Journal-News, Sunday, June 3, 1990
Hamilton's second minor league team failed, too
By Jim Blount
Minor league baseball returned to Hamilton in 1889, but the results on the field and at the box office weren't any better than in 1884, when the city tried its first professional baseball venture
Hamilton joined Dayton, Springfield, Canton and Mansfield in Ohio and Wheeling, W. Va., in the Tri-State League in 1889.
John Hibner was club president. Other Hamilton leaders supporting the team were Charles A. Stroble, Gus Kuemmerling, J. C. Bigelow, Sam D. Fitton, Charles Howald, Joseph Hovey, C. I. Keely, William Saurer, George Stroh, William Campbell, Jacob Bosch and L.A. Long.
Season tickets for 50 home games cost $12.50, but didn't include exhibition games. No liquor was sold at the park.
The monthly salary limit for all players was $750, exclusive of the manager, with a $100 monthly cap for the highest paid player, who was John Dolan, a righthanded pitcher.
Dolan, 22, from Newport, Ky.. would eventually make it to the major leagues with Cincinnati (1890), Columbus, Chicago and St. Louis, compiling a 14-14 record in 35 games.
More than 25 players appeared in the Hamilton lineup during the season, and Dolan was one of five who played in the major leagues before or after representing Hamilton. The others were Alexander Voss, Jack Shoup, John "Podge" Weihe and Frank Harris.
Dolan's pitching and Shoup's hitting paced Hamilton to an 8-1 opening day win over Mansfield May 10.
When the season started, D. C. Blandy was the manager. He was replaced June 21 by Ed Hengle, a Tri-State League umpire who had umpired and managed in the major leagues.
The team, which wasn't organized until March 27, had to begin the season in uniforms worn the previous summer by Zanesville. New navy blue uniforms with white letters and white caps were ordered.
Early-season attendance reached as much as 1,400 people for weekday games which started at 3 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. so they could be completed before darkness set in.
But in June, errant players began alienating fans of the Hamilton team, which operated with a sparse roster.
For example, local amateurs had to be inserted in the lineup for four missing Hamilton players during a June 23 doubleheader here with the Canton Spiders. With a makeshift lineup, Hamilton was pounded in both games, 16-0 and 19-9.
Lack of a new baseball caused Hamilton to forfeit a July 25 home game to Springfield with "the largest weekday crowd of the season present." A league rule required the home team to supply a new ball to the umpire before each game, but "there were none of these in the city," a newspaper reported. The Springfield manager, citing the rule, took home a 9-0 forfeit decision.
Before the season started, a local newspaper said the team had sought "grounds outside the city limits so as to play Sunday games" because the Ohio law which prohibited Sunday baseball "wasn't enforced generally outside the cities "
Team promoters — who leased four acres of the Gilmore property east of the Miami-Erie Canal (now Erie Highway) near Fair Avenue and High Street, were depending on Sunday attendance to make the franchise profitable.
But those hopes seemed doomed before the season began when a Fairfield Township constable brought charges against the team when a pre-season exhibition was played on a Sunday. However, a Butler County grand jury ignored the violation.
During the season, a league umpire refused to work on Sunday, but a local arbiter was found to replace him.
Because local income failed to pay the bills, Hamilton concluded the season with 12 straight road games, all losses.
Only two Tri-State teams — pennant-winner Canton and third-place Mansfield — avoided red ink.
Hamilton, with a 43-65 win-loss record, was fifth in the six-team league when the season ended. It would be more than 20 years before Hamilton would field another minor league team.
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Journal-News, Sunday, June 10, 1990
Reds and Dodgers regular-season game in Hamilton stopped by lawmen in 1889
By Jim Blount
Imagine the response if the Reds and Dodgers scheduled a regular-season game in Hamilton on a Sunday in August.
It happened in 1889 during the era of the 12-hour workdays and six-day workweeks — before lights for night games — when there was a limited audience for weekday afternoon baseball.
In 1989, Ohio law prohibited Sunday professional baseball. It was a ban that was not uniformly followed. Some cities enforced it. some didn't — and it was ignored in some rural areas.
Because they couldn't play in Cincinnati, the 1889 Reds sought a location where they could meet the Brooklyn Dodgers in what promised to be a lucrative Sunday game.
The major league teams were welcomed by the management of Hamilton's financially-troubled minor league professional team, which was a member of the Tri-State League in 1889.
The local field, near the present intersection of High Street and Fair Avenue, was east of the city limits in Fairfield Township, where it was considered safe from local enforcement of the Sunday ban.
Hamilton agreed to rent the park to the Reds for four or five Sundays while the minor league team was on the road. The Hamilton team — which almost folded several times that summer because of losses — was to be paid $100 for each game.
