Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February 1, 1917 in Lewiston, Maine

My local paper, the Sun Journal, has a feature where it reprints news items from 100, 50, and 25 years ago, and I like to check it out to see what may have been of interest back then.  Today it paid off considerably with this gem from a century ago:

Better get to the Empire Theater early tonight, as Lewiston's Bill Carrigan, the great World Series leader, is only one of the great crowd which will turn out to welcome the Baseball Four, the quartet of baseball players who appearing in vaudeville this winter.  These four huskies are as much at home toying with the music and lines of their sketch, "Twenty Minutes in the Clubhouse," as they are chasing the festive fly or bumping the horsehide for a triple.  A box near the stage has been reserved for Mr. Carrigan. (Editorial note: One of the performers was Red Sox backup first-baseman Hughie Bradley, who hit the first-ever home run at Fenway Park on April 26, 1912.)


Now, you can usually find something quaint in the feature, but there's literally a ton of trivia just waiting to be unpacked with this one, so I figured I'd give it a try:

The Empire Theater was built in 1903, and demolished a little over a century later, in 2005.  Carrigan managed two World Series champion Red Sox teams (1915, 1916; the team won again in 1918, with a different manager, but it was famously the last time for 86 years).  Here's some information on Bradley, whose career highlight (he left the Red Sox the same year he made his historic home run) coincides with the year Fenway opened, naturally.  The Baseball Four are harder to track down, but here's a blog post about them, as well as vaudeville in general, an entertainment platform that's disappeared into the mists of history, and how baseball players figured into it and the culture at large.

3 comments:

  1. How cool! I'd love to see some old stories in our local paper like this.

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  2. I've always enjoyed reading the stories of days gone by. If the Los Angeles Times had more features like this I might start subscribing again. Vaudeville was such a cool time. Oh, for a time machine!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete

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