Giant Squad Looks Good

Damon Runyon

The Independent Record/February 2, 1912

Aggregation Owned By M’Graw a Promising Lot, Declares He

Better Than Last Year

1912 Team Members Are Far Ahead of 1911—“Best Players Have Best Figures—Mathematically, Not Physically Speaking,” Says McGraw—Band Dopes Up Strong on Figures

Figures, says John J. McGraw, do not prevaricate.

Someone else suggested the same thing first, of course, but John J. McGraw concurs, which lends color and consequence to the statement.

“The best players always have the best figures,” coincides Mr. McGraw. “I speak mathematically, not physically. My own shape was never anything to brag about. But look up the records, and you will find that the top-notch men finish with the top-notch figures. The Cobbs—I. and Ty; the Collinses; the Jacksons, Joe, George, Andy, Peter; the Lajoies, Wagners, Meyerses, Mathewsons—or rather, The Mathewson; he came but singular and singularly—will be found to stand first, or in near proximity thereto, at the final summing up.”

That being true—and who will say it is not true—that being true, then, John J. McGraw goes Februarying into the sunny southland with the best band of recruits enlisted this year by a big league club for the springtime wars, and free board and room.

Such is the irony of baseballic fate. With a team already accounted so burglar proof that no rook from out of the shrubbery has much chance to bill in, McGraw seines up a whole batch of embryo stars. Last season, when there was a slight opportunity for newcomers, he could not locate one with a writ of replevin.

Looked for Forgotten Law

The youngsters that went to Marlin at the expense of the Giant management last year were, collectively speaking, about the most unpromising lot that ever gave sustenance and encouragement to the struggling southern railroads. It is said that McGraw used to look at them and then go out behind the hotel and pore over the statutes of the State of Texas, earnestly endeavoring to find some provision relating to false pretenses as applied to ball players.

This spring, however, McGraw has a collection which includes minor league (a) bear cats, (b) curly wolves, (c) second Cobbs, (d) good-as-Mathewsons, (e) speed marvels, (x-y-z-etc.) world beaters, and he is not in absolute need, poverty or destitution in any department of his club. On the minor league figures McGraw has a great hitting catcher and a greater hitting third baseman; a couple of slugging outfielders and two slashing young short-stoppers. He also has several promising pitchers coming along, and it is these fellows that he is more likely to find use for than any of the others.

How They’ll Line Up.

He may carry some of the rest if they live up to their minor league showings, but if you ask us, we should say that the Giants of 1912 will line up something after the following manner: Merkle, lb; Doyle, 2b; Herzog, 3b; Fletcher, 1b; Devore, lf; Murray, rf; Snodgrass, 1b; Devore, c; Mathewson, Marquard, etc., p; B. Becker, utility outfielder; Wilson and Hartley, catchers; D. Hennessey, bat boy; A. Latham, coach; Harry Sparrow, official shillaber, and John Murphy, ground-keeper.

The etc. may include Ames, Wiltse and Drucke, pitchers, and it is certain to compass the rotound Dr. O. Crandall, M. D. There is no reason to assume, either, that Arthur Devlin has passed from the roll of the Giants; there is no reason to assume that he will.

It’s a good even bet that Ames, Wiltse and Devlin will all be in the club next season, despite earnest endeavors in some quarters to sing their Gotham requiems.

McGraw needs new pitching strength more than anything else, and if he can get one good reliable heaver out of the springtime harvest, he will esteem himself fortunate. If he gets two, he will consider the house of McGraw favored of the baseball gods. Louis Drucke, the fair-haired flower of Waco may be one of the two; Amos or Wiltse may even finally collect that one great season that is coming to them.

And then we have C. Jeff Tesreau. Of course you know pitcher C. Jeff Tesreau, surnamed Charles. If not, we bespeak for Chas, your kindest indulgences. You pronounce it “Teg-row,” if you want to pronounce it, but “Tez” is more neighborly and intimate and also more convenient.

“Tez”, then, is the Giants’ hope of 1912. He was with them in the spring of 1911 and in the preceding fall, coming fresh and shrinking, like a violet, from Shreveport. McGraw sent him to Toronto, of the Eastern League, and so well did he do that Joe Kelley, when asked about him, used to say: “Oh, well, of course he is a fair pitcher but he needs another year in some league like the Eastern.” Hearing which, Mr. McGraw immediately recalled Tesreau. For Toronto, “Tez” won 14 games, lost nine and tied one, out of thirty-five.

“Tez” is six feet something and weighs in the neighborhood of 200 pounds before breakfast. Prior to becoming a pitcher he was a bear hunter down in the Ozark mountains. He used to go out in the morning and catch the bears two at a time—never singly—because by snaring ’em in pairs he could kill ’em by knocking their heads together, thus saving the pelts from injury. “Tez” is very likely to become a Giant regular in 1912.

Maybe Bobble Blew Up

McGraw’s next likeliest pitching proposition on the hashbeesh, or dope, is a mysterious left-hander named Robertson, with the outlaw Tidewater League down in Virginia. Of Robertson little can he learned. The Tidewater league blew up. Whether the left-hander did, too, has never been ascertained. McGraw thinks not. His scouts gave him such news of Robertson that the leader of the Giants believes he has caught an animated one.

But we shall see.

Bert Maxwell, who finished the season with the Giants, won 18 and lost 7 games for Birmingham, of the Southern Association, and McGraw will take a further look at him at Marlin. Bert has a nice delivery and may get by. It has been reported that he is booked for Mike Finn’s Mobile team, back in the Southern, along with Eugene Paulette, the young infielder discovered by Mike when he was a Giant scout, but Maxwell’s name appears in the list of the youngsters who are to go to Marlin in the first squad.