Sunday, Aug. 25, 1889, was the first date with the Reds meeting the Dodgers.
Railroads cooperated by running special trains into Hamilton. By game time, more than 6,000 people were in the stands, along the baselines and around the outfield.
A newspaper said that "as a precaution against the stoppage of the game, Squire Hall of Fairfield Township took all the players under his protecting wing, stamped 'arrested' on their faces, and then the game was ready to proceed."
The pennant-winning Dodgers were leading 4-2 in the fourth inning when the game was interrupted.
"Colonel Tom Moore of the Law and Order League had gone out to the grounds, paid his admission and saw sufficient to warrant him in going to the mayor and swearing out a warrant for the arrest of the players," reported a Hamilton newspaper.
Moore, a lawyer and former state senator, was a temperance advocate who also believed observing the Sabbath meant adhering to the Sunday professional baseball prohibition.
Moore's complaint brought Hamilton's safety director and 18 policemen to the field to arrest members of both teams.
When the game was halted, some fighting and cushion throwing erupted in the stands. Umpire Bob Ferguson escaped the lawmen by jumping over the fence and fleeing into the Fairfield Township countryside.
However, the players cooperated by collecting their equipment and riding in police wagons to appear before Mayor Dirk.
Aaron Stern, president and owner of the Reds, told the mayor that he had been assured the game could be played without interference. But Dirk was unswayed. He ordered each player to pay a $5 fine and $8.85 in costs, collecting a total of $159.30 for the city treasury.
One of the Dodgers assessed was their pitcher that day, Robert "Parisian Bob" Caruthers, whose 40-12 win-loss record that year made him the league pitching leader.
Other Dodgers who paid for playing on Sunday were Joseph P Visner, William D O'Brien, Hubert Collins, David "Scissors" Foutz, Thomas "Oyster" Burns, George B. Pinckney, John Corkhill and George J. Smith.
The Reds hauled into court were James "Cyclone" Duryea, James Keenan, Ollie Beard, George "White Wings" Tebeau, William A. Carpenter, John G. Riley, Hugh Nicol, Anthony "Tony" Mullane and John "Bid" McPhee The Cincinnati manager was Gustavus Heinrich Schmelz.
The ambidextrous Mullane, who pitched for the Reds in Hamilton Aug. 25,1889, compiled a 287-214 lifetime record while in the major leagues from 1881 through 1894.
McPhee, a second baseman, had a .281 lifetime batting average in the majors from 1882 through 1899. He managed the Reds during the 1901 and 1902 seasons.
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Journal-News, Sunday, June 17, 1990
Circus death in 1872 began local tradition
By Jim Blount
A cemetery doesn't seem to be the proper place for a circus parade, but many Hamiltonians saw such an unlikely procession in the summer of 1872 when P. T. Barnum's circus visited. The unusual parade preceded the burial of Charles K. Carter in Greenwood Cemetery Sunday, July 14.
The 32-year-old circus employee had drowned the previous morning, but, true to show business tradition, two shows were presented the afternoon of Saturday, July 13.
Those events were recounted by a witness, J. M. Traber, when the Barnum & Bailey Circus stopped here in May 1911.
By 1872, Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810-1891) was America's most famous showman, thanks to his advertising genius.
His fame started building in 1842 when Barnum opened the American Museum in New York City, featuring a series of curiosities and humorous shows. In 1850, Barnum promoted Jenny Lind's successful concert tour of America.
His circus — billed as "the Greatest Show on Earth" — opened in 1871 in Brooklyn, N. Y. Ten years later, Barnum and his toughest competitor merged as the Barnum & Bailey Circus.
A large ad in the Hamilton Telegraph promoted the July 13 show here as "P. T. Barnum's Great Traveling World's Fair" and the "Greatest Show on Record!"
It boasted of "Barnum's Magic City" in "six separate colossal tents," featuring "100 of the best performers in the world; 100,000 curiosities from all parts of the world, 500 living rare wild animals, birds, reptiles and marine monsters; 1,000 men and horses; 10 pavilions covering several acres, all of which will be exhibited for a single 50-cent ticket; children half price."
The circus arrived in three trains, each with 38 cars pulled by two locomotives.
Traber, in the 1911 interview, said it was the last time Barnum brought his entire show to Hamilton, and P. T. was here to supervise it. Show features recalled by Traber included Zip, That What-Is-It and the Fiji Island Cannibals.
The circus lot, according to Traber, "was a commons on the east side of the hydraulic . . . on Heaton Street, bounded by Fifth, Sixth and Vine streets.
At about 11 a.m. on Saturday, Carter led some circus horses to the hydraulic reservoir, north of the present Ford Boulevard.
