues of first and third base spectators due to the sharper new angles that it would create.! Osborn Engineering, the original Perini saw two less than optimum options toarchitects of Braves Field, had been resolve the dilemma: “One is to jack up the infield.commissioned to prepare blueprints reflecting the The other is to jack up the seats.”desired changes. Many of the alterations wouldrequire that the work be conducted during the off- ! A raised infield would cause fans in theseason. front rows to have an impaired view of the opposite side of the diamond. Pouring concrete! The Braves president cautioned, to heighten the lower seats would most likely leadhowever, that “These plans will be carried out only to a “domino effect” throughout the affected areasif conditions warrant it.”! Still basking in the glow of the ballpark. As Perini put it, “Youʼd run intoof the ʼ48 season, Perini emphasized that “We heavy expense, and the point could be reachedhave a lot of plans for Braves Field but our where you might as well build a new park.” At thisprimary objective doesnʼt concern new stands, point in time, the Tribe president indicated thatfoot bridges or powder rooms. Our No. 1 “thinking, figuring and planning” would continueobjective is a worldʼs championship pennant flying but the season might open with the parkʼsfrom the center field fence.” configuration unaltered.Seeking A “Chummier” Wigwam In 1953 ! The plate-shift proposal was not intended! As late as January of 1953, Lou Perini to make the Wigwam more or less homer-friendly.was seeking permission to make enhancements Since the movement would have caused the foulat Braves Field to benefit Tribe fans. Was the lines to meet the stands at a shorter distance anddenial of his request one of the “straws that broke make the outfield barriers 23 feet farther away,the camelʼs back,” leading to the spring move to Perini would have built new outfield fences toMilwaukee? keep the lengths consistent with the present configuration. The old outfield perimeter fence! Over the years, Braves ownership would have been retained to create a footpath forrecognized the need to improve customersʼ views fans to enter from Gaffney Street and walk aroundof the diamond from low-slanted stadium stands. the outfield to access seating along the left fieldIn what would prove to be a final attempt, the ball foul line.club petitioned National League President WarrenGiles to move home plate at Braves Field 23 feet ! The proposed move of home plate wouldnearer the grandstand. The shift would bring the have impaired the view of the inhabitants of theplate to within 37 feet of the grandstand and, rooftop press box. Perini, however, was optimisticquoting Boston sports scribe Roger Birtwell, in this regard. “I believe I can make alterations in“extend Walker Cooperʼs catching career the press box that would give the baseball writers,indefinitely.” radio men and photographers the vision they need.”! Giles denied the Bravesʼ petition, citingthe fact that home plate at the Wigwam was ! It would seem, given the above, that aalready closer to grandstand seating than in any franchise shift had yet to become a fait accompliexisting Senior Circuit ballpark. in the early days of 1953. However, intervening events would soon doom National League! Gilesʼ ruling left Perini with a seemingly baseball in Boston.untenable alternative -- move the plate 23 feetnearer the stands by cutting away 300-400 seats Spahnʼs Restaurantin the grandstand front portion to comply with the " In our Summer, 2011 newsletter, we“60-foot” requirement. While willing to undertakesuch a seating loss, the Tribe owner included in our printed edition, a photograph ofacknowledged that the fundamental problem of Warren Spahn in a chefʼs hat and apron,poor sight lines for fans in the first and third base supposedly laboring at his Commonwealth Avenue diner in January, 1954. Intended tolower rows would be compounded by this choice. service crowds coming from and going to Braves! When James Gaffney constructed the Field, the eatery opened in the spring of 1953stadium, he took advantage of the bowl-like without such customer traffic and without Spahn,topography. This led to what Birtwell described as who had abruptly relocated to Milwaukee alonga “striking characteristic” of