Monday, March 10, 2008
A Final Bow For The Freshest Man On Earth
I haven't written much about Arlie Latham. It's not that I'm not interested but I just feel (rightly or wrongly) that there is plenty of information out there about him already and I have enough on my plate with everybody and everything else having to do with 19th century baseball in St. Louis. So something has to give and it's The Freshest Man On Earth. But, really, if you're just dying to read something about Latham, check out Ralph Berger's essay on him over at SABR's BioProject.
Anyway, last night I was browsing the Library of Congress' Prints & Photograph Online Catalog and found the above photo of Latham and Wilbert Robinson (who played for the Cardinals in 1900). The picture was dated 1909 and I had to do a bit of digging to find out what it was all about.
It seems that Latham was the third base coach for the Giants in 1909 (and according to Fred Snodgrass he was the worst third base coach of all time) but the amazing thing was that Latham actually played in four games that year. He had been retired for ten years but, for some reason that I couldn't find, John McGraw got the 49 year old Latham into a few games. Although he only went 1-2 at the plate, Latham did have one steal, making him the oldest man to ever steal a base. It's a record that he still holds.