Issuu on Google+

Outlandish Rube Suspended by the Pittsburgh Pirates Chapter Twelve: The Baffling Antics of a Screwball Pitcher

“R

ube Waddell has a very confusing preliminary movement that keeps the batter guessing,” says his old catcher, Dick Buckley. “The man standing up there ready to hit can’t tell just when to step into the ball and, if he is fortunate enough to get against it, he is generally off his stride and don’t hit it with much force. One of the easiest ways to explain the matter is to say that Rube is no ‘morning glory’ — by that I mean that he is not one of these fellows who will tear the boards off the backstop when he is practicing, and then when he gets in a game the catcher will have to reach up for them because they come so slow. Waddell has the same amount of speed in a game that he has in practice.” — Pittsburgh Press,

in Thomasville, Georgia on March 12 [1900] for spring training. The team boarded in all old Baptist Church, which was hastily converted into a dormitory by the management of the Piney Woods Hotel. In Thomasville, the personable Rube was making friends — and mischief — with each appearance:

“Rube” Waddell certainly has won his way into the hearts of the hospitable Georgians. He is aces up with everyone at Thomasville from the mayor down, and he comes pretty near knowing everybody. His popularity nearly led to a tragedy at Thomasville the other night. The ball players attended March 27, 1900 a boxing bout between two Negroes and nothing would Rube’s Antics Escalate do for the populace present Rube Waddell’s pitching but that “Rube” should offiheroics in the autumn of ciate as official timekeeper. 1899 not only ensured him Waddell, watch in hand, cona position in the rotation of sented and mounted the the “new” Pittsburgh Pistage. rates the following spring, The round began, and in a but also gained him a repumoment, all was excitement. tation as a premier twirler “Rube” joined in the tumult, Rube joined in the tumult, in disregard of his position as timekeeper. in the National League. regardless of his lofty posiBolstered by the best tion as timekeeper, and forLouisville players, new team-owner Barney Dreyfuss and his got all about the time. The consequence was that the bout player-manager Fred Clarke, who was to have full charge of went nearly ten minutes and one of the contestants was nearly the Pirates, were confident they had assembled a pennant conput to sleep before Waddell could find the pocket in which he tender for “Smoketown.” They were optimistic that their new had placed the watch in the excitement. — Mansfield (Ohio) News,

team would improve significantly on its seventh-place finish the previous season. In spite of the new talent, the two soon recognized that one unconventional player, Rube, was not focused on their baseball strategy. The impulsive and baffling antics of the screwball pitcher escalated as the 1900 season unfolded. H attracted attention in every city he visited. In addition, his behavior was a distraction to his temmates. The immensely-liked Rube kept all hanging on his every word and eyes peeled to his every move. Wherever Rube went, newspapermen were certain a good story was soon to follow.

April 5, 1900.

From Thomasville, the team headed north for a series of exhibition games. In Memphis, Waddell struck out the first seven men who faced him, “then Clarke called him down.” Throwing brilliantly in each outing, Rube was confident in his abilities and, as a result, looked much better than any of the Pirates starters. With the opening game of the season ten days away, the premier pitcher was picked by all the city newspaper baseball correspondents to throw the first pitch against Cy Young and St. Louis. “Unless an accident occurs before Thursday, Rube Waddell and Cy Young will be the pitchers,” the Pittsburgh Press predicted.

Joins in the Tumult Enduring a 34-hour train ride, the “new” Pirates gathered By Wm. C. Anderson

85

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


When

Rube

Waddell

Came

to

Town

Spring Training 1900 — The “new” Pittsburgh Pirates, consisting of players from the merged Louisville and Pittsburgh clubs, gathered in Thomasville, Ga., for their spring training photo. The picture was taken on March 24, the day of the team’s first practice game. The player identification of this photo is based on information appearing in the Pittsburgh Press on the same day, which was provided to the newspaper by player/manager Fred Clarke, who outlined his team for the upcoming year. The Pirates roster on March 24 consisted of 22 players, 21 appearing in this photo. The backbone of the club was the Louisville players, who wear their Colonel uniforms, identified with the letter “L” and the dark collars. The players are (not confirmed): (front row, l. to r.) Sam Leever, Fred “Bones” Ely, Pat Flaherty, Frank “Pop” Dillon, George Gray, Claude Ritchey and Rube Waddell. (second row) Charley “Chief” Zimmer, Tacks Latimer, Tom O’Brien (wearing New York uniform from previous season), Deacon Philippe, Jesse Tannehill, Fred Clarke and Jimmy Williams. (back row) Tommy “the Wee” Leach, Honus Wagner, William “Pop” Shriver, Clarence “Ginger” Beaumont, Tom McCreery, Walter Woods and Louis Deal. Believed missing from photo is Jack Chesbro. (Photo courtesy of Mark Rucker, Transcendental Graphics)

cepting the fourth when singles by Donovan, McGann, and O’Connor and a three-bagger by Rhody Wallace scored three runs, the only tallies of the splendid game. Only one hit, a single, was made off Waddell after that round.

Manager Clarke’s views, however, differed from those of the press and he chose to go with Sam Leever in the opener. Opening Day and New Uniforms in St. Louis Sporting their new blue-grey uniforms with navy blue socks and collars, Fred Clarke’s Pittsburgh Pirates opened the season in St. Louis on Thursday, April 19 in front of “one of the largest crowds — estimated at 15,000 fans — to see a baseball game.” Leever was injured early in the game and Rube was called upon to pitch. The Pittsburgh Press summarized the opener:

St. Louis 000 300 000 — 3 Pittsburg 000 000 000 — 0

The Pirates bounced back to Cy Young. record their first victory of the season two days later, but on Sunday, April 22, they lost a tough one after Rube, once again, was called in relief. “Sheer strength of the bludgeon, pure power of the shillalah, but good baseball, enabled the St. Louis team to delight a very large crowd at League Park yesterday with an ex-

St. Louis — Cy Young, always good, was at his best, and what he did to the new Pirates was a sin. He scored nine strikeouts. Leever was hurt in the second inning and was relieved by Waddell, who held the Tebeauites down in every inning exBy Wm. C. Anderson

86

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


The

Baffling

Antics

of

a

Screwball

Pitcher

the bridal couple went shopping.” — Cincinnati Enquirer, reprinted

citing game,” the St. Louis Republic recounted. After the Pirates rallied for three runs in their half of the ninth, Rube took Pat Flaherty’s place in the box. A dinky single, a bunt and a single over center gave St. Louis the win, 65. Even though Rube surrendered the winning run in the ninth inning, none of the Pittsburgh papers charged him with the loss.

in Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, April 25, 1900.