Braves Field, “the with the team.long slant of the grandstand.” Per Birtwell again,“The result is that a fan in, say, the thirtieth row, is ! Another historic photograph of Spahnʼs Diner recently has surfaced. This March 21, 1953farther from the front of the grandstand than a fanin the thirtieth row at most other parks.” The picture shows another of the restaurantʼsslope back is more gradual row to row, which also investors, Leon Greenberg, preparing a lunchcreated viewing issues at the lower tiers. counter setting, with utensils and a coffee cup surrounding a placemat featuring a portrait of! If the Braves removed the grandstand Spahnie, an image of Braves Field and the motto,seats to conform to Gilesʼ desires and thereby “The Best in Baseball, The Best in Food.” Weʼveachieve the “chummier” objective, that alteration reproduced the placemat in past BBHA 6
  • 7. newsletters, the most recent inclusion being in the page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anna-fall of 2010. In the picture, in back of Greenberg Maria-Island-Historical-Society/106135255307is a large photograph of Spahn in Boston Bravestogs. Greenberg appears glum since the photo Braves Field Trolleywas taken after the Braves had announced their ! Weʼre pleased to be able to include withshift to Milwaukee. this newsletter mailing our third commemorative postcard. The shot was taken at around 4:05 Spahnʼs Cottage p.m. in the late ʻ40s and shows a Braves Field! A humble 832-square-foot vacation streetcar rumbling into the Kenmore Squarecottage sits at 203 Spruce Avenue on Anna Maria tunnel towards Park Street. As can be seen onIsland in Florida. The single story, flat-roofed, the back of the postcard, while the tunnel andwhitewashed cinderblock bungalow contains two tracks have not changed, the environment in thebedrooms, a living room, kitchen and screened-in surrounding area certainly has.porch. A large baseball-shaped sign, bearing the ! Since ballgames were played muchname “Infield” is attached to a side wall. A short quicker back then, we suspect that the car wasdistance from Bradenton, the residence served asthe spring training home for Warren Spahn and one of several picking up Tribe fans at the Wigwam shortly after the last out in the ninthhis family in the late 1940s to the early ʻ50s. inning. Usually, three-car center entrance! Spahn had a great affinity for this part of motorcars (CEMs) would be parked in the Bravesthe Sunshine State and built or bought several Field loop and lined up on the third track atother cottages that he named using baseball Blandford Street, standing at the ready for theterms. In addition to the “Infield,” the crafty lefty departing crowd. These linked units had thepossessed other properties on the northern end of capacity to carry upwards of 450 people at a time.the island in what he called his “Baseball Zone” -- Called “people-eaters” and “cattle cars,” theythe “Outfield,” “The Diamond,” “Home Plate,” would roll into the Wigwam as patrons surged“Catcherʼs Mitt” and “Shortstop.” Spahn later through the Fieldʼs prepayment stations. Theirmoved into a larger beachfront home nearby that large doors would slide open and quickly swallowhe christened, “The Mound.” Several of his the assembled humanity. These elongated trolleybungalows housed other major leaguers during cars would perform the same service fortheir Grapefruit League stay. Most of Spahnʼs attendees at Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics gamesAnna Maria holdings have been demolished or as well as for those attending major events atsold to other families. Boston Garden such as the Ice Capades or the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus.! Spahnʼs son Greg of Broken Arrow, OKheld onto the “Infield” and recently placed the real ! Despite the introduction of theestate for sale. Greg Spahn decided to donate streamlined PCC streetcars in the mid-1940s, thethe building to the Anna Maria Island Historical CEMs endured because of their crowd-servicingSociety since “a new owner will tear it down and capacity. The Braves shift to Milwaukee in 1953build anew....It would be wonderful to save it and was a key factor in expediting the demise of theturn it into a museum for people to see. Iʼd be now antiquated vehicles shortly