April 13, 1901

The Athletics had another easy time of it today, beating the team from the Banks Business College, 19-2. The A’s did most of their damage early, scoring 15 of their runs in the first three innings, though so did the collegians, getting both of their markers and three of their four hits against the A’s starter, Wiley Piatt. Jack Hayden had another hot day at the plate, with three hits, including a homer over both the right field fence and the newly-installed netting that was in place to prevent just such an occurrence. He was outdone, though, by Nap Lajoie, who hit two round-trippers, both inside-the-park style way out in the wilds of center field.

Singled out

Socks Seybold was showing improved play in the field at first base. (Inquirer)

Today was Joe Sugden’s last day with the team before heading out to Chicago tomorrow.

Piatt, Bill Bernhard, and Carson Hodge shared mound duties.

Missing persons

P Billy Milligan was expected to arrive tomorrow with his stablemate Chick Fraser coming in on the 19th. 1B Pat Crisham was still at home in Altoona with his sick daughter and had come down with a bug of his own.

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April 12, 1901

If there had been a mercy rule it would have been applied in the third inning. After a pair of tight contests, the Athletics beat a pickup team called the Quaker City All-Scholastics in a walkover, 41-1. In that third inning, the A’s batted around three times and scored 21 runs. Among the A’s 39 hits in the game, only one garnered notice, Nap Lajoie’s blast over the left field wall that astonished all for its pure power. Carson Hodge started the game for the A’s going five innings and striking out six. Howard Wilson finished it out.

What’s next

Tomorrow, the A’s were hosting a team coming off their own big win, Banks Business College, who beat Camden High School, 32-4.

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April 11, 1901

The Yale University team, coming off a win over the National League’s Giants, pushed the A’s to the wall today. It wasn’t settled until Dave Fultz scored on Fred Ketchum’s sac fly with two outs in the bottom of the 11th, giving the A’s the 4-3 win. The teams were scoreless through five innings and finished the ninth tied at 2. Yale scored in the top half of the 11th on a Nap Lajoie error and nearly scored again before the A’s could snuff out the rally. On the game-winning play, the throw actually beat Fultz to the plate, but Hirsh, the Bulldogs’ catcher dropped the throw from the outfield and Fultz was safe.

Singled out

The weather was still breezy, but the temperature was a much more comfortable 60 degrees today and a lusty crowd of 2,500 was in attendance, including many Yale rooters down from New Haven.

Jack Hayden had another sparkling day at the plate with four hits, including two singles.

Wiley Piatt started the game, pitching five scoreless innings with three strikeouts and a pair of waks, before giving way to Bill Bernhard who went the rest of the way.

According to the Record Phil Geier appeared to be taking it a little too easy out in left field.

Bernhard, who was tagged with all three Yale runs, pitched nothing but fastballs until the tenth when he started mixing in his curve.

What’s next

The game with the Quaker City All-Scholastic team, originally scheduled for today, was pushed back to tomorrow.

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April 10, 1901

Connie Mack tinkered with the lineup in today’s game against Manayunk and nearly came a cropper before winning, 9-8. Lave Cross had a bruised thumb and sat the game out, so Mack moved Phil Geier into his spot at third. Socks Seybold took Geier’s spot in left, and Joe Sugden replaced Seybold at first. Starting the game for the Athletics was a tryout named Howard Wilson, who had had a cup of coffee with the 1899 Cleveland Spiders and spent last season going 14-6 with Norwich in the Connecticut State League. He struck out four but gave up four runs in his four innings of work. He was then spelled by Carson Hodge, who finished the game. A pair of errors in the ninth by shortstop Dave Fultz, who had four on the day, let in a pair of Manayunk runs to tie the game at 8. Fultz redeemed himself when his one-out squeeze play bunt brought Nap Lajoie home with the game winner in the bottom half.

Singled out

The great sensation of the day was Manayunk’s pitcher, the one-armed Sam Griffiths. The 200-plus spectators watched in awe as he played flawlessly in the field, making seven assists.

It was another bitterly cold day as the mercury barely reached 50 degrees and the wind was whipping about at 30 miles per hour.

The game against Villanova on the 13th was canceled. No official reason was given, but the rumor was that the Phillies, who also had the school on their schedule, raised a fuss that led to the cancellation.

What’s next

Coincidentally, tomorrow’s game was supposed to be against the Quaker City All-Scholastic squad, but when the Phillies canceled a game with Yale University, Mack offered the collegians a game and they took him up on it. Bill Bernhard and Wiley Piatt were expected to pitch.

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April 9, 1901

It was another cold, windy day at Columbia Park, but the Athletics thumped another easy mark, beating the Carteret Athletic Association club by a score of 23-5. The big star of the game was Nap Lajoie who hit for a super-cycle, as he walked and reached base on an error to supplement the requisite single, double, triple, and home run. His homer in the third excited all 450 of the spectators by going well over the right field fence and threatening windows in the buildings across the street. Jack Hayden hit one to nearly the same spot in the sixth during his five-hit day, continuing the hot streak he started yesterday. This all in a park with no grass in the outfield as the recent wet weather had prevented the laying of sod.

Bill Bernhard opened on the mound again for the A’s and gave up three runs due to wildness in the first before settling down. Wiley Piatt entered in the fourth and pitched effectively during his turn, to be followed by Carson Hodge who closed it out.

Singled out

The Carteret team committed 11 errors to the A’s 3.

The A’s rapped out 26 hits, including 8 doubles.

The A’s scored eight runs in the first, all with two outs.

Lajoie took his pregame warmup wearing his old Phillies uniform. As the Record put it, he paid $30 for it and was going to get his money’s worth. The A’s were supplying uniforms gratis.

