29 April 1904 – Louisville

newsboy-minneapolis-1904-b“MILLERS FALL DOWN WITH STICK”

Read all about it!

The millers lost yesterday to the colonels in Louisville, by a 3-1 margin.

Watty’s colts only managed four hits off the colonel’s Egan, while the elongated Stimmel also tossed a fine game, giving up only six hits himself. Sad to say, poor base running may have played a part in the loss. Watkins can’t be happy about that. Apparently Maloney got caught napping at second base. I assume that billy-maloney-brg-bmeans he got picked off? Ouch! Maloney also got a couple of hits and sparkled out in right field, but I would think that Watkins will overlook those redeeming points and talk to him seriously about the importance of being highly alert while on the base paths.

I’m a bit concerned about the miller’s offence. (As I’m sure we all are.) Here’s the miller rally yesterday, as described by Our Man in the Field:

“The millers’ one score was secure in the fifth, when Oyler lined out a single, Stimmel sacrificed him along, and the shortstop stole third. McNichol bunted, and Dexter fielded the ball home, but Schriver dropped it, making the only miscue of the game.”

That’s probably going to be the nature of the millers’ offence this season: bunts, sacrifices, stolen bases, maybe an error thrown into the mix. I guess, in 1904, that was pretty much the nature of the game. Nowadays we think of the pre-Babe Ruth years as the Dead Ball Era, but back then it was just baseball. Nobody even noticed that the ball was dead. It was just part of the Great American Pastime. It’s a good thing that Watty has assembled a stable of speedsters.

On that note there was an interesting comment by Watty, in yesterday’s paper, I think it was. His theory is that it’s very difficult or impossible, really, to find much good hitting at this level of the game. If a guy shows he can hit, he gets snapped up by the big leagues. And that’s why he’s so focused on speed. Hitting across the league will be weak, and so he believes that the fastest team will create the most runs and thus come out as champions in the end. As long as they are awake out there on the base paths.

Yesterday, more bad weather, but they played anyway and played well. One error for the colonels, none for the boys from Minneapolis. Demontreville was sick, but McNichol played well at 3rd. Oyler was excellent at short. Watty says he will release both Ludwig excerpt-tacoma-times-12-april-1909-wm-ludwigand Roach shortly. Ludwig is apparently not fast enough, while Roach’s work “has been indifferent.” I wonder why he hasn’t released them already. Must be no fun for them. I hope he’s talked to them, and they don’t just read it in the papers. Maybe he’ll yet change his mind about Ludwig, who’s a fan favorite, a game player, and a fine young man, though perhaps not so fast.

Young Munch may twirl for the millers today. Census records seem to indicate that Gustave was born in 1876, which would make him about 28 in 1904. Which makes me wonder how old the rest of these guys are, if he’s “young” Munch?

millers-logo-tilt-glow-c

And in other news of the day:

excerpt-minneapolis-journal-29-april-1904-speed-mark-for-train-b

 

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A long belated and apologetic return to 28 April 1904: Rain Out

Rain Rain Rain

“Speed of Watkins’ Men Elicits Favorable Comments”

Well, the rain continues in April of 1904, and yesterday’s scheduled game was a washout. Our scribe had thought that the millers would take two games in Columbus, but instead they drop one and are rained out of their other three opportunities. The club boarded the train last night for Louisville, where they will play a four-game series against the colonels. It looks like the colonels dropped yesterday’s game against Kansas City. (Oddly, the game was played in Louisville, but KC batted on the bottom of the card. So, really, they were the home club, it seems. Perhaps we’ll find out more about this later. Does KC not have a park? Are they like the fabled Rupert Mundy’s, wandering in the wilderness?)

The speed of Watkins’ men continues to astound all who witness their ambulatory talents. Apparently they excel at the bunt game — “…the slightest bobble by a senator on an infield hit meant that the runner would reach first.” I imagine other teams must be quite nervous about these millers and their short-ball style of play. Veritable gazelles. The entire game played with the infield pulled in, guarding against the bunt. “The Minneapolis Shift.”