Rube at the Turnstile Rube, the prankster, would instigate trouble whenever the opportunity presented itself, and would then claim ignorance to prove his innocence:

Rube Scores First Win as a Pirate Rube scored his first win as a Pittsburgh Pirate two days later when he threw a 6-0 shutout against Cincinnati:

The Big Twirler Nearly Caused a Panic in Cincinnati.

day demonstrated that the process could be reversed. Had the head keeper at the Zoological garden been present with a convenient cage, the collection of simian wonders that he could have collected would have made him a fortune,” the Enquirer reporter editorialized. “These words are penned in sorrow, and not anger, and the Reds themselves do not deny that they were transformed from athletes into apes. Waddell was like a player with six leads in a cinch game, and at no time gave the local aggregation an opportunity to get within hailing distance of a run. It required just one hour and forty minutes for Mr. Waddell to deliver the goods, and he performed the task most artistically. The twirler was back at Burnet house chatting with the new Mrs. Waddell in less than two hours and a quarter after he had left, and

Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, reprinted in the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette,

One would suppose that a player who has been in the game for several seasons would have some knowledge of the workings of a turnstile. RUBE WAS A RIDDLE Not so with Rube Waddell, however. The Big Lefthander had the Reds at Reuben was placed in the grandstand gate His Mercy yesterday, to see for the benefit of the PittsCincinnati, O., April 23 — (Special) The burgh club, that the gatekeepers did not Pirates loomed up like sure enough give themselves the worst of it. Just before champions in their first game with the the gates were opening Rube arrived, Reds to-day. Not a red leg crossed the dressed in regular “Pink” Hawley fashion. home plate in the nine innings, thanks to The grandstand turnstile was the first thing the very artistic whitewashing indulged in to strike his eye, and after examining it by great pitcher, Rube Waddell. closely he began to spin it around. It was just the kind of a day that suits A few minutes before the game was Rube. It was cloudy and dark and the called Manager Bancroft had occasion to batsmen could not gauge his terrific size up the crowd, and in order to assure speed and quick curves. But three hits himself just how many were in the grand were made off his delivery, while only stand he looked at the turnstile register.The Rube was introduced to the readers of the three men reached second base and not figures that he gazed upon made the perChicago Daily Tribune early in 1900. one of them got any further towards the spiration come out in drops. Banny could home plate. — Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, not believe his eyes. He did not know whether to mistrust the April 23, 1900. register or whether it was possible that so large a crowd had entered without attracting his attention. Banny’s excitement “The weather was made to the Butler county boy’s order, caused Rube to inquire what the trouble was, and when Banny the clouds and the smoke-ladened atmosphere almost hiding explained that there was something wrong with the register the ball from view when he put on the steam,” the Pittsburgh on the turnstile, Rube inquired: Press writer commented. “Oh, does that thing tell how many people are here?” The Cincinnati Enquirer baseball scribe detailed as to how “Yes, every time it clicks it registers one,” answered Banny. Rube made monkeys of his Reds. “Well, I did not know that, and I guess I turned it around a few “It was Darwin who proved that man was descended from times before the gate opened,” innocently admitted Rube. the monkey. It was George Edward Waddell, who is known as “A few times? Well, I should say you did. According to this stile ‘Rube,’ the bucolic ball tosser from Pittsburgh, who yesterthere are 10,000 people in the grand stand,” roared Banny. —

By Wm. C. Anderson

April 26, 1900

While in Cincinnati, Rube played the penny-in-the-slot machines to the limit. “He put $3 worth of coppers in the slot machine at the hotel and won 15 [3 for a nickel] cigars, and he figured out that he was beating the machine, and told the other players to keep it quiet.” — Pittsburg Press, April 26. Pounded in Home Opener The Pirates returned to the Smokey City on April 26. A grand, opening day parade welcomed the team and the 1900 baseball season to Pittsburgh. “In the first carriage sat Pittsburgh’s new pitcher . . . ‘Rube’ 87

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


When

Rube

Waddell

Came

to

Town

Nothing changed and the Pirates lost, 9-2. Waddell, accompanied by his catcher and coach, ‘Tacks’ La“Tebeau’s gang found Rube Waddell rather easy at stages timer. If their pathway was not strewn with roses it was only and won almost as it pleased,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette because there were not enough roses in the country to fill the baseball reviewer penned. “Waddell and Lattimer are not a bill.” good battery to hang on to. Neither has any too much gray When the battery mates came upon the large Butler County matter and to allow them to wander about all by themselves delegation, which came to see their Rube pitch in the home was rather a daring venture by Manager Clarke.” opener against the Reds, Rube waved his hat vociferously in Clifford “Tacks” Latimer did the catching that day and altriumphant jubilation. Leave it to Rube. In his enthusiasm, his lowed two passed balls. It was his first and last time behind the oscillation of energy and excessive undulations resulted in an plate with Rube in 1900. injury to his pitching arm, a fact that wouldn’t be disclosed for The two roommates were trouble off the diamond, too. several months. Manager Fred Clarke recalled the morning when Rube and LaAfter the parade, 11,000 Pittsburghers showed up at Expotimer nearly killed each sition Park, excited to see other. the “new” Pirates and the colorful Rube. To their disCatcher ‘Tacks’ Latimer appointment, the team and its star pitcher performed . . . The Pittsburg Pirates . . . miserably throughout most possessed a catcher, of the game that afternoon. [“Tacks”] Latimer1, who was “The new Pirates disalmost as eccentric as Rube graced themselves by himself. So Fred Clarke, manfalling into the old Pirates’ ager of the club, made the way, playing their worst boys room together as to save the other athletes from before a big crowd,” annoyance. printed the Pittsburgh Very early one morning, Press. “They could not bat; Clarke, passing down the hall they could not field, and of the hotel where the club Rube Waddell, who was was stopping, heard wild featured in the advance noshrieks from the Waddell-Latices, insisted upon remaintimer room. He smashed ing in the game when he open the door and found had neither speed nor Waddell taking careful aim at curves. As a result, the Latimer with a big rifle. Reds were waiting for his “He’s going to kill me!” Clarke smashed the door open and found Rube taking straights, and his curves howled Latimer. careful aim at his catcher, ‘Tacks’ Latimer. were wild as a writing“Yes, sir, Freddie, that’s master’s flourishes.” right,” clucked Waddell, Jack Chesbro relieved Waddell in the sixth, but not before without taking his eye off of Rube had surrendered twelve hits and his performance dishis gunsight. “That’s just gusted half of the 11,000 in attendance, prompting most of about what I’m going to do them to leave the park early. unless you make him quit Fred Clarke, always a competitor, succeeded in pulling his what he does to me . . . forces together in the ninth inning. The Pirates rallied for seven Freddie, that fellow threatruns, which made a game of it, but then fell one run short of a ens to cut my throat every tie. morning.” Cincinnati Pittsburg