Evan Evans and Munsell both come from Dallas, of the Texas League. The former won 18 and lost 16 games. The latter won 20 and lost 20. A Dallas pitcher only works every other day and it is hard to get a good line on them with such sparse appearances. 

Mr. Artemus Bues, recently of Seattle, of the Northwestern League, who makes his Giantic, or Gigantic, debut with a letter of introduction and recommendation front Mr. Amos Rusie, sometime of here, appears to have a record longer than an old-time back driver’s dream. Young Mr. Bues advertises to play a little third base, and Mr. Rusie says he can do it, what’s more. During the course of 162 games last year—they play baseball in the Northwest from springtime unto fall—Mr. Bues hit for himself a mark of .352. For the benefit of those who may not understand batting prowess as presented in figures, it shall be stated that is some large and expansive striking of the baseball. Mr. Bues took 622 trips to the hats to acquire this mark, and wore out six pairs of shoes. He led the Northwestern League in the matter of hitting, and leadered it into a condition of complete exhaustion, too.

Only Seven Ahead of Bues

In his business of third basing, Mr. Bues fielded .907, which set him ahead of all but seven other third basemen in the league. Three finished behind him. This is not what you would call Bakering around the third satchel; still, there are some third basemen in the world less proficient. Coleman, a sprightly youngster, who comes from the same league for the same purpose to the Yankees this year, was among the seven who fielded ahead of Bues. Coleman was fourteen points ahead.

Mr. Bues will probably not be the regular third baser of the Giants in 1912. Mr. Chas. Herzog, the Cantaloup King of Ridgeley, Mo., saw the job first, and if anybody can oust Mr. Herzog out of any situation into which he has inserted himself, we will pay admission to see it done. Mr. Herzog is just about as good a third baser as there is in the lodge, and we’ll thank him to remember we said it when he harvests his next crop of cantaloup, if that is what they do to those insects.

May Make Him an Outfielder

Mr. Bues may become an outfielder—greetings to Mentors Devore, Snodgrass and Murray. Mr. McGraw admires to see young men who can, and will, hit .352, and it makes no difference to Mr. McGraw whether they do it in the infield or in the outfield, although he prefers to have them do it at the bat. So, if Mr. Bues can, and will, hit 352 next season, he may get a regular position with the Giants, and further mention in these columns.

Mr. Bues is by preference a home-run hitter. He made twenty-seven of these interesting items last season. Whenever Mr. Hues went to bat out in the Northwestern League they got so they gave him a home run out of the drawer, and let it go at that. Mr. Bues does not have to hit twenty-seven home runs in the Borough of Manhattan, unless he so desires. If he will restrain his ungovernable fury when he steps to bat, and just gently hit .352, he will get along nicely with everybody, but if he insists on popping out twenty-seven homeruns, we speak for his services in vaudeville next winter right now.

While home-running, Mr. Bues had scarcely no time for base stealing, and so he only nicked 22, which is not bad, considering.

Mr. Henry Groh, short-stop, attracts our attention next. Mr. Groh was in a Giant uniform last season just long enough to be mistaken by early arrivals at the Polo Grounds for the bat boy. Mr. Groh is no longer than a pint flask. He is so unlarge, in fact, that we hesitate about burdening him with Mr. Henry—but let us be more friendly with him, and put it Hank. Hank came to the Giants from Decatur, of the Three-I league, the Giant management changing in $3,500 for Mr. Dick Kinsella for him. Mr. Kinsella sold Larry Doyle to the Giants, and dug up several other players for New York as well.

In the Three-I League, Hank hit .268 in fifty-nine games, and fielded .913. McGraw sent him over to Buffalo, where, in twenty-two games, he took a batting average of .333 and the typhoid fever. George Stallings has a high regard for Hank, and hopes he will get him back in 1912, but just how McGraw can wangle a batting average of .333 out of the big rig remains to be seen. Hank is up against Arthur Fletcher in the matter of a situation, and Arthur hasn’t the faintest idea of giving up his seat. 

Only Knows what Book Says

Of Stock, short-stop, and Gardella, third baseman, we know little, aside from what the book says. The former comes from Fond du Lac, of the Wisconsin-Illinois Amalgamation, where he hit .243 and fielded .934, and he also stole 39 bases. 

Jack Johnston and George Burns have both worn Giant uniforms, and both are outfielders. Johnston was with McGraw last spring and was turned over to San Antonio, of the Texas league, where he hit .296. Burns comes from Utica, of the New York state league, and was with the Giants late last season. He hit .289 in the minor league. 

Elmer Johnson is a catcher from Richard Kinsella’s old circuit, the Three-I. He was with Richard’s team at Decatur, and led the league in hitting with an average of .320 for 117 games. He fielded .981 and led the league catchers in that department, too, number of games considered. 

Must Wear Oregon Boots

Jacobson, outfielder and catcher from the Rock Island team of the same league, is fifth among the batters of the organization, with a mark of .304. He seems to have fielded 1,000, or thereabouts. However, Mr. Jacobson must wear Oregon boots, for he stole but four bases. Johnston beat him in that department, pilfering nine, and rivaling the demon runner Meyers, as a speedy catcher, Johnson has a tough job trying to bill in against Meyers, Wilson and Hartley—still, if he can hit that old .320 he has a chance.

Hugh High comes from Hartford, of the Connecticut league, with a batting average of .302, in 120 games. He stole twenty-five bases. Fullenweider, pitcher, has been particularly well recommended by McGraw’s scouts who saw him at his labors in the South Atlantic. He won twenty-six and lost nine games which puts him second to Radabaugh, the youngster unblanketed by Roger Bresnahan last fall. John Ferrall, who comes from Spartanburg, of the Carolina association, won ten and lost seventeen with a poor club. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s