While the horses were drinking, Carter fell from his mount. He is believed to have become tangled in lines and was kicked and held under the water when a horse stood on him.
Traber said searchers included Zip and the Fiji cannibals from the circus and several Hamilton swimmers. The body was found that afternoon. Coroner William Spencer held an inquest in the courthouse, ruling that it was death by accidental drowning.
Meanwhile, the circus continued, and the Hamilton Telegraph said "the prince of showmen carried off not less than $10,000 of the hard earned money of our people" and "hotels, ice cream saloons, lemonade stands . . . drove a thriving business."
Traber said "Barnum had his men keep the big top up, and the funeral services were held in this large tent." The Sunday afternoon rites were conducted by the Rev. D. J. Starr, pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal Church here from 1870 through 1873.
"The entire force of showmen attended in a body, also a number of Hamilton people," Traber said. "There were numerous floral tributes and it was probably the most unique and impressive funeral service ever held in this city,"
Then performers, wagons and caged animals followed Carter's body from the tent to his grave in an unusual circus parade.
Later, circus colleagues donated money for a marker for Carter's grave in Greenwood Cemetery. The inscription says it was "erected to his memory by his comrades."
Traber said "every season after that, when the show visited this city, the grave of the dead showman was visited and decorated by the show people as a tribute of loving remembrance and respect."
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Journal-News, Sunday, June 24, 1990
Korean War began 40 years ago
By Jim Blount
Forty years ago this month, Butler County men of military age faced the prospect of fighting in a second international war in less than 10 years.
June 25, 1950, less than five years after World War II ended, a conflict in Korea threatened to become World War III.
The Korean Police Action — as it was called then — involved more than 1.5 million Americans, including about 54,000 who lost their lives in the war which ended with a truce July 27, 1953.
About 2,500 Butler County men and women served in the Korean war zone. A similar number were in the military in other parts of the troubled world during the three-year period.
Japan had seized and controlled Korea during World War II until troops from the United States and the Soviet Union liberated the peninsula in 1945.
Korea was divided at the 38th parallel with U. S. forces occupying the area south of the line until 1949. By then, separate, rival Korean governments had been established north and south of the parallel in an uneasy coexistence.
Sunday, June 25, 1950, North Korean troops, led by Soviet-made tanks, crossed the parallel and invaded South Korea. The next day the Journal-News reported North Korean tanks within nine miles of Seoul, the capital of South Korea.
Tuesday, June 27, during an emergency session which didn't include the Soviets, the United Nations Security Council sought a cease-fire and withdrawal and authorized formation of an international army, if necessary, to restore peace.
The same day, President Harry Truman sent U. S. naval and air support to South Korea. Three days later, he dispatched U. S. ground troops under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, a hero of the U. S. Pacific campaign during World War II.
The United States was among 21 nations that came to the aid of South Korea, including 16 which sent their men into combat. They were regarded as a United Nations police force and the fighting was called a "police action," not a war.
One of the first local reactions to the war was scare buying, especially of soap, sugar and coffee — items that had been scarce and rationed during World War II.
Area merchants didn't report a slackening of hoarding of those commodities until the first week in August. The consumer rush continued for refrigerators, washers, freezers, television sets and other hard goods.
In late July, as preparations began for resuming the draft, the Hamilton selective service board announced it would remain open for registration until 8 p.m.
Monday, July 24, the 194-member Naval Reserve unit, based at the training center at 290 Fair Ave., Hamilton, was called to active duty. Tuesday, Aug. 8, about 100 to 150 area men expected to be among the 80,000 Marine Corps reserves and inactive reserves who were called back to active duty that day.
During the summer, local industries began the conversion to war production. By September, 41 local Hamilton factories employed 18,744, an increase of more than 700 in three months.
Before the end of the war, Hamilton industrial employment would top 20,000 men and women — a figure that didn't include local people working at defense plants in Cincinnati and Dayton.
Aug. 12. the first area casualty was reported (Pfc. John D. Smith was wounded). By Sept. 25 — three months after fighting started — the casualty list was 24, including four deaths. By the war's end, the county death toll would exceed 40.
The first Hamilton man to die in Korea was Sgt. William Postlewaite, age 25, who was reported missing in action July 10. He had enlisted in the army at age 18 and had served in the Pacific during World War II
Friday, Sept. 1, the first draftees, 31 men between 22-25, left the YMCA on North Second Street.
In October, the end appeared in sight as UN forces pushed toward the Yalu River, Korea's border with China. However, their momentum ended Oct. 26, when Chinese communist troops crossed the Yalu River and drove back UN troops to near the 38th parallel where a long stalemate developed.
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