Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

A Boy Who Ran Away TO Carlisle Indian School

July 30, 2021

You have likely read about numerous Carlisle Indian School students who ran away but you probably haven’t read about any who ran away to Carlisle. I hadn’t. While checking out a student who was trying out for the football team in 1900, I encountered something I’d never heard of before. The son of a Chippewa mother and a German immigrant father was living on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota when, in 1891 when the boy was eight-years old, his parents sent him to the Educational Home in Philadelphia.

Originally set up to serve orphans from the Civil War, with few of them left, it shifted its mission to serve American Indian children. After staying there four years, the boy returned to his parents’ home in Minnesota.

Finding his home life abusive and seeing few opportunities on the reservation, he wanted something more out of life. Two months after returning, he saw an opportunity. Alice Parker, a rising senior at Carlisle Indian School, was recruiting students to return to Carlisle with her. The details of how the boy ran away from home to go with her are lost to posterity.What is known is that Miss Parker arrived at Carlisle on Saturday, September 5, 1896, bringing a group of 15 Chippewa students with her, one of which was a 13-year-old boy who was 5’3 ½” tall and weighed 101 pounds. As his student file no longer includes his application for admission, exactly how he got himself admitted without his parents’ permission is unknown.

He flourished at Carlisle. An avid reader, in June 1900 he led all students in the number of books he had checked out of the library to read. He enjoyed playing sports but was too small to make any of the varsity teams. Eventually, he started pitching batting practice to the baseball team in the gym over the winter. As he improved, Pop Warner put him on the baseball team. He also practiced with the football team and was allowed to eat at the training table. The heavier diet put weight on him and helped him to grow. Soon, he was the star pitcher and captain of the school’s baseball team. After graduating from Carlisle, he attended the Dickinson College prep school and pitched for the college squad, racking up victory after victory. In the spring of 1901, Connie Mack, legendary manager of the Philadelphia Athletics, came to Gettysburg to scout Gettysburg College’s star pitcher, lefty Eddie Plank, hurl against Dickinson College. Plank won the 15-inning game and Mack signed him to pitch for the Athletics. He also signed the Carlisle Indian who was pitching for Dickinson College but to a minor league contract for some seasoning.

Any guess who this right hander who ran away to Carlisle was? Hint. He and Plank are both enshrined at Cooperstown.

Joseph Tarbell at Craighead

May 1, 2016

One of the Carlisle Indian School students to stay with Charles and Agnes Craighead on one of his outing periods was Joseph Tarbell, Mohawk from the St. Regis Reservation at Hogansburg, New York. His Carlisle student file suggests that his father had attended the school earlier. However, the student file number given for his father appears to have been lost or renumbered. Joe first arrived at Carlisle on August 10, 1901 at 12 years of age. His previous off-reservation schooling had been 8 years at The Educational Home (for American Indians) in Philadelphia, which closed in 1900. That Joseph was sent away from home at such an early age is curious, especially since both of his parents were still alive when he first enrolled at Carlisle.

Joseph TarbellTo the best of our knowledge, Joe only spent one outing period in the vicinity of Boiling Springs, during the fall of 1907, after spending much of the summer in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. He returned to Carlisle on August 13, staying there till leaving on September13. He stayed with Charles and Agnes Craighead until December 8. It’s not clear whether they had moved to Harrisburg by that time or not. Other evidence suggests that Joseph Tarbell stayed with them at Craighead station.

Joe was photographed in a team photo in which all the players wore the uniforms of a Boiling Springs baseball team, not a high school team, but a town team made up of players from the area. How Joseph Tarbell came to be associated with this team is unknown. He may have come to the Craigheads as a result of being on that team or vice versa. What is known is that he was a very good baseball player. He spent his next summer in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where be played for the Hershey Chocolate team along with his brother, Louis.




Eisenhower Was Pro–Just Like Jim Thorpe

December 17, 2014

West Point enthusiast, researcher, and writer Jim Sweeney just made me aware of a July 19 New York Times article by Michael Beschloss titled “The Pro Who Shadowed Eisenhower’s Career.” In this article, Beschloss mused, “One can imagine what modern opposition researchers could have done with this information during the 1952 campaign, had they followed the maxim of attacking your adversary’s strengths.” I think he mulls over the wrong question because, in the immediately preceding paragraph, Beschloss discusses how the issue was made public years earlier. Shortly after V-E Day, Ike explained to an Associated Press reporter that, as a poor boy fresh out of high school, he would have taken “any job that offered me more money” and that he “wasn’t a very good center fielder.” A better question would be “How would voters have reacted to hearing about his youthful indiscretion?”

Beschloss later refers to David Eisenhower’s 1910 book about his grandfather in which the younger Eisenhower revealed that Ike had played under the name of Wilson in the 1909 Central Kansas League. In Baseball’s Most Wanted II, Floyd Conner provided a little more detail: “Eisenhower displayed his baseball ability when he batted .355 for Junction City of the Class D Central Kansas League.” So, Ike and Jim Thorpe started their professional baseball careers in similar circumstances. Both were poor, needed the money (which wasn’t much), and played on bush league teams but in different parts of the country. The difference was that Eisenhower was sophisticated enough to play under an assumed name.

Politics in America have never been a kind and gentle business. If the Democrats thought hammering Ike over participating in college sports after having played for money would have benefitted them, they surely would have used it. Surely someone, possibly the reporter, would have remembered the AP disclosure. However, the sympathetic public response to Jim Thorpe’s professionalism probably persuaded them that attacking Eisenhower this way could easily backfire and eliminate what little chance they had of defeating this war hero.