Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Canadians in the Majors: Jack Graney

 Hello Friends!

I'm back today with another installment of Canadians in the Major Leagues, this time focusing on former Cleveland Naps/Indians player Jack Graney (Not calling it Guardians, since he wasn't around under that name) 

Jack Graney was born June 10, 1886 in St. Thomas Ontario. 

Here is a visual of where St. Thomas is. It's west of Hamilton, south of London. There black square is the location. 

He was recommended to the Cubs by another Canadian, Bob Emslie. He spent one year in the Cubs organization, then was sold to Cleveland. He started his Major League career as a pitcher, but was sent to Portland for more seasoning. When he returned to Cleveland, he was an outfielder, based on the distrust of the front office of Graney being able to control his pitches enough for Major League hitting. 

He was the first batter to face Babe Ruth in a MLB game. He also was the roommate of Ray Chapman, the shortstop who died as a result of a bean ball by Carl Mays. 

He spent his entire Major League Baseball career with the Indians, retiring in 1922. 
Overall, he hit .250, with 18 home runs and 420 RBI

After retiring, he moved to the broadcast booth, calling games for the Indians on the radio. He was the first to do so. (So I guess we can thank/curse him for the trend....) He also did the national broadcast of the 1935 World Series and called games for the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League.

Jack Graney was the first to face Babe Ruth when he was a pitcher
The first to wear a uniform number to bat. 
The first to transition from playing to broadcasting.
Led the league in walks twice
Led the league in doubles
Inducted to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. 
Inducted into the Cleveland Indians Distinguished Hall of Fame for non-uniformed Personnel
Won the 2021 Ford C Frick award. 

In 1987 the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame created an award to celebrate journalists who made a significant contribution to spreading baseball in Canada. 

Jack Graney passed away in 1978 at the age of 91 in Louisiana, Missouri. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Stadium Series: Robison Field

 Hello Friends!

I don't know why this one came to mind but it's been rattling around for a couple weeks. 

I want to talk about one of the early homes for the St. Louis Cardinals, Robison Field. Now, this one doesn't have cards manufactured of it, so I'll be using some old photos only.. 

Now.. Robison Field was just one of several names given to the park. It was known as "New" Sportsman's Park (1893-1899) League Park (1899-1911) and Cardinal Park (1917-1920)

Prior to Robison field, the American Association Browns played at Sportsman's Park at the corner of Grand and Dodier. Once absorbed into the National League, Chris von der Ahe moved the team to the corner of Natural Bridge Ave and Vandeventer Ave. This move was part of a deal made with a trolley company that operated nearby. 

Along with the grandstands, an amusement park and beer garden were built alongside the ballpark. The teams were generally not good, as von der Ahe would sell his best players to keep the team afloat. 

In 1898, a fire started from a lit cigar and burned the structure. Overnight repairs allowed the game the next day to take place. 
In 1899, von der Ahe sold the team to Frank and Stanley Robison. They changed the identity of the team, first by dropping the Browns name, and changing the solour scheme to cardinal red. 

Part of what allowed the Cardinals to improve as a result of the Robison ownership was they also owned the Cleveland Spiders. They moved the best players from Cleveland to St. Louis. 

The early days being what they were, when the league contracted, the Perfectos as they were known, fell to the bottom of the league again. 

Fires also played a heavy role in the history of the time. In 1901, a fire underneath the stands consumed the park in 30 minutes. After finding the "Old" Sportsman's Park inadequate, the team spent a month on the road while a new stadium was built. 

When the Robisons passed, Frank's daughter Helene inherited the team. She sold her interest in 1917. 

By 1920, the owners of the Cardinals were tired of the wooden park, finding it inadequate for Major League Baseball purposes. They ended up moving the Cardinals into a rebuilt "Old" Sportsman's Park, owned by the AL Browns. 

Robison Field was the last park in MLB that was primarily constructed of wood. The grounds of Robison Field became Beaumont High School in 1926, and educated citizend of St Louis until 2014. 

So Who used this Park??

The St Louis Cardinals from 1893-1920
Columbus Club (St Louis Soccer League) 1913-1915

I find it interesting that St Louis has really used what amounts to three names for their stadia.. 
Sportsman's Park for multiple parks.
Busch Stadium for multiple. (The naming of Busch is interesting)
Robison Field.. 

The next one I do might just be staying in St Louis, looking at Sportsman's Park. 

Monday, January 8, 2024

A Couple Cards from Johnny

 Hello Friends!

I realize I haven't written anything so far this year. I've been still up and down mentally and a few days physically. 

However.. I want to show a couple cards I received from Johnny at Johnny's Trading Spot.

First is a card I claimed in his giveaways. Tristan is Dalton Pompey's brother. Unlike Dalton, Tristan never got a taste of the Majors. According to Baseball Reference, he last played in 2022, splitting between Quebec of the Frontier League and Winnipeg of the American Association. 
He played last season in the Intercounty Baseball League. 

There was also this very shiny Vlad Jr. Of course, being a Chrome/Prizm/whatever, it's got a little bend to it, but oh well.. Still a card I didn't have. 

I haven't forgotten, Johnny.. I will have those 90 OPCs out for you.