Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Red's camera uncovered!

As I've mentioned here before, publication of my biography of Red Faber has put me into contact with a great many people -- folks I otherwise never would have met (in person or via the Internet).

My most recent episode apparently will result in a donation to the Red Faber wing of the Tri-County Historical Museum in Cascade, Iowa.

(I'll leave out the names and addresses, pending finalization of the arrangements, but I have to say SOMETHING about it now.)

During the off-season of 1913-14, before his rookie season with the White Sox, Faber joined the White Sox and NY Giants (and a few other major league teams) in an around-the-world exhibition tour. It lasted four months, and Faber saw Asia, Australia and Europe.

In the book, I wrote:

In his letter home, Faber indicated that he had a camera and promised to have many pictures to share with family and friends upon his return to Iowa. Unfortunately, his snapshots apparently have not survived the subsequent nine decades.

Well, that may not be the case. (Good thing I used the qualifier "apparently"!)

This week I opened an e-mail from a distant relative of Red's, who received my book as a Christmas gift from his wife. He read my passage mentioning the camera and contacted because, he has that camera!

Not only that, he thinks a close relative of his might still have some of Red's snapshots! He remembers seeing them many years ago.

This gets better: The gentleman would like to donate the camera to the museum in Cascade. And if some of Red's snapshots from the World Tour turn up, they might find their way to Cascade someday. What a boon that will be to the museum's collection.

The donor-to-be sent me a couple of images of Red's camera, now 95 years old.

What are your favorite nicknames?

Red Faber: Nickname too common.

An uncle in suburban St. Louis called my attention to a feature story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch concerning unusual nicknames for baseball players.

Among those the paper profiled is Hall of Famer Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourne, who, before hitting the National League played professionally in Dubuque in 1879. That team included Charles "The Old Roman" Comiskey, who later owned the Chicago White Sox and entered the Hall himself.

The article also lists "Cool Papa," "Ducky," "Big Poison" (and, of course, "Little Poison"), "Highpockets" and a host of others.

The Post-Dispatch didn't mention either of the two players I have spent the most time researching Urban "Red" Faber (pictured) or Ray "Cracker" Schalk. Not a surprise regarding Faber; it seemed that every team in every sport had a "Red" on its roster during the 20th century. "Cracker" is more unusual, and might have qualified for the Post-Dispatch, but, hey, it's a newspaper article, not a novel.

Audience participation time: What nicknames do you consider the most interesting or unusual? Send in your choices.

Photo credit: George Bain Collection, Library of Congress