thereafter. Theproud of it.” tracks to the Braves Field link were paved over but occasionally resurface as the covering asphalt! The Historical Society hopes to raise wears off. You can view a segment of such railssufficient funds to move the building several today on the Babcock Street side of the oldblocks to its land that currently houses its local entryway into the Wigwam.history museum, a restored cottage that onceresided on a city pier and remnants of the old city ! Weʼve been asked if extra postcards injail. After the move and refurbishment, the our historic series are available. The BBHA printscottage would be used for a baseball museum. a limited amount to meet the needs of ourTo provide a sneak preview of what could be, the membership and does not offer the postcards toSociety put on a photo exhibition, “Boys of the general public. We do have still available aWinter,” featuring Spahn and other major leaguers very limited supply of postcards from the threesuch as Birdie Tebbetts and Bill McKechnie, issued to date. They will not be reprinted. Untilwho also had connections to the island. our stock is exhausted, members may purchase any of the three for $2 each postpaid or the set of! To fund this effort, the Historical Society three for $5 postpaid. Checks should be madeneeds to raise around $30,000. The fundraising out to the BBHA and sent to our mailing addresscampaign is slowly moving toward its target and at P.O. Box 67195, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-0002.the Society is optimistic that their goal will be Please specify your selections: the set of three,achieved. Society president Melissa Williams #1 (the Scoreboard), #2 (Right Field Pavilion) ordeclared, “Itʼs important to preserve the memory #3 (Braves Field Trolley). Orders will be filled firstof this man.” come, first served. To be fair to all members, we! To learn more about the Historical Society reserve the right to limit quantities.and this project, visit its web site at http://www.amihs.net/index.html and/or its Facebook 7
  • 8. Retiring Number 29 collegiate basketball referee for over 40 years. Veigel was inducted into the Ohio Officials Hall of! On June 8, 2012 the Atlanta Braves Fame in Columbus, OH.retired uniform number 29 in honor of theiroutstanding former right-hander, John Smoltz. Minor League PassingsSmoltz has a tenuous link to the Boston Braves. ! Many thanks to member Len Levin, whoWhen inter-league play was inaugurated by major continues to provide us with invaluableleague baseball in 1997, the Braves journeyed information on the passings of Boston Bravesback to Boston for their first regular season farmhands.contest in the Hub since September 21, 1952.Smoltz took to Fenway Parkʼs mound in a 1912 ! Vincent “Red” Palumbo of Medfield, MAreplica uniform of the Boston Beaneaters during a died on March 29, 2012 at 93 years of age. He“Turn Back The Clock” game. had a two year minor league career from 1939-40 before entering the Army Air Corps. As a 20-year-! The retirement of a Braves numeral led older, Palumbo briefly played for the Bradfordus to trace its history while worn by the Boston Bees of the PONY League in 1939. Later thatversion of this venerable franchise. While no season, the port-sider pitched for the independent“star” player donned the number during the Salem-Roanoke Friends of the Class D VirginiaBoston years, a beloved member of our Braves League. Palumbo led the latter circuit in wins withFamily, Art “Lefty” Johnson, claimed “29” for 18, including a no-hitter.two (1941-42) of his three seasons at theWigwam. While his on-the-field record was ! During the war, Palumbo served as aunremarkable (7-16), his commitment to the bombardier with the 306th Bomb Group and flewBoston Braves lasted a lifetime. Johnson was 32 combat missions over Germany and occupiedone of the founders of the BBHA and a popular countries. He was the recipient of theregular attendee at our reunions. He would Distinguished Flying Cross. While in the service,always be found surrounded by former fans, Palumbo pitched for the Camp Edwards team andchatting and meticulously signing autographs. faced Ted Williams. He was the owner of Palumbo Liquors in Medfield and Walpole, MA for! During the Bees/Braves days, number 29 over 60 years.was handed out to 17 different