Blog Bat-around: My Favorite Possession, Part III

Part III: June 1941

Part II

Part III

Part IV

As you progress along in my father's autograph book from 1941, you start to get into the visitor's autographs, mixed here and there with some Indians. It is very interesting in that I can follow the Indians' home schedule based on the autographs in the book, so when it came time to figure out what the names were if I had trouble deciphering it, I could determine the team from the autographs on the same page and then simply check the roster. With Baseball Reference or Baseball Almanac, it is pretty simple to do that.

• Cecil Travis (Washington Senators)

• Bob Feller (Indians)

• Mel Harder (Indians)

• Earl Whitehill (Indians coach)

Again, Feller's auto shows up. Proving my father's point that he signed early and often. Harder is here, too. Whitehill had a pretty good career as a pitcher for the Tigers, Senators, Indians and Cubs, winning 218 games with a 4.35 ERA. He was tragically killed while working for the Spalding Co. when a car ran through a stop sign and into his car.

• Steve Sundra (Washington Senators)

• Hal Trosky (Indians)
• Rollie Hemsley (Indians)

• Clyde Milan (Washington Senators' coach)

• Ossie Bluege (Washington Senators' coach)

Both Bluege and Milan spent their entire careers with the Senators, but in different eras. Milan was an outfielder from 1907 to 1922, then coached from 1939 until his death in 1953. Bluege crossed paths with Milan in the Senators outfield only in 1922, when he was a rookie. He played until 1939, then became a coach with Milan.

• Arnold "Red" Anderson (Washington Senators)
• Sid Hudson (Washington Senators)
• Jake Early (Washington Senators)
• Mickey Vernon (Washington Senators)
• Walter Masterson (Washington Senators)
• Jimmy Bloodworth (Washington Senators)
• Carl ??berg
• Ken Chase (Washington Senators)

The mystery man on this page is the second to last name. He is not on the roster of the Senators for 1941, and I can't decipher the last name. Dad thinks it is Ohberg.

The big name here is Mickey Vernon, who also played for the Indians in 1949 and 1950. But I didn't know this about him: he holds the Major League record for double plays at first base with 2044! That is one per game, every game, for 13 years! He also holds the American League record for career games, putouts, assists and total chances by a first baseman. He finished his career with 2495 hits, a .286 batting average and an OPS of .787 over his 20-year career. That is approaching Hall of Fame caliber.

The Washington Senators were in Cleveland for games on May 5th and 6th, June 10th and 11th, July 19th and 20th, and August 18th, 19th and 20th. So this doesn't narrow down when these autographs actually happened. However, the next page answers this question succinctly.

• Bob Kennedy
• John Humphries
• Jack Hallett
• Joe Haynes
• Myril Hoag
• Luke Appling

This is the 1941 Chicago White Sox. The only time during the 1941 season that the Indians home schedule had the White Sox directly after the Senators was in June when, after playing two games with the Senators, the Indians went on a road trip, then returned home to play the ChiSox on June 27th.

Of course, the best autograph here is of Hall of Famer Luke Appling. This is one of three times that his signature graces these pages.

• Luke Appling (White Sox)
• Thornton Lee (White Sox)
• Moose Solters (White Sox)
• Pete Appleton (White Sox)
• Dario Lodigiani (White Sox)
• Ted Lyons (White Sox)

• Joe Kuhel (White Sox)
• Skeeter Webb (White Sox)
• Jack Hallett (White Sox)
• Bill Dietrich (White Sox)
• John Rigney (White Sox)
• Frank Rabuzzi (White Sox)

Aside for Appling, my favorite on these pages is Joe Kuhel. "Joe Cool." Makes me think of Snoopy. And the nicknames on this team are great: Skeeter, Moose, Buck and Taffy. Check it out at Baseball Almanac.

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