After considerable questioning, Clarke discovered that one of the greatest ambitions of Latimer’s life was to catch Waddell. Rube

310 042 020 — 12 003 010 007 — 11

Rube took the mound again on May 3 against St. Louis. ———

Pittsburgh Press, April 1 1900

1. Latimer played in only 27 games - over five seasons - in the major league. His minor league career lasted until 1910. After his baseball career ended, he worked for Pinkerton as a detective for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1924, he was involved in a dispute with his former superior and shot him. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he was pardoned years later for heroism during a prison riot, saving the warden’s daughter. By Wm. C. Anderson

88

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


The

Baffling

Antics

of

a

Screwball

Pitcher

knew it and every time Tacks did something that offended Rube, Waddell, Phillippe, and Leever the latter would threaten to bar him from doing the catching. Rube and several of his teammates, including fellow pitchIn addition to that, whenever Rube wanted Latimer to do some ers Deacon Phillippe and Sam Leever, were one day sitting in favor for him, he’d always say: front of their hotel when the subject of their previous occupa“If you do that, Tacks, I’ll let you catch me in the next game I tions, and their reasons for leaving those employments arose. pitch.” “The first job I ever had,” said Rube, “was with a florist in But, it developed some days before that Rube and Tacks had my town.” gotten into some argument and Rube had de“And how did you come to quit?” inquired cided he’d penalize Tacks by not letting him do Phillippe. any catching. This had made Tacks morbid. So “Why,” answered Rube, as he scratched his for three mornings in a row, while he was in head, “the man I was working for one day told the process of shaving, he jumped onto the me that he did not think that I would ever unbed, razor in hand, waked the sleeping Rube derstand the blooming business.” and threatened to cut his throat if Rube Phillippe and Leever were unable to state wouldn’t change his mind and promise to let whether this was conscious or unconscious him catch. humor on the part of the big pitcher. So many near-assaults with the razor had vexed Rube and he finally sent to his home in Rube Adds to Clarke’s Tribulations Butler county for his gun. It had arrived the On May 6, the Pirates stopped in Chicago morning in question and Rube, after carefully to play a Sunday game. Rube’s record stood at loading it, had pointed it at Latimer and then Deacon Phillippe a disappointing 1-3. awakened him. — Mansfield (Ohio) News, Sunday, Oc-

Clarke handed the ball to Rube, who “lost his bearings” in the second inning and promptly surrendered five runs. Down 6-1, Phillippe was called into the game and relieved Rube. The Pirates rallied for one run in the fourth and four runs in the fifth inning to tie the score and save Rube from suffering his fourth loss. Chicago scored the go ahead run in the bottom of the fifth “by a muff” and went on to win, 7-6.

tober 22, 1922

Waddell’s love for firearms is attested by President Dreyfuss who says that last season [with Louisville] “Rube carried over the circuit with him a shot gun, revolver and a dirk knife which he used as playthings. “Tacks” Latimer, who was “Rube’s” roommate as well as his battery partner, was frightened almost to death one night when “Rube” awakened him at 2 o’clock and asked him to examine his gun and his revolver. “Rube” had his implements of warfare out and was fondling them as a mother would her child. Latimer thought that “Rube” was bent on murder and he was afraid to go to sleep for the rest of the night.

Childs and Clarke MIx Up.

CHICAGO, May 6. — The departure of the Pittsburg and Chicago baseball teams for the Smokey City tonight was marked by a disgraceful fight between Fred Clarke, manager of the Pittsburg team, and Clarence L. Childs, second baseman of the Chicago team.The encounter was the result of two plays on the ball field during this afternoon in which Clark blocked Childs in running to second base, thereby preventing “Cupid” from engineering double plays. The two men nearly came to blows then and had to be separated. Both vowed to get even at the first opportunity and it came at the Lake Shore depot this evening. The teams occupied the private cars on the 9 o’clock train. Some ten minutes before the departure of the train the players were loafing around the platform smoking and talking, when Childs appeared from his car minus coat and vest. Clarke was talking with Rube Waddell with his back towards Childs. The latter rushed in with an oath and hit his enemy a stunning blow. Clark swung around and clinched. The players of the two teams immediately gathered and took sides, each encouraging their own men. No attempt was made to separate the belligerents. On the contrary, each man was given every encouragement possible by his supporters. They went at it hammer and tongs — all over the depot platform, making pandemonium among the frightened passengers, who were not of the party of baseball players. Clarke tore most of

— Pittsburg Commercial Gazette, January 10, 1900.

Latimer played in four games for Pittsburgh in 1900 and was soon released. But, before his departure, it was Latimer who got the best of Rube. “[Rube] soon acquired a habit of borrowing $30 or so from Harry Pulliam,” Hans Wagner later told, “with which to ‘buy a suit . . . ’ “Well, Waddell bought a suit and went to his room. Taking off the old one . . . he started to toss [it] out the window when ‘Tacks’ Latimer . . . yelled: ‘Here, don’t throw those clothes away, Rube. Give ‘em to me.’ “Rube tossed the suit into Latimer’s lap . . . Two nights later [Rube] saw Latimer strutting around in the hotel lobby in his old suit. The more Rube saw of Latimer, the more he figured that the old suit was all right. “‘Here, come upstairs and make a change,’ ordered Rube. ‘I like that suit best.’ “And the pair disrobed, Latimer getting a suit only three days out of the store,” Wagner added.