If this pennant chase comes down to a footrace, the boys quite have it all locked up.

This new catcher Weaver is apparently as tall as the team is fast. He stands well over six feet, a veritable towering Goliath of his day. This now means Watkins has four catchers on the club — Weaver, Leslie, Ludwig, and Roach, and our reporter hazards a guess that Ludwig and Roach are slated for Watkins’ bloody chopping block.

excerpt-tacoma-times-12-april-1909-wm-ludwig

Four backstops are probably too many, but I do hope he keeps Ludwig, who showed some pluck in spring training. Watkins famously said he was going to instruct him in “all the finer points of the game.” I’m sure Ludwig was kidded about that quite a bit. Did Ludwig turn out to be a poor student, or was Watkins just talking a good game? Well, we’ll probably never know.

Frankly, I would not be at all surprised if the club picked up another new catcher in Louisville in the next day or two. Watkins seems to have some sort of weird obsession with the position. It seems like there’s always someone better waiting in the wings. Tomorrow perhaps we’ll hear about catcher Slumhaggen, a seven-footer who can run like a jaguar and is a wand master of the highest degree. If I was catcher Weaver or catcher Leslie, I would not be feeling too comfortable.

Perhaps you’re wondering about the standings? Especially given the extended lay-off between our visits to 1904. Our last visit being, (embarrassingly) in November of 2015. 2015? Yes, 2015. My apologies.

Well, keep in mind that it’s early yet, and far, far too early to make any serious prognostications about future success. Especially given the amount of rain we’ve been having. But here’s the scoop:

04-28-04-standings-b

Tomorrow we’ll find out how we fared against those colonels in Louisville.

27 April, 1904: Too Much Malarky

27 April 04 - Millers can't hit malarky b

Yesterday there was rain all across the circuit, and our home-town scribe was bemoaning the Miller’s lost opportunity to pick up a win against the Columbus Senators. Well, perhaps the Senate caught wind of this. Perhaps they heard that they were considered an easy mark, a Win just waiting to be plucked. For, lo, the Senators downed the visitors 5-4, as Watty’s colts only muster 5 hits against the mighty Malarky.

John Malarky b

John Malarky was a pretty good pitcher – in ’03 he pitched for the Beaneaters in Boston, and was second on their staff in ERA, going 11-16, and finishing 25 of his 27 starts. The Boston club needed money, though, and sold Malarky to the Columbus club. Malarky was 32 years old in ’04, and never made it back to the majors again, (yes, the Beaneaters were “the majors” back then.)

Anyway, not a good game for the boys from Minneapolis. All the Millers runs came on throwing errors by the Senators, including 3 runs in the third on a wild toss from the outfield. But Malarky had the game well in hand, and Olyer and Lally were troubled by “slippery footing.”

The play of the game (from the Minneapolis perspective) was a double play, where Bowcock tried to steal home, was tagged out by Leslie, who then tossed to second in time to get Yeager. Heads up play by Mr. Leslie!  Good going!

None-the-less, our reporter says that Watkins is trying to acquire a catcher from Columbus, perhaps a fella name of Weaver. As I recall, (and it has been some time now) the Millers had two or three catchers in spring training, and it was the youngster, Ludwig, who surprised and looked to be the starter, and then suddenly Watty brings this guy Leslie onto the scene, and now… now.. Leslie is on the way out? Plus Leslie, whoever he is, he’s been hitting the ball some.

Or maybe our reporter doesn’t know what he’s talking about. A couple of days ago he said Demontreville was about to be cut, and now it’s Leslie, while Demontreville, meanwhile, started at second and scored a run, and “played a good game at the second cushion.”

I’ll bet Watkins has everybody on edge. He likes to wheel and deal.

