Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Baseball in Ohio County - continued

16 July 1913 - Hartford Herald

by Spalding after the former
had reached second on a classy
hit through first to right.       


Hartford                  Cleaton

Green, rf           Chumley, ss
Taylor &          P. Stroud, 3b
Estill Barnett, ss                            
Rickard, cf            Brown, p
Barnett, p        Kirkpatrick, 1b
Hunter, 1b                   Fitz, cf
Thorpe, c               Harper, 2b
Spalding, 3b               Cody, c
Thomas, lf          W. Stroud, rf
Robertson, 2b     Davenport, lf
                           Mitchell, sub

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Baseball in Ohio County - continued

Glenn Tinsley was a member of the University of Kentucky baseball team.  The following article is from May 1922, Hartford Herald.

UK played Vanderbilt. Below is a photo of the Vanderbilt team from early 1900's.

Note:  Glenn Bennett Tinsley was the son of Wilbur and Nola Bennett Tinsley.  Glenn was born 15 June 1900 and died 18 April 1969.  Glenn is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery, Hartford.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Baseball in Ohio County

Hartford Herald, August 2, 1902, has an advertisement for a baseball game between the Nebraska Indian Baseball Team and the Hartford Baseball Club, to be played at Rough River Park.  Of course the Rough River Park we know of is located in Grayson County and was built by the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers and became operational in 1961, so I do not know where the 1902 "Park" was located, but we can safely assume it was a picnic area near the boat ramp in Hartford.

This image is not from Ohio County, but it shows a typical baseball game in the early 1900's.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ward Family

Ward family in front of their home in Nocreek, Ohio County, about 1885-95.  Chester Ward standing between his father and mother. Arel Ward between mother and his grandmother. Agnes Ward sitting in her mother's lap. Notice wooden gutters on house.

UpdateArl Benjamin Ward 1894-1966 son of Joseph Benjamin Ward 1843-1927 married 1888 to Alice Aiken (Long) Ward 1859-1920 daughter of Susan Cathern (Cavas) Long 1816-1904 buried Centertown Cemetery, Ohio Co., Ky.  Chester David Ward 1889-1958 buried Sunnyside Cemetery, Ohio Co., Ky.  Agnes Susan (Ward) Dempsey 1899-1979 buried Earlington Cemetery, Hopkins Co., Ky.  Joseph was in 12th Kentucky Cavalry in Union Army during Civil War.  Thanks to Helen McKeown.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Leach Obit's

I just added a new obituary to my Leach Obit's blog, and the latest addition was my first cousin, Robert A. Leach, who died March 8, 2016 in Owensboro.  His roots are Ohio County as his father, Otis Allen Leach, and the preceding several Leach generations, all lived and died in Ohio County.  This brings the total number of Leach obit's to 97. So if you are related to the Leach family by blood or marriage, you might want to look at these obituaries as they might reveal to you some new information.  And if you have a Leach obituary that is not on the list, please send it to me.

Here is the link to the Leach Obit blog:

Charles Leach

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Baseball - Ray Chapman


Now in the Great Baseball Firmament


To the front on the Diamond – Has Surprised Lovers of Sport


            It is not perhaps generally known that Mr. Ray Chapman, who is at present the sensation in baseball circles, is a native Ohio County boy. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Everett Chapman and was born at McHenry, a mining town of this county, about 22 years ago. When he was about 16 years old he moved with his parents to Herrin, Ill., where his family have since resided. When a boy he was a pupil of Attorney E. M. Woodward, of Hartford, who taught school at McHenry. Since moving to Herrin he has graduated from the high school there. He was always a bright student and during playtime at school his chief recreation was ball-playing. He was a great devotee of the game and early manifested fine talents. He is a modest young man of lovable personality, strictly moral habits, and bears his honors easily and good naturedly. He is not boastful of his prowess, but just “plays ball” and lets the lovers of the game see what he can do. His home folks here are proud of his distinction. He is a first cousin of Mr. and Mrs. Ike Sanderfur and a second cousin of Masters Park and Gail Taylor, of Hartford.

