Thursday, December 4, 2014

UT's 1911 season brings a new coach

According to the University of Tennessee's Baseball Record Book the coach of the 1911 team was Z. G. Clevenger.
2014 University of Tennessee Record Book
There's even a nice narrative about him.

2014 University of Tennessee Record Book - page 98

But it isn't quite true.  Zora G. Clevenger came to UT from Nebraska Wesleyan University.   But he arrived in Knoxville after the 1911 baseball season.  I spoke with Alex Linden, Sports Information Director at Nebraska Wesleyan University, who confirmed that Clevenger was coaching the baseball team in Lincoln, Nebraska, during the 1911 season.

So, if not Clevenger, who was coaching the Volunteers?  It appears that it was Andrew Alexis Stone.

1911 Volunteer

So, the 1911 season results in the Record Book should look something like this:

Please note, this new info has not been verified or approved by the University of Tennessee, hence the overlay.

But, since I'm playing "let's rewrite the record book",  here's what Clevenger's new mini coaching bio would look like:

In addition to updating his stats I've used a more contemporary picture that I found at They picked it up from the National Football Foundation website.

This post focuses on the coach of the 1911 team, not the games played.  But setting up for a future post, UT's first game was against Mooney.  That would be Mooney School.  Or Mooney's School.  We now call it Battle Ground Academy, based in Franklin, Tennessee.  It was a college prep school.  A high school.  Yes, it was an opponent, but should high school games be included in the official records? 

UT played Murphy College in 1908 and 1916.  In a post about the 1908 games I wrote:
...they [UT] should footnote the wins as being against a High School.
I supported it then and support it now.

Prince Henry

The Advance-News - January 6, 1937

Henry Kawaihoa Oana, also known as Prince Oana, played ball in Knoxville for a partial season (1937) before going to Little Rock, also of the Southern Association.  He eventually made it to the Majors in 1943 and 1945, pitching for the Detroit Tigers.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

UT's 1910 series against Kentucky

Moving on to the University of Tennessee's 1910 series against the University of Kentucky I run into issues right at the start. According to the results of the season, UT played Kentucky State six times over two weekends.  That isn't typical scheduling.

2014 UT Record Book
The UT yearbook starts to sort out some of the confusion.  We learned from the last post that KSU became UK.

1910 Volunteer

Central of Kentucky became Eastern Kentucky, but I don't see any mention of the 1910 season games.
2014 UT Record Book

Let's look at the 1910 UK schedule and results to verify schools and dates.

2014 UK Baseball Media Guide

The 1911 UK yearbook supports the scores and dates in their media guide.

1911 The Kentuckian

Well, the dates and score match up between UT and UK baseball media guides.  What do the newspapers of the day say?

Dallas Morning News - April 23, 1910

Dallas Morning News - April 24, 1910
So the scores reported in the Dallas Morning News are:
  • April 22, 1910, at Knoxville - UT 5, KSU 4
  • April 23, 1910, at Knoxville - UT 5, KSU 1
  • April 23, 1910, at Knoxville - UT 4, KSU 6
Compared to the media guides, the W-L is correct, as are the scores of the final two games of the series.  The score of the first game does not match the media guides which list it as a UT win, 15-12.

Ah, wait.  Let me check another newspaper.

The Paducah Evening Sun - April 23, 1910
I guess the game score was 15-12.

Turning to Central of Kentucky and the games that next week.

Dallas Morning News - April 30, 1910

Beaumont Enterprise - May 1, 1910

Here the scores are:
  • April 29, 1910, at Knoxville - UT 5, Central 0
  • April 30, 1910 - UT 4, Central 3
  • April 30, 1910 - UT 9, Central 6
And in UT's Record Book:
  • April 29, 1910 - UT 5, Central 0
  • April 30, 1910 - UT 9, Central 6
  • April 30, 1910 - UT 4, Central 3

The UT Record Book has games 1 and 2 of the second day reversed, but the scores match up.  Eastern Kentucky University (formerly Central University of Kentucky) does not yet have this season listed in their media guide.

My opinion is that the first three games attributed to Kentucky State (4/22 and 4/23) should be placed under the University of Kentucky group, and the second three games attributed to Kentucky State (4/29 and 4/30) should be placed under the Eastern Kentucky group.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

UT's 1909 series against Kentucky

Last year I was having an email conversation with Brian Bruce, then Assistant Director for Media Relations at the University of Tennessee.  He said that there was a discrepancy in the series history between UT and the University of Kentucky.

I took a look, and yes, things aren't quite right.

UK has a total of 299 games being played from 1909 to 2013.

2014 University of Kentucky Media Guide

UT has a total of 284 games being played from 1915 to 2013.

2014 University of Tennessee Record Book

That's a difference of 15 total games.

Looking through UT's Record Book I see where some of the confusion might come in to play.  Maybe one of the schools had confused the school name.  It could happen. 

UT has a total of 25 games being played against the Kentucky State Thorobreds. 