And hey, there it is, right on page 2 of the day’s paper. I’d missed it, scurrying to page 18 to catch the score. “Minneapolis Secures Crack Backstop by Purchase from the Columbus Club.” Watkins sends a telegram to the Journal to announce the acquisition of “Catcher Weaver” (is that his name?) Weaver caught for St. Louis and Pittsburgh in the National league last summer. He played in 32 games and had… er….thirteen passed balls. Thirteen? Yes, that’s right. Thirteen passed balls. In 32 games. While hitting a solid .237. I wonder if the Journal was being sarcastic when they termed him a “crack backstop?” They say his bat will help the club, and that signing Weaver shows that Watkins — though confident that he has a winning club –  will apparently spare no effort in order to strengthen his club, even acquiring a “crack backstop” while at the same time Leslie has been doing well at catcher, and Ludwig has been a capable back up. But that’s not enough for Watkins, whose passion is, apparently, a strong fast ball club, replete with windpaddists. Well, whatever. I wonder who the starting catcher will be tomorrow?

26 April 1904, Tuesday Evening, rain

No action today; rain all around the association.

Given a spare moment, an industrious scribe will analyze, and so our scribe does.

The millers, he sez,  have been “larruping” the ball – over ten and a half hits per game, which is a lot more than anyone would have predicted.

(Of course, too early to tell.)

Most of the fielding errors we’ve seen so far are on account of the weather, he sez — numbed fingers making it difficult to hang onto the ball.

Captain Fox

Captain Fox

Also: these boys are as fast as lightning.

Also: Captain Fox was confined to bed yesterday, but is expected to play today.

“Change of water was responsible for his indisposition.”

Seriously.

25 April 1904; Monday Evening

No Sunday paper, so we wait till Monday to get results of both Saturday and Sunday’s games.

Lee Demontreville

Lee Demontreville

On Saturday, the millers whupped the mudhens again, 8-7. Baily was pitching and was hit hard, eventually being relieved by Owens. The millers kept plugging away at Reisling, and won it by scoring one in the eighth to knot it up and one in the ninth for the win.

The BIG shocker of the report, which is a very small report, being “yesterday’s game” – “Demontreville is said to be slated for the axe by Watkins.”

Demontreville?

Seriously?

04-26-04 - Demontreville slated for the axe

Okay, I know he’s been hurt, but it looks like he played on Saturday, and got a hit (and, okay, made an error.) It seemed like Demontreville was locked in! Slated for the Axe? He showed all the signs of being a very very clever third baseman! perhaps his arm trouble is worse than we’d been led to believe. It makes me wonder about that whole “water polo” story. Seriously? Is that still their story? Has Watkins got someone waiting in the wings? It seems like McNichols might be the new third baseman. But I suppose we should wait and see; perhaps this is just a rumor latched onto by a desperate reporter.

Oh, it looks like Fox pasted one during the game, a three run shot that put the boys up in the second, 5-2. Baily couldn’t hold the lead, but who says these boys can’t hit?

Sunday’s game: We Wuz Robbed!

The score stood 7-2 in favor of the millers in the fifth, when the rain came pouring down, and Umpire Holiday called the game. Frosty Thomas pitched well for the Minneapolitans. Watkins protested, but the game will be played over. The millers will still get half of the gate, so perhaps a moral victory.

Other News Around Town

Well, the Prunes are in:

04-26-04 - Prunes

Also, just like today, 1904 Minneapolis has its gang problem:

04-26-04 - Western Avenue Gang

23 April 1904: Rebound

I feel a bit remiss, leaving the Millers languishing for so long at 1-1. I seem to recall that I was aiming at covering the year in a year, and for awhile, back in the spring, I was all up to date. Then life intervened, and then it was 26 September when last we heard from them, losing to the Mudhens, the vaunted Munch getting hammered in his Very First Game, when we were counting on him so much. I’m sure you have all been on the edge of your collective seats, wondering which way this would go. The beginning of the long slide down? Or the continuation of the hubris of spring?