            Concerning his career in the baseball field, the following is what the sporting editor of the Louisville Herald has to say of Mr. Chapman:

            From the infield of a country town high school nine to the American League in three years – such has been the flash across the baseball firmament of Ray Chapman, the chain-lightning short stop of the Cleveland club and the latest sensation in baseball.

            Like Ralph Capron, that other sensation of the association, Chapman is a speed marvel. He used to do a hundred yards 10 2/5 seconds, and the 220 yards in 23 flat, when a student in the Herrin, Ill., high school, and was quite some football player.

            Chapman has been burning up the American Association this season, and it was only a question of time when he would be sold, traded or drafted into one of the major leagues.

            If there was any likelihood of a fair chance at Chapman, the record of $22,500 set by Barney Dreyfuss when he bought Marty O’Toole would be broken.

            In fact, Frank Farrell, owner of the New York American League club, has said he would make this price look cheap if Somers would put his star on the block.

            But Somers isn’t selling Chapman – not while the Naps need men like him – and they do right now. At the beginning of the season Olson was the Nap captain, but a little matter of boxing skill between him and Pitcher Mitchell resulted in his reduction to the ranks and the appointment of the brains of the Cleveland team – Joe Birmingham.

            Chapman is a short stop, and a whirlwind short stop, too. He has a powerful throwing arm and the ability to throw from almost any position. He is so fast that he gets in front of the ball when another would be trying for it with his finger tips.

            Every big league scout has looked at Chapman this summer, although each knew the time was wasted.

            In forty-eight games Chapman stole twenty bases, and from his position as clean-up batter, fourth, scored thirty-seven runs. He made sixty-one hits, his average being .351. And best of all, he hits in the pinches. His fielding has been sensational and his base running one of the marvels of the game.

            Chapman hesitated, when he left high school, between a scholastic inducement and a contract from the Springfield Three I League club, finally accepting the latter.

            Lack of experience held him back, and Springfield was about to release him when Davenport, of the same league, bought him for $250. This was a league joke, but in a short time Chapman had them all watching him.

            Bill Armour, then president of the Toledo club, bought Chapman for $1,000 last summer. Chapman played for Toledo one month last fall, but it was late and his skill was overlooked. On his first trip this spring he started like an explosion of gun cotton and has continued at the same pace since.

            Chapman is the real thing sure enough, and if he plays the same game on the big ring that he has everywhere else, his name will become a household necessity before the peach crop is picked.

Hartford Herald, September 18, 1912



Was One of Fastest Players In American League – Reared in Ohio County

New York. August 23, 1920. Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians, one of the really great shortstops of big league baseball, died at St. Lawrence Hospital shortly before 5 o’clock Aug. 17. He never recovered from an operation performed three hours before to remove a fragment of bone pressing into his brain following the blow on the head he received when Carl Mays, the Yankee pitcher, hit him in Monday’s ball game.

            Mays went to the District Attorney’s office the morning after Chapman’s death had been announced.  He showed much depression, but told a straightforward story to Assistant District Attorney Joyce, in charge of the Homicide Bureau, asserting that he pitched a fast straight ball, aimed for the inside of the plate, to Chapman and with no intention of hurting him. Mr. Joyce heard his story & declared the occurrence an accident and formally released the pitcher from custody.

            Mays says that he thought the ball hit Chapman’s bat and fielded it to first base with that idea and did not know that the shortstop had been hurt until he saw him sink to the ground. He says he looked at the ball after the accident and found that it was slightly roughened on one side. He showed it to the umpire and called his attention to the spot. The roughening probably caused Chapman’s death, for it made the ball “sail” – that is, take a freakish jump which the man throwing or the batter watching would not expect.

            Mays tales great comfort from the fact that when Chapman regained consciousness in the club house before being removed to the hospital he said to John Henry, the former Washington catcher, who was one of his closest friends, “I’m all right. Tell Mays not to worry.”