2014 University of Tennessee Record Book
Wondering if any of the dates lined up from Kentucky State to UK, I looked at UK's 1909 season.

2014 University of Kentucky Media Guide
And then compared that to UT's 1909 season.

2014 University of Tennessee Record Book
Two of the dates are on, but UT lists three games against Kentucky State.  How about the scores?  Only one of them matches.

So, I turned to the school's yearbooks.  The following came from the 1910 UK yearbook, but shows the scores for the 1909 season. 

1910 The Kentuckian
KSU played Tennessee 3 times. 
  • KSU 1, Tennessee  11
  • KSU 4, Tennessee  11
  • KSU 1, Tennessee  7
Those sort of match what UT reports for their games against KSU.

1909 Volunteer
UT doesn't have scores listed in their yearbook, but  it does show the dates.  The game dates are around the dates reported in the media guides, but they don't exactly line up.

For more help I turned to some contemporary newspapers via

Rain out on Thursday, May 20, 1909.

Lexington Herald - May 21, 1909
Based on

Denver Post - May 22, 1909

Based on the previous article, it would appear that there was one game played on Friday and that Tennessee won it 11-4.

Lexington Herald - May 23, 1909
Then a doubleheader was played on Saturday, May 22.  Tennessee won both of those, but was were the scores?  6-1 in the first game and then 9-1 in the second game.

But wait.  There's more.  Probably a wire service provided the following:

Dallas Morning News - May 23, 1909
First game 6-1 and then 13-2 in the second game.

Now my head hurts.  Many sources and many different dates and scores.   The common thread is that UT won all the games and that they were played in Knoxville.

UK Media guide:  UT wins two games, both played on May 22, 1909.
  • 6-1
  • 9-4
UK 1910 Yearbook (1909 Season): UT wins three games:
  • 11-1
  • 11-4
  • 7-1
UT Record Book: UT wins three games - one on May 21, and two on May 22, 1909:
  • 11-4
  • 6-1
  • 12-1
Denver Post: UT wins one game
  • 11-4
Lexington Herald: UT wins two games on May 22, 1909
  • 6-1
  • 9-1
Dallas Morning News: UT wins two games
  • 6-1
  • 13-2
How do I interpret these tea leaves?  Based on the above info, I'd break it down like this:

the 11-4 win seems reliable and it was probably played on Friday, May 21, 1909.

The first game of the double header was won 6-1 and those games were played on Saturday, May 22, 1909.  The second game was won by UT, but what was the score?  More research is needed, probably looking at Knoxville newspapers as well as any other UT publications.

UPDATE: I have researched the local papers and present the results here.

Some of my readers might be saying at this point, "Are you nuts?  You haven't really  addressed the fact that there are two different school names being tossed about, KSU and UK."  Here goes...

From the UK webpage about the history of the school
The University of Kentucky was established by the state of Kentucky in 1865 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of the Kentucky University. The Kentucky University had been established in Harrodsburg in 1858 and in 1865 merged with Transylvania University, which was established in Lexington in 1783. ... In 1878 the state separated the Agricultural and Mechanical College from Kentucky University and the next year established the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky. ... The College was renamed State University, Lexington, Kentucky in 1908 (and Kentucky University reverted to the name Transylvania University to prevent confusion). Six years later, in 1916, the State University was renamed the University of Kentucky. ... Since at least the early part of the twentieth century the University’s athletic teams have been known as the Wildcats.

The University of Kentucky, during the 1909 season, was known as Kentucky State University.

It is my opinion that the the UT Record Book should transfer the KSU games from the 1909 season to UK.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Athletics and the Lone Stars

This is the first mention of two colored base ball clubs in Knoxville.

Knoxville Daily Chronicle - July 16, 1879

Also from the same page of the newspaper, this ad from Ramage & Co.

The next day's edition gave us the results.

Knoxville Daily Chronicle - July 17, 1879

images from The Library of Congress's site: Chronicling America

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Alf Rossi - Pitcher and Veteran

Alfred M. Rossi. Pitcher for Chattanooga, Charlotte, Knoxville, and Richmond over six seasons, finishing with a 73-62 record and a 3.85 ERA.

More important than his baseball journey was his service to his country.  He served in World War II with the U.S. Coast Guard.  Thank you, Mr. Rossi, and all those that are veterans, past and present.

Trenton Evening News - March 11, 1947

image from

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pat McGlothin

Ezra "Pat" McGlothin, passed away in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Friday, October 24, 2104. 

He pitched in relief eight times for the Brooklyn Dodgers, seven of them in 1949, and the final time the following season.  Previously he played for Elizabethon, Mobile, St. Paul, Montreal.  He also played for Ft. Worth, Knoxville, and Birmingham, along with some time playing ball in Cuba.
The Sporting News - May 12, 1948

He was a local man, attending and playing for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville for a few season.  In 1954 he was a player-manager for the Smokies, pitching in 11 games, ending up with a 2-1 record that season.

The Stars and Stripes - January 28, 1954

Pat's obituary can be found here.