individuals. Of thattotal, five were pitchers, four were infielders, four ! On April 30, 2012, 87-year-old Donaldwere catchers, three were outfielders and one Schmidt passed away. He had a six year minorwas a coach. The numeral was first issued to league career from 1946-52 and finished with apitcher Flint “Shad” Rhem in 1934 and last worn two season stint in the Boston Braves systemby pitcher Dave Cole in 1952. It was pitching for Hartford and Milwaukee. His recordconsecutively used by the club from 1936-52. for the Chiefs in 1951 was 6-14 followed by aFrom Flint Rhem in 1934, number 29 was passed 7-12 performance in Hartford in ʼ52. Schmidtʼson to Art “Moose” Doll (1936), Eddie “Hotshot” brief record for the 1952 Brewers was 1-1 in hisMayo (1937), Jim Hitchcock (1938), Tom last year of professional baseball. He was“Sugar” Kane (1938), Joe “Tweet” Walsh elected to the Union County (NJ) Baseball Hall of(1938), Stan “Polo” Andrews (1939), Ray Fame. A WW II veteran, Schmidt spent over 40Berres (1940), Art “Lefty” Johnson (1941-42), years in the oil delivery business.“Butch” Nieman (1943), Stew Hofferth (1944), ! Bob Barbeau was 86 when he died onBill “Square Jaw” Ramsey (1945), Mike May 5, 2012. After serving in the Pacific Theater“Slugs” Ulisney (1945), Jake Flowers (1946), with the Navy in WW II, he received a baseballErnie White (1947-48), Jimmy Brown (1949-51) scholarship to the University of San Francisco.and Dave Cole (1952). Barbeau entered the Braves farm system in 1949 In Memoriam with the Pawtucket Slaters in their final year in the Class B New England League. The outfielder! Former Boston Bees right-handed hurler batted .197 over 42 games. While there, BarbeauAl Veigel passed away at age 95 on April 8, did rub shoulders with a future Boston Brave,2012. He was 22 when he was called up in George Crowe, and a Milwaukee Brave, DonSeptember of 1939. Veigel earned a promotion Liddle. Released, he split his final professionalafter going 10-10 with the Class B Evansville season with a couple of unaffiliated ball clubs inBees of the Three-I League. Veigel started two the low minors before calling it quits. Barbeaugames late in the season and went 0-1 with a spent over 30 years working for a mechanical and6.75 ERA over 2.2 innings pitched. He never electrical contractor.again performed in the majors. WW II service inthe Army Air Force from 1941-45 effectively ended ! Charles “Chuck” Doehler, who passedhis professional career. According to our records, away at age 77 on June 19, 2012, had a numberVeigelʼs death leaves only one surviving player of baseball related accomplishments during hisfrom the Bees era, pitcher Art Kenney who lifetime. As a youth of 14, he was tapped by Mrs.appeared in two games in 1938. Babe Ruth to participate in the Bambinoʼs funeral as a representative of the local Babe Ruth! Veigel worked as a sporting goods League. Doehler placed a baseball that carriedsalesman until his retirement. He was best the message, “Safe at Home,” in Ruthʼs coffin.known in Ohio as a respected high school and 8
  • 9. ! Signed by the Boston Braves at age 18, ! We are offering The Bees of Boston tohe split the 1952 season as an outfielder with our membership at the purchase price of $9.00brief appearances for the Class D Harlan postpaid. Our print run was very limited given itsSmokies of the Mountain States League and the cost and the sales price was set at slightly lessClass C Eau Claire Braves of the Northern than break-even when considering associatedLeague. While with the Wisconsin farm club, postal and packaging expenses. Please considerDoehler had the good fortune to team up with adding this chronicle of Boston Braves history toHank Aaron and Wes Covington. your baseball library and as a gift to family members and friends. We do not intend to go! He finished his professional career the back to the printer once our supply of thefollowing year as Milwaukee Braves chattel. publication becomes exhausted, so act quickly.Again he performed for two clubs, both at the Send your check made out to the Boston BravesClass D level -- the Sandersville Wacos of the Historical Association to the BBHA, Post OfficeGeorgia State League and the Wellsville Braves Box 67195, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-0002. Thankof the