Well Known Here

            Raymond Johnson Chapman was born near Render, Ohio County, Ky., January 15, 1891, and was a son of Everett Chapman and a grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Chapman, of Beaver Dam. He has many relatives and friends in Ohio County. While Mays was yet a youngster, his father removed with his family to Herrin, Ill., where young Chapman and Bob Veach, the famous Detroit outfielder, began their baseball careers both becoming professionals in 1910, Chapman going to Springfield, Ill., and thence to Davenport, Iowa. A Cleveland scout, Babe Myers, looked him over in 1911 and bought him for the Naps but turned him over to Toledo for further development. He was called to the Naps in August 1912, reporting the day Harry Davis resigned as manager.

            He batted .312 that last month of the 1912 campaign. His sensational work at short in 1913 was a big factor in making Cleveland the runner-up to the Athletics most of the year. In sliding to third base on the training trip of 1914 he broke his leg and was out nearly half of the season. The Indians finished way down in the race as a result. He played a phenomenal game in 1915 but dislocated one of his knees and was out for 50 games. Since then he has played wonderful ball and has been one of the greatest stars of the league. He has played well over 1,400 games in a Cleveland uniform.

Beautiful Tribute

            Copies of Cleveland papers printed on the day of ray Chapman’s funeral devote many columns to the ceremonies that attended it. They contain among other tributes to the former Ohio County boy a copy in full of the sermon preached over his remains.

            In opening his sermon Dr. Scullen dwelt on the mysteries of life and death, and took for his text the words of  the Bible, “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me shall not taste death forever.”

            “In paying this, one last tribute to one whom we loved and admired as much for his sterling manhood as his ability as a ballplayer,” Dr. Scullen said, “we are reminded of the mysteries of life and death, and wonder how he who had played his part so honorably in our country’s great war and in his chosen field could be so suddenly taken from among us. The answer is in my text – that he that believeth in Me though dead shall live.”

            Chapman played the game of life and he played the game of his profession cleanly and honestly. He was our friend as a ball player and as a man.  Sterling athlete that he was, he never knew defeat. Courageous, he played his part in life honorably and was a shining type of typical American youth and a great example for others.

            “Clean, wholesome, gentle and true, he was the idol of Cleveland as a ball player – but above all, was his gentleness and kindness as a man.”

            Referring to the incident that caused Chapman’s death, Dr. Scullen pleaded that “no hostile word should be uttered against the man who was the cause of the unfortunate accident.”

            “He feels the outcome of it more deeply than most of us do,” he said. “The great American game of baseball does not develop men who would willingly try to injure another participant in the game, and the game could not produce a man capable of killing another man. Chapman, we know, would be the first to decry any thought of revenge if he could but speak.”

            Dr. Scullen’s final words were, “May the soul of this gentle, kindly youth, whom all Cleveland loved, rest in peace.”

Hartford Herald, September 1, 1920

From Wikipedia

Chapman was born in Beaver Dam, Kentucky, and raised in Herrin, Illinois. He broke into the Major Leagues in 1912 with the Cleveland team, then known as the Naps.

Chapman led the American League in runs scored and walks in 1918. A top-notch bunter, Chapman is sixth on the all-time list for sacrifice hits and holds the single season record with 67 in 1917. Only Stuffy McInnis has more career sacrifices as a right-handed batter. Chapman was also an excellent shortstop who led the league in putouts three times and assists once. He batted .300 three times, and led the Indians in stolen bases four times. In 1917, he set a team record of 52 stolen bases, which stood until 1980. He was hitting .303 with 97 runs scored when he died. He was one of the few players whom Ty Cobb considered a friend.

There was conjecture that 1920 was going to be Chapman's last year as a pro baseball player. Shortly before the season began, Chapman married Kathleen Daly, who was the daughter of a prominent Cleveland businessman. Chapman had indicated he was going to retire to devote himself to the family business he was marrying into, as well as to begin a family.

At the time of Chapman's death, "part of every pitcher's job was to dirty up a new ball the moment it was thrown onto the field. By turns, they smeared it with dirt, licorice, and tobacco juice; it was deliberately scuffed, sandpapered, scarred, cut, even spiked. The result was a misshapen, earth-colored ball that traveled through the air erratically, tended to soften in the later innings, and as it came over the plate, was very hard to see."

