Monday, July 18, 2011

Hitting Wind

There was a lot of other stuff going on during the 1883/84 offseason besides the Maroons putting together a team and I've mostly glossed over it in a desperate attempt to get to the 1884 season itself. If I remember correctly, I wanted to cover the Maroons' 1884 season but having spent months now covering the (very interesting) offseason, I've forgotten what it is that I'm really doing.

Regardless, one of the more interesting events of that offseason was the Von der Ahe/Oberbeck trial, which I've probably mentioned at one time or another over the years. On March 1, 1884, the case went to the jury and, during this period, there was a great deal of coverage about it in the Globe. While I don't really want to get into the details of the case, there was some testimony from the trial that appeared in the Globe on March 2nd and I thought I'd pass it along:

Thomas Dolan testified that Oberbeck was a very weak batsman; that "he hit wind nearly all the time."

"Mr. Dolan,"

Did You Ever Hit Wind?"

asked Newton Crane, sarcastically. Dolan replied: "Well, yes; but not all the time." Dolan's testimony was corroborated by George McGinnis, the pitcher.

I love the fact that Jumbo McGinnis had to corroborate Dolan's testimony. But was he corroborating the fact that Henry Oberbeck was a lousy hitter or that he was a worse hitter than Dolan? And really, Tom Dolan (a career .204/.242/.256 hitter) didn't have any room to be calling anybody a lousy hitter. Glass houses, rocks and all that.

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