19 March 1904 – Watkins’ Team Promises to Make Trouble

Minneapolis Milling District, 1910, original photo courtesy of MN Historical Society

Minneapolis Milling District, 1910, original photo courtesy of MN Historical Society

In Minneapolis it is a crisp, spring-like, 36 degrees, and in the Saturday evening Journal, one of the Knights of the Keyboard offers a Sanguine Overview on the Miller’s pending campaign.

If sheer raw unmitigated speed wins games, it should be a fun season for the Millers, the scribe avers. Fox, Oyler, Sullivan, Maloney, Coulter, and Demontreville are some of the fastest players in the association, and catchers should have trouble with them, (assuming they manage to get to first base to begin with.)

Leon Demontreville has a great reputation out east, the writer says, and with “Demont,” Oyler, and Fox in the infield, and Maloney, Sullivan, and Coulter working the gardens, Watkins’ ball club is as fast as any team in the association.

But. WH Watkins c
That’s.
Not.
All.

In addition, there’s no better fielding second baseman in the association than Mr. Fox, while Oyler “has learned a lot,” and Demontreville will “hold his own with any of them.” Meanwhile, all the outfielders “are brilliant performers in the gardens.” And all of them are “fairly strong with the stick, except Fox.”

While the writer believes that all of them wield wicked willows, Mr. Watkins seems to think that there is room for improvement, and thinks that he will be able to make good hitters out of Oyler and Sullivan; Olyer’s a small chap, and “with coaching, ought to learn to fuss the pitchers considerably.” Sullivan, it sez here, hit 100% better last summer than in 1902, “and should show even more improvement this year.” (This seems perhaps overly optimistic to me.)

Mr. Kihm, with Indianapolis in 1902

Mr. Kihm, with Indianapolis in 1902

The big question seems to be at first base. Lally has played there a bit, but is largely “an unknown quantity”, while Kihm – “is a brilliant player and a good hitter, but his inability to talk or hear is a handicap.”

Hmmmm. I suppose everyone knew this already, about Kihm, but it’s news to me. However, the writer goes on,

“At the worst, however, Kihm is better than many first basemen who will be playing in the association this summer.”

Behind the plate the Millers are secure with Roach (“steady”) and O’Leary (“lacking only experience in fast company”). There’s also Ludwig, who will be given another trial – last year he was apparently a bit nervous and thus unable to perform his best, but Watkins thinks he may “get his feet under him this season.” However, he’s not counting on Ludwig, and in Roach and O’Leary he has two backstops of “unquestioned ability.”

Turning to the Slab Arts, the Miller’s pitching is not as experienced as some of the other teams. “Baily can be counted on for good work, and Katoll will be one of the best in the league if his arm is right this year. Frosty Thomas should be a winner as well, but the rest are unknown quantities. As they all come highly recommended, the writer feels that there should be four or five quality twirlers in the bunch.

Again, no talk of the recalcitrant Bonner in today’s paper. It looks like they are moving on without him. Too bad, Mr. Bonner, you had your chance.

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