Wednesday, June 02, 2010

From the Hand of Wee Willie Keeler

Wee Wilie Keeler, a former Brooklyn Superbas outfielder (who happens to wear a Brooklyn cap on his Hall of Fame plaque), picked a great year in which to write a journal. in 1896 he was a member of one of the greatest and most storied teams to ever play the game, the Baltimore Orioles of the late 19th Century. His teammates included fellow Hall of Famers Hughie Jennings, John McGraw, Wilbert Robinson, Dan Brouthers, Joe Kelley and manager Ned Hanlon.

That year the Orioles had already won two straight National League pennants and were on their way towards their third in a row. They also played for the Temple Cup- a descendant of the World Series- and won for the first time.

Below is the diary he kept to remember the year that is currently at auction at SCP.
Here are some excerpts:
Sept. 27, 1896:”Played Newark and was almost ate up by the mosquitoes. Never knew mosquitoes to bite like those did today. We won 5 to 3.”

Sept. 28, 1896: “Played Scranton before a large crowd and beat them 4 to 2. Hughey was presented with a diamond pin from his Scranton admirers.” The reference is to Hughey Jennings, the Baltimore HOF shortstop who was Keeler’s best friend.

Oct. 1, 1896: “Was to have played Cleveland in first game for Temple Cup. But the game was postponed because the Cleveland team was delayed by a wreck on the road.”

Oct. 3, 1896: “Second Temple Cup game Joe Corbett pitched he pitched very good ball he will be a star pitcher in a very short time. Look out for him.”

Oct. 4, 1896: “Third game Hoffer pitched he won nothing can be said about him everyone knows he is one of the true stars of the League.”

Oct. 5, 1896: “Went out to the Ball Grounds and practiced most of the day we leave for Cleveland at 3 o’clock tomorrow evening to play the last three Temple Cup games.”

Oct. 6, 1896: “On our way to Cleveland to finish Temple Cup games we expect to win it the first day.”

Oct. 7, 1896: “Was to play Cleveland weather was to cold postponed until Thursday.”

Oct. 8, 1896: “Fourth game Joe Corbett pitched and shut the Cleveland team out 5 to 0 it was one of the most exciting games I ever played in. Afterward, the Temple Cup was filled three times with champagne. It takes 7 bottles to fill it.”

Oct. 9, 1896: “Arrived in Balt from Cleveland was met at the depot by an immense throng and was divert to Ganghorns where an elegant repast was served in our honor. The three time Champions and Temple Cup winners.”

Check out the auction here.
(SCP Auction Link)

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