PONY League. you and enjoy!! Doehler later was the freshman baseballcoach at Seton Hall University for 15 years. He One That Got Awaywas inducted into the universityʼs Hall of Fame in ! When researching the history of any1997. Doehler served an insurance sales team, one usually will find examples of where arepresentative and sales manager for thirty years. ballplayer slipped through its hands and later achieved fame with another club. A classic case New BBHA Publication-The Bees of with the Braves involved Johnny Vander Meer, Boston who would hurl the first of his two consecutive no-! Bostonʼs Bees days have been chronicled hitters against the Bees and anchor the Cincinnatiin the Associationʼs latest publication, The Bees of Reds pitching staff for many years. Judge EmilBoston: Baseball At The Hive, 1936-1940. A Fuchsʼ son Bob was running the clubʼs NY-Pennthorough review of this brief era in the history of League Harrisburg Senators affiliate in 1934Bostonʼs National League franchise can be found when he observed the “Dutch Master” in action forwithin the bookʼs 54 pages. The Braves became the Scranton Miners. Seeing the left-handerʼsthe Bees when J.A. Robert Quinnʼs syndicate potential, the younger Fuchs recommended thatassumed control of the club after Judge Emil the big league club acquire the young lefty. TheFuchs was forced to throw in the towel. Braves did so, but sold the farmhand to the Reds in 1935 as the Fuchs regime ended.! Quinn played an important transitionalrole in the history of both of Bostonʼs baseball ! In compiling the history of the Bostonfranchises. Before the Bees, he had led a group Bees years mentioned in the preceding section ofthat acquired the Red Sox from Harry Frazee and the newsletter, the author uncovered a similarthat later sold out to Tom Yawkey. With the situation. This time, the ball club briefly held onBraves, Quinn was the bridge from Fuchs to the its roster a pitcher who would achieve a degree ofglory days of the Three Little Steam Shovels. immortality based on one unique pitch to TedCoincidently, in both instances, he took over after Williams during an All Star contest in Boston.fateful incidents involving Babe Ruth -- the ! In 1937, the Bees took a chance on a 29-Bambinoʼs sale to the Yankees and the Sultan of year-old right-handed hurler who had gone 10-10Swatʼs ill fated and short-lived return to Boston with the International League Buffalo Bisons inwith the Braves. Robert “Bob” Quinn was also the 1936. Then referred to as “Red,” Truett Bankspatriarch of a family that produced generations of Sewell was placed on the Bees major leaguesuccessful baseball front office executives. roster and given a spring chance to make the! Included within the publication are club. He possessed enough potential for thephotographs of the players that performed for the team to have him listed in the 1937 NationalBees during each of the seasons that the team League Green Book in the section that introducedcarried its insect nickname. In addition to year- prospects having a shot at the majors during theby-year season summaries from the pages of the upcoming season.Reach and Spalding Guides, The Bees of Boston ! The brief Green Book biography notedcontains sections on The Birth of the Bees, that “Red” Sewell was a “Kappa Sig fromNational League Baseball Field, Uniforms, Vanderbilt” and that heʼd started out as anBostonʼs First All Star Game, the City outfielder but was quickly converted into a pitcher.Championship Series, Nicknames, Broadcasters, After a brief trial with the Detroit Tigers in 1932,Hall of Famers, Spring Training “Hives,” Minor Sewell drifted from club to club in the minors. ALeague Affiliates and the eventual “Extermination” high point mentioned in this career summaryof the Bees. The season summaries include the involved an “Iron Man” stint while with the Seattleannual new player mini-biography “introductions” Indians of the Pacific Coast League in 1933. Onthat were contained in the respective pre-season Labor Day, Sewell pitched two nine-inningNational League Green Books. Season Notes victories (9-5 and 3-0) against the San Franciscoand Player Transactions sections complete the Seals.yearly summaries. 9
