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