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  • Hal Chase

    I was reading up a lot on Hal Chase the other day, so I was to start a new topic about him. I want to hear what you guys have to say about Chase who started his career in 1905 with the New York Highlanders.

    Here's a few pictures of him.



    Hal Chase fielding 1906


    Hal Chase greeting John McGraw


    With the Reds, 1916 (thats a big bat)

  • #2
    Chase represented all that was wrong in baseball before Landis came along.

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    • #3
      If not the greatest - one of the greatest defensive first baseman that ever lived. Transcendent.

      George H. Ruth - the other one - picked him numero uno on his all-time team.
      Last edited by Proctor, CF; 04-04-2008, 05:00 PM.

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      • #4
        The old-timers often rave about how good a ballplayer Chase was, even though they say so grudgingly. I loved the story Davy Jones told on the audio files of "Glory of Their Times," which didn't make it into the book, about how Chase robbed Cobb of three base hits the first time the Tigers saw Chase.

        The first two times, Cobb was certain Chase had just gotten lucky. But by the third time Hal made a spectacular play on Ty, the Peach was ready to acknowledge: This Chase guy is one hell of a first baseman!!!
        "Hey Mr. McGraw! Can I pitch to-day?"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by George H Ruth View Post
          I was reading up a lot on Hal Chase the other day, so I was to start a new topic about him.
          Mods, would it be possible to start a thread exclusively dedicated to Hal Chase? Perhaps we could merge the current thread with...

          Baseball Fever's Hal Chase Thread

          I put quite a bit of time, research, and effort into this one....

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          • #6
            Ruth did pick Chase as number one but I'm not sure when he actually saw Chase play.

            He must have been good for everyone to rave about him - and still to have made over 400 errors.
            Last edited by Brian McKenna; 04-05-2008, 01:02 PM.

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            • #7
              doesn't chase look like kubek?

              i just finished a great biography of hal chase. very well written,i apoligize though i can't recall the author's name. the second picture you have posted is on the cover.
              is it just me or does hal chase resemble tony kubek of the ny yankees?
              the book makes it pretty clear chase was guilty of fixing games but i got the impression it was quite common in these times.
              may i ask where you found that great picture of chase with the advertising signs behind him? these that show the early ballparks are my favorite deadball pictures.
              also should note that most contemporaries thought chase was a fielder without peer. he made errors on plays that actually should have been outs because he was two steps ahead of his teammates. he would charge a bunt with a runner on second and get to it and throw to third before his own third baseman was aware resulting in an error.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Brian McKenna View Post

                Ruth did pick Chase as number one but I'm not sure when he actually saw Chase play.
                I'll have to research further, Brian, but I think Chase played against Ruth in April of 1919, and may have even been on first when Ruth hit his Herculean homer at the Florida State Fair in Tampa. If so, that means they both had the opportunity to hear Billy Sunday and Sister Aimee preach against drinking, gambling, womanizing, and galavanting, right before the game.

                I'll try to confirm McGraw's lineup for that three game pre-season series and get that to you (along with some Miller Huggins info I'm still working on).

                I have no record of him playing Chase's Buffalo Buffeds, though.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by banny View Post

                  is it just me or does hal chase resemble tony kubek of the ny yankees?
                  Hal did get around some.
                  Attached Files

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                  • #10
                    Anyone know why he threw lefty, but batted righty? That's an uncommon trait/choice.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Proctor, CF View Post
                      Anyone know why he threw lefty, but batted righty? That's an uncommon trait/choice.
                      This was one of Chase's many quirks (both in terms of baseball and his personal idiosyncrasies).

                      The explanation he gave in later years wen asked the question was that, though naturally left handed, he didn't want to draw attention to himself among his friends so he batted righty. He also slid into base headfirst for his entire career, which was almost unheard of in his time.

                      Seemingly everything about Chase as a player- and perhaps as a human- was unorthodox.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks, csh. That's fascinating.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Brian McKenna View Post
                          Ruth did pick Chase as number one but I'm not sure when he actually saw Chase play.
                          Good question. All I've found to date is an exhibition series played in Tampa, March 1919. The Sox and Giants played an exhibition, where Ruth reportedly hit a 500 foot homer. Not certain if Chase was in the lineup, but he probably was.

                          By 1920 Chase was doing his old off-season routine, moonlighting for several different teams in a few different leagues at once. Of course, this time he was doing it all year while the **** hit the fan during the Heydler-Magee affair back east (where Chase's transgressions were coming to light) . In 20' PCL- after a 15 year hiatus- he was back playing in Stockton, San Jose, and LA.

                          He was banned by the PCL and Mission League in August 1920, mainly on heresay, suspicion, and anecdotal evidence. His insidious reputation and previous machinations were catching up with him, and those who he had wronged were looking for retribution.

                          The passage below regarding 1920 encapsulates what happened to Chase thereafter perfectly:

                          "Credible or not as these and other speculations might have been, they reinforced Chase's elusiveness, a quality that hadn't dimmed in the slightest since his exodus from the major leagues. For all his prominence in gambling scandals since 1918, he still gratified dark imaginations more than satisfied evidentiary prerequisites. In the clown show that followed, several people decided to bridge that gap by banging legal pans and honking juridic noses."


                          -Dewey and Accocella, p. 320

                          Where am I going with all this? Chase's exodus from professional (even semi-organized) baseball coincided almost exactly with Ruth's meteoric rise to the top. At this point it seems extremely unlikely that Ruth saw Chase play much in the 20's.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by banny View Post
                            i just finished a great biography of hal chase. very well written,i apoligize though i can't recall the author's name. the second picture you have posted is on the cover.
                            .
                            That book is Hal Chase: The Defiant Life and Turbulent Times of Baseball's Biggest Crook by Martin Kohout. This was one of the better baseball biographies that I've read.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by EdTarbusz View Post
                              That book is Hal Chase: The Defiant Life and Turbulent Times of Baseball's Biggest Crook by Martin Kohout. This was one of the better baseball biographies that I've read.
                              Ditto on The Black Prince of Baseball. Have you read it? If not, it's a definite- one of the richest and most meticulously researched baseball books I've ever read.

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