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I transcribed and put this book online so others can read it. It's just 52 pages, but I wanted others to know about this baseball team in N.C. Some of you might even have family members in here! I in no way take credit for this. I discovered my ancestors started this team, this is why I had the book.
Red Strings Baseball Team of Yadkin County, N.C. 1896-1902
by M.R. Dunnagan
I'm putting this book online because you can't find it at any stores, or online, it's out of print and has been for many years. If you are related to this family e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
When the Red Strings started playing baseball in 1896, the author was eight years old, and fourteen years old when they stopped in 1902. As did many Yadkin County boys at the time, he wanted to learn to play well enough to joing the Red Strings, and wanted to learn to pitch as well as did "Fed" Reinhardt. In 1922, while he was City Editor of The Charlotte Observer, he ran into Fred Reinhardt and soon afterward, Fred spent a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon in The Observer office-being "pumped" of information about hte Red Strings. The next morning, September 11, 1922, an article of 62-Column inches, more than three columns, and with an eight-column inches, more than three columns and with an eight-column "streamer: head and two -column subheads, appeared in the Observer. October 1956 Raleigh, N.C. (pg 4)
The Redstrings of Yadkin county; Record of Acheivements
The Red Strings of Yadkin County was undoubtedly the greatest, the best and the most successful amateur baseball team ever to organise and play in North Carolina. This remarkable team, composed of farm boys who lived in an area within a three mile radious of the Center community, in it's seven seasons of operation, 1896-1902, played an estimated 60 games and lost only three-for each of which the team members had a good alibi.
During most of the period of it's successful operations, Red Strings had a standing challenge, published in most of the newspaper in the area, to play any amateur team in North Carolina. The amateur teams were in their glory in the turn-of-the-century period, since organized league baseball had not made it's appearance in the State by that time. The area of operations of the Red Strings, however, was limited to a radius of about 30 miles, since most of the trips had to be made by wagon, occasionally by hack, carriage, and buggies.
Cheif opponents of the Red Strings were teams at Elkin, with whom probably 30 or half, of it's games were played, since Elkin was only about 15 miles away form most of the players:North Wilkesboror, about 25 miles away;Winston, some 30 miles distant;Boonville, only six miles away, and Enon, probably 10 miles distant. The Blue Strings, a junior ball team in the area, kept the Red Strings in practice on Saturday afternoons, when more important games were not scheduled.
The Red Strings team was organized by Augustus Marion (Gus) Long, of Branon, who continued as captain and manager during it's entire period of play. The team was built around the remarkable right arm of Frederick Franklin (Fed) Reinhardt, of Longtown, who continued as the teams principal and almost unbeaten pitcher during the seven seasons. Two other players Daniel (Dan) Dudley, of Yadkinville, catcher and shortstop, and Charles Walter Helton, sub-pitcher and shortstop, played through the entire period, while two others, Santford Green (Sant) Holcomb, Longtown, second baseman, and Marvin Holcomb, Mitchell Chapek, third baseman, started after the first game or two, and played until the end.
A most unusual fact is that on July 7, 1956, just 54 years after the Red Strings disbanded and when they held their first reunion in the Community Building in Yadkinville, eight of the nine members of the team as constitued during the last two or three seasons, were still living and secen of the players were present for the reunion. Gus Long, organizer, manager and captain, was the only member who had died, and Charles Helton, sick at the time was the only member living who was not able to attend. Also present were two of probably half a dozen occasional or substitue players still living, along with the teams umpire, R. Blum Long, of Longtown, now 86 years old (Died October 9, 1956). (pg 5)
The nucleus of the Red Strings was made up of pupils of the Branon school, Just here it seems proper to divert slightly to see the results of the meaeting of two great minds, Gus Long was one of the four sons and one daughter, whose father had died when they were young. He had practically no opportunity to attend school. He had gone to the mid-west, returning after a few months, realizing he needed schooling. Bartholomew (Bart) Brown, several times representative of Yadkin County in the N.C. General Assembly, had taught the public school of three months. Miss Annie Edgerton (Mrs. John D. Williams, now 86 and living in Greensboro) followed early in February 1894, with a subscription school. Miss Edgerton, Guiliford College, and member of the Friends (Quaker) Church, taught both the public and her private school, and about eight months, during the next two years.
