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Fred Toney, A Rough Patch

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  • Fred Toney, A Rough Patch

    Fred Toney, A Rough Patch

    Fred Toney made a name for himself from 1915-17 by winning 55 games for the Cincinnati Reds. His highlight from Wikipedia:

    Toney is best remembered for his participation in what the record books used to refer to as a "double no-hitter". On May 2, 1917 at the ballpark now known as Wrigley Field, Toney dueled with Hippo Vaughn of the Chicago Cubs for 9 hitless innings. In the top of the tenth, the Reds scored on a couple of hits after Vaughn had retired the first batter, while Toney continued to hold the Cubs hitless in the bottom of the inning, winning the game for the Reds. With changes to the scoring rules in recent years, this game is no longer considered as a no-hitter for Vaughn; but it is still the only occasion in major league history in which a regulation nine innings was played without either team logging a hit.
    However, his days in Cincinnati were numbered.

    In June 1917 Toney filled out his WWI Registration Card just like all males in the United States of the required age. He noted his address as RR #3, Nashville, Tennessee, listing a wife, two children and his parents as dependants.

    Simple enough however Toney had separated from his family by 1915. On December 23, 1917 Toney (and alleged co-conspirator Jesse Webb, a Davidson County, Tennessee tax assessor and representative on the local exemption board) was arrested for conspiracy to violate the Selective Service Act.

    Toney pled not guilty and was released on a bond of $2,000. The trouble started when the local board refused to grant Toney a draft exemption and referred the matter up the ladder. The warrant was issued by the district attorney.

    On January 4, 1918 the pitcher was reclassified as Class1-B, eligible for the draft. The grand jury indicted Toney on April 6. The trial began almost immediately. The prosecution opened with a slew of witnesses who testified that Toney failed to provide financial aid and support for his family. Toney’s family testified otherwise (His wife Alice stated that he sent her $70 a month). The jury could not come to a conclusion on April 10 (hung jury); thus the case was set to be retried later in the year.

    An additional indictment was returned though on April 10. He was further charged with violating the Mann Act for allegedly transporting a young woman across state lines for illicit purposes. A witness (Mrs. F.L. Brinkman of Cincinnati) came forward who claimed that in 1915 and 1917 she traveled with Toney and a young woman identified as Gladys M. Strange. Toney would supply the women with “jewels and fine clothes.”

    Strange, also known as Goldie, was born in Kentucky in 1899 making her roughly sixteen years old in 1915. (Toney had actually been living with Strange. In 1919 he would receive a divorce from Alice and marry Goldie. They had at least one child, Roger in 1926. More likely than not, Toney met Strange at a younger age as he was with the Louisville team in Kentucky from 1911-14.

    In the meantime Toney skipped spring training due to his impending trial. He made his first appearance for the Reds on May 5 to a chorus of boos. After posting 24 wins in 1917, Toney got off to a 6-10 start in 1918 (with a 2.90 ERA). The Reds promptly sold him to the Giants on July 22. Toney initially decided that he wanted a cut of the purchase price but changed his mind and joined the Giants about a week later. He posted a 6-2 record with New York with a stellar 1.69 ERA.

    On December 31, 1918 Toney entered a courthouse in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee and pled guilty to violating the Mann Act. He was sentenced to four months at the Robertson County jail. On January 4, 1919 was tried and found not guilty of attempting to evade the draft.

    Dejected and embarrassed after three months in jail, Toney declared his intention to retire from baseball on April 9. He changed his mind though and left Nashville on May 3 to join the Giants after being released from prison.
    Last edited by Brian McKenna; 05-13-2008, 01:26 PM.

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