Thursday, March 30, 2017

Babe Ruth in Knoxville

Yesterday the Knoxville Mercury posted a list of "100 Things You Don't Know* About Knoxville".

There were three items about baseball.

Part of Jack Neely's list included:
19. Knoxville was primarily a baseball town decades before football became popular. Downtown businesses sometimes closed on baseball game days.
36. Knoxville had baseball about 25 years before it had football. It had bowling at least 10 years before it had baseball.
Part of Mike Donila's list included:
78. Babe Ruth played at the old Bill Meyer Stadium (though it wasn’t called that at the time). Big leaguers used to play exhibition games when they traveled by train from city to city between series. Ruth also played in the Appalachian League in Asheville when he was coming up in the farm system.
Jack had written about these before.  I not familiar with Mike Donila but I'd like to address #78.

Babe Ruth did come to Knoxville in April of 1924.  The Yankees played the Brooklyn Robins.  The previous day the teams tangled with the Yankees coming out on top, 17-4.  They also won the Tuesday game, 19-12.  I wrote about these games previously.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel - April 9, 1924
The games were played at Caswell Park.  Bill Meyer Stadium, previously Municipal Stadium, was not named until 1957, almost nine years after Babe Ruth died.

These type of exhibition games were often played by the major league teams as they left spring training on their way back to open the season.

I can find no evidence that Ruth played for the Asheville Moonshiners of the Appalachian League.  The Moonshiners were only in the Appy League in the 1911 and 1912 seasons.

Ruth was scheduled to play with the Yankees in Asheville in April of 1925.  This story is known as "The Bellyache Heard 'Round the World".   He hit a home run against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Knoxville on April 6th, before taking the train towards Asheville.

Ruth started his professional baseball career playing for the Baltimore Orioles of the International League in 1914 before ascending to the majors to play with the Boston Red Sox of the American League in July that same year.  A month later he was with the Providence Grays of the International League.  In early October he was back with Boston.

Not only did Ruth smack two dingers while he was in Knoxville, he also opened the Knoxville News Marble Tournament.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel - April 9, 1924

So, yes, Ruth did play in Knoxville.  The rest you can take with a grain or two of salt.  Please consult your doctor before doing so.


images from the Knox County Library historical newspaper archives

Friday, March 17, 2017

Knoxville vs. Maysville - 1897

The Knoxville Indians were part of the Southeastern League in 1897.   They also played outside that league.  One of their rivals in the last part of the nineteenth century was Maysville, Kentucky.

The Evening Bulletin (Maysville, Kentucky) - July 14, 1897

The Evening Bulletin (Maysville, Kentucky) - July 22, 1897

The Evening Bulletin (Maysville, Kentucky - July 23, 1897

Daily Public Ledger (Maysville, Kentucky) - July 23, 1897

Daily Public Ledger (Maysville, Kentucky) - July 24, 1897

Daily Public Ledger (Maysville, Kentucky) - August 2, 1897

In these four recorded games, the Knoxville team was 3-1.  Frank Moffett was at the helm of the Knoxville team.

I'm not quite sure what a Kalsomizing was, but I did find it mentioned in an 1868 ad from Springfield, Missouri.

Springfield Leader - September 3, 1868


The Evening Bulletin and Daily Public Ledger from Chronicling America

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Little Smokies of the News-Sentinel Midget League No. 1

The Knoxville News-Sentinel - August 26, 1934

The "Little Smokies" shown above have a much better record for the season than their professional namesakes.

How true.  Here's the final standings for the Southern League published in September of that year.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel - September 17, 1934.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tin Wedding and Reunion - a look back at the Reckless club of Maryville College


scorecard between the Reckless club and the Crooked Creek club, late 1870s
Original scorecard held at Maryville College Archives

This scorecard from a game between the Reckless club and the Crooked Creek club caused me to do a bit more research.

The first mention of the Reckless club was in the Maryville College student newspaper in 1876.

I found an article in the February 11, 1920 edition of The Maryville Times that looked back at an article from The Times of 1891.  In that article Mr. John A. Goddard looks back at the original Reckless club of Maryville College.  Several of the men mentioned in the article are in the scorecard.

The Maryville Times - February 11, 1920

Friday, February 17, 2017

Move over Centennials, it is now the King Club


I was tipped off to this club by rereading Ronald R. Allen's Same Old Smokies.  He references an article in the Chronicle.  I found an article in The Morristown Gazette that has the same story.

The Morristown Gazette - June 14, 1876

O.C. King is Oliver Caswell King, eldest son of Leander Montgomery King and Penelope Louisa Massengill King.  O.C. is listed as a lawyer in the 1880 U.S. Census for Morristown, Hamblen County, Tennessee.


Whitesburg is an unincorporated town about 10 miles NE from Morristown, if you follow US 11E.

W.S. Kyle, Umpire, was probably William S. Kyle, listed as an attorney at law, living in Whitesburg in the 1880 U.S. Census for Whitesburg, Hamblen County, Tennessee.


Now, if the modern day Holstons could just find a "genial and liberal townsman".

For more on O.C. King, visit the Tennessee Virtual Archive of the Oliver Caswell King and Katherine Rutledge King Papers Collection or see the Collection Overview.

Friday, November 11, 2016

McGlothin keeps Williams hitless in 7 plate appearances

Ezra "Pat" McGlothin, Knoxville lad, spent time at the University of Tennessee and then in the low minors before he was in the Navy.

As a recreational specialist and morale booster he played for the Corpus Christi Naval Training Base All-Stars.  LT Ted Williams and his Pensacola Naval Training Base All-Stars played the Corpus Christi team.  And lost.

McGlothin struck Ted out once and held him hitless in 7 plate appearances.  Pat went 3 for 8 himself and drove in the winning run.  In the 19th inning.

The Sporting News - October 12, 1944

The Sporting News - October 26, 1944
After the war he spent a few more years in the minors and finally made it to the Dodgers in 1949.  He pitched in 7 games that year and just 1 the following season.  A few more years in the minors and then he managed the Smokies in 1954.

After baseball he ran a successful insurance company in Knoxville.  When I spoke with Pat in 2012 he was very proud of that day in September, 1944.

Pat passed away in 2014 in Knoxville.

I thank him, and other veterans, for his service to our great country.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Knoxville Municipal Stadium Opens

The Knoxville News-Sentinel - April 22, 1954


The Knoxville News-Sentinel - April 22, 1954

The Smokies fell to the Rock Hill Chiefs, 7-4.