Friday, July 4, 2008

And Since I Mentioned Duff Cooley Yesterday...

Dick Cooley, once famous as a first baseman in the major leagues, is now managing the Topeka Club of the Western League.

A fine first baseman and a heavy hitting left-handed batsman was Cooley in his day.

He is one of the players who made a batting record of .300 or better for four years from 1896 to 1908, inclusive, in all major leagues.

In 1895, 1896, 1897 and 1898 Cooley batted .340, .300, .327 and .317...

Dick Cooley, owner of the Salt Lake baseball club, has little sympathy with umpire baiters, although when Dick was in the big leagues he had quite a reputation as one of the worst foes the umpires met on the diamonds.

But Dick excuses his faults in this respect on the ground that the umpires of those days were much more tantalizing than the arbiters of the present.

No more bitter feud existed in the big leagues than that between Umpire Joe Cantillon and Dick Cooley. For years they never spoke civilly to each other. Dick tells the story of the final break between Cantillon and himself.

"Cantillon was a good umpire," said Dick, "but for some reason we were always at outs. Joe didn't like me and I had no use for him. However, we got along passably fair until one day in Chicago when Cantillon played the meanest trick on me that I have ever known an umpire to be guilty of. I suppose the laugh is on me but at any rate I never got over it and Cantillon and I have never spoken since.

"I was playing with Boston against Anson's Chicago team. Bill Lange, one of the greatest outfielders who ever lived, was playing center for Anson. I was at bat and caught one squarely on the end and drove the ball on a line to deep center. As I was rounding first, I saw the ball going over Lange's head. I figured it was good for the circuit, so I tore around as hard as I could.

"As I was nearing third I heard Cantillion yell, 'Touch third, you or I'll call you out.' I touched the sack and tore for home. When I was getting near the plate I saw Cantillion running, apparently to make a close decision at the plate. As he came up he yelled, 'Slide!' I slid. Then Cantillion bawled, 'You're out.'

I jumped up and shouted, 'What? Where's the ball?' 'Bill Lange caught it,' said the ump.

"I then found out that while I was running with my head down, confident that I could get around safely, Bill Lange had made a wonderful running and jumping one-hand catch of the ball away back against the fence in deep center and that Cantillion kept me going merely to make a monkey out of me.

"After that we never spoke."
-The National Game

D.C. Cooley, former big league baseball player, died today. He suffered a heat stroke on Saturday. His age was 64. He started his baseball career with the St. Louis Browns in 1893, later playing with Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia and Detroit. He was a team-mate of Ty Cobb at Detroit in 1905.
-The New York Times, August 10th, 1937

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