By Wm. C. Anderson

89

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


When

Rube

Waddell

the clothing off Childs and the latter retaliated by leaving marks all over the face of the Pittsburg manager. Finally a burley policeman got through the throng and stopped the mill. The enemies were pulled apart, vowing vengeance and promising each other to have it out at the first meeting, and the condition of affairs bodes ill for a peaceful condition at Pittsburg after the teams get on the field there. Both the Chicago and Pittsburg players agreed that Childs was in the wrong, but that did not deter them from enjoying the encounter and loyally taking their respective sides. — Cleveland Plain Dealer

Came

to

Town

a boy and wants to cut up monkey shines all the time, and it is easier to take care of him away from home, where he does not have a party of admirers around him all the time. “Rube is hooked up now with a band of athletes in Pittsburgh, “ Dreyfuss added, “and the other night I heard of him giving some strong-man exhibitions. He had a board strapped on his chest and then allowed two men to stand on him while he was bent over. He also raised a chair with a heavy man in it over his head with his left arm. All these feats are not helping his pitching, to be sure, but you might as well try to stop the sun from shining as to break Rube of these tricks. Fred Clarke has decided not to use him at home at all any more this season, but when we get on our long trips, Rube will do his share of the pitching, and, if necessary, more, too.”

By mid-May, the Pirates were 13-9, and the team was not meeting its expectations. Rube was struggling. It was clear he needed more support from his catcher, Chief Zimmer. “When [catcher Pop] Schriver gets right, he will work with Waddell who needs a jolRobbed of a Victory lier to steer him through a game,” the PittsOn May 17, Jack Chesbro started for burgh Press pointed out. Pirates player/manager Pittsburgh against Philadelphia and lost the To compound the Pirates’ problems, Fred Fred Clarke game in the first inning when he allowed Clarke, an intense player, always “hustling three runs. Rube, seeing action for the first time in ten days, until the last man was out,” was also under pressure. He was was sent into the game by Clarke in the second, and, over eight suffering from liver and kidney troubles, his batting average innings, allowed Philadelphia only three hits and one run — was dropping, and he was sorely distressed over his failure to “the cheapest tally of the game” scored by Shorty Slagle [ancontribute offensively to the team. The press was questioning other western Pennsylvania baseball product, hailing from his leadership, and, adding to Clarke’s tribulations, Rube’s ecWorthville, Jefferson County] in the fifth inning. centricities were disrupting the Pirates. “The sawed-off left fielder [Slagle] lifted a foul that should Clarke saw the pennant fading. have been easy for Schriver, but Popper Bill stood stock still “A team with such individual strength as represented there while Cooley and Waddell chased the ball. Both stopped before should stand higher in the list,” the New York Telegram progetting under it. Then Slagle got a base on balls, stole second, nounced. “Fred Clarke is a good ball player, very few better, was sacrificed to third and scored on Lajoie’s long fly to but he lacks executive ability, as was shown last year in the Clarke. This was Philadelphia’s fourth and last run,” the Press handling of the Louisvilles. His team is strong, and should explained. show to better advantage before the close of the season.” AnIt was a hard loss for the Pirates, 4-3. other reporter noted that, “He should have more help.” Down by three runs, Pittsburgh, behind a determined WadRube in Wrong dell, “fought pluckily all the way.” Rube tripled to the left “In Wrong,” a newspaper headlined. bleachers in the sixth and scored on a fly, aiding a Pittsburgh Referring to the antics of Rube, in part, a New York writer two-run rally. maintained, “It is common talk that the behavior of the Pitts“With a cent’s worth of luck Pittsburgh would at least have burg players at home this year has surpassed all previous tied the score in the seventh when Wagner led off with a sinrecords, as regards [to] disorder, yet there has not been a word gle and Clarke sacrificed, but it was not to be and Ritchey’s of remonstrance from Dreyfuss [the club’s owner].” liner, which was worth two or three bases, went straight to Delehanty and made a double play easy,” declared a Pittsburgh Clarke Won’t Start Rube at Home baseball writer. “It will be some time before Rube Waddell pitches another Rube was disheartened and felt he was robbed of a victory. game on our own grounds,” Pirates President Barney DreyThere was no one in Pittsburgh who would disagree. fuss told the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune in mid-May. “We Rumors floated around Pittsburgh that he had jumped off will let Rube do most of his pitching away from home this the Sixth Street Bridge after the game. The story only upset year, and he will do lots of it if he shows the proper form. The Rube more, and he openly expressed his feelings about the trouble with Rube is that he can not be controlled at home. He matter in the Pittsburgh bars that night, vowing to hunt down takes good care of himself and never dissipates, but he is like the culprit that started the rumor. By Wm. C. Anderson

90

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


The

Baffling

Antics

of

a

Screwball

Pitcher

Rattling the Rube did not allow the yells of the coaches to send him skyward. Rube was called upon to start against the first-place BrookThe Reds could do nothing with his delivery and the seven hits lyn Superbas the following week on Wednesday, May 23. made off of his delivery were widely scattered,” wired the With their constant banter, the opposing coaching staff did Post-Gazette baseball scribe. Notwithstanding the badgering its best to distract and disrupt Rube. and insults thrown his way from the lines, Rube and the Pi“Through illegal coaching, Hanlon’s team scored four runs rates won easily, 10-2. It was Rube’s first win in over a month.   and forced Waddell out of the game in the fourth inning,” a After defeating the Giants on May 28 at home, the Pirates Pittburgh paper relayed. began their first eastern series. In the morning game of a dou“The Pittsburgh management is bleheader against the New York much exercised over Wednesday’s Giants on Thursday, May 30, Rube game, in which Rube Waddell was and Pink Hawley were the opposknocked out of the box,” the Brooking pitchers. lyn Daily Eagle averred. “It is al“Waddell made his initial apleged that the Brooklyns went to pearance in the East this morning extremes in their efforts to rattle as a member of the Pittsburgh team Waddell and that Dahlen stood on and pitched a masterly game up to the first base line and addressed vile the sixth inning, keeping his hits epithets to the pitcher. It is further well scattered and displayed excelstated that President Dreyfuss of the lent judgment with men on the local club has gone so far as to wire bases and succeeded in striking out Pittsburgh’s Sixth Street Bridge. a complaint to league headquarters seven of the home team during the not only against Dahlen, but also game, three in the third inning in against Umpire Hurst for allowing what Dreyfuss call rowdy succession,” the Post-Gazette recounted. It was a close game base ball. with Rube coming out on top, 7-6, and evening his season’s “The Brooklyn players deny emphatically that any vile lanrecord at 3-3. guage was used, and say that they used only the ordinary methOn June 1, Rube relieved Chesbro in the third inning and ods to rattle Waddell. The fact is that the pitched superb baseball. latter has been lauded to the skies by the “From that point on only one Giant base ball writers here and the public has crossed the plate. Waddell giving a fine exbeen led to believe that he is the best on hibition of pitching. Whatever chance the Piearth. He has failed to make good and in efrates had in winning was thrown away by forts to find excuses for his showing on Chesbro’s wildness in early innings.” Wednesday, complained about the coaching Chesbro allowed three runs in the first and of the Brooklyn players.” two in the second before Clarke yanked him Chesbro relieved Waddell, and the Pirates from the game. Pittsburgh lost another close rallied for six runs in the sixth inning, more one, 6-4. than enough to win for Chesbro, 8-5, and The Pirates’ record stood at 20-18. The rescue Rube from another loss. team was not playing at the level expected Two days later, Rube made good, replacof them and continually suffered “their usual ing Leever in the seventh and striking out attack of stage-fright.” With their strong five of the ten batters he faced in New York. pitching staff of Jesse Tannehill, 5-3; Jack “Only two men reached first base while Chesbro, 5-4; Sam Leever, 3-3; Rube WadHonus Wagner — 1900 Rube was the centerpiece, and not a run was dell, 3-3; and Deacon Phillippe, 4-5, the Piscored,” the Post-Gazette recorded. Pittsburgh, however, rates should have been in first place. Honus Wagner was dropped another, 4-3. It was Pink Hawley’s eighth start for blistering the ball at a .443 clip, but Clarke was struggling and New York and his first victory. slumping with a .160 average at the plate. The Pirates’ next stop was in Philadelphia. On June 4, Rube Splendid Form on the Road surrendered three runs in the fourth inning. A pinch hitter was In Cincinnati on May 27, Rube opened the game in front of sent in to bat for Rube in the ninth inning. The Pirates tied the a large Sunday crowd. As his manager had indicated earlier, it score and went on to win in the tenth, 5-4, when Honus Wagwas plain to see by any observer that Rube pitched better on ner crossed the plate with the deciding run. the road. Clarke sent Rube up against the Quakers again two days “Rube Waddell showed his true form today. He had speed, later. This time, Rube struck out eight and won the game, 6-3. control and a curve ball and attended strictly to business. He In the ninth inning, Rube executed a “ghost dance” after strikBy Wm. C. Anderson

91

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


When

Rube

Waddell

Came

to

Town

ing out pitcher Al Orth. He had his fourth win, and third concouldn’t be found. The umpire warned the Pirates that they secutive victory on the road. would be forced to forfeit if Waddell didn’t go into the game Claimed The Pittsburgh Press, “Since leaving home Rube — or if they didn’t have another pitcher ready. Players were Waddell has cut out all foolishness. He has a guardian in the sent underneath the bleachers to look for Rube. They were told person of Harry Pulliam, the genial [team] secretary. Every that Waddell had gone into the street. Rube’s teammates found evening promptly at 7 o’clock Waddell makes a call on Pulhim playing marbles (miggles) with “a half dozen young street liam, and when he leaves he urchins.” is richer by one dollar, this “You need to come back being the amount agreed and pitch,” Rube’s teamupon between the two to be mates coaxed. paid Waddell for spending “I’ll come in when I’m money when the team is on through,” chided Rube. the road.” Rube, according to the Clarke’s health problems tale, was eventually percontinued and caused him suaded to leave his newto leave the team for Pittsfound friends and entered burgh, where, upon his arthe game with the Pirates rival, he immediately leading, 5-4. Rube tried to traveled to Cambridge stop the hitting of the Springs to recuperate. It Brooklyns, but the Superwas anticipated he would be bas “took kindly to his fast gone for three weeks. ones” and Rube “was Before his departure, touched up for a single, a Clarke reminded his players triple and a home run in the of their “obligation to club fifth and two singles in the owners.” He turned his seventh,” handing the Piteam over to Dick Cooley, rates another loss, 8-7. the Pirates first baseman, “Pittsburg was in the Rube’s teammates found him playing marbles outside the ball park. and “ex-captain of the lead when Waddell went Phillies.” into the box, so he is During his absence, Rube charged with the defeat,” the was again “free to wander.” Pittsburgh Press held. It was Rube’s antics and peculiar the first of five straight losses actions caused “more gray hairs for the talented pitcher. Rube to enterprising managers than was not focused on baseball. any other man who wore a uniPittsburgh completed its form,” newspapers averred. eastern trip in Boston. On “On one occasion Rube was June 14, Rube was tagged for missing, and a hunt finally lofive runs in the first two incated the big twirler standing on nings. He went the distance a box in front of a ten-cent side but lost, 7-3. It was the fifth show, exhorting the crowd to consecutive loss for the Picome in and see the wonderful rates, dropping their record to cherry cat.” 23-24. Whether playing in sandlot pickup games, dividing up peanuts, or wading through babbling brooks, Rube was the friend of young Waddell would not see a A Boston newspaper introbaseball fans in every town in which he pitched. victory in a Pirates’ uniform duced Rube to its readers, for several months. “Pittsburg chose for a box man a young man who is one of the most talked of players of Marbles in Brooklyn the day. His name is G.E. Waddell, but he also rejoices in the One famous Rube yarn may have originated at Washington approbation of ‘Rube.’ ‘Rube’ is a pleasant chap, tall, lithe and Park in Brooklyn on Tuesday, June 11. muscular, with a wealth of speed and curves and a willingness The Brooklyn Superbas, also referred to as the Trolley to work. His work was very fair considering seasoned men opDodgers, were hitting Phillippe “freely” and knocked him out posed him.” of the box after three innings. Called upon to pitch, Rube By Wm. C. Anderson

