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Butler County Baseball Rivals

A Tryout with the Pittsburgh Pirates Chapter Five: From Sandlots to Major League ube [was] corralled for a coming game with Butler, that friends. A Mars lad, on the other hand, could only walk the is as near as Rube could be corralled. Butler fans were streets in Evans City after he made it be known that he was active betters and the [visitors] started a regular pitcher thrown out of his town ... for good. in order to lead on the Butler crowd. It worked. In the What the two towns lacked in size, they more than made up first inning, Butler made one run and then the money came out in for it with their animosity for each other that manifested itself bales. in the form of athletic rivalry. In the third inning, the Rube was sent in to pitch . . . and from that When one team would venture into the other’s territory for a instant on the Butler team contest, it was taunted unmight as well have been at mercifully, tossed endless home. The Butler players jeers, and bombarded with a were breaking their backs barrage of name-calling.    reaching for Rube’s curves or “Each team was constantly jumping back to avoid the on the alert to better its athcannonading. Most of the time letic prowess,” the Pittsburgh they simply could not see the Press later recalled. “Whenball. As Ping Bodie once ever they were pitted against sagely remarked after fanning: each other, a hot game was “How can you hit ‘em when assured. Apparently Mars you can’t see ‘em!” was jealous of any claim to Waddell was hilarious and fame and honor advanced to at the close of the game ofEvans City, and Evans City fered to bet any Butler man was just as envious of Mars.” that he could, at a distance of “The Mars athletic asso60 feet, split a board of the backstop with a baseball. ciation was organized here There were no takers; they last night, with Thomas A. were in a state where they Marshall, president,” the wouldn’t bet on the sunrise. Commercial Gazette an“All right,” shouted Rube, nounced on June 30. J.D. “I’ll do it anyway.” Marshall was the financial He threw the ball and split Rube was pitching great ball for Evans City, shutting out Mars, 11-0. backer of the Mars team, acthe one-inch planking. — cording to the Press, and

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Record-Argus, Greenville.

Clark Culbertson was the man behind Evans City. As the baseball season progressed into mid-summer 1897, the Mars team put out the word in the Pittsburgh Dispatch that it was looking for worthy opponents:

The Three-Cornered League — Butler, Evans City, Mars Near the end of the nineteenth century, the neighboring towns of Mars, Evans City, and Butler were intense baseball competitors and, as such, formed a three-cornered league, mixing it up with professional teams and making it known that the baseball champion of western Pennsylvania would come from within Butler County. Notwithstanding Butler’s participation in the yearly threeteam feud and the fact that baseball had caught the fans in the County Seat by storm, Mars and Evans City were on the jump that year, too, and the prospects for a hot baseball season were never brighter.   Separated only by a narrow dusty road, six miles in length, the residents of the neighboring villages were hostile towards each other since the days of the early oil rush. It was rumored that the only way an Evans City boy could be safe in Mars was to be accompanied by a large group of his By Wm. C. Anderson

The Mars ball team wants games with strong nines. The Mars team is made up of such players as Al Mays, Mitchell,Woodward, ex-Inter-State Leaguer; J. Mays, of last year’s Oil City team; Grant of old Mars team, and the following Grove City and Westminster College players: Marshall and Marshall, Swift, Allen and Phythyon. Games are wanted with P.A.C., C.A.C., Greensburg, Jeanette, Irwin, Oakmont and Junction. Return games will be given all local games played in now. A.A. Park. Address Dr. L.A. Barber, Mars, Pa. — Pittsburg Dispatch, July 22, 1897.

Evans City was building its team, too. Following a drubbing at the hands of Mars on Saturday, July 25, by the score of 8-3, the Evans City managers were actively recruiting players to improve their baseball nine. 31

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Ed Waddell Returns Home to Join Evans City “Ed. Waddell came home from Conneaut, where he had been pitching ball, but has gone to Evans City to help that team for a while,” G.P. Weigle informed his readers in his weekly “Prospect” column. Rube agreed to pitch for a modest sum, and in need of a quality catcher to handle Rube’s curves, Freddie Donovan of the InterState league’s New Castle team was also enticed to join the squad. [Donovan played for several weeks in 1895 for the Cleveland Spiders.] To bolster its weak spots, the managers and Rube raided Butler’s lineup and recruited third baseman Ed Radcliffe and shortstop Charlie Jones.1 Radcliffe and Jones were starters on the Grove City College team. With Waddell, Radcliffe, Jones, and Donovan in the ranks, Evans City had gathered “a bunch of fast ones” and put together the foundation for the best team in the town’s history. On August 2, Mars took the short trip to face Rube Waddell and his new teammates. Rube didn’t disappoint the hometown fans in attendance. He tossed a two-hitter and struck out 12, and along with his teammates’ perfect fielding, handed the Greys their first shut out of the season, 11-0. “The game was witnessed by a large crowd of people, and there was much excitement. The same teams will meet again this week,” the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette relayed the next day.

Farmer Waddell Up Against Butler Rube was pitching notable baseball. Evans City followed up the win with another at Mars on August 7, 7-3. “The Evans City boys came over this afternoon and scored enough runs in the first three innings to win the game. Mars played a nice up-hill game, but could not hit Waddell,” per the Pittsburgh Post. Rube threw a three-hitter and struck out 14 Mars batters. Three days later [August 10], Evans City journeyed to Butler. Even though he pitched well, Rube and his teammates didn’t enjoy the same success that they had against rival Mars.    “Twenty-eight men to the bat and no runs was the awful record made by the Evans City ball club to-day. Farmer Waddell struck out 13 men [and surrendered six hits], but was unable to win the game which was the finest exhibition of ball playing seen on the local grounds this season. [Butler’s] Billy Hodgkinson never pitched better ball, keeping the visitors down to three paltry hits, and struck out seven,” the Commercial Gazette recounted. Hodgkinson, Butler’s star pitcher, in his first game against Rube, warned the big pitcher, “If you hit me with one of your pitches, I’ll throw every pitch at your head.” Rube was given his notice. He did his best not to throw at Hodgkinson or any of his teammates. He kept the ball on the outside of the plate throughout most of the game. Rube pitched Teammate Ed Radcliffe brilliantly, but his wildness cost him a victory. In the eighth inThird baseman, C.E. “Ed” Radcliffe, as did Rube, carried crening, Rube walked the first batdentials as one of western Pennter, and despite the advice from sylvania’s best ball players. Hodgkinson, hit the second, sur“Radcliffe was a fine third rendered a single, and, with the baseman, could hit the ball and help of a “fumbled ball,” lost, 2run the base with any of them, 0. The two teams would meet and it is a wonder that he failed to again the next day, and with no reach the high places in baseball rest, Rube would return to the fame,” the Butler Times later box. commented. “The crack Evans City team Signed by the Pirates earlier in lost the second game to Butler tothe year, Radcliffe chose “not to day. Farmer Waddell was go south with the Pittsburg team, knocked out of the box in the at his own request.” Instead, he fourth inning with four runs and The oil scene in Evans City. entered Grove City College, four hits to his credit.” — Commerwhere he became a full-time student, the newspaper reported in cial Gazette. February. Radcliffe had “asked the club to cancel his contract, as Evans City came back to tie the game in the fifth, but Daniels, it would be impossible for him to play professional ball for a in relief, surrendered one in the eighth and two in the ninth and number of years, and he did not like to feel ‘tied’ all that time.” took the loss, 7-4. Radcliffe would play a major role in the advancement and sucIt was worthy of mention that the Pittsburgh newspaper recess of Rube Waddell. ——— 1. Charles “Charlie” Jones was born in Butler on June 2, 1876, and attended Grove City College. He played six seasons in the major league, 1901 through 1908, with Boston, Chicago,Washington, and St. Louis. By Wm. C. Anderson

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1897 Evans City Baseball Team: (front, l. to r.) Jimmy Brady (captain), Jim Daly, Denny Salmon and Bird Iman. (center) Charlie Jones, Dr. N. A. Dombart, John Daniels, and Ted Radcliffe; (back) Kurt Jones, Orrin ‘Kid’ Williams, Frank Graham (manager), and Rube Waddell. (Photo courtesy of Evans City Area Historical Society.)

ported that the betting on the game was heavy. “The visitors feel pretty sore over losing the two games as they were confident of winning, and backed their opinions with cash. It is estimated that nearly $1,000 changed hands on the result of the game yesterday and to-day.” “The Evans City team is trying to persuade the Butler team to play return games at Evans City. The latter lost two games at Butler, but cannot induce the Butlerites to play at Evans City,” the Pittsburgh Post added on August 16. Butler had put together a talented ball club that summer.   “They can’t be beaten,” the Gazette concluded. The County Seat nine were bolstered by its pitching sensation Hodgkinson, who, years later, put forth the claim that he had won five of the seven games he pitched against Rube in his days in Butler County. Up until mid-August, Butler also enjoyed the benefits “Kid” Williams brought to the team. Since early summer, Williams had thrown his team to a handful of victories that included wins over Pittsburgh’s Lincoln Athletic Club, Greensburg A.C., Clarion, and Jeannette.

Radcliffe and Rube Waddell in Evans City, not to mention the fact that the “team offered him more coin than he was getting in Butler.” Playing first base on August 14, the “Kid” cracked a double, watched Radcliffe slam a home run, and looked on as Rube threw a four-hitter while striking out eight, en route to a 9-3 route over Mars. Along with Rube, Williams would do his share of the throwing and hitting over the next month with the Evans City team. Rube Tries Out for the Pirates As put forth in Don Rigby’s letter to the Titusville Herald [See Chapter 4, “Abducted by Greenville”], Radcliffe took Rube to Pittsburgh for a tryout with the Pirates on the morning of Monday, August 16. The Pirates were preparing for a game to be played that afternoon against the visiting Louisville Colonels at Exposition Park. The Colonels were in Pittsburgh for two games, August 14 and 16, and were on the premises to witness the action with Rube. “Waddell, the big left hand pitcher from Evans City, was over at Exposition Park yesterday afternoon and was given a trial by manager [Patsy] Donovan, who thinks pretty well of him,” the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette recorded the following day, August 17.

‘Kid’ Williams Joins Rube in Evans City With the Butler management giving Hodgkinson the call in most every game of interest, Orrin ‘Kid’ Williams didn’t hesitate to accept the offer of joining former teammates and friends Ed By Wm. C. Anderson

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The Pittsburgh Post Chronicle Telegraph joined the other city papers in confirming Rube’s presence at the park. “Pitcher Waddell of the Evans City team practiced with the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday. He showed up well, and promises to make a success.”   There are numerous accounts as to the events leading up to and ending with Rube being shunned by the Pirates and then signing on with the Louisville Colonels, including this story from George Moreland:

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deliveries until he got Donovan so sore that he informed Waddell he had had enough of him and that he would not be signed to a Pittsburgh contract. Rube was downhearted — probably for the first and last time in his life — over his failure to get a job — particularly as he had informed all his Butler, Pa., friends that he was going to pitch for Pittsburgh that afternoon and a delegation of about 200 was even then on its way to see Rube perform. Mr. Moreland was at the headquarters of the club when Fred Clarke, then manager of the Louisville team [of the National League], which was to play the Pirates that afternoon called and wanted to know where in heaven’s name he could get a pitcher, as his last flinger was down and out. Mr. Moreland tipped him off to Waddell and both started immediately for the hotel where Rube was quartered. [Louisville embarked on a 22-game road trip after leaving Pittsburgh.] — Mansfield (Ohio) News,

Geo. L. Moreland, known from one end of the country to the other as the expert statistician of baseball and who is now president of the Ohio and Pennsylvania Baseball league, was born in Pittsburgh and made that city his home ever since. Mr. Moreland is the originator of the present style of baseball averages so familiar and so dear to the heart of every baseball fan. He hit upon the scheme in 1894 when he was the baseball editor April 25, 1911. of a paper called “The Sportsman,” published in Pittsburg by a Mr. Nimick, who owned the old AlA Wayward Throw Pirate player/manager leghenies, one of the clubs in the old American Patsy Donovan The Louisville Courier-Journal conveyed the association . . . information several weeks later, September 16, Mr. Moreland, as the owner of the Steubenville [Ohio] team, 1897, that Rube was invited to a team breakfast that morning developed Hans Wagner, Al Wagner, Claude Richie, Harry Smith where he was seated near Pirates Manager Patsy Donovan. Acand Frank Bowerman — all of whom have made their marks in cording to the publication, Donovan heard Rube talk and, unimmajor league circles. pressed with his banter, sent the young pitcher on his way at the When the league went up, Mansfield [Ohio] wired for Wagner completion of the meal. The Courier-Journal left out the most to come there to play. The fact is that Frank O’Brien then manexciting details of Rube’s tryout earlier in the day. ager of the Mansfield club, had Al Wagner in mind as the man he Nevertheless, Rube — true to his character — engaged in wanted, but as Al did not want to play in Mansfield, he persuaded bold horseplay in his attempt to capture the attention of the Pihis brother Hans to report instead. Returning to Pittsburgh again, Mr. Moreland became a scout rates’ manager. for the Pittsburgh club, thus claiming to be one of the first proAccording to several published reports, including one in the fessional scouts of the country. In that capacity he discovered St. Louis Republic, Donovan was watching the young pitcher such players as Sam Leever, Jesse Tannehill, Frank Foreman, Jack throw to one of his catchers when Rube uncorked one of his faChesbro and other well-known players. mous wild deliveries and hit Donovan on the arm and nearly put Possibly his most famous discovery, with the exception of Hans him out of action. The Pirates manager thus came to the concluWagner, is Rube Waddell, whom he brought to Pittsburg when sion that Rube would not be beneficial to his squad and declined Patsy Donovan was manager of the Pirates. [Donovan was playerto sign him.   manager for the Pirates in 1897 and 1899. One of the league’s In addition to having plastered Donovan with one of his fastbest hitters, he batted .322 in 1897.] balls, “Waddell threw a ball into the grandstand and broke a At that time [1897] the local club had a staff of pitchers betchair,” according to a short report appearing in the August 19 ter than that of any other club. That fact, however, did not imedition of the Butler Eagle. press Waddell for an instant and when Rube arrived at the ball grounds for the first time in his life and caught his first glimpse of Pittsburgh Pirate Recalls Rube’s Tryout Manager Donovan, he promptly informed the “boss” that he inAnother account of Rube’s tryout with Pittsburgh came from tended to pitch that afternoon. a member of the Pirates, Harry Davis, who rapped out several “Who told you that you are going to work this afternoon?” hits in the afternoon game against the Colonels. Davis played in inquired Donovan. 111 games that year for Pittsburgh and batted .305. “Myself,” replied Waddell. “I can make monkeys out of all the batters you have.” Waddell was pitching for amateur teams around Pittsburgh Donovan straightaway went to bat himself,“to show that fresh when I was a member of the Pittsburgh club, writes Harry Davis youngster up,” he thought, without saying as much openly. Rube in the Pittsburgh Leader. The manager of one of these teams made the manager strike at nine consecutive deliveries and Patsy brought “Rube” to Pittsburgh to show his ability to our club, but never came within a mile of any of them. Rube, not at all awed by he did not appear to be just the man for Pittsburgh. His manager the manager’s title, kept “jollying” him on his inability to solve his was not discouraged, and at last secured an opportunity for WadBy Wm. C. Anderson

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dell in the “Big League” when he persuaded Fred Clarke, manager of the Louisville club, to sign “Rube.” — Pittsburgh Leader,

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While speaking of Evans City . . . Frank Haller, [and] the local players, went up there one day last week and signed Reuben Waddell, the big left-hander, who gave a display of his stock ... before the Pirates at Exposition Park about three weeks ago. Haller secured the man for the Louisville team, and that night promptly wired Harry Pulliam ... that he had secured one of the most promising young players in Western Pennsylvania. Haller told the writer that he had caught the big fellow for a short time, and was convinced that he was all right. — Sporting News,

reprinted in Lewiston (Maine) Evening Journal, September 12, 1914.

Milt Montgomery’s Version of Rube’s Day Milt Montgomery, Mars third baseman, was one of the several hundred supporters from Butler County who made the trip that day to see Rube’s tryout and, perhaps, a pitching engagement against the Louisville Colonels. “I have heard many stories of how Rube Waddell was turned down by [Pittsburgh],” Montgomery later told the Pittsburgh Gazette Times, “but this is the true one. In 1897, Patsy Donovan was managing the Pittsburgh club and the fame of Waddell attracted him. Rube was brought to Exposition Park for a looking over. The Louisville club was the opponent to the Pirates that day. All of Mars and Evans City were out to yell for Rube. “Donovan turned him over to Joe Sugden to warm up, and Rube had so much stuff that he was knocking back Sugden’s hands. Waddell was to pitch the game, but before it started Donovan asked Sugden about the Rube and the catcher shook his head no . . . “But Fred Clarke had seen Waddell warm up, and that night the Louisville club left Pittsburgh and did not learn that Donovan had passed up the Rube until it reached another city. Clarke then wired Frank Haller to sign Rube for the Louisville club. Haller did it . . . ”

Philadelphia, September 4, 1897.

The Pirates, as mentioned in the Daily Tribune’s article, decided to pass on Rube because he was undisciplined. Even though Rube was green in experience and not the man Pittsburgh could use, the 20-year-old Rube caught the attention of Louisville’s personnel, who forwarded the pitcher his first major-league contract. “I won’t sign unless I get twenty-five dollars a game,” Rube reportedly wired Clarke. Clarke responded, “We’ll give you $500 for the rest of the season.” Rube’s “eyes popped” with the thought of receiving that much money to play baseball and didn’t hesitate in becoming a member of the Louisville Colonels. “Roy Evans, the pitcher, has again been released by the Louisville club, and Waddell of Evans City, signed,” the Pittsburgh Chronicle Telegraph printed on August 26.

Louisville Colonels Sign Rube The struggling Colonels were always on the lookout for pitchers, “testing a dozen marvels a week.” “Louisville is in a bad way for players. Manager Clarke is picking 18-year-olds out of the street and playing them in the National League,” the Commercial Gazette commented several weeks prior to Rube’s tryout. Just as fast as Manager Clarke was putting his raw recruits into the lineup, they were being dismissed: “President Pulliam of the Louisville ball club this afternoon released William Clark, recently of the Texas League, and Pitcher Evans, whom he picked up in Columbus, O.” One of the most respected baseball papers in the country in 1897, the Chicago Daily Tribune, verified Rube’s signing to a Louisville contract on August 25, along with the pending suspension of Pittsburgh’s Pink Hawley.

The Pugilist Promoter, Louisville Slugger Bats   In addition to reporting Rube’s tryout with the Pirates, the Commercial Gazette also noted in its August 17 edition that Reddy Mason was there that day. He made an appearance to hand out new Louisville Slugger baseball bats.    “Just before the sixth inning yesterday Red Mason carried out to the players’ bench a bunch of new bats which Harry Davis had ordered in Louisville. Harry picked out one to his liking and on his first turn sent out a nice single. His next turn was in the eighth inning, and with the Reddy Mason same bat he landed the ball against the fence for a three-bagger.” Later that month, Mason2 organized talented players from Pittsburgh and its vicinity into local all-star teams. He appropriately named his squads Red Mason’s Professionals, or Reddy Mason’s Reserves.