  • 10. ! Sewell did not sufficiently impress would go on to greater fame with the Milwaukeemanager Bill McKechnie in spring training edition of the Tribe.enough to earn a spot on the pitching staff when ! A very popular BBHA reunion guest,the club headed north. Instead, he returned to Johnny Antonelli has collaborated with authorBuffalo where his 16-12 1937 record resulted in ashot with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Picking up the Scott Pitoniak in a recently published book entitled Johnny Antonelli: A Baseball Memoir.nickname, “Rip,” Sewell would remain on the Now an octogenarian, the former Boston BravesPirates mound staff through 1949 when he was42. He would visit the Wigwam on many bonus baby chronicles his personal and baseball life in this Rochester Institute of Technology Pressoccasions as an “enemy.” Sewell recorded 21- offering. Antonelli and his wife, Gail, split theirwin seasons in 1943 and 1944. In 1949, his time between homes in Rochester, NY and Santawinning percentage of .813 (13-3) led the SeniorCircuit. Fe, NM. ! This summer, BBHA member and Braves! A hunting accident in 1941 caused Field expert, Ralph Evans, has continued hisSewellʼs to develop his famed “eephus” or blooper commitment to preserve the memory of thepitch. He would arc the backspinning baseballsome 25 feet into the air towards the plate. Wigwam and share his knowledge of the site with others. On June 24, he led a group of AtlantaSewellʼs use of the eephus enhanced his pitching Braves 400 Club members on a tour of therepertoire and also made him a gate attraction. remains of our beloved ballpark. The Georgians! One of the most notable occurrences in were in town to attend the latest iteration of theAll Star game history took place during the July 9, Braves-Red Sox City Series. On July 22, Ralphʼs1946 Mid Summer Classic at Fenway Park when Braves Field tour closed out a three-day BostonSewell faced Ted Williams in the eighth inning. University-sponsored program, “Baseball: AnAfter fouling off a blooper and taking a fastball for Interdisciplinary Summer Institute.”a strike, the Splendid Splinter anticipated another ! Virgil Jester, a pitcher for the 1952eephus offering and took a mighty swing to sendthe ball into the bullpen. Sewell claimed that Boston Braves, was the subject of an article appearing in the May 30, 2012 Denver Post. TheWilliamsʼ blast was the only homer that he ever 85-year-old Colorado native signed with Boston inyielded using the blooper. 1947 for a “bonus” of $2,500. Jester performed! Rip Sewell was the cousin of major for hometown fans with the Bravesʼ Denver Bearsleaguers Joe, Luke and Tommy Sewell. He affiliate in 1949-50. He noted that he still receivespassed away in 1989 at the age of 82. occasional autograph requests from Braves fans. Sittinʼ In The Jury Box ! Patrick L. Kennedy of BU Today did a commendable job alerting the Boston University! Longtime BBHA member Al Rocci was community of the historic baseball parkhonored by the Red Sox as part of their “Fenway incorporated into their campus. His on-line,at 100” commemoration this season. The 95- interactive two-part article, “Remembering theyear-old Medford, MA resident is the oldest known Wigwam” appeared on the web on April 12-13,former Red Sox employee. Rocci began as an 2012. Itʼs well worth visiting. http://www.bu.edu/usher in 1936, earning $2 a game and $3 for today/2012/braves-field-remembering-the-doubleheaders. He also ushered at Braves Field, wigwam/ and http://www.bu.edu/today/2012/taking advantage of the alternating home and braves-field-remembering-the-wigwam-2/away schedules of Bostonʼs American andNational League representatives. He concluded ! In the Summer 2009 BBHA newsletter, wehis ushering career with the Bosox with the final told the tale of how a Boston Braves autographedtwo games of the 1975 World Series that included baseball found its way to Australia. The ball hadthe iconic Carlton Fisk extra inning game winning been brought Down Under by Bravesʼ farmhomer of off what is now the “Fisk Pole.” Rocci director Harry Jenkins. The family that receivedmaintained friendships with a number of Sox the ball from him contacted us through ourplayers including Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky website to learn more about the players who hadand Bill Monbouquette. We suspect that Al signed the souvenir. They had