This practice is believed to have contributed to Chapman's death. He was struck with a pitch by Carl Mays on August 16, 1920, in a game against the New York Yankees at the Polo Grounds. Mays threw with a submarine delivery, and it was the top of the fifth inning, in the late afternoon. Eyewitnesses recounted that Chapman never moved out of the way of the pitch, presumably unable to see the ball. "Chapman didn't react at all," said Rod Nelson of the Society of American Baseball Research. "It was at twilight and it froze him." The sound of the ball smashing into Chapman's skull was so loud that Mays thought it had hit the end of Chapman's bat, so he fielded the ball and threw to first base.

The book Ray and Me, by Dan Gutman, says that after Mays threw the ball to first, the fielders threw it around the diamond. Chapman then took three or four steps before he collapsed. Mike Sowell's book, The Pitch That Killed, however, states that first baseman Wally Pipp caught Mays' throw to first and then realized something was very wrong. Chapman never took any steps, but rather slowly collapsed to his knees and then the ground with blood pouring out of his left ear. The umpire quickly called for doctors in the stands to come to Chapman's aid. Eventually Chapman was able to stand and try to walk off the field, but he could not speak when he tried to do so, but only mumbled. As he was walking off the field his knees buckled and he had to be assisted the rest of the way. He was replaced by Harry Lunte for the rest of the game, which the Indians won 4-3. Chapman died 12 hours later in a New York City hospital, at about 4:30 A.M.

Thousands of mourners were present for Chapman's funeral at Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Cleveland. In tribute to Chapman's memory, Cleveland players wore black arm bands, with manager Tris Speaker leading the team to win both the pennant and the first World Series Championship in the history of the club. Rookie Joe Sewell took Chapman's place at shortstop, and went on to have a Hall of Fame career (which he coincidentally concluded with the Yankees).

Ray Chapman is buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio, not far from where his new home was being built on Alvason Road in East Cleveland. He and his wife visited the home as it was being built several hours before he departed for New York City on his final road trip.


Restored Raymond Johnson Chapman plaque in Progressive Field

Not long after Chapman died, a bronze plaque was designed in his honor. The plaque features Chapman's bust framed by a baseball diamond and flanked by two bats, one of them draped with a fielder's mitt. At the bottom of the tablet is the inscription, "He Lives In The Hearts Of All Who Knew Him." The plaque was dedicated and hung at League Park and later at Cleveland Stadium before being taken down for unspecified reasons.

In February 2007, workers discovered the plaque while cleaning out a storage room at Jacobs Field. Covered by years of dust and dirt, the bronze surface had oxidized a dark brown; the text was illegible. The plaque was refurbished and hung in Heritage Park, an exhibit of Indians history at Jacobs, which has since been renamed to "Progressive Field". Jim Folk, Indians' Vice President of Ball Park Operations, said, "It was in a store room under an escalator in a little nook and cranny. We didn't know what we were going to do with it, but there was no way it was just going to stay there when we moved to Jacobs Field. We had it crated up and put on a moving truck and it came over along with our file cabinets and all the other stuff that came out of the stadium."

Chapman was inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame in 2006.

Further reading
  • The book The Pitch That Killed, by Mike Sowell, is a history of the Chapman-Mays tragedy.
  • The historical novel, The Curse of Carl Mays, by Howard Camerik, also recounts the Chapman-Mays incident.
  • The Death of Ray Chapman - NY Times, 18 August 1920
•    Withers, Tom (March 29, 2007). "Hidden diamond: Indians uncover lost Ray Chapman plaque". Retrieved May 22, 2010.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Bat Mill & Louisville Slugger

The Bat Mill

The Ohio County History Facebook page had some interesting information about a business in Ohio County directly related to baseball. The Bat Mill was located in Rosine near the corner of Hwy 62 E and McHenry Street.  It was first established in the 1950’s by Everett and Edith Woosley.  Anne Woosley Justice states that after Everett’s death in 1957 the company was taken over by his brother, Herbert Woosley. It was later moved to Tunnel Hill Road.  That company purchased Ash lumber from locals and produced rough baseball bats called “rounds”, shipping their product to Louisville where they were lathed and finished into Louisville Slugger bats by Hillerich & Bradsby Co. (H & B).  The Bat Mill burned in 1969.

