|BIRDS, BEES AND BASEBALL|
BIRDS, BEES AND BASEBALL
By Ira L. Smith
NOTE: THE FIRST TWO PAGES TO THIS ARTICLE, PAGES 72-73 ARE MISSING. BELOW IS THE CONTINUATION OF THE ARTICLE BEGINNING ON PAGE 74.
Patterson, a wealthy man, loved to watch ball games. He regularly went to the ball park in his fancy carriage.
It was drawn by two fine horses driven by a man who had recently arrived from Scotland and had absolutely no interest in baseball. After being conveyed through the carriage gate, Mr. Patterson would go to his box in the grandstand. Then the coachman would steer the horses to deep centerfield, pulling up where a tree that overhung the fence provided shade.
This particular day the game went into extra innings and the coachman fell asleep. He woke with a start when the horses began to lunge and kick. Flint had driven the ball so far that it rolled beneath the team. Paul Hines, the Providence center fielder, had frightened the horses when he came charging up to get the ball. By the time the coachman had the horses under control permitting Hines to get to the ball, Flint had circled the bases and scored the winning run.
A record for distance in throwing a frog probably was established close to 30 years ago by Donald Atkinson, an umpire in the Georgia-Florida League.
Atkinson was working behind the plate on a very hot day in a game between Moultrie and Albany. He was in his shirt sleeves with a canvas bag in which he kept his supply of balls slung over his shoulder.
In the fifth inning one of the Albany players hit a foul fly that went over the grandstand. Atkinson reached into his bag to get another ball. What he got hold of was a live frog. He let out a yip and threw the frog half way to the next county. He never did find out which player had sneaked the frog into the bag.
Time was when an American eagle might attack you while you were watching a baseball game. That's what happened to an eight-year-old boy named John Pollackson who was a spectator at a game on Staten Island, New York, in mid-September of 1908.
"The game was in full swing and the young lad was absorbed in the contest when the eagle descended and fixed its claws in his neck," according to a contemporary report. "The boy yelled and his immediate neighbors tried to grasp the eagle. This was no easy matter, but several of the men finally contrived to release the boy. They caught the eagle by its talons and held it until the boy's father could get a gun and shoot it. The eagle measured seven feet six inches from tip to tip. The boy was not badly injured."
It is rather difficult for an outfielder to make a throw when a dog has a tight hold on his left foot. That's why "Chicken" Wolf, Louisville's right fielder scored the tie-breaking run in a game with Cincinnati, August 22,
Chicken slammed a liner to right for a base hit in the eleventh inning. Ab Powell, the Cincinnati right fielder, chased the ball. A dog which had been snoozing near the fence woke up and chased Powell. Ab had picked up the ball and was getting set for the long throw when the dog caught up with him and grabbed his left foot with his teeth.
Powell, unable to throw, devoted his energies to loosening the dog's grip. Wolf, seeing Ab was so strangely preoccupied, circled his bases. Wolf made three home runs that year. He would have made only two if it hadn't been for a dog.
A sheep and two dogs knocked John L. Sullivan, the great heavyweight boxing champion, to the ground while he was umpiring a game at Waterbury, Conn. It happened when Sullivan was at the height of his pugilistic career in the 1880s.
Sullivan had a great liking for baseball and fancied himself to be quite a pitcher. In his trips around the country he frequently umpired games. Named to umpire the game at Waterbury, a charity affair with 4,000 spectators, he strode to the middle of the diamond wearing a Prince Albert coat.
A Waterbury newspaper reported that he was in complete control of everything until the seventh inning. That was when the sheep and two dogs appeared on the scene. The sheep was the Waterbury Team's mascot. The dogs had come through an open gate. They saw the sheep and headed for it.
The sheep, in a frenzy and seeking protection, streaked to where Sullivan was standing.
The champion soon was in the center of a major rumpus, with the three animals running around his legs and bumping into them. He couldn't keep his balance and fell.
After the animals were chased away, Sullivan got to his feet, faced the crowd and bellowed "I'll warrant you there isn't anything or anybody that gets around on two legs can drop me like that."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr. Smith, for obvious reasons, does not include in this article the historic game played in rural Iowa in the 1890's. The batter hit a long drive which rolled almost to the fence in deep centerfield. There a pig was rooting in the grass and before the centerfielder could recover the ball the pig had eaten it. In the meantime the batter rounded the bases with baseball's first "inside-the-pork" home run.