At home at fenway

Keeping on eye on Dustin, Papi, Youk & a few good books

Round up: Base Ball, Abe Lincoln, Johnny & The Sox

Posted by athomeatfenway on September 28, 2011

Damon and the Rays

Johnny Damon has got to be smiling.  The former Sox CF’er signed with New York instead of the Sox after the 2005 season.  He went to the highest bidder but the winning margin was thin.  The Sox could have topped Brian Cashman’s bid with just $3 million more over 4 years.  Questions abounded at the time.  Would the Sox regret losing their speedy, talented clubhouse leader?  Would Johnny really put on the pinstripes ?  Would he be booed at Fenway ?  Do I have to throw away my WWJD T Shirt ?  (What Would Johnny Do ?)  And my Johnny Caveman beard ?

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  And Yes.

Since leaving Boston, Johnny has won a ring in New York, played the wise and productive veteran in Detroit and produced for the Rays, who moved into first place in the Wild Card race last night.  All the while, Damon quietly builds on his career numbers.   2,720 hits, 231 homers, 1118 rbi, 404 stolen bases, 516 doubles.  He should get his 3,000th hit in September 2013 if he remains healthy.  If he stays out of the steroid discussion, he will go into the Hall.  The only 3,000 Hit Club Members not in the HOF are Pete Rose, Craig Biggio and Rafael “The Finger Wagerer” Palmeiro. 

Palmeiro and Biggio are suspected of usuing P.E.D.’s.

Rose is Rose.  Ineligible.

Damon will turn 38 on November 5.

Abe Lincoln’s grand daughter and the ballplayer

One finds baseball history in surprising places.

Little Lee & I were passing time with dear friends in the New England countryside this last weekend.  Abe Lincoln’s son, Robert, built a magnificent Mansion and grounds named Hildane in the postcard pretty village of Manchester, VT..  I opened a museum door in the Lincoln home and spied a cluster of 1900 era golf clubs, vintage snow shoes and 100 year old hockey sticks.  (Rumsden.)

“Was any vintage Baseball equipment left behind by the Lincolns?”, I asked the Curator.

“No,”, he demurred, “But Lincoln’s daughter Jessie married a Baseball player.  The marriage didn’t last.”

I wondered what kind of ballplayer married & divorced Abe’s granddaughter.

I dug into the archives.

The New York Times reported on 11/12/1897 that Jessie Harlan Lincoln Beckwith married Warren Wallace Beckwith in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The headline shouted. “  R.T. LINCOLN’S DAUGHTER WEDS; Marries an Iowa Man to Whom Her Parents Objected”.


In short, the couple met and fell in love when Beckwith’s family visited the Lincolns in Chicago.  Beckwith’s Father was a friend of Robert Lincoln. The Lincolns expressed their disapproval of the relationship and the matter was considered to be broken up.  But, Jessie and Warren set the gossip wheels in motion when they ran away and married.

Two days later, The Times reported on the character of Abe Lincoln’s grand son-in-law with this header:  BECKWITH A BASEBALL DUDE.; Hero of the Chicago Marriage Sensation Well Known in Dallas, Texas.

In paraphrase:  “Beckwith is well known in Dallas, having played for the Dallas team in the Texas League last year….He made a good professional record and was well behaved.” 

“Beckwith was popular not only with baseball patrons, but cut somewhat of a social figure over the circuit.  He was known among his associates as “The Dude” and “Lady Killer”.  He would never go into a game without first combing and brushing his hair flawlessly.  He always carried a pocket looking glass, and was in the habit of taking a look at himself just before starting from the clubhouse for the diamond.”

Somethings haven’t changed about ballplayers in a Century.

Jessie and Beckwith quietly divorced sometime between 1897 and 1900, the year a lawsuit exposed the secretive split.

Beckwith pitched for Aurora of the Western Interstate League in 1895, when Illinois was still considered to be Western by Baseball people.  Ban Johnson’s Chicago based league of the 1890’s, later to become the American League, was named The Western League.

In 1897, WWB played for the Denison-Sherman Twins, the Waco Tigers, Paris Midlands and the Dallas Steers of the Texas League.

In 1899 he played for the Sacramento Gilt Edges of the California League.

None of Beckwith’s individual records are listed on  I may find them one day.

Although the Rail Splitter himself was known to swing a bat it is certain that the most advanced player in the extended family was old W.W. Beckwith.  A member of the extended family, that is, until Jessie and The Lady Killer went their separate ways.

Keep your daughters away from Ballplayers, friends.

Lackey’s contract

The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan spoke to the Rabbit Maranville Chapter of S.A.B.R. last night in Springfield, Mass.  Can the Sox recover from Lackey’s contract ?  Can Lackey recover from the personal difficulties that are currently effecting his pitching?  Ryan reacted to these questions.  “I don’t know.  What he is personally dealing with is terrible.  I liked the John Lackey that I saw pitch 4 shutout innings against New York on Sunday.  I’ve been watching him.  Trying to figure out what it is that he does well.  He makes the 1-6-3 double play well.  That he can do.  But what else?  I’m not sure.  He’s a pitch-to-contact pitcher.  When it works well, it’s great.  But that’s not the type of pitcher who might do well in the A.L. East.  They should have known that.”

Ryan is a magnetic speaker with razor sharp recall.  If you have a chance to hear him speak do not miss it.

Why I bought Yankee ALCS tickets.  Why I didn’t by BoSox ALDS tickets.

I couldn’t see spending 4 hours poured into a Fenway seat in the New England cold on a weekday night.  Prime time.  Great for TV advertising dollars, bad for every one else.  Especially old dudes like me.

Still, I am a Moron.

Only a moron could get excited about being tied for the Wild Card with 2 games to go.  But I’ve got butterflies.


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