Pittsburgh, Pa., Aug. 25. — [Special] A Louisville club agent today signed Waddell of Evans City, Pa., a big left-handed pitcher, who has been making a record for his town club. Pittsburg’s manager had Waddell exhibit his points on Exposition Field a couple of weeks ago, but thought him too verdant. Manager Donovan of the Pittsburgh club did not obey President Kerr’s order to suspend Hawley and Killen. He has wired his chief good reasons. — Chicago Daily Tribune, August 26, 1897.

‘Come and See Rube Fan ‘Em Out’ As August drew to a close, the excitement surrounding games between the Butler County rivals was at its peak. Following his workout with the Pirates on August 16, Rube

——— 2. James “Reddy” Mason, a former featherweight boxer and later a trainer for the Pittsburgh baseball club, was well known in sporting circles as a boxing manager, local promoter of athletic events, and a boisterous, loyal supporter of the Pirates. The Pittsburgh Post characterized Mason as “a pugilist who follows the Pittsburgh team.” Garnering headlines on a regular basis, more so for creating disturbances than successful boxers, he was acquitted in 1900 of the charge of manslaughter in connection with the death of a “colored boxer,” who was killed in the ring. By Wm. C. Anderson

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headed home to join his Evans City teammates. The day after Rube’s tryout at Exposition Park, “Kid” Williams pitched the Evans City team to a 5-3 win over the Hillsdales of Allegheny County. It was Rube’s turn in the two-man rotation the next day — and the first in a string of wonderful pitching performances for the soon-to-be signed major leaguer.    It was at this time period in Evans City that Rube resorted to promoting his pitching skills by advertising, “Come and See Rube Fan ‘Em Out, He’ll Fan ‘Em for You” on sandwich boards and the town’s fences and boardwalks.

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“Mitchell dropped the ball just as another ball was thrown into the park, the latter hitting Mitchell. In the mixup of balls, three runs scored.” The Professionals returned to Evans City on Thursday for another engagement against Rube and his close-knit group. Rube took centerfield, Radcliffe found his regular spot at third and “Kid” Williams strode to the mound. When it was over, the Reserves got the “throwdown,” 7-3. It was an easy win for Evans City, and Mason’s team went home with a 0-4 record against the boys of the “three-cornered league.”

Pirates Suspend Pink Hawley In Pittsburgh, Pirates manager Patsy Donovan followed his bosses’ orders and suspended Hawley and Killen. Emerson “Pink” Hawley, a workhorse for the Pirates pitching staff, was in his third and final season with Pittsburgh in 1897. Before he was born, Pink Hawley’s parents had pink and blue ribbons ready for a boy or a girl. When they got twin boys, they tied a pink ribbon to one, and a blue to the other, in an effort to identify them. They called the boys “Pink” and “Blue.” The names stuck. Pink Hawley, Pittsburgh Pirates Throughout the month of August, newspaing Life, Philadelphia, November 12, 1898. pers had reported that Hawley and his teammate Frank Killen were at odds with Pirates management because of Several Coats of Whitewash excessive drinking, a fact that Hawley would never accept as “Hillsdale Shut Out. Left-Hander Waddell Does Some Fine true. Twirling,” the Commercial Gazette headlined on August 19. “So far as Pink Hawley is concerned,” the Chronicle Tele“The Evans City team, with Left-Hander Waddell, in the box, graph surmised, “he seems to behave himself all right. He is very administered a coat of whitewash to the Imperial team yesterday. anxious to win, but it seems that his conceit sometimes gets the The pitching of Waddell was the feature of the game, he striking best of him. He imagines he is the best pitcher in the league, and 12 men out.” nothing will change his mind.” In addition to limiting his opponents to four hits, Rube helped Nevertheless, Pirates executives were determined to send a his own effort at the plate. He rapped two doubles and scored message to Hawley that no matter how much he thought of himthree runs in the 12-0 win. self, he was not above the well being of the team: Several days later, on August 21, Waddell threw his Evans Colonel Harry Pulliam, president of the Louisville Club, says he discovered “Rube” Waddell in a little country town in Pennsylvania late in the season of 1897. “Rube” was pitching for the village team and also acting as a billboard, or sandwich man, before each game. Two huge palm leaf fans with advertisements of the game [painted] thereon were hung about “Rube’s” neck and he paraded the streets of the village ... to attract attention.The big southpaw was the hero of the town, and his speedy benders were a puzzle to all opposing teams, and it was on his reputation made there that he became a Colonel. — Sport-

City teammates to another win over Mars, 6-0.

