Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Watching the 1925 World Series

Tonight is the first game of the 2015 World Series.  Many of us are watching the television or an app on our phone to follow the game.

90 years ago in Knoxville people thronged to So. Gay Street to keep up with the action.

1925 World Series baseball game reported at the Knoxville Sentinel
part of the Calvin M. McClung Digital Collection
In October of 1925 the Pirates and the Senators battled it out over seven games.  Knoxvillians seemed to be very interested in the results.

I don't know if that is a PlayOGraph scoreboard, but it was on the front of a building on the NW corner of South Gay and Main streets.

The Auto Tire Co.? That was actually the Tinsley Tire Co.

Knoxville, Tennessee, City Directory, 1925
U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Knoxville, Tennessee, City Directory, 1925
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

So let's look at some maps to see where Tinsley Tire Co. was located.
from AmericanRoads.us

Zooming in a bit, I've added a bit of Google Maps.  This is just south of the Bijou Theatre.
from AmericanRoads.us
And this is what that corner looks like today.

Google Maps

Times have changed.

The Pirates won the 1925 Series.

Monday, September 21, 2015

1925 Knoxville Colored High School baseball team

I was able to make a return trip to the Beck Cultural Exchange Center on Saturday afternoon. I was seeking baseball info from African-American newspapers that they have in their collection.  They're currently undergoing some rearranging and that resource wasn't available to me.  So I turned to their local yearbooks.

Knoxville Colored High School was formed in 1916.  Robert Booker wrote about the history of the Austin schools in a Knoxville News Sentinel column in 2009.

This team photo came from The Echo (vol. III), the KCHS yearbook of 1926.

I think that the coach, O. C. Twyner, was Olger Conelius Twyner.  I have found him in the both the 1927 and 1928 Knoxville City Directories.
1927 - Twyner, Olger C (c) (Mary H) sec-genl mgr Western Heights Merc Co  r 1817 College
1928 - Twyner, Olger C (c) (Mary H) tchr r 1817 College
That address today is at College and Jourolman, just north of Knoxville College.

Below is his draft registration card for World War One.

 Description: Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: St Clair; Roll: 1613396; Draft Board: 3
Description: Draft Card: T

Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.

Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls.
Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.
Searching through the public family trees at Ancestry, it appears that Coach Twyner passed away in May of 1975.

I'm assuming that Greeneville College is somehow associated with Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee.  Nelson Merry College, an African-American school, was located in Jefferson City, Tennessee.  Walnut Hill High?  There is a Walnut Hill in Sullivan County, Tennessee.  There was a Langston High School located in Johnson City.

baseball images from the Beck Cultural Exchange Center

Sunday, September 6, 2015

East Tennessee SABR Meeting in Bristol

On August 29, 2015, the East Tennessee Chapter of SABR had their summer meeting on August 29, 2015, in Bristol, Virginia.  Lucas Hobbs, the Vice President of Bristol Baseball, Inc., worked with the Bristol Pirates to make our memorable.

Bristol has a varied baseball history.  Some of the highlights are winning the Appalachian League title in 1922, 1942, 1950, 1972, 1974, 1985, 1998, and 2002.  They also had a player named Ron Necciai who struck out 27 batters in a single game.

There were three SABR members in attendance, with two guests.

The meeting started at 6pm, with Jeff Johnson, the Pirates pitching coach, talking with us about his time as a player and then as a coach.  The audio clip can be found on the audio page.  If that doesn't work (and I've been experiencing some issues with it, try this direct link to the mp3 file).

The meeting was cut short as Lucas had duties to attend to and I had the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.  Let's just say it was a bit low and inside.  Or maybe I was channeling what Jeff Johnson said about teaching his pitchers to throw down and tight.

The Pirates were hosting the Pulaski Yankees in the final game of the season at Boyce Cox Field.  The baseball was enjoyable.  One of the guests at the meeting was Tony Hightower, father of the Pirates pitcher Scooter Hightower.  Unfortunately, Scooter got his second loss as a Pirate that evening as they fell to Pulaski 6-1 (box score).

The night was beautiful.  The following is an untouched photo from my cell phone.

Marshall Adesman and I sat in the reserved seats on the first base side and spent most of the game talking baseball and swapping stories.  We ended up running into Lee Landers, president of the Appalachian League.  More swapping of stories.

All in all, a nice night.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Base Ball Park, Knoxville, Tenn.

Over the years I've had the pleasure and privilege of meeting people involved with, or interested in baseball in east Tennessee.  One of those is Walter "Hawkeye" Bates.  I met Hawkeye through his involvement with the Knoxville Holstons Vintage Base Ball Club.  He's a member and I'm a fan.  Several months ago he mentioned to me that he had a photo/postcard of an old baseball ground in Knoxville.  My interest was immediately piqued.

We talked about it off and on through the summer and he finally got tired of me pestering him and sent a photo my way.

I looked through my reference notes and by the date that Hawkeye shares this would most likely be Chilhowee Park Base Ball Park.

I did see a listing on ebay for this postcard and a date of 1913 was attached.  I don't know if that was the date that the postcard was mailed or if there's some other info that indicates that this park was in use that year.  If it does depict a park in 1913 that might have been Caswell Park.

Thanks for sharing this, Hawkeye.  Keep your willow supple.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Wonder how this worked out...

We've all wondered what the skipper and the ump are actually saying when they get together and express their displeasure for a call or each other. 

Athletes and coaches are "mic-ed up" in current sporting events, why not do it 57 years ago?
The Sporting News - April 30, 1958
Well, as the photo caption says, the placing of the microphone enabled "...fans to hear the managers and umpires discuss ground rules in pre-game huddles and for the announcing of lineup changes after the game is underway."

I guess they didn't get to hear the juicy stuff.  Unless the coaches were really loud.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Early Standings of the 1902 City League

Following up on the City League of 1902, I next found mention of the league in the paper a few weeks after they started.  Two games each have been played.  And the C.M. McClungs are on top of the standings.

Knoxville Journal and Tribune - July 27, 1902
image from the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection

Constable Doyle, who broke his left arm, was Perez Dickson Doyle.  He appears in the 1903 Knoxville City Directory.

Knoxville, Tennessee, City Directory, 1903
Ancestry.comU.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. 
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Perez Doyle was born in 1872, being 30 years old when he managed the South Knoxville team.  According to his death certificate he died of "cancer of stomach" in 1939.  He's buried in the New Prospect Presbyterian Church cemetery just off of Sevierville Pike, behind Chapman Ford Crossing in south Knoxville.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Singleton's Tigers Win

113 years ago today John Singleton's Tigers played the colored team from Chattanooga at Baldwin park and beat them 9-5.  Another game was scheduled for the 25th.

Knoxville Journal and Tribune - July 25, 1902
image from the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection
Baseball between colored teams was not uncommon in and around Knoxville at this time.  But who was John Singleton?  In the 1900 US Census there's a John Singleton who was 28.  No occupation is listed for him.

In 1910 we find a John Singleton who is now 38.  He's a city policeman, married with a daughter.  Ten years later he's 48 and a city detective. 

Chicago's Broad Ax, a black paper, carried the story of his appointment.

The Broad Ax (Chicago, IL) - April 28, 1917
image from GenealogyBank.com

I think that John Singleton the policeman/detective was also the John Singleton that ran a baseball team in 1902.