While I was digging thru old newspapers I found ads looking to purchase “White Ash’ for baseball bats.  These ads were placed by J. P. Whittinghill and can be found in the Herald in the 1920’s, so apparently the Bat Mill, or its’ predecessor, was active in the 1920’s.

Note: There is a Glen Dean in Breckinbridge County, KY.

Louisville Slugger History

This is the story behind the world-famous Louisville Slugger baseball bat, and the family-owned company that has created it since 1884.

J. Frederick Hillerich emigrated with his family from Baden-Baden, Germany to Baltimore, Maryland in 1842. The Hillerichs moved to Louisville in 1856, where J. Fred started a woodworking shop. By 1864 "J.F. Hillerich, Job Turning" was in business and filled orders for everything from balusters to bedposts. Hillerich’s eldest son, John Andrew "Bud" Hillerich, was born in Louisville in 1866.

The business thrived and by 1875 the little woodworking shop employed about 20 people. In 1880, Bud Hillerich, who was an amateur baseball player, became an apprentice in his father's shop. Young Bud made his own baseball bats along with bats for several of his teammates.

There is debate over the origins of the company's first bat for a professional player, but Bud most certainly played a key role in getting his father's business involved with what would become the company's signature item. 

According to company legend, the first pro bat was turned by Bud for Pete Browning in 1884. Browning was a star on Louisville's professional American Association teamthe Eclipse. On a spring afternoon Bud, then seventeen years old, witnessed Browning break his favorite bat. Bud offered to make a bat for his hero and Browning accepted. According to the story, after the young wood shop apprentice lathed a quality stick from white ash Browning got three hits with it in the next game. Because of his tremendous hitting power, Browning was known as "The Louisville Slugger" years before the Hillerich family trademarked the name for their bats.

Despite Bud’s passion for the product, his father wanted nothing to do with making bats. His business was built on making roller skids, bed posts, tenpins, wooden bowling balls and a very popular, patented, swinging butter churn. However, Bud Hillerich continued to improve the manufacturing processes of the new bat business, inventing a centering device for a lathe and an automatic sander. Their baseball bat business grew. The bat was first known as the Falls City Slugger, (a reference to Louisville's location at the Falls of the Ohio River), but the brand name was changed to Louisville Slugger and registered as a trademark in 1894. Bud Hillerich became a partner with his father in 1897 and the name of the firm was changed to J.F. Hillerich and Son.

The success of the growing bat company was further enhanced in 1905 when Honus "The Flying Dutchman" Wagner, a superstar shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, signed a contract as the first player ever to endorse a bat. His autograph was also the first to be used on a bat and the first time a professional athlete endorsed an athletic product.

In 1911, Frank Bradsby, a successful salesman for one of Hillerich's largest buyers, joined J.F. Hillerich and Son. He brought sales and marketing expertise and drive to the company. In 1916, he became a full partner, and the company name was changed, for the last time, to Hillerich & Bradsby Co. Seeking to diversify products, Bradsby propelled the firm into producing golf clubs, eventually creating the PowerBilt brand.

The success of the Louisville Slugger bat was due in part to the fact that amateur baseball players across the country could purchase the bat model of their favorite big-league player. In 1915, the Louisville Slugger first appeared in a youth-size model. In 1919, the company launched its first national advertising campaign and in just four years was producing one million bats a year. The success, however, was marred the next year by the death of J. Frederick Hillerich. His son, Bud, became the boss.

A disastrous flood along the Ohio River in 1937 did significant damage to one of the factories and some of the offices. Working almost nonstop for weeks to repair the factory, Frank Bradsby was worn down. His efforts during this ordeal are believed to have led to his death later that year.

Hillerich & Bradsby Co. served its country during World War II by producing M-1 carbine stocks, tank pins and billy clubs for the armed forces. It also continued to make baseball and softball bats for the troops. Bud Hillerich died in 1946 and his son Ward took over. But after only three years as president, Ward died in 1949. His brother, John A. Hillerich Jr., succeeded him.