I was fortunate to interview Pat in 2012 and had the opportunity to spend some time with him on other occasions.  He was a good man and will be missed by family, friends, and fans.

My thanks to fellow researcher Bryan Steverson for pointing me to The Sporting News article.

image of The Sporting News article from
image of The Stars and Stripes article from

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tommie Griffin, 1911 Mobile Dixie Star

Through the wonders of facebook I've been following Negro League author Phil S. Dixon's 90 city tour as he's been talking about the history of the Kansas City Monarchs around the country.

It made me wonder if the Monarchs had ever visited Knoxville.  Nothing turned up but I did find a bit of a connection.  In 1911 the Kansas City Royal Giants did play the Mobile Dixie Stars.

From this article in the Indianapolis based Freeman, it would appear that more than one player on the Dixie Stars team was from Knoxville.

The Freeman - March 25, 1911
On the same page of that paper another article lists the players.  Tommie Griffins, of Knoxville, Tenn., is listed as the shortstop.

The Freeman - March 25, 1911

Who was this Tommie Griffins?  The 1910 US Census shows a Thomas Griffin living in Knoxville.  His occupation is Ball player for a Professional Team.

Source Citation:
Year: 1910; Census Place: Knoxville Ward 7, Knox, Tennessee; Roll: T624_1507;
Page: 21A; Enumeration District: 0090; FHL microfilm: 1375520.
Source Information: 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.
The relevant part:

He was born in South Carolina (as were his parents), in about 1885.  I did not find him in earlier or later census records.

But I did find a Thomas Griffin in the City Directories of Knoxville. 

Source Citation:
Title : Knoxville, Tennessee, City Directory, 1909
Source Information: U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Source Citation:
Title : Knoxville, Tennessee, City Directory, 1910
Source Information: U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Source Citation:
Title : Knoxville, Tennessee, City Directory, 1911
Source Information: U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

So, who is this Tommie Griffin?  Where did he come from and where did he go?  Apparently he was a good enough ball player to catch the attention of William Benbow, leader of the Mobile Dixie Stars.  Could Griffin have been a member of the Coca Cola Stars?

newspaper articles from
census and city directory images from

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dixie Colored Loop

Wyoming State Tribune - April 1, 1920

This article pairs up nicely with the April 7, 1920 article from the New Orleans States.

image from

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Bushel of Errors Made

Knoxville Daily Journal - September 8, 1889

The final score was 9-10 and not an earned run in the game?  Oof.

I also found the last paragraph interesting enough to do a bit more research. I'll have a bit more on the games of 1889 and 1890 between the Reds and the Shamrocks in the coming posts.
images from

Saturday, August 16, 2014

First two games of the 1920 World Series

Here are the box scores for the first two games of the 1920 Negro World Series between Rube Foster's Chicago American Giants and the Knoxville Giants.

The Birmingham Reporter - September 25, 1920

This answers some questions, but raises others.  I guess if "Steel Arm" Dickey was to end his 25 game winning streak, it might as well be to Rube Foster's Chicago American Giants.

Who was C. Williams, pitcher for Chicago in the second game?  Did Chicago need to bring in some ringers like Knoxville did?

A big thank you to Larry Lester, Dick Clark, and Wayne Stivers who provided this image.

Note:  I modified the article by splicing portions of it together (it was spread over two images) and digitally removing many of the microfilm scratches and streaks.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

7,133 Greet New Smokies

The Sporting News - June 27, 1956
The Smokies return to Knoxville after a season and a half.  Here's a simple chronology of the team in the 1950s.

  • In 1952 they were a member of the Tri-State League and played at Smithson Stadium. 
  • In 1953 they were a member of the Mountain States League and played at Chapman Highway Park. 
  • In 1954 they were a member of the Tri-State League and played at Bill Meyer Stadium. 
  • In 1955 there was no minor league team in Knoxville. 
  • In 1956 the club moved to Knoxville from Mobile as part of the South Atlantic League and played at Bill Meyer Stadium.

Friday, July 25, 2014

American Giants Are Champions

Savannah Tribune - September 25, 1920
From this article we see the schedule of the "World Championship":
  • Tuesday, September 21 at Birmingham
  • Wednesday, September 22 at Birmingham
  • Thursday, September 23 at Birmingham
  • Friday, September 24 at Birmingham
  • Saturday, September 25 at New Orleans
  • Sunday, September 26 at New Orleans
  • Monday, September 27 at Birmingham
  • Tuesday, September 28 at Birmingham
  • Wednesday, September 29 at Birmingham
  • Thursday, September 30 at Birmingham
  • Friday, October 1 at Knoxville
  • Saturday, October 2 at Knoxville
  • Sunday, October 3 at Chattanooga
Thirteen straight days of baseball.  No off days for traveling.  Using I've come up with some round distances.  Birmingham to New Orleans is 350 miles.  Birmingham to Knoxville is 260 miles.  Knoxville to Chattanooga is 115 miles.

So, 13 games were scheduled in four cities, which would have entailed about 1,075 miles.

image from