Monday, April 16, 2012

16th and Bryant Watering Hole

According to "The Golden Game, The Story of California Baseball," by Kevin Nelson...

The Double Play was a favorite of ballplayers who liked to imbibe in the spirits, which meant most of them. In the 1930s, the Seals featured an aging pitcher named Noble Winfield who was called "Old Pard" Ballou. "Old Pard" liked to wind down afer a night game with a nightcap or two at the Double Play (across the street from Seals Stadium). Some nights, "Old Pard" had a few drinks more than was perhaps wise, and on these occasions he could be found the next day sleeping it off in the Seals' bullpen. Then there would be times when the Seals would be wanting to warm-up "Old Pard" and he was nowhere to be found. At which time a clubhouse boy was called to fetch "Old Pard." Knowing pretty much where the "dry-throated" pitcher would be the boy ran his errand.  Sure enough there he was irrigating himself with the hair of the dog that bit him.

Knowing it was time to get to work, Mr. Winfield lived up to his name by showing some nobility as he returned to the bullpen to begin warming up in case he was called on and if he were called on he generally was up to task.

Lefty O'Doul, who managed the Seals in Joe DiMaggio's last season with the team, brought in Ty Cobb as an advisor when the New York Yankees began salary negotiations for DiMaggio's rookie contract.

Cobb's services were enlisted  because, in Richard Ben Cramer's memorable phrase, Cobb was "a man who could squeeze a nickel till the buffalo on it was dead from lack of air." 

The Yankees' original offer was $5,625 and that wasn't enough for Cobb. The Yankees upped the ante to $6,500- still not enough. Cobb wrote back (for DiMaggio). The Yankees apparently knew the identity of DiMaggio's business agent because when they presented their third and final offer of $8,500, they told Joe not to have Cobb send them any more letters. 

(thanks to the Kevin Nelson book, "The Golden Game, The Story of California Baseball," for these interesting tidbits of baseball lore.)

Kevin Marquez