Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earl Baxter Williams - the college years

Earl Baxter Williams was born January 27, 1903, in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee.  He attended Maryville College and went on to a seven season minor league career.  He made it to the majors, playing three games with the Boston Braves in 1928.  He and his brother, Roger, were associated with WNOX, an early radio station in Knoxville.

Digging through the Chilhowean yearbooks from Maryville College I've pulled out some photos of Baxter, as he was known.
UPDATE: April 23, 2014 - I shared this post with Mark Fimoff, co-chairman of the SABR Pictorial Committee.  I'm adding his comments in red in the captions of the photos.

1921 Maryville College baseball team
1922 Chilhowean (page 127)
Close up of Baxter Williams
1921 Maryville College Baseball Team
(images straightened and background filled in)

1922 Maryville College baseball team
1923 Chilhowean (page 150)
Close up of Baxter Williams
1922 Maryville College Baseball Team
is likely a different person than the 1922 Baseball Team Portrait (B. Williams)

1923 Maryville College baseball team
1924 Chilhowean (page 171)
Close up of Baxter Williams
1923 Maryville College Baseball Team
is for sure a different person than the 1922 Baseball Team Portrait (B. Williams)
Baxter was a multi sport athlete.  He hurt his ankle and sat out a few games of football.
1924 Chilhowean (page 160)
the same person as the 1922 Baseball Team Portrait (B. Williams)

1923 Maryville College track team
1924 Chilhowean (page 173)
Close up of Baxter Williams
1923 Maryville College Track Team
In the 1924 Chilhowean he is listed as a member of the Glee Club and also of the M Club (letterman's club)

1924 Maryville College baseball team
1925 Chilhowean (page 133)
Close up of Baxter Williams
1924 Maryville College Baseball Team
is yet another person, he may be a match to R. Williams in the 1922 Team photo but I'm not at all sure of that
UPDATE continued: Taking a look with fresh eyes, I'd agree that the final photos (1924 MC Baseball Team) are not of Baxter Williams.  Perhaps the photo was taken after Baxter went to the Knoxville Pioneers.  It has a resemblance of his brother, Roger Williams from the first photo.  There are more people in the 1923 Team photo than have names listed.  Perhaps Baxter is dead center in front of the brick wall.  I still see Baxter Williams in the 1922 Team photo.  I'll try to isolate and group the closeups for easier comparison. - Mark


The student newspaper reports that Baxter didn't complete the last two games of the 1924 season because he had signed with the (Knoxville) Pioneers.

The Highland Echo
June 4, 1924

all images from archive.org

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Group in Knoxville Takes Over Franchise in Mt. States

The Sporting News - June 10, 1953

And from the same paper...
The Sporting News - June 10, 1953

Monday, April 14, 2014

Giants Quit Knoxville Baseball Club Support


Omaha World Herald - January 21, 1953
1953 would be a tough season for the Smokies.  The Giants left them.  They took in the Tugerson brothers.  Smithson Stadium would be torn down and the team relocated to Chapman Highway Park.  By the end of the season they would be crowned champions of the Class D Mountain States League.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mr. Williams comes to Knoxville

In the spring of 1947 the major league teams were breaking camp at spring training and headed back to their cities in the north.  Along the way they would play exhibition games, probably to get a few more swings in and to give the locals a chance to see some real big leaguers.  The Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Red Sox came to Knoxville and played a game on Tuesday, April 8, 1947.

Greensboro Record - April 8, 1947

They met at Caswell Park, with the left field wall being just 339 feet and the right field wall being at 331 feet.  Ted says in the following article, "Boy, oh, boy, will I be glad to see those babies!"

Knoxville News Sentinel - April 7, 1947
The story after the game shows that Ted and Company didn't come through as expected.

Knoxville News Sentinel - April 8, 1947

Former Knoxville Smoky Eddie Lukon was playing for the Reds.  This was the last year for "Mongoose" in the majors.  He moved out to California to play for the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League in 1948.  Eddie played with the Smokies in the Southern Association, batting .315 and hitting 35 Home Runs over two seasons (1941-42).  He roamed the outfield for the Reds for a few seasons (1941, 45-47).

Knoxville News Sentinel - April 8, 1947
Ted, despite having breakfast at the Andrew Johnson Hotel in Knoxville, wasn't able to put the ball out of the park.
Knoxville News Sentinel - April 8, 1947

For those of you that like to see a box score, here you go.
The Boston Herald - April 9, 1947

The Sporting News was a weekly so they've recapped some of the games on the trip north.

The Sporting News - April 16, 1947

Because this was just such a great shot I had to isolate it.  Drink up, kids.  Make sure it is orange juice.

Knoxville News Sentinel - April 7, 1947
I'd like to thank fellow SABR member Brad Ridenour for finding the Knoxville News Sentinel articles and sharing them with me.  The Boston Herald and Greensboro Record articles came from GenealogyBank.com.  The Sporting News article came from PaperOfRecord.com through SABR.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

In The Good Old Days

Adam Alfrey gave a talk today at the East Tennessee Historical Society.  Adam is the Operations Manager and Curator, East Tennessee History Center, Knox County Public Library.   He spoke on Base Ball in Knoxville in 1867.  He had some wonderful supporting articles from local papers.  I need to ask him for his notes so I can clarify some things in my mind.  I learned a lot today.

Here's an article from 1895 that looks back on the early days of ball.

Knoxville Daily Journal - July 23, 1895

image from GenealogyBank.com

Monday, April 7, 2014