Thursday, November 05, 2015

Former Brooklyn Catcher Tex Erwin

I came across the above 1911 M116 Sporting Life Baseball card at an Sterling Sports Auction and scratched my head, a bit.  I though to myself, who is this poorly colored former Brooklyn Dodger/Robin ballplayer?  So I went digging, and came to find out that he was a fast rising catching prospect for the franchise before an unfortunate play at the plate stalled his career.

Ross Emil "Tex" Erwin, originally from Forney, Texas (no surprise given his nickname), began as a 19-year old in the Texas League in 1905.  He had slashed .293/.293/.359/.652 that rookie campaign, and caught the eye of the scouts.  By the next season Tex would find his way onto the roster of the St. Paul Saints of the Class A American Association.  Although his numbers declined he nevertheless stepped onto a Major League ballfield for Detroit in 1907. He would be a Tiger for only a few games.

In 1908 he went to Rochester and continued to hone his craft.  Soon, the Robins came calling and he finally donned a Brooklyn jersey for the 1910 season.  While there he would share catching duties behind Brooklyn stalwart Bill Bergen until he finally broke out at the plate in 1911.  That year, while catching roughly half the teams games, he would slash an impressive .271/.367/.445/.811.  The next season saw a steep decline, but he continued to play half of Brooklyn's games.

Then the 1913 season came around and fate would come calling.  During a June game against the Cubs, Heinie "The Great Zim" Zimmerman came barreling towards the plate, and slid into home.  The ensuing crash would follow Erwin for the rest of his career.  Tex had suffered two broken bones and would only play sparingly from then on.  The 1914 season would be the last season he'd play on a Major League field.

He still played professionally for several more years, even becoming an umpire for a couple of stints, but the promise of Major League fame and riches never came to fruition.  Tex Erwin would retire from the game in 1921.

Below is an fantastic Bain News Service photo of Tex from 1913 - just in case you thought the photo on the card above did him little service.
(Bain News Service, publisher - Library of Congress)

Below is Erwin's career statistics, via Baseball-Reference:

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ICYMI: Check out some Dodgers' in their Halloween Garb

I know Halloween is now a distant memory, but I figured it would be fun to share some photos featuring Dodger players in their best festive attire.  No doubt these guys roamed the streets and alleyways throughout America looking for candy.

Let's start with infielder Jimmy Rollins, who I think is Aladdin, with his family in the photo above.  It was instagramed just as the evening was about to begin.

Below may not show our ace in costume, but I couldn't resist sharing this cute pic of his young daughter as a little sheep. 

Blog Kiosk: 11/5/2015 - Dodger Links - JP Howell, Dave Roberts and Clayton Kershaw

I ran into this vintage 1913 original International Film Service photograph of former Brooklyn Robins infielder George Cutshaw on eBay and wanted to share it.  Check out the auction link here.

Cutshaw was an average second baseman, slashing .260/.303/.342/.645, during his six year stay in Brooklyn during the deadball era of the early teens.  He didn't have much power, but who really did during those times?  Cutshaw was noted for his speed, though.  He recorded more triples than home runs during his career and swiped a total of 271 bases over a twelve year Major League career.

George Cutshaw is also notable, as a Dodger, for being the first ballplayer in the clubs history to record six hits during a nine inning game.  On August 9, 1914 in a game against the Cubs in Chicago Cutshaw went a perfect 6 for 6 - all of them singles.

The photograph above is also notable to card collectors for being the original image used for Cutshaw's card in the 1917 E135 Collins-McCarthy Candy Company set.  Check out that card on the right.

Below are more links to check out:
The Mariners nearly hired Roberts as their new manager, with one source saying he finished a "very close" second to Scott Servais. Like Kapler, Roberts is a former major-league outfielder. Unlike Kapler, he has major-league coaching experience — five seasons with the Padres, the last two as bench coach.

Probably the biggest part of it is just that pitchers are tougher to compare across generations, and it might be easier to “dismiss” the historic nature of what Kershaw has done by recognizing that it’s happened during one of the most depressed run environments the live-ball era has ever seen.

Even with the run environment considered, what Kershaw has done these past five seasons is absolutely historic.
  • Panini America just announced a brand new set that will arrive in January 2016.  It is called National Treasures College, and as the name suggest it focuses on some of the best current and former collegiate athletes.  Unfortunately, Baseball players are likely to play only a small part in the set, but it apparently will include one particular former Dodger of note.  They shared a preview pic of a Jackie Robinson UCLA auto-cut card.  Check it out on the right.  See more preview pics here.
  • Here is round two of an Topps online exclusive set called "Topps Fire."  Check out the two Dodger cards available from its initial release in July here.  It features the artwork of Tyson Beck, measure 10"x14" and are limited in number (#/49).  A rare "1 of 1" sepia version is also available.  The new Dodger additions are Joc Pederson and Corey Seager.  Check them out below.  You can order them here.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *