History repeats

The Boston Red Sox in 1916. Courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Between 1919 and 2003, a Boston loss in the fall classic of the World Series was, sadly, a familiar occurrence. In the decades before 1919, things were different. The Boston Americans rallied to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first World Series in 1903. During the second decade of the twentieth century, the Red Sox were alive and well with pitching, fielding, and batting as they won the 1912, 1915, 1916, and 1918 World Series. This month, one hundred and two years of history repeat. In the 2018 World Series, the Boston Red Sox are once more playing the Los Angeles Dodgers. The genealogy of the Dodgers goes back to roots in Brooklyn, New York. In 1916, the team was known as the Brooklyn Robins; it would become the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1932. Interestingly, from this vantage point, the 1916 World Series was not played at Fenway Park but in the larger capacity seating of the National League’s Boston Braves field.

The genealogy of the Dodgers goes back to roots in Brooklyn, New York.

During the 1916 World Series, the Red Sox won four games to one over the Robins. The meeting of many of baseball’s greatest players, later to be enshrined at the Baseball Hall of Fame, occurred during that series. Boston’s powerful pitcher George Herman “Babe” Ruth (1895–1948) pitched against Brooklyn’s Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel (1890–1975). The dominating Boston outfielder Harry Bartholomew Hooper (1887–1974) batted against Brooklyn’s pitcher Richard William “Rube” Marquard (1886–1980).

The Boston team would also send another pitcher besides Babe Ruth to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Herbert Jefferis ”Herb”  Pennock (1894–1948). In addition, the 1916 team had future Hall of Famer Zachariah Davis “Zack” Wheat (1888–1972), whose mother was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. The Hall of Fame doors later opened to Brooklyn’s manager Wilbert Robinson (1863–1934) and two Major League umpires, Henry Martin Francis O’Day (1859–1935), and Thomas Henry “Tom” Connolly (1870–1961).

It was at [Braves Field in Boston and] Ebbets Field in Brooklyn that the two teams played out their series in five games in October 1916.

It was also at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn that the two teams played out their series in five games in October 1916. The players were born as far away as Kirkerup, Denmark, although most hailed from American states. The World Series of 2018 brings even greater geographical interest as the lineup includes a player on the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu, who was born in Incheon, South Korea in 1987.

Baseball is my other love, second only to genealogy. I have often researched the ancestry of various baseball players of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries out of simple curiosity. One of the best websites to research former baseball players is www.retrosheet.org. Perhaps one of these former 1916 World Series players or their surnames sounds familiar?

Besides the aforementioned Hall of Famers, the following players were featured in the 1916 World Series (with their respective birthplaces). From the Brooklyn Robins: Larry Cheney (Belleville, Kansas); John Wesley Coombs (Le Grand, Iowa); George William Cutshaw (Wilmington, Illinois); Jacob Ellsworth Daubert (Shamokin, Pennsylvania); William George “Wheezer Dell (Tuscarora, Nevada); Gustave Getz (Pittsburgh, Pa.); James Harle (Cleveland, Tennessee); Frederick Rudolf Merkle (Watertown, Wisconsin); John Tortes “Chief” Meyers  (Riverside, California); Lowell Otto Miller (Minden, Nebraska); Harry Harlan Mowrey (Brown’s Mill, Pa.); Henry Harrison Myers (East Liverpool, Ohio); Ivan Massie Olson (Kansas City, Missouri); Oliver Edward O’Mara (St. Louis, Mo.); Edward Joseph Pfeffer (Seymour, Ill.); George Napoleon Rucker (Crabapple, Georgia); and Sherrod Malone Smith (Monticello, Ga.).

The Boston teammates were Forrest Leroy “Hick” Cady (Bishop Hill, Ill.); William Francis Carrigan (Lewiston, Maine); Rube Foster (Lehigh, Oklahoma); Dellas Clinton Gainer (Montrose, West Virginia); William Lawrence Gardner (Enosburg Falls, Vermont); Olaf Henriksen (Kirkerup, Denmark; later of Canton, Massachusetts); Richard Carleton Hoblitzell (W.V.); Harold Chandler Janvrin (Haverhill, Mass.); Hubert Benjamin Leonard (Birmingham, Ohio); George Edward “Duffy” Lewis (San Francisco, Calif.); Carl William Mays (Liberty, Kentucky); Michael Joseph McNally (Minooka, Pa.); Lewis Everett Scott (Bluffton, Indiana); Ernest Grady Shore (East Bend, North Carolina); Charles Henry Shorten (Scranton, Pa.);  Chester David Thomas (Camp Point, Ill.); Clarence William Walker (Telford, Tenn.); and James Charles Walsh (Rathroe, Ireland).

The last of the 1916 Boston Red Sox World Series team would be Ernest Grady “Ernie” Shore, who died at Winston-Salem, North Carolina 24 September 1980, aged 89. Less than a decade later, the last ball player from the series died at Reno, Nevada 24 October 1989: Oliver Edward “Ollie” O’Mara, aged 98.  Ironically, this last player from the 1916 World Series entered the eternal “Field of Dreams” during the 1989 World Series. With two games in favor of the Red Sox (as of 26 October), and possibly two more remaining – will history repeat itself again for Boston?

David Allen Lambert

About David Allen Lambert

David Lambert has been on the staff of NEHGS since 1993 and is the organization’s Chief Genealogist. David is an internationally recognized speaker on the topics of genealogy and history. His genealogical expertise includes New England and Atlantic Canadian records of the 17th through 21st century; military records; DNA research; and Native American and African American genealogical research in New England. Lambert has published many articles in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, the New Hampshire Genealogical Record, Rhode Island Roots, The Mayflower Descendant, and American Ancestors magazine. He has also published A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries (NEHGS, 2009). David is an elected Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston, Mass., and a life member of the New Hampshire Society of the Cincinnati. He is also the tribal genealogist for the Massachuset-Punkapoag Indians of Massachusetts.

3 thoughts on “History repeats

  1. Thanks for this capsule history of the 1916 Series. Your mention of William Larry Gardner of Enosburg Falls, Vt. sent me to my “Green Mountain Boys of Summer: Vermonters in the Major Leagues, 1882-1993,” edited by Tom Simon, (Shelburne, Vt: the New England Press,2005). The entry on Larry, entitled “A Vermont Baseball Legend,” reminded me of his stature in the annals of Vermont baseball. He was born 13 May 1886, son of Delbert Gardner and Nettie Lawrence. Nettie claimed George Washington as a distant relative, and her great-grandfather supposedly fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill. This would be an interesting genealogy project to validate.

    Largely recognized as the greatest baseball player to come out of Vermont, Larry came off in the essay for his academic achievement in college, which I guess was not that common amongst ball players of the day. He attended the University of Vermont and, in spite of offers from major league teams, went on to graduate with his classmates earning a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry. This was no small feat.

    The one anecdote about the 1916 series in the chapter was when Gardner at a baseball banquet challenged Casey Stengal to remember him when they had not seen one another for over 30 years. Stengal answered with his wry sense of humor, “I remember you. You’re the feller which made me show the back of my head in the 1916 World Series when you hit one over the wall for a home run.” He hit two homers in that series, and claimed hit one while swinging with his eyes closed!

    William Lawrence Gardner died 11 March 1976 just two months short of his 90th birthday. Again, showing his affection for his alma mater, he left his body to the UVM Department of Anatomy. In 1993, the Vermont chapter of SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) voted to call themselves the Larry Gardner chapter. In 1996, a Vermont State historical marker was erected in his honor in Enosburgh Falls. The marker is located at 44.9063612, -72.80479763.

    Go Sox!!!

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