In 1969, John Hillerich Jr. died and his son, John A. “Jack” Hillerich III, at 29 years old, was named company president.

In 1970, the company began producing aluminum bats. Louisville Slugger aluminum and composite bats, are available in adult baseball, youth baseball, and softball models. Today, the TPX and TPS brands are huge hits and are the top selling models in the business. The first line of Louisville Slugger baseball and softball gloves was introduced in 1975.  

In 1996, Hillerich & Bradsby Co. moved into new headquarters at 800 West Main Street. Professional baseball players continue to have their bats custom made at the wood bat manufacturing facility, not far from where the very first bats were made back in the 1800's.    

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, one of the city's most popular attractions, is also housed with the corporate headquarters. The location is well-marked by the World's Biggest Baseball Bat that casually leans against the side of the building. Guests are invited to learn about the Official Bat of Major League Baseball–Louisville Slugger. Today, over 3-million people have enjoyed the museum and factory tour experience at this location. 

John A. “Jack” Hillerich III retired as CEO and President in 2001 but remains as Chairman of the Board. His son, John A. Hillerich IV, succeeded him and currently serves as CEO and President. John is the great-grandson of Bud Hillerich, the baseball fan who introduced the family business to baseball back in the 1800's.

Source: H & B web site

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


           A few weeks ago there was an interesting posting and discussion on the Ohio County Facebook page about baseball in Ohio County.  That led me to doing a little bit of research on the subject.

Baseball in Kentucky 

On July 19, 1865, the Louisville Grays hosted the first baseball game played under standard rules west of the Alleghenies, where they defeated the Nashville Cumberlands. When Louisville businessman Walter Haldeman and others formed the National League in 1876, this Louisville club was a charter member. The Grays finished fifth in 1876 and in 1877 led the league in the final weeks of the season, losing to the Boston Red Caps in the final game. It was later discovered that gamblers had paid four Louisville players to lose games in 1877 so that Boston would win the championship. Baseball’s first major scandal led to the demise of the Grays, and the four team members were banned from playing professional baseball for life. Kentucky has not been represented by a major league team since the turn of the 20th century when the Louisville Colonels switched to the minor league, but minor league baseball has flourished in the state with at least 32 Kentucky cities hosting minor league teams.   

Kentucky also has a strong history in the African-American baseball story beginning in 1887 when, although short lived, the Louisville team Falls City joined the League of Colored Baseball Clubs, which was the first national league for black players. Before the formation of the Negro National League in 1920, there were several independent semiprofessional black teams in Kentucky playing in exhibition tours. In 1931 Louisville was the home of the Negro National League’s White Sox, and later the home for the League’s Black Caps (1932) and the Buckeyes (1949). Former Kentucky governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler, serving as commissioner of baseball from 1945 to 1951, is credited as being instrumental in the racial integration of the major leagues in 1947. 

More than 250 Kentucky natives have played major league baseball and four Kentuckians have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame: Earl Combs, A.B. Chandler, Jim Bunning and Harold “Pee Wee” Reese.   

Source:  Kentucky Historical Society

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Baseball in Ohio County

The Hartford Herald first mentioned baseball in an article in 1894, which was an article first published in the St. Louis Republic titled “The Birth of Baseball.” That article is shown below.

In the Hartford Herald local baseball news was usually found in the “Personals” columns, with an occasional “Sports” headline.  It appears that baseball teams were formed in all communities with all ages of players and that games were played all summer.  It does not appear that these teams were high school teams until about 1940, when organized baseball became a part of the high-school sports culture.   Local communities mentioned in the newspaper that fielded “community” teams included Hartford, Beaver Dam, Centertown, Mchenry, Rockport, Morgantown, Simmons, Sunnydale, Cleaton, Echols, Provost, Sulphur Springs, Calhoun, Graham, Island Station, Livermore, Philpot, Equality, Nocreek, Taylor Mines, Beech Creek, Rob Roy, Chapman, and Adaburg.

I will post some baseball “news” from the Hartford Herald over the next week or so.