92

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


The

Baffling

Antics

of

a

Screwball

Pitcher

other strikeout and his club mates did not warn of the danger Pirates Erratic Organization of such a move until too late.When urged to make Clingman hit, Without Clarke, the club was an erratic organization. “The he could not find the target and Clingman walked to first. Then Pirates Need A Leader, Not Playing for Dick Cooley as They Griffith sent a short fly to left, and while Ely, Williams and Did for Fred Clarke,” bannered the Pittsburgh Press on June O’Brien were chasing it, Clingman was digging around the cir18. Under Cooley, Pittsburgh dropped two more games to cuit. The hit was a weakling, but it fell before any of the fielders Chicago and fell to fifth place. The losing skid stood at seven, reached it, and rolled to foul ground. That decided the best the longest of the season.    pitched game of the season, as Clingman had no trouble in scorPresident Barney Dreyfuss, while backing his team, admiting. ted they were weakened by the loss of Clarke. The player/manThe spectators were frantic with delight and cheered the ager, while recuperating, worried constantly over the team’s winners for many minutes, and then remembering the Pirates’ losses and “was simply a wreck . . . ” splendid struggle, they applauded the losers generously. The Press professed, “Just now, the great Waddell pitched wonderful ball, striking out out of the Pittsburg club seems to be the 12 of Loftus’ men, but at times grew wild, and want of a first-class leader. The infield is several times his wildness imperiled the game. one of the best in the league, and the outHis opponent, Griffith, the cool, foxy veteran, field is strong. In Zimmer and O’Conner pitched in grand style, being at his best when [the catchers] the team has nothing to ask danger threatened. The two extremes of from any one, while the pitching departpitching men, Waddell, using extreme speed ment has great natural ability, yet there and weird curves, held Chicago helpless, while seems to be no one extra strong man to hold Griffith, floating slow and tantalizing curves the bunch together. across the plate, kept the Pirates poking weak “If the players spent more time trying to flies and twisting grounders to the infield. earn their salaries and less in whining over Throughout the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth and thirteenth innings, the interest alleged grievances, they would make a bigrose until the crowd was frantic. It seemed ger hit with the public.” every inning Chicago would score; . . . yet, Clarke was determined to get back into while danger threatened, Waddell was invinthe lineup and returned from Cambridge cible. Springs, insisting he was “in good condiAt Chicago — tion.” Pittsburg 000 000 000 000 00 — 0 Playing on June 18 against the Chicago Chicago 000 000 000 000 01 — 1 Orphans, the weakened Clarke was forced — Pittsburgh Press, June 20, 1900 to leave the game in the seventh inning, this time assigning his team and duties to In spite of losing the 14-inning marathon, “Bones” Ely. Rube, this time, was not disheartened with He went back to Cambridge Springs for defeat. more treatment and rest but not before seeThe Pirates bounced back the next day, Fred Clarke - the best left fielder in the ing his team win, 4-1, breaking the losing June 20 and pounded the Orphans, 8-1. National League. skid. Waddell, along with teammate and outfielder Tom Ketchum, amused the Pirates and a crowd of adA Difficult Loss to Chicago mirers at the railway station that evening. The next day, on Wednesday afternoon, June 19, Rube was

up against the Chicago Orphans. In one of the greatest games ever played in baseball, Rube could have used the guidance of his ailing manager. The Press circulated the story:

Waddell the Comedian

St. Louis, June 23 — The Pittsburgh boys never lack for sport when there is leisure on this trip. Big Rube Waddell is the official entertainer, and he has able assistants. Whenever the team has to wait on a train, “Rube” opens the show. Before leaving Chicago the other night, he gathered a crowd around him to demonstrate his high kicking, jumping and other athletic abilities. He turned wagon wheels, jumping into the doorway of a baggage car from the platform, kicked a hat from “Popper” Bill Schriver’s hand held 12 feet in the air and completed his performance with a one-handed handspring. — Pittsburgh Chronicle Tele-

The Greatest Game

A high fly ball to short left gave Chicago a victory over Pittsburg in one of the best games of baseball ever played. The scratch hit was made in the fourteenth inning, and sent Billy Clingman across the plate with the only run of the game. In this inning, the first two men were easy for Waddell, who also got two strikes on Clingman. Instead of following up his advantage by putting the ball over the plate, he tried for anBy Wm. C. Anderson

graph, Saturday, June 23, 1900.

93

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


When

Rube

Waddell

Came

to

Town

At the Races, Bicycle Rides, and a Night on the Town Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show With traveling and rainouts, the team would have the next Clarke rejoined the team on June 26 and “got back into the five days off. During the Pirates’ layoff, Rube’s antics were the game [at home against Chicago] . . . and celebrated his return subject of newspaper stories on a daily basis: by leading the Pirates to a victory. When he appeared on the Rube and the Pirates spent the day at the fairgrounds. He field . . . the occupants of the stands gave him a cordial rewas “down thick in the last race. When the result of this race ception and he more than made good by batting out a single was known, Rube let a and a three-bagger,” the whoop that could be heard Commercial Gazette reall over the spacious ported. “His good showing grounds,” the Press disof yesterday leads the closed on June 22. cranks to believe that from The following day, team now on the frisky manager captain Fred Ely, filling in will be a big help to his for Clarke, “had Rube Wadteam in the hitting as well dell pitch a few swift ones as in the playing line.” to each member of the Rube was scheduled to team. They took turns at the pitch the second game on bat and the practice proved Thursday, June 27. beneficial.” “Rube Waddell forgot “Rube took a 10-mile bithat he was to pitch yestercycle ride along Lindell avday and got into an arguenue” the next day. “On the ment with the red men in return trip, when six miles the Wild West combination from the hotel, Rube’s exhibiting next to the park. wheel broke down and the Waddell was on the coachpitcher had to carry it ing lines in the seventh inback.” ning and when Ely made “When a count of noses his three-bagger Rube ran Rube was too busy to pitch his game as he was ‘mixing it up’ at were made for lunch, two over to third, and after emthe Wild West show that was set up next to Exposition Park. members of the team were bracing Ely, shook hands missing, Waddell and Tanwith him,” nehill. They were both suffering from a slight illness,” the posted the PittsPittsburgh Chronicle burgh Chronicle Telegraph told its readTelegraph. ers on June 25, perhaps While the hinting to the effects of main event of a night out on the town. the day, of To add to his distraccourse, was the tions, a Pittsburgh ball game, cigar dealer put the which the Pitts“Rube Waddell Cigar” burgh team won on the market with a easily by a score picture of the Butler of 9 to 2, it was Rube, once again, who furnished the most County boy appearing amusement to newspaper readers. on every box. “Surely Rube has Rube Was a Cowboy. reached a high place on On the lot adjoining the ballpark, Pawnee Bill’s Wild West was the pinnacle of fame, camped out, and in order to offset this attraction, Harry Pulliam and ought to settle corralled that brass band composed of young ladies and had them in the grandstand discoursing sweet music for the benedown to a pitching gait fit of the spectators and players.This was one show, which Rube which would make his Waddell went shy on, and when he found out what he had fame good and permanent,” the Butler Eagle editor wisely admissed, he wanted to raise a riot on the players’ bench. Rube vised. had been ordered to report to the grounds early, because he Rube paid little attention. By Wm. C. Anderson