04-23 stimmel headline

Archie Stimmel - SABR b

Well, good news, all. The boys rebounded the next day, behind the sterling twirling of The Elongated Stimmel. The final score was 7-1. Archibald gave up only 3 hits and no walks, going the distance. “He had great speed and used every kind of curve known to twirlers.” It was a tight 1-1 game in the fifth, but then Coulter came up with the bases loaded and “…the big fielder landed hard on a lob and sent the horsehide out to the centerfield bleachers. Everybody romped home before the ball was fielded in.” An inside the park home run, and that was pretty much all she wrote, especially the way the tall narrow Stimmel was throwing the bean. Coulter also got a double and a single, McNichol started at third for Demontreville and got three hits, and Leslie, starting at catcher again, also went 3 for 4. (Who is this Leslie guy?) It was a hit parade. But top honors go to Mr. Stimmel for totally stifling the Mudhens, leading the Millers to a 2-1 record.

Umpire Bausewine

Umpire Bausewine ran the game again. There were no incidents. Captain Fox held his tongue. Perhaps Umpire Bausewine has set the tone for his season.

Well, with two full games played, there’s a front page article in the 23 April sports section: “Too Early to Size Up Teams.” Thanks, Captain Obvious.

“Until the team has played the rest of its eastern games, however, it will be impossible to make any accurate predictions in regard to its finish. In fact, the team will not have a fair test until it reaches Minneapolis, and has played a few games on its own ground.”

Nice of them to let us know that it’s too early to know. It says that the eastern writers are all giving credit to the Millers for playing “a scrappy, gingery game.” Well, that’s what we want to see.

The writer then goes on to say that the Millers look weak with the stick, not that any conclusions can be drawn after only two games. But they still look weak with the stick. Watkins says it’s hard to get a good hitting club in the minors as the good hitters are quickly snapped up by the majors. His thinking is that a team that is fast and with strong pitchers, and fair hitting support, has more chance of winning than a team of hitters who are deficient in base running, fielding and team work. Well, we shall see about that, I guess. We shall see.

One thing is for certain: it’s too early to tell anything for certain.

Another thing, though, that is certain, is that Watkins has assembled a very fast club. Will they be fast enough???

In fact, former Miller pitcher Guy Converse is in town, having just been released by Winnipeg, and being picked up by the St. Paul club. “That is the fastest bunch I ever saw,” Converse reports. Manager Egan of the Winnipeg club agrees, saying that the average first division club has two or three fast men, but Watkins has six who are sprinters, and good ball players besides. “Sullivan, Maloney, Coulter, Fox, Oyler, and Demontreville ought to simply burn up the paths this season. I do not see how Watkins can help landing well up in the race.”

22 April 1904: Back down to Earth

The inestimable Munch: Pummeled!
Captain Fox: Fined!
Millers: Beaten!

excerpt - Minneapolis Journal - 22 April 1904 - munch hit hard b

Well, the mill-city boys took it on the chin yesterday in Toledo, 6-2, a game that was not as close as it sounds, and it doesn’t even sound too close. According to our source Billy Cristall, pitcherm, Toledo - Wikipedia(“special to the Journal”) the Vaunted Munch got hit around pretty good by them there mudhens, while our own wand wizards couldn’t figure out the curvaceous tosses of Mr. Cristall.

 

Munch got a lucky hit in the third, and came around to score, but that was about it for the boys from Minneapolis. Meanwhile Munch gets pounded, gives up 12 hits, including a homer to Brouthers, (were there a lot of guys named Brouthers back then?) and two walks, and the chickens 3 scores in the fifth pretty much tell the tale.

excerpt - Minneapolis Journal - 22 April 1904 - munch hit hard box score - fine b

Other “highlights”:

“Demont” – the wizard at third base, committed a costly error. Leslie started again at catcher, and got a hit. Munch; I’d been wondering if he’d give up 12 hits all season, and here they are, in game two. And Captain Fox got fined $10 “for talking back to Umpire Bausewine.”

Good to see Captain Fox making an effort; I wonder when this happened in the game? Perhaps he was trying to wake the boys up? Meanwhile Bausewine is probably trying to set the tone for the season, I guess.

And, good name for an umpire.