become closeRocci holds the similar title for the Boston Braves friends of Jenkins through our Aussie inquirerʼsand we salute him and thank him for his years of mother who had become godmother to Jenkinʼsloyalty to the BBHA. son, Coleman. Despite several attempts over the years, the family had been unable to get in touch! BBHA member Gary Caruso kindly with Harry Jenkinsʻ offspring.informed us that Lou Burdetteʼs grandson, NolanFontana was the 61st overall pick in this yearʼs ! Vacationing in Australia, your editor metFirst Year Player Draft. The University of Florida the family and was presented with the baseball asshortstop was the first selection in the second a donation to the BBHA. That seemed to be theround by the Houston Astros. As we all know, Lou end of the story until we recently received an(his preferred first name spelling) Burdette came email via our website from Hugh Jenkins, ato the Boston Braves in a deal that sent Johnny grandson of Harryʼs. He discovered our story onSain to the Yankees in 1951. Grandpa Burdette his grandfather while exploring the internet. Hugh informed us that Coleman was alive and well and 10
  • 11. welcomed the chance to get in contact with his reminisces and new discoveries to fill the pageslong lost godmother and her family. Weʼve of the newsletter. This has been the case since Iprovided contact information to all parties and took over the editorship of the publication in thehope that weʼve facilitated a happy reunion. fall of 1993. In addition to the newsletter, we haveThus, another chapter has been added to saga of an informative website, an active Facebook pagea baseball that traveled from Boston to Australia and an eNewsletter. Please also take advantageand back! of these offerings to enhance your membership enjoyment. Contact me to be added to our! Byron Magrane, our webmaster, has eNewsletter email list. Itʼs free to members! Bobconstructed a simplified address to access our Brady, BBHA Newsletter Editor, 25 McAndrewFacebook page. This shortcut was needed Road, Braintree, MA 02184-8245because the original was long and complex. Toget to the page, enter http://tinurl.com/BBHAFB.If already registered with Facebook, you can alsofind our site by using the Facebook searchfeature.! Thanks to longtime loyal member JohnMaterazzo, we now have two new BBHAers withties to the Boston Braves. John enrolled twobrothers, Lenahan and Diarmuid OʼConnell. Hehad been introduced to them by Lenahanʼs son,Brendan. The brothersʼ father, JosephOʼConnell owned shares in the team going backto the Fuchs days. Lenahan once was a nextdoor neighbor to the Judge. When JosephOʼConnell passed away in 1942, he willed hisstock holdings to Diarmuid and his sister. Theyheld on to their Tribe securities even as the ThreeLittle Steam Shovels consolidated their ownershipposition. Finally, in late 1952, Lou Perini and hisbrothers, through the Perini & Sons company,obtained the right to buy out the remaining eightminority stockholders who held approximately45% of the club. The OʼConnell siblings werereluctant to the end but eventually handed overtheir Class A and Class B stock for an aggregate$12,000. The Perini-led transaction alsoeliminated the interests of C. Joseph Maney,Leon and Joseph Rugo, Frank McCourt , JayCole, the estate of former MassachusettsGovernor Frank Allen and Daniel Marr.Welcome aboard, gentlemen!! On September 15, 1948, the great uncleof John Manning shot a color home movie atBraves Field of the Braves-Cubs game. Manningrecently has digitized the film and placed it onYouTube. While grainy and dark in spots, you canmake out Johnny Sain and Tommy Holmes aswell as Warren Spahn on the mound. Thescoreboard and outfield signs appear in gloriouscolor. Youʼll even see a shot of locomotive smokefrom the rail yard wafting in the outfieldʼsbackground. The clip is embedded at the 5minute mark of a family home movie. You canfast forward to that point. Manningʼs home moviecan be found at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MAy5N6qOsE&feature=plcp The gameaccount can be accessed at: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1948/B09150BSN1948.htm Last of the Ninth" Despite the absence of our hometownNational League club for the past sixty years, Istill have no trouble finding interesting tales, 11