94

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


The

Baffling

Antics

of

a

Screwball

Pitcher

was figured on to take a fall out of that Chicago crowd, but those of Clarke to such an extent that he was increasingly at when reporting time came it was found that Rube was missing odds with his manager. and there was no telling where he was. This put Manager Clarke Pirates Win Six Straight Without Rube in a box, but he finally decided on Tannehill for a twirling artist The Pirates began a six-game winning streak the following and when the afternoon’s argument was over it was found that day by Philadelphia, 5-3. the manager had made a wise selection. Word of Waddell’s sudden and mysterious disappearance was The Pirates played one game in Cincinnati on July 1 and at once sent to Secretary won, 6-0. The team rePulliam, and he started out turned to Pittsburgh for a a searching party headed four-game series against the by Gatekeeper Squire Boston Beaneaters that Edgar, but the missing started on July 2. twirler could not be loThe holiday celebration cated. When Manager Lofbelonged to Pittsburgh. tus and his Chicago team The Pirates swept the searrived at the park they ries, including a big found the park employees Wednesday, Fourth of July all excited and wondered doubleheader in front of at the trouble. Loftus also 11,000 fans in the morning discovered the Pawnee Bill and 10,500 in the afternoon, tent on the next lot, and 8-6 and 3-1, respectively. on learning that Rube had Without Rube’s pitching, suddenly disappeared, the Clarke’s Pirates were putChicago man pointed to ting together an impressive the tents and said he win streak. would give any odds wanted that Rube was Rube’s Celebrates July over the fence taking in the Fourth in Lawrenceville show. Rube injured his finger while playing a sandlot game. While the Pirates were Secretary Pulliam at It led to his suspension. once sent his scouts into readying for their July 4th the bad lands and in a short time one of them returned and holiday doubleheader at Exposition Park, Rube was reported to said that he had seen a man who looked very much like Rube have been off playing in Lawrenceville, a Pittsburgh neighdressed as a cowboy astride a mustang and carrying a repeatborhood, according to the Pittsburg Press and an “old bug,” ing rifle.There was no way to prove the truth of this find, but it who remembered the day: was noticed that Rube did not appear at the grounds until after the wild west performance was over, and then Jack O’Connor Incidents of George Edward Waddell’s life in Greater Pittsdiscovered a trace of war paint on his face. As soon as Rube burg are fitting before fan memories. One predominant trait of got on the grounds he started to coach with Indian yells, and in Rube’s makeup was sudden oblivion. Few men could make a this performance he was joined by a band of braves who were slicker disappearance than Big Eddie. He was the harlequin of taking in the game from the top of some wagons just outside the Pirates. That’s one reason why Cap Clarke tied the can to the grounds. — Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, June 28, 1900. G.E.W. Another was a threat to souse Cap [Clarke] with a fullgrown chair simply because F. Clifford [Clarke] demanded Rube’s presence at a morning practice. No man could bank on Plano’s [a small Butler County town] boy being on the job. He might be knocking fungos at 10:30 and running with a fire company in Beaver Falls at noon, and no one had seen him get away. French leaves crimped Rube’s career in every club. Out in Lawrenceville lives an old bug who declares that Waddell nearly broke up a famous game between the Lawrencevilles and Cyclers, a holiday happening on Schenley oval over 10 years ago. Rube was still on the Pirate payroll and Clarke had searched high and low for him, but in vain. While the Cyclers and Lawrencevilles were plugging away, onto the field strode Rube

Rube at Odds with Clarke Two days later, on June 29 in Philadelphia, Clarke was undecided about a pitcher. Rube hadn’t seen action since his 14inning loss against Chicago ten days earlier. Clarke gave Waddell the nod despite his displeasure with his big pitcher, who — over the past week — was too busy to pitch a game because he was “moving household effects and mixing up with wild-west shows.” Rube lost again, 4-2. Clarke, who demanded one-hundred-percent effort from his players as well as himself, found no humor in the erratic onand-off-the-field actions of Rube. Rube’s interpretation of the rules of the club regarding training and discipline differed from By Wm. C. Anderson

95

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


When

Rube

Waddell

Came

to

Town

‘OUR PIRATES’ — Members of the Pittsburgh Pirates assembled without teammate Rube Waddell in August, 1900. The photo was published in the Pittsburgh Bulletin and was taken after Rube’s suspension from the team. Bert Husting (top row, far right) made his major league debut against Brooklyn on August 16, relieving Phillippe in the seventh inning. The Pirates lost the game, 8-0. Waddell was suspended on Saturday, July 7. (front row, l. to r.) Jiggs Donahue, catcher; Jesse Tannehill, pitcher; Honus Wagner, outfield, Jack O’Connor, catcher; Jimmy Williams, infield; and Claude Ritchey, infield. (second row) Sam Leever, pitcher, Deacon Phillippe, pitcher; Tom McCreery, infield; Fred ‘Bones’ Ely, infield; William ‘Pop’ Schriver, catcher; and Tom O’Brien, infield. (back row)Tommy Leach, infield; Clarence ‘Ginger’ Beaumont, outfield; Fred Clarke, outfield/manager; Jack Chesbro, pitcher; and Bert Husting, pitcher. (Photo from the archives of Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh.)