When Gus Long entered Miss Edgerton's school he had attended school little or nono before. Miss Edgerton didn't put him in a grade with the tots, but gave him individual instruction. Gus was such an apt pupil that in the 2- 1/2 years of Miss Edgerton's instruction, he caught up with the boys and girls of his own age group. He was almost 21 when he entered , 24 when school ended. Miss Edgerton recalls that they played town ball at school; didnt' know about the Red Strings, whose period of play coincided with her missionary work in India. But her sympathetic and effective teaching contributed much to the leadership of Gus Long and the citizenship of her other Red Strings students.
In fact, the Friends Church and Builford College are credited with actually bringing baseball to Yadkin County and popularixing it. John T. Benbow, East Bend, was a 1890 graduated ot Guilford College, and became a pitcher, He was followed a little later byu S.E. Hall, who attneded Guilford, and aslo was a baseball player. They are law partners in Winston-Salem now. About the same time, Charles M. Hauser, Yadkinville, attended Guilford and became a pitcher. Later he was a banker for many years in HIgh Point. His brother, Dr. Bob Hauser, also went to Guilford. They were members of a strong baseball team in Yadkinville for a few years. Then the Tick Ridge boys, just west of Yadkinville, formed a team. Then the Barnon boys organized. These were sort of forefunners of the Red Strings.
How the name Red Strings originated is not known definitely. Members think Captain Gus Long, organizer and manager, gave the name Nearest to a uniform were blue denim pants (some had a better quality of dark blue materials) cut off just below the knew with the red strips running down the outer seams. Some wore black stockings. probably womens rolled just below the knew. Others wore sock, often without soens. Most of them wore thin white advertising caps, the vogue at the time, distributed free with soda, fertilizer or other advertizing on the fronts. Fred Reinhardt recalls that he had a flaming red shirt which he wore for several seasons. The pants had no padding. Ekin-ites didn't like the Red Shirts, reminiscent of the earlier Ku Klux Klan. They referred to call them the Longtown boys. (Pg 6)
Reunion of Red Strings 54 years later
Seven of the eight living Red Strings regulars when
they stopped playing in 1902 gathered July 7, 1956 at the
Community BUilding, Yadkinville, for their first reunion.
Captain Gus Long had died and Charles Helton, right
bwloe, was sick at the time. Present were, l.t0 r. standing"
Dand Dudley, cather and shortstop:R. Blum Long, umpire:
Fred Reinhardet pitcher; George Holcomb, outfields: Wm
D . Holcomb, substitute: seated: Marvin Holcomb, 3rd base:
David Lee Pardue, catcher: Miles West, sub-pitcher and
centerfield:Sant holcomb, 2nd base: Miles Martin, sub-
stitute. Charles Helton, lower right, sub-pitcher and short-
stop (seated on bench in his yard).
Note; R. Blum Long, 86 umpired died October 9, 1956, at hospital,
Yadkinville. (pg 7)
Gus Long picked as Red Strings from his schoolmates Fred Reinhardt, who bacame pitcher: Sant Holcomb, second baseman; Charlie Helton, then the :baby" of the team, sub-pitcher and shortstop:J.Walter Long, an unusual base runner, whose father, Rev. Miles H. Long, Methodist evangelist, objected to baseball and limited his son's participation and probably other Branon school pupils who played some with the Red String in the early days. Incidentally, J. Walter Long aslo bacame a Methodist preacher and for many years, while living in Concord, served as secertary of the North Carolina Sunday School Association.
Dad Dudley, whose father handled farming operations on the Dr. Thomas C. Wilson Farm, later the Sid Vestal farm on part of which Harmony Heights has sice been built, joined Gus Long's team as catcher. Dock Long, Gus's older brother, and Dock Carter, of Center, playerd in the first outside game, but only one or two, if any, other games. Mahlon Branon, of Branon, third baseman and later outfielder, was a member of the team. Gus Long went to Yadkinville to get a pitcher, Rutherford (Rep) Farmington. These players practiced with local and nearby teams for some weeks and waited for more important games.