What’s next

Tomorrow’s opponent was to be a team from the Manayunk neighborhood.

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April 8, 1901

The Athletics played a real live baseball game today, against a real live opponent, with real live fans in the stands. The weather was bitterly cold with temps in the mid-40s and a 15mph wind, but roughly 960 people paid for the privilege of watching the home club beat a “picked team” known as Moss’s Professionals by a score of 8-1. The Moss crew, an assemblage of local former major and minor leaguers put together by Frank Moss and 16-year major league veteran Arlie Latham, were badly overmatched by the Mackmen.

Bill Bernhard pitched the first three innings for the A’s giving up just one hit. He left the game with a 2-0 lead, courtesy a pair of runs from Fred Ketchum and Phil Geier in the bottom of the first. Relieving Bernhard in the fourth was Carson Hodge, a local lad joining the squad on a tryout basis. He, too, pitched three solid innings but gave up the opposition’s only run of the game when his wild pitch in the fifth allowed Cub Stricker to come home.

The score was 3-0 when Wiley Piatt took the mound in the seventh. He struck out the side that inning and went the rest of the way without allowing a baserunner. The A’s broke the game open in the bottom half of the seventh scoring four, including two on Socks Seybold’s fence-pounding double. Ketchum scored again in the eighth to make the final margin.

Observers were pleased with the way the A’s came out of the gate, predicting they would more than hold their own in American League play. The Moss team managed just two hits all game, though they did turn three double plays in the field.

Singled out

Jack Hayden, a relative unknown to the crowd before the game, got their attention in this one, going 4-for-5 with 3 RBIs.

The Inquirer took particular note of the large number of women in attendance saying that despite the cold, “they wore their furs and they were there all the same and showed their pleasure as only a woman can do.”

Dave Fultz and Lave Cross played a good game in the field. (Inquirer)

Seybold showed his inexperience at first base and all agreed the outfield was his true métier. (Inquirer, Record)

Cross, former Phillie mainstay, received a particularly warm welcome from the fans for his “hard-working” ways. (Inquirer, Record)

The Record, though, thought he, and Seybold, were carrying “too much flesh.”

Joe Sugden, a Philadelphia native who spelled Doc Powers at catcher mid-game, was on the team with Mack’s permission to get in shape before heading west to join the White Stockings for the regular season.

Next up

Tomorrow the A’s host the Carteret Athletic Club, who lost today to Roxborough, 10-2.

Box score

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April 7, 1901

Windy weather dried out the playing surface at Columbia Park making the possibility of playing tomorrow much more likely. The prospect brightened Connie Mack’s mood considerably. “Unless something unusual happens and we have another rain storm before morning, everything will be lovely for tomorrow’s game with Moss’s Professionals.”

If the Athletics did play, they would be without pitcher Billy Milligan. He had come down with a case of the grippe—that’s the flu to you and me—and was sent home to Buffalo to recuperate.

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April 6, 1901

The Athletics were scheduled to play against Roxborough today at the Roxborough home field in the northwest part of town, but the field was too wet for play. Their next game, against Moss’s Professionals on the 8th, was in danger, too.

“We are most desirous of getting to work,” said Connie Mack, “but for the sake of getting in one day’s practice I am not going to risk injury to my men. If the grounds are in fit condition on Monday (the 8th), we will play. If not, I’m afraid this game will have to go on the list with Roxborough.”

The team’s expected lineup for that game was:

Fred Ketchum cf
Phil Geier lf
Jack Hayden rf
Nap Lajoie 2b
Socks Seybold 1b
Lave Cross 3b
Dave Fultz ss
Doc Powers c

with both Wiley Piatt and Bill Bernhard expected to get time on the mound.

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April 5, 1901

The field was still soft from recent rains, but the squad finally had their first practice today. Bill Bernhard, Wiley Piatt, Jack Hayden, and Billy Milligan pitched batting practice. According to the Inquirer about 600 spectators showed up to watch as Phil Geier, Fred Ketchum, and Dave Fultz particularly impressed onlookers with their skill. Along with pitching batting practice Hayden elicited some cheers from the crowd by making some tough catches in the outfield. Socks Seybold provided the prime spectacle of the day, though, when he smacked a line drive into the stands that caused two people to seek medical care, one who was hit in the ear and the other with an injured arm.

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April 4, 1901

Lave Cross and Phil Geier reported to the team today, but the field was still too soft from the recent rains to hold practice. The team did release the lineup they expected to use for their first exhibition on April 6 against Roxborough:

Fred Ketchum cf
Phil Geier lf
Jack Hayden rf
Nap Lajoie 2b
Socks Seybold 1b
Lave Cross 3b
Dave Fultz ss
Doc Powers c
Wiley Piatt p

Bill Bernhard and Billy Milligan were expected to get mound time, too.

Contract jumpers

Connie Mack received a letter today from Victor Willis confirming that he would be returning to Boston to play with the Beaneaters, citing a “moral obligation” to do so. Accompanying the letter was a check for $450 plus $5 interest to repay the advance Mack had sent him earlier. This on top of defections by Christy Mathewson, who returned his $50 advance and headed for Giants camp, and Lefty Davis who was training with Brooklyn and had yet to return his advance, prompted some comments from Mack.

“Willis can go,” he said. “A man of that character is not to associate with men of honor. It would be worse than folly to attempt to force a man to play where he does not want to. Such a player would be no good to the team. I would like to make an example of such men, however, as a warning to all others who take advantage of a fair and liberal treatment to obtain money under false pretenses. There is no other way of looking at it. When we get on the field you will find that we have an outfield that will hold its own with any of them in spite of these desertions.”

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