Uncommon commons: In more than 30 years in sportscards publishing I have thrown hundreds of notes into files about the players – usually non-star players – who made up the majority of the baseball and football cards I collected as a kid. Today, I keep adding to those files as I peruse microfilms of The Sporting News from the 1880s through the 1960s. I found these tidbits brought some life to the player pictures on those cards. I figure that if I enjoyed them, you might too.
The Aug. 3, 1949, issue of The Sporting News was awash with news, photos and commentary of a “bonehead” play by Larry Doby that may have cost the Cleveland Indians the July 20 game against the Yankees.
Unbidden by his manager or third base coach, Doby attempted to steal home plate with his team down four runs, the bases loaded, nobody out and pitcher Joe Page getting wild with two balls on the batter, Bob Kennedy. Doby was fined $50 for his initiative.
Coincidentally, towards the back of that issue, appeared the obituary of John Anderson, who had died July 23 at the age of 75.
Because he rarely argued with umpires he was known as “Honest John.” One contemporary umpire said
Anderson could make an umpire second-guess
his calls. “Whenever ‘Honest John’
protested a strike, an umpire later would remark: ‘Maybe I missed that strike,
for John wouldn’t have protested otherwise.’”
He played his first pro ball with
of the New England League in 1894 and was batting .354 when he was purchased by
Brooklyn of the National League and finished
the season with them.
In 1909 he played for
of the Eastern League, then retired.
After spending five years as a policeman in
Worcester, he became a coach for Buffalo in
the International League.