it’s good to be on top

excerpt - Minneapolis Journal - 21 April 1904 - game 1 - standings b

It’s always nice to start the season 1-0.

Any Twin’s fan can tell you that. Though we haven’t had that experience in a good many years, we imagine that the teams that are 1-0 must feel pretty good about themselves. We are well-familiar with the other side of the coin, and know pretty well how that feels.

But I digress.

Minneapolis Journal - 21 April 1903 - headline - game 1b

Watkins.

Does the man never rest?

Here it is. Opening Day.

And suddenly there’s a new man, a new catcher, all set to split the catching duties with our hometown favorite, Mr. Ludwig. There’s Ludwig, fighting his way through a tough spring training, coming out on top — out of no where — to claim the starter spot… and then, no. Mr. Ludwig, meet Mr. Leslie; and, oh, by the way, Mr. Leslie will be starting today instead of you.

I imagine that Mr. Ludwig would feel pretty bad about that.

Not that Watty cares.

Because: Win, baby. That’s all that matters. The name of the game is winning. You want to catch, Ludwig? You want to catch? Play better than Leslie. The end.

WH Watkins c

 

Frosty Thomas

Frosty Thomas

The Millers win the game in the 9th, on a couple of Mud Hen errors. Well, that’s how pennants are won. Capitalizing on the other guy’s mistakes. The hero of the game, I suppose, was Frosty Thomas, who got the opening day start, which was kind of a surprise. We heard good things about Frosty during spring training, but nothing so effusive as what we heard about the Masterful Munch. And Frosty could easily have been the goat, as he gave up six walks along with his six hits. But he bore down when he needed to, and the Millers avoided the Big Mistakes, and we squeaked one out in Toledo.

The other hero, I suppose, was center fielder Denny Sullivan — a guy we haven’t heard much about in the press. It sounds like he snagged a few line-drives that looked like hits out there in the garden, and that probably saved the game, the way Thomas was handing out free passes to the sacks. I looked about for a picture of Denny, but he seems to have been pretty camera-shy. SABR has a little biography of him, but I had to look through the newspaper archives for a picture.

The first one I found was from the Journal in 1905, so I guess Denny sticks with the club for a while. It’s not a very flattering picture, especially for today’s slick fielding hero.

minneapolis Journal - May 1905 - Denny Sullivan drawing b

So I kept looking and found a Miller’s team photo later in 1905. So here’s Denny, and I guess we’ll be hearing about him through the season. He’s fast on the sacks, they say.

Minneapolis Journal - 14 September 1905 - Denny Sullivan in team photo c

 

So there we have it. Opening day, 1-0, first place, a new catcher named Leslie, and Frosty Thomas gets the win.

Minneapolis Journal - 21 April 1904 - boxscore - game 1b

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