On September 30, 1893, Browns’ second baseman Joe Quinn was honored by The Sporting News as the most popular baseball player in America. That same day, in a doubleheader against the Beaneaters, Quinn collected eight hits, becoming the first player in history to accomplish the feat. The Browns won both games of the doubleheader, 17-6 and 16-4. Quinn, who worked as a mortician during the off season, was inducted into the Australian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.
Considering his reputation for an inflated ego, referring to himself in the third person and the like, Rickey Henderson’s Hall of Fame induction speech is pleasantly humble. He seems genuinely appreciative of the opportunity to join the big names in Cooperstown.
Oh, to be a center fielder, a center fielder – and nothing more.
I stumbled across this image last night of an application submitted in 1903, and apparently approved in 1904, for a patent on a Base Ball Catcher. This contraption appears to have been intended to replace the need for a catcher’s mitt, featuring a square cage mounted to the front of the catcher’s chest protector. I haven’t been able to find much information about this device beyond the drawing, but it appears that the mounted box features two inward-swinging gates (labeled #5 and #6 in the drawing) to allow the ball to enter the box and then get trapped inside. The ball could then be released via the tube below (#10).
An internet search for “James Edward Barnett,” who appears to have been the inventor of this strange piece of equipment, did not yield any further information. I would be curious to learn what Mr. Barnett thought about the practicality of this contraption. Catching high popped foul balls, for example, would prove rather difficult with this, as would throwing out potential base stealers or picking off runners. I suppose a positive would be that, if the catcher is required to always set up the same way, it could potentially remove some uncertainty about the strike zone. On the other hand, wild pitches and passed balls would become quite a nuisance. Furthermore, wearing this thing does not appear very comfortable and, frankly, I’m not sure I would be willing to take a Randy Johnson fastball directly to the chest, no matter how much padding this gadget promises to provide.
The first pinch hit grand slam in American League history was hit by Marty Kavanaugh on September 24, 1916. The second baseman’s historic smash wound up being the difference in the game as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Boston Red Sox, 5-3, in Cleveland.
The box score for the game can be found here.
Happy Friday! Here’s a wonderful Peanuts strip that might give you a chuckle this morning. Based on this, it seems I was using Ken Griffey, Jr.’s glove as a kid. Too bad I don’t still have it; I could’ve sent it back to him.
Baseball endures at least in part because it is a contemplative sport that delights in nuances. Not a brazen game, eager to sell its thrills cheaply, but rather an understated affair that must be courted if it’s to be loved.