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  • Clark Griffith Thread

    clark griffith had quite a career - does anyone want to share a story or interesting fact about the man?

    father killed by deer hunter at age 2
    skunk and fox trapper by age 10
    sickly childhood
    joined minors in 1888
    - led strike when paychecks were slow in coming
    - preformed as an indian in sf vaudeville act
    in majors
    - bill james has him ranked as 70th best pitcher all-time
    - leading force behind union in 1900
    - became leading recruiter for american league in early 1901
    - awarded mgr job with chicago and won first pennant
    - blackmailed his way to being named first yankees mgr
    bought 10% of washington in 1912 - biggest stockholder
    - gained complete control by 1920
    - kept franchise alive even though only reached 1 million in attendence once - 1926 and not even a half million until 1924
    - cultivated washington politicos, especially, presidents

  • #2
    The Old Fox

    He earned his nickname while in his twenties.
    Helped pay Walter Johnson's medical bills when Barney was terminally ill.
    Unwisely did not invest too strongly in a farm system.
    He considered signing, and should have signed, members of the Homestead Grays while they split their seasons at two home cities, D.C. being one.
    His son, the infamous Calvin, was adopted.
    Was a pioneer in signing Latin players, going back to 1930s Cuba in search of talent.

    Here's a nice little article. The author is Henry Thomas, a grandson of Walter Johnson.

    http://www.baseballindc.com/news/fea...p?article_id=9

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    • #3
      griffith was conservative and it was highly unlikely he was going to sign any black players prior to jackie robinson - he attended negro league games and may have had casual discussions with those men but there was no way he was going to sign a dark-skinned player -- he was strongly goaded about it after 1945 and he was very adament that no one was going to push him into it -- i think the first dark-skinned player came up in september 1954 for washington

      i would have thought his nickname came from his pitching days

      a farm system was too expensive for griffith - the senators never hit a million in attendence until 1946 and not a half million until 1924

      sent joe cambria to cuba by 1935 who wove a web throughout island in searching and signing talent - griffith fielded cubans throughout his meager farm system including the havana cubans which operated from 1946-53 in the florida international league plus the southern association chatanooga lookouts fielded many cuban players
      Last edited by Brian McKenna; 11-18-2005, 07:18 PM.

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      • #4
        The final game of the 1925 Series, with the Nats and Bucs tied at three games apiece, was played in a hard rain. Late in the game, with Washington ahead, Commissioner Landis wanted to call the game. Clark Griffith was present with Landis and protested this to the Judge, believing the game should be played out.

        The game continued, Pittsburgh scored three times in the eighth and won the Series.

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        • #5
          I think Griffith may have inadvertently signed the first player of African descent. Many claim that Bobby Estalella's mother was black which would make him black in the eyes of American racists. I suppose Griffith didn't know that. Wonder if anyone has really settled this controversy?

          T.

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          • #6
            what about 1911 when he first signed ciban players with cincinnati

            btw - there is no doubt in my mind that there were other (and i mean plural) players of african decent between fleet walker and j. robby - and i am not so sure it was inadvertent

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            • #7
              bkmckenna,
              I think you are right for sure. Since ClarkG was opposed to integration I wonder if he would have signed those guys knowing they had some black parentage.

              T.

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              • #8
                griffith had to know they were of black heritage - but they weren't american and they spoke spanish and i think many signed statements about there white lineage - once you met those three requirements you were apparently acceptable to white america

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                • #9
                  There is one story I recently read of Griffith's pitching prowess. In 1896, Griffith was pitching for the Chicago White Stockings of the NL. In a game against Philadelphia, Griffith threw a strike to Phillies player/manager Billy Nash. Nash did not agree with the strike call and began to argue with the umpire. While Nash was arguing, Griffith threw a pitch that hit Nash's bat that resulted in a game ending double play. Griffith must have had impeccable control to be able to aim at and, actually, strike a hitter's bat.

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                  • #10
                    On May 8, 1896 Griffith was winning 5-3 in the top of the ninth with one out and men on first and second. Philadelphia’s Billy Nash came to the plate and worked the count full. As soon as Griffith received the ball from the catcher, he quick-pitched it back. The quick pitch, delivering the ball before the batter is set in the box, was legal at the time. Nash, startled, half swung at the ball. The little dribbler started a game-ending double play.

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