almost frantic by the sight of a game he couldn’t get in. Eddie was recognized by a Cycler, who quickly urged his captain to put Rube in the fray.The suggestion was accepted with alacrity.Waddell leaped into the sport and was soon the cynosure of all eyes. Finally his turn to swat arrived. Eddie hit the ball, but was thrown out on a close one. Angered at the ump’s ruling, Waddell started something. Johnny Connors was arbiter. He went right up to the giant, gave him the stony glare and assured him that if it got to gay, “out for you.” This flare-up started contention between the opposing nines, of course, Rube not being eligible under the statutes. Finally the dispute was settled by permitting Eddie to play shortstop for both nines. It was a ten-strike. Rooters roared with delight over the runaway Pirate’s antics. Waddell had shaken the Corsairs that day for a fancied reason.Tracers sent out after him in early morning ascertained that about 1 o’clock Eddie was slinging beer in a Liberty Ave. bar. Excusing himself for a minute, he flew the coop here and then the trail was lost. — Pittsburg Press, March

Rube had so many friends in Pittsburgh that it ruined his chances to become an effective pitcher. They would habitually keep him out until the early hours of the morning. Waddell Easy for Giants The New York Giants were in town the following day, Thursday, July 5, for a two-game series and Clarke reluctantly asked Rube to start. “Waddell was easy for the Giants, but the hard drives did little damage until the fourth inning. Rube’s last,” the local newspaper reported. “The New Yorkers rolled up four runs on him in short order.” The third-place Pirates fell, 7-3, and Rube’s record stood at 4-8, the worst among the five Pittsburgh starters. The next day’s game, on Friday, was shortened by rain and darkness after three innings, allowing Rube plenty of time to get into trouble that evening.

14, 1914

Rube Suspended The next morning, Saturday, July 7, prior to the start of a By Wm. C. Anderson

96

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


The

Baffling

Antics

of

game against the Giants, Rube reported to the ballpark with an injured finger. Clarke sent for Waddell and demanded an explanation. The meeting “led to a hard battle of words between manager and pitcher . . . Rube flew into a rage and declared that other players on the Pittsburgh team had tried to drive him out of the business by not giving proper support. Rube claimed that he was called on to do all the work himself, and pointed to his strike-out record — 82 victims in his 12 games — as proof.” Clarke — the best left fielder in the National League, a demanding manager, and a fearless competitor — had seen and heard enough. He had no more time or patience to devote to Rube and his stories.  “Rube Waddell, the eccentric pitcher, was suspended indefinitely without pay by Manager Clarke,” the Pittsburgh Post informed Pirates fans that afternoon. “Waddell insisted on doing all sorts of things and staying out all sorts of hours. These affected his playing to a great extent. He was given a lecture by Manager Clarke, but it had no effect, and his suspension followed. One of the things Waddell insisted on doing was to play ball every evening [on a lot in front of his boarding house in Oakland] with a team of local businessmen, playing every position. He was behind the bat in one game, and had his finger hurt, disabling him.” Others said that the night before his suspension, Waddell used a brick to show his sandlot teammates how to throw a curve and thus injured his finger. In his attempt to defend his pitcher’s actions, Pirates secretary Harry Pulliam put forth yet another version of the story leading to Rube’s suspension. He divulged that Rube had injured his left arm while “tipping his hat” to his Butler County friends during the opening day parade on April 26. “Clarke told the big fellow that the Pittsburgh club would pay him salary no longer to afford amusement to business men and small boys in Oakland,” one Pittsburgh baseball writer acknowledged. To Clarke, the suspension was his final attempt in “trying to force the erratic pitcher into the line of good work and discipline.” He had no other choice but to punish Rube. The Butler County lad had not been taking the best care of himself and, as a result, was not giving the Pirates the work that was expected of him. Had Waddell been in order, and with Phillippe, Leever and Tannehill in top shape, along with Chesbro in the rotation, the Pirates would have been in position to take the 1900 National League pennant. Rube’s behavior had dimmed any hope of a championship in Pittsburgh. Following Rube’s suspension, Clarke left Exposition Park and crossed the river to the Pirates headquarters to inform his bosses that Rube was no longer with the team. Without giving President Dreyfuss an explanation for his actions, Clarke returned to the ballpark.

By Wm. C. Anderson

a

Screwball

Pitcher

That afternoon, Rube sat in the stands and watched his teammates. In an attempt to stay in good graces with his manager, when Clarke scored the winning run against the Giants, 4-3, Rube “was the loudest shouter.” But Clarke and the Pirates gave him no attention. Rube felt insulted and his ego was damaged. Ten minutes after the game, he packed up all his belongings and left the ballpark and declared he would never return. Clarke told reporters that Waddell would be put back on the payroll as soon as he showed a “disposition to earn his salary.”  The Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, in a strongly worded editorial, supported Clarke’s decision and the merits in attempting to change Rube’s behavior: MUST HAVE DISCIPLINE Manager Clarke Shows He Means Business by Suspending Rube Waddell

The action of Manager Fred Clarke of the Pittsburgh team in suspending Rube Waddell without pay shows that the Pirates leader is not a man to be fooled with when the discipline of the team is brought into peril; and his action in this matter will receive the hearty endorsement of all local lovers of the game, because it shows that the team is to be run according to Manager Clarke; and his ideas are good enough for the local followers. Waddell has been petted and pampered to such an extent that he came to the conclusion that he could do about as he pleased. But that is where he got fooled. He has been doing all manner of things calculated to injure himself and place him in a position wherein he could not give the club his best service and Manager Clarke got sick and tired of trying to get him into line by kind advice. There is no doubt in the world as to Waddell’s ability in the pitching line, and if he would only behave himself, he would be the star twirler of the country. He is of a very erratic mind, however, and does things without thinking. Still that is no good excuse as his work as a twirler suffered and the players lost confidence in him. Rube seemed to think that the club could not get along without him, but that is where he is wrong, as Manager Clarke has at least four twirlers who are doing firstclass work, so that Waddell’s services are really not necessary just at present. The lesson may have a beneficial effect on Rube and bring him around to his senses — at least it is hoped for his own sake as well as for the good of the club that it will. — Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, July 9, 1900.

On the Monday [July 9] that the editorial appeared in the Commercial Gazette, Rube wasn’t in the city to read it. The bizarre Rube, through a peculiar string of events, found himself pitching in an out-of-the-way town with an odd name, Punxsutawney. ———

97

© 2013, All Rights Reserved


CHAPTER 12