Hawley to be Disciplined

Pittsburg, Pa., Aug. 30. — [Special.] — President Kerr of the Pittsburg ball club, who is at Cambridgeboro, Pa., today wired Manager Donovan to suspend Pitchers Hawley and Killen without pay until they can convince the management that they are in condition to pitch winning ball, and Mr. Kerr says Hawley and Killen are either out of form or are not trying to pitch, and he thinks a rest without pay will do them good. — Chicago Daily Trib-

Mason’s Professionals 0-4 against the ‘Three-Cornered’ Boys As August was coming to an end, Red Mason brought his Pittsburgh Professionals to Butler County for a series of games. The first was played in Butler. Needing a hitter, he recruited “Kid” Williams to play first base against his old teammates. It didn’t matter which stars Reddy rounded up. Billy Hodgkinson tossed a three-hitter for Butler and won, 2-0. As good as Mason thought his all-stars were, against Evans City the following day, Rube was better. He threw a six-hitter and coasted, 8-4. Up against Mars the next day, and needing several players in an effort to get a win for his “all-stars,” Mason invited Evans City’s Radcliffe, Jones, and Williams to join his team for the afternoon, but were beat up just the same, 18-9. Mason’s all-stars scored several runs in the game when By Wm. C. Anderson

une, August 31, 1897.

“Killen and Hawley were indefinitely suspended yesterday,” the Chronicle Telegraph noted. “They are wild with rage.” Hawley in Butler County Out of work, and “not wanting any grass to grow under his feet,” Pink Hawley ventured to Butler County. His arrival stirred the Butler, Evans City, and Mars rivalry pot even more. 36

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On Saturday, August 28, he showed up to pitch for Mars against Evans City. There was trouble from the start.

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“willing to meet Mars any time this week, with Hawley on the rubber,” there was no newspaper record giving evidence that Rube and Hawley ever faced each other in Butler County in the autumn of 1897. Disputing that fact, an account many decades later recalled such a match-up. In an interview with newspaperman Scotchy MacDonald, Rube’s childhood friend, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette told a story recounting the day Rube, with his Evans City team, pitched a game against rival Mars and Pittsburgh’s Pink Hawley. MacDonald’s later recollection is printed here for the western Pennsylvania baseball record — should it ever show up as fact in the future:

DISPUTE AT MARS. Pink Hawley Ready to Pitch for the Home Team.

At Mars yesterday, a dispute regarding the umpire arose before the Evans City-Mars game, and Manager James Brady, of Evans City, would not let his men go on the field. Umpire Red Mason gave the game to Mars, 9 to 0. Manager Brady claims that Dean Marshall, of Mars, had agreed with him that both teams should have an umpire. When the grounds were reached, Brady says, they would have no umpire but [Reddy] Mason. The directors of the Evans City team, the manager asserts, In [1897], Mars, Evans City ordered him not to play and Butler had a three-team the game. The reason given league. Evans City hired Rube is that Mason had his team for a crucial battle with Mars. at Evans City a few days Mars went a bit further in ago and did not make exquest of victory. Pink Hawley, a penses, and on that acPirate pitching star, was on the count was holding a grudge. suspended list. The Evans City manageThe Mars crowd ... sneaked ment claims that Mason In addition to winning games, Rube was clerking at a hotel and the big leaguer into the linethreatened to get even. congealing ice cream for the girls’ Sunday school class. up, paying him a hundred Umpire Mason, on behalf bucks with expenses. of the Mars team, said that the fact that Pink Hawley was to It was a banner turnout with backers of the rival nines waving pitch for Mars scared the visitors. He says they were to have bundles of wagering lettuce around as if they had reaped it from Donovan, of the Interstate League, as the visitors’ umpire, but their gardens. he could not be gotten. He insists that he had no personal inWell, the game gets to two outs in the ninth with no score. terest in the game. He says that the Evans City team had agreed Waddell came to bat and nonchalantly pickled one of Mr. Hawto play until a few moments before the game, when Hawley ley’s celebrated benders for a home run for which they are probwent out to warm up, and it scared them. It is stated that Brady ably still looking. — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 16, 1942. is not the manager of the Evans City team. Brady says the Evans City team is willing to meet Mars any time this week, with HawHotel Clerking and Congealing Cream ley on the rubber and an umpire selected by mutual agreement. MacDonald also remembered Rube’s visit to an ice cream In place of the scheduled game, two picked nines played, and social. As the team was waiting to start a crucial game in Evans the one for which Hawley pitched won, 13 to 11. Brady says his team has won 4 out of 6 from Mars, while the Martians say the City, “[T]here was no Rube. Finally someone found him, in Evans City team won 3 out of 5. — Pittsburgh Post, August 29, 1897. uniform, turning the ice cream freezer for a girls’ Sunday

school class in the back yard of the Miller Hotel.” His memory regarding ice cream, at least, was corroborated in 1897 newspapers. “Waddell, who is reported to be a new Colonel, has been adding new sunflowers to his pitching helmet. He has pitched three games in five days and is about eight-ninths of the Evans City team. In addition to winning all the games he pitches he is allowed to clerk in a hotel and congeal cream for the delectation of the guests.” — Pittsburgh Times, reprinted in the Democratic

