Presented by the Laurens County Historical Society, Dublin, Georgia. For questions and information, please contact Scott B. Thompson, Sr. at dublinhistory@yahoo.com.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Baseball in Dublin in 1916

TAKE ME OUT TO THE OLD BALL GAME



Although there were no big name players on Dublin’s 1916 baseball team as in other years, the boys from Dublin, kept battling back and battling back to capture the title, if only self proclaimed, of Middle Georgia Champions.

Telling the whole story is quite impossible as the skimpy reports generally named only the pitchers and catchers name and when players’ names were mentioned, only their last names were included.

The first part of the 1916 season did not start off well at all.  In the first reported game on May 16, H. Etheridge, of the Adrian team, struck out 23 of 27 Dublin batters in a three-hit, 12 to 4 victory over Dublin.  A week later, Wrightsville smashed Dublin’s pitcher Blackshear for 20 hits in a 14 to 4 victory, Harrison, Georgia’s team defeated Dublin at Dublin for its third straight loss.  Harrison’s team was led most likely by Phil Bedgood, who pitched for the Cleveland Indians in 1922 and 1923. A fourth straight weekly loss (11-4) came at the hands of Wrightsville, which quickly became the dominant team in the area.  Adrian defeated the winless Dublin for the second time in the season, 17-10.

The Dublin team was reorganized on June 14. B.D. Kent was named the manager while Carl Hilbun was selected as Secretary/Treasurer of the team, which included; Alex Knight, Blue Holliman, Joe Caldwell, Griswold Satterfield, Chris White, Frank Ray, Frank Grier, J.S. Kendrick, B.D. Kent, Paul Wiliamson, Canty Davis, J.A. Peacock, Jr., and Lass O. Moseley, a pretty fair country ball player from Orianna, who enjoyed a somewhat successful semi-pro career and a highly successful political and business career as a hotel owner in Atlanta.

The team played its games at the 12th District Fairgrounds, just south of the site of Robinson Ray Company, now Cordell Lumber Company.   Before the fairground field could be prepared for play, Dublin defeated Adrian 5- 1 in a field behind the rear of G.H. Williams’ home (now the Laurens County Library.)  The first lineup featured: 1B-Frank Grier, 2B-Eugene White, SS-Joe Caldwell, 3B-Blue Holleman, RF-Paul Williamson, CF-Frank Ray, LF-Alex Knight, P - Chris White, Catcher, B.D Kent or Griswold Satterfield.

Dublin and Wrightsville split their first two games of their 3-game series, with Dublin taking the 2nd game behind the pitching of Henry and the catching of Passmore. But, the boys from Wrightsville came storming back to capture the series with a 16-2 drubbing over the Dublin nine.

Wrightsville, which dominated nearly every team on their schedule, claimed the Amateur Championship of Georgia after a forfeit from Swainsboro on July 21.  The Johnson County  team, under the leadership of manager, H.C. Tompkins, boasted a record of 43-9-3 and that they would play any team in the state at home or anywhere in the state.  They strengthened that claim with Jack Hawkins’ 8-0, no-hit, 12-strikeout  drubbing of Dublin on July 25.  Hawkins was a former pitcher for the Macon Peaches, Augusta Tourists and Columbus Foxes of the South Atlantic League.

Just when the Dublin team had fallen into deep despair, things began to turn around on July 26, when pitcher Culpepper defeated Wrightsville in a pitcher’s duel 1-0.  The following day, Owens no hit Statesboro 2-0.  In a third straight tight game, Statesboro, shut out Dublin 1-0.  But Dublin kept fighting back with a 5-4 victory over Statesboro behind the pitching  of Owens to take the three game series.

Dublin started off August by winning its third straight shutout victory with pitcher Watts defeating Statesboro 7-0.   Dublin smashed Metter in the next game 10-2 in a lopsided game from the beginning, putting an exclamation point on a three-game sweep with a 1-0 shutout.

Dublin returned home in defeat from Idylewild near Wrightsville, behind the superb pitching of Wrightsville’s Dick Stevens.  Dublin’s Culpepper suffered a tough loss despite his six strikeouts and four hits allowed.   Dublin could not overcome Wrightsville’s single run despite Wooten’s 3-4 performance.  Dublin came back the next day with a 4-2 win which was followed with Wrightsville winning 6-1 and then again,  5-3, before Dublin won 2-1.

Swainsboro was shut out by Dublin’s Hunt in a 1-0 victory at the 12th District Fairgrounds.  Dublin’s pitcher Owens helped his own cause by homering in a 13-6 win over Swainsboro in the 2nd game.

Dublin left town to play a three game series in Midville, Georgia in Jefferson County, but not before a 6-2 defeat of Statesboro and a 1-1, 12-inning tie.

The entire season came down to a three game series against Midville in Dublin.  Dublin squeaked by the visitors 4-2 with the steady pitching of Hunt and sloppy play of the men from Midville.  In the second game, Midville took advantage of a Dublin error which tallied six unearned runs, to win 8-4 and tie the series.  With the home team advantage, Dublin jumped out to a quick lead and with the reliable Hunt on the mound, held on for an 8-4 victory.

By defeating Midville, Dublin claimed the Middle Georgia Championship.  Although in their reported games, the reorganized Dublin team had a record of 14-7-1, no where near the impressive record of their rivals  from Wrightsville which won more than 80 percent of their games.

But, Dublin had six more games to play and they were not going to rest on their trophy.   On the 21st, Dublin defeated  Statesboro 4-2 in the  fastest game of season.  In the next game,  Dublin again jumped out front early and played tough behind a solid outing by Watkins after the hitters chased Statesboro’s top starter Philpot from the game.    Dublin went on to sweep the three games series by a score of  4-2 after a bam bam play in a game filled with errors.

To put a big exclamation point on their championship, Dublin’s manager scheduled a three games series to end the season on August 24, 25 and 26.   Dublin’s dependable pitcher Hunt shut out the Savannah All Stars at the Fairgrounds 2-0 to take the first game. Dublin, didn’t let up, they could smell victory against the best team that Savannah could field.  In the 8th inning, Savannah changed pitchers with Dublin way ahead, when the score reached 11-2, Savannah’s manager threw in the towel,   Apparently the third game was forfeited as Dublin had already clinched the series by winning 10 of their last 13 games.

And so it was in the Summer of ’16 a century ago  in the year before the world went to war for the first time that  a scrappy bunch of Dublin ballplayers fought and scratched by winning 10 and tying 1 of their last 13 games to conquer the Amateur Championship of Middle Georgia, with all deference to the Wrightsville squad which clearly was the best team anywhere around East Central Georgia.

No comments: