Friday, April 13, 2007

Faber program Saturday afternoon


After being snowed out of a public presentation Wednesday (Dubuque County-Key City Genealogy Society), I am next scheduled to present my Red Faber slideshow and sign books 1 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Borders bookstore, Kennedy Mall in Dubuque.

I plan to be there until 3 p.m. Hope to see you there!

Deadball book subject of web interview

David Jones, editor of Deadball Stars of the American League, which includes my chapter of Red Faber, on Thursday was interviewed by Casey Stern on MLB.com Radio on Thursday. The 10-minute interview was archived. Though Faber, a spitball pitcher was not mentioned, Jones and Stern do discuss the spitball and its impact on the game.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

He saw Red pitch

One of the unintended benefits of my Red Faber biography project is hearing from people who have their own stories and connections to Faber or the White Sox. On Thursday, for example, I received an e-mail from a great-nephew of Red's second wife, Fran. During my research, I was unable to locate any of her relatives.

It was been nearly 74 years since Faber pitched his last Major League Baseball game. He retired at age 45 after the 1933 season, when he was the majors' oldest player.

Thus, I was pleasantly surprised Saturday when I received an e-mail from someone who saw Faber pitch one of his last games. Merrill Smith Jr., the son of a former Dubuque sportswriter and Guttenberg (Iowa) editor, contacted me after reading the Faber biography. Now in his early 80s, and living in Florida, he shared a story of own:

In 1933 I was 8 years old and went to the world's fair in Chicago. But the real highlight of the trip was that August 18-inning game between the Sox and the Yankees. I never believed the game was stopped because of darkness. It was really stopped because the Yanks had to catch the train.

I don't know about the train aspect, but it is true that on Aug. 21 1933, the White Sox and Yankees played 18 innings before the game was declared a 3-3 tie. After 4 hours and 11 minutes of play - remember, there were no night games in Chicago yet, and the contest started about 3 p.m. - visibility might well have been a factor.

I looked up accounts of that game. Some other interesting features that day:

  • The Yankees broke a scoreless contest with a run in the top of the ninth inning. The White Sox scored in the bottom of the ninth to send the contest into extra innings.

  • The Yankees scored twice in the 11th - and the White Sox again matched them in the bottom of the frame.

  • Over all 18 innings, neither team committed an error.

  • Faber, soon to turn 45, pitched seven scoreless innings and game up only two hits.

  • The game featured no fewer than TEN future Hall-of-Famers, not including Babe Ruth, who sat out with an injury. (Yankees: Pennock, Lazzeri, Dickey, Gehrig and Sewell. White Sox: Dykes, Simmons, Appling, Lyons and Faber.) Pitcher Ted Lyons' contribution was as a pinch-hitter in the 11th inning.

What a great game for any fan - let alone an 8-year-old boy -- to attend!