Unusual Stories

An early 19th century ball player named Ed Crane was reported to have thrown a baseball 135 yards, 13-1/2 inches.

In 1872, John Hatfield outfielder for the Hartford Mutuals of the National Association took part in a throwing exhibition in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was reported that he threw a baseball 133 yards, 1 foot, 7 inches.

On September 3, 1886, two baseball teams composed of employees of a local Baltimore brewery played a game at Oriole Park on Huntington Avenue. One ball club was known as the Brewers and the other nine, the Maltsters. Forty kegs of beer were hauled to the ballpark for the contest. From the outset of the game, a keg of the cold frosty brew was stationed at the third base bag. Only when a offensive player was able to make it all the way around the bases to the hot corner was he allowed to quaff a cold one. The Brewers went on to win the game that day by the score of 31 to 7. A local Baltimore newspaper noted that the Brewers won easily but somehow managed to leave over twenty men stranded at third. The game began in the afternoon and lasted well into the early evening hours. There were over five hundred fans in attendance at the ballpark for this very entertaining exhibition of our national game.

On August 7, 1890, the Elkton, Md. baseball team's star pitcher Herb Realy saved the life of a young boy that was drowning. Realy was a passenger on a boat that had been docked at the Iron Bridge. A young boy named George Hewitt fell overboard from a boat that was on the opposite side of the river and some distance up stream. Realy got out of the boat he was on and ran across the Iron Bridge. The resourceful young pitcher commandeered a boat on the other side of the bridge and was soon at the drowning boy's side. Realy was able to lean out of the boat and pull the boy from the river seconds before he went under for the third time. Realy's Elkton teammates were not surprised when they learned of their pitcher's heroics. They said he always showed the same kind of hustle on the ball field.

In 1892, the Tyler City baseball team played a game against the West Haven ball club at West Haven, Connecticut. During the contest, a long fly ball was hit that landed in the back of a passing locomotive. The players on both teams stood there in shock as the train rode away with their only baseball. The ball was eventually given back to the players on the train's return trip.

On July 29, 1893, at Macon, Georgia, ball player Larry Twitchell reportedly threw a baseball one hundred and thirty five yards, two inches.

In 1924, Jimmy Lawrence manager of the Lake Charles Skippers of the Evangeline League wore a live horned toad underneath his baseball hat during games. Lawrence had previously been a member of the Texas Christian Horned Frog football team. When asked about the frog Lawrence stated, "I've worn a toad in my hat for the last four years. I'm not superstitious it just feels good up there."

On August 28, 1928, a yellow baseball was used in a minor league game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Louisville Colonels of the American Association. It was put into play in the second game of a double header that day. It was believed to be the first time this ever occurred in a professional baseball game.

On August 20, 1931, Sacramento pitcher Tony Freitas was in the Novato, California jail serving a five- day sentence for speeding. He had been charged with driving 55 miles per hour on a road on the outskirts of town. Freitas was scheduled to pitch that evening in a Pacific Coast League game against the San Francisco Seals in San Francisco. Luckily for Freitas, Novato Sheriff W.W. Sellmar was a baseball fan. The sheriff agreed to let the talented left-handed hurler travel to San Francisco to pitch in the game. A Deputy Sheriff accompanied the pitcher on the trip. Freitas was the winning pitcher that night defeating San Francisco by the score of 5 to 3. After the game he returned to the jail and served out the remaining days of his sentence. Freitas would finish the 1931 season with a pitching record of 19 wins and 13 losses and an earned run average of 3.09. Freitas was one of the greatest pitchers in minor league history, finishing his career with 342 wins. He was a steady and consistent performer, winning twenty games or more, nine times during his tenure in the minors.

In 1935, Joe Cambria owner of the Albany Senators of the International League signed outfielder and former convict Edwin C. "Alabama" Pitts to a contract. International League officials disapproved of the deal but baseball Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis ruled in Pitt's favor and he was allowed to play. The outstanding all around athelete had previously compiled a .500 batting average while playing for Sing Sing Prison's baseball team. Pitts went on to play in 43 regular season games with Albany in 1935, finishing the year with a .233 batting average.

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