The same day, Hodgkinson and his Butler crew took down “the crack Junction team at Lawrenceville ... 10 to 5. The boys took an immense lot of satisfaction of Add. Gumbert, who pitched for the Junctions, tapping that gentleman for 10 hits. The Sunday ‘Post’ says Hames played a star game at second, and that the Butler team made many friends by their gentlemanly conduct.” — Democratic Herald, Butler, September 3, 1897. Did Rube Pitch Against Hawley? Notwithstanding Brady’s claim that his Evans City team was By Wm. C. Anderson

Herald, Butler, September 3, 1897.

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“ ‘Rube’ has been the big man of Evans-town. He parades before each game, marching behind a boy carrying a fan, and a banner reading: ‘Come out and see Big Rube fan ‘em out.’ Last week the town didn’t have games for several days and Rube kept his arm in shape by turning an ice cream freezer at the hotel.” — Sporting Life, Philadelphia, September 4, 1897.

the mound the next day in hopes of finding success against his Butler rivals and pitcher Hodgkinson. “It was Waddell’s first win from Butler,” the weekly Butler Citizen noted.

Pink, ‘Kid’, and Rube Pink made the trip from Pittsburgh to pitch for Mars, once again, on Wednesday, September 1, in order to keep “himself in good condition to do good duty when called upon [by the Pirates],” the Commercial Gazette enlightened its readers. Hawley had little trouble with the County Seat nine, which was previously rolling over most every opponent. He blanked them, 5-0. Ignoring Rube Waddell’s impressive performances against his team in August, the Mars scorer reported to the Pittsburgh Post, “Hawley had all kinds of speed ... Hawley’s pitching was the finest ever seen at Mars.” A Butler baseball writer agreed, reporting Hawley’s performance to the hometown Democratic Herald, “Pink Hawley was in the box for Mars and didn’t do a thing but shut Butler out.” Pink stingily surrendered three safeties — “all of which were what is termed in league parlance ‘bum singles.’ ” Red Mason umpired the game. The following day, it was Evans City’s and Williams’ turn to thump Butler.  

Butler, Pa., Sept. 3. - (Special.) With their own Reuben Waddell in the box Evans City defeated Butler the second time in an exciting game. Hodgkinson was batted out of the box and Ayers finished the game. The playing of the home team was decidedly tacky and not what they are capable of doing. The Evans City rooters are happy tonight, and are looking forward to two big games with Butler and Evans City on Monday and Tuesday. Score: Evans City 9, Butler 5. — Pittsburgh Commercial

WADDELL THE WINNER. The Big Fellow Pitched Evans City to Victory

Gazette, September 4, 1897.

In Pittsburgh, Pirates President Kerr remarked to a member of his staff, “I thought you said that Waddell had joined the Louisville Club. I notice he pitched ... against Butler.” Baseball was being contested at a furious pace in Butler County. With its fourth game in four days, Butler welcomed Pink Hawley and Mars on Saturday, September 4. Pink Hawley Gets His Bumps.

Butler, Pa., Sept. 4. - Pink Hawley was slugged to-day, and incidentally Butler got even with Mars for Tuesday’s indignity. The attendance was the largest of the season, everyone being anxious to see the big league twirler on the rubber. Gray started the circus by beating out a bunt. Hames flied out to Marshall, Gant fumbled a hot one by Shannon,3 Gray scored on Campbell’s single, and Blue cracked out a triple, scoring Campbell and Johnston. The visitors failed to score until the seventh inning, and got only two runs. Their fielding was ragged, while Butler’s was gilt-edged. Score: Butler 10, Mars 2. — Pittsburgh Post, Septem-

Butler Beaten in Twelve Innings.

Butler, Pa., Sept. 2. - Evans City evened up old scores with Butler to-day in the hottest game ever played on the local grounds. It was a battle of pitchers from beginning to the end of 12 long innings. Evans City scored one run in the first and Butler one in the fourth, and the game stood even until the twelfth, when the visitors pounded out another one. R. H. E. Butler 000 100 000 000 — 1 8 1 Evans City 100 000 000 001 — 2 8 7 Batteries: Butler, Whitehill and Berry; Evans City, Williams and Daly. The same teams play here to-morrow. — Pittsburgh Post,

ber 5, 1897.

Playing for the Baseball Championship of Butler County At the same time Butler was giving its bumps to Hawley, Evans City took care of the George L. Hollidays of Allegheny, Pittsburgh. The baseball rivals, Butler and Evans City, were set to play two games in Evans City on Monday and Tuesday, September 6 and 7. The teams agreed that the short series would determine the championship of Butler County. Rube Waddell, who had signed his Louisville Colonels contract, would not pitch for Evans City in the championship

September 3, 1897.

Rube’s First Win Against Butler Even though the Post indicated in its September 2 issue, “Evans City, since Waddell has joined the Louisville team, must now depend on Williams on the rubber,” Rube strode to

——— 3. William “Spike” Shannon, “a slugger in those days,” joined the Butler team after Grove City College completed its season in the spring of 1897. Shannon went on to play for several major league teams, including St. Louis, New York, and Pittsburgh, from 1904 through 1908. Following his 32 games with the Pirates in 1908, he was released to Kansas City of the American Association. By Wm. C. Anderson

38

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From

Sandlots

to

games. Nevertheless, the two contests were everything that Butler County baseball fans wanted. In Monday’s game, Williams and Hodgkinson each surrendered eight runs through nine innings, before Butler pulled out a 9-8 win to take the first game in the abbreviated series for the county’s baseball bragging rights. Without Rube, and with Williams pitching the previous day, Evans City went with the next best thing. A wire was sent to Pink Hawley, urging him to come to Evans City to pitch the second game.

Major

League

his athletic and bizarre stunts on the National League circuit. Rube, toting his $500 contract to play for Clarke and the Colonels, left Prospect earlier in the day, September 7. He boarded the train in Butler and transferred in Pittsburgh en route to Washington D.C., where he would meet his new teammates. Evans City Declared Champions Even though Rube was off to the major league, the baseball rivalry continued in Butler County. With Pink Hawley’s 8-2 win over Butler in the second game of the championship series, Pittsburgh newspapers declared that Evans City was the “Champions of Butler County.”

GOT GOOD AND EVEN. Pink Hawley More Than Wipes Out That Butler Defeat.

Evans City, Pa., Sept. 7. - (Special.) Pink HawEvans City Laid Low ley came up to Evans The Evans City’s baseball diamond and bleachers were located on Breakneck Creek at GREENSBURG, Sept. 9 City to-day to get rethe corner of Dunbar and Washington Streets. - [Special] - Evans City, venge for the defeat at the champions of Butler county, were defeated here to-day in an Butler last Saturday, and went home fully satisfied, for he demoninteresting game. Both pitchers were hit hard and the spectators strated beyond doubt that he can defeat Butler with any kind of got what they liked, hard hitting on both sides.Williams was batfielding team back of him. The two runs scored off him were ted out of the box in the fourth inning. Score: G.A.A. 13, Evans due to a hit and two errors. He struck out ten men, and only City 8. — Pittsburgh Dispatch, September 10, 1897. gave them two hits. The feature of the game was Pink’s home run when the score was a tie. Score: Evans City 8, Butler 2. —

The same day, Hodgkinson and teammates bettered the Carnegie Athletic Club [C.A.C.] of Braddock, 10-1.

Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette.

Hawley hit a home run in the game and — to the delight of an Evans City enthusiast — was presented with a $5 bill.

“Three-Cornered League” Ends Season On Saturday, September 11, the Mars, Evans City and Butler teams played their final games of the season. Williams and Evans City won a closely-contested game from Wilmerding, 3-2. In Mars, the Greys won an “exciting” game from Butler with a hot rally off Hodgkinson in the eleventh inning, in which they piled up six runs from two two-baggers, three singles, “two lifes,” and a base on balls.

Hawley Heads East to Rejoin the Pirates The baseball season in Butler County was over for Rube and Pink. Following the September 7 championship game in which he pitched for Evans City against Butler, Pink returned to Pittsburgh and found a note that ordered him to leave on the first train to New York to join the Pirates. “He had 13 minutes to catch the train,” the Post told its readers of Pink’s dash to the station. “He ran to the depot without changing his clothes or filling a valise. He was glad to be off to help the boys take a game or two at New York.” “Aggrieved over his enforced idleness, [Hawley] will pitch his arm off to work his way back in to public favor again,” the Commercial Gazette concluded.

The Summer of 1897 The spirited level of excitement brought about by the Evans City, Mars, and Butler rivalry — and pitchers Waddell, Williams, Hodgkinson, and Hawley — during the fun-filled summer of 1897 would never be equalled in future years on the county circuit. Down the road, too, the same could be said for most of the towns in which Rube would show up to play. With the Louisville Colonels, the eccentric genius was on his way to becoming the game’s most recognized name and its biggest attraction. ———

Rube Joins the Colonels When the quirky, raw-boned youth came down from the sandlots in Butler County to try out for the Pirates, his only claim to fame was setting down his neighbors with blazing fastballs and deceiving curves. Without a day’s experience in the minor league circuit, the happy, carefree southpaw would soon be performing By Wm. C. Anderson

39

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Chapter 5