First Game VS. North Wilkesboro
Their chance came, probably about the middle of the 1896 season. The game was scheduled with North Wilkesboro. That game has to be postponed, to be set at a later date. When the date was reset, Marvin Holcomb, who had started from his home at Mitchell Chapel, to joint the team for the first game and turned back, did not get the notices of the second date, so didn't go. Thereby hangs a tale.
When the team stopped the wagon for lunch on the way to North Wilkesboro, Dad Dudley, who was an astute catcher and had leanred something about pitching and ball playing from Charles M. and Dr. Bob Hauser, near whose farm he worked, and had observed"Fed" Reinhardt's throwing, got. Fed out on the side of the road. Fed had a mighty speedy ball and Dan, seeing the possibilites, suggested to Gus Long that he use him in hte game against North Wilkesboro. So Gus asked Reinhardt to pitch and he readily agreed.
When the Red Strings reached North Wilkesboro, they had nine men but only eight players. Marvin Holcomb had not received notice of the reset game. Marler Vestal was along, but he was not a very good player and didn't want to fill in. So Marler kept score. Captain Gus Long stated the case to the North Wilkesboro team captain and asked if he could use only eight players. North Wilkesboro boys readily agreen. Even with only eight players agaisn't North Wilkesboro's nine, the Red Strings won their first outside game by a good score. In this fame, Fred Reinhardt had knocked a finger nail on Dan Dudley's hand almost off-- and hereby hangs another tale
The team that played North Wilkesboro in that game included Captain Gus Long, first base: Fred Reinhardt, pitcher: Dan Dudley, catcher, and (end of pg 8) Charles Helton, Mahlon Branon, Rutherford Farrington, Dock Long and Dock Carter. Present day Red Strings were not quizzed about the missing player--where he would have played if he had been present. They may not remember, but the vacant spot was probably in center field. But it didn't matter much--Pitcher Reinhardt took that not many long balls were knocked out. (Dock Long's name was David Long)
Map of Yadkin, Locating homes of Players, some opponents
Letters locate principal Red Strings opponents: A is Elkin, and two feet of A locate two ball fields, one nearer Big Elkin Creek, the other nearer Old wooden Bridege both bordering Yadkin River: B locates Boonville, and further southeastward, C locates Enon North Wilkesboro was some 25 miles west and Winston-(Salem) 30 miles east.
Figure 1. indicates Branon, home area of Captain Gus Long, Charles Helton, Mahlon Branon, J. Walter Long, Davis Long, Dock Long: Figure 2. Yadkinville: Dan Dudley and Miles Martin, (just west), Rutherford Farrington, Miles West (part of the time), and Charles L. Holton, Figure 3 center: David Lee Pardue, Miles West (part of the time). Barnet Weatherman, Frank and "Dowdy" Whitaker, Dock Carter, and Figure 4 some two miles northwest, Mitchel Chapel: Marvin and George Holcomb:, a mile to the northwest, and umpire R. Blum Long: Figure 6 Cycle (near) Eugene Pinnix. (End of Pg 9)
Fred Reinhardt, and other players got a show in that North Wilkesboro game--and it cost them. Richard (Dick) Hackett, prominent North Wilkesboro man, was umpire in that game. He was well up on the rules and one he invoked--to the chagrin and detriment of the Red Strings. Captain Long had evidently overlooked it-but there was in the rule book. A pitcher could not raise his back foot off the bad, or out of the box, as he threw the ball. Reinhardt had fallen into the habit of lifting his foot as he threw. After Umpire Hacket had given a few batters their bases for the infraction, Reinhardt broke his habit-- at least well enough to beat the opponents and with only eight players.
Two Starts, One Finish VS. Enon
The next game, a week or two later, was to be played agaisn't the Enon team in Yadkinville on the Old Poorhouse (County Home) lot, later the W.A. Hall homesite. Dad Dudley, whose finger nail had almost been knocked off in the North Wilkesboror game, was hit again and began to bleed too much for him to continue to catch, so he took another position and continued to play. But that was not his only calamity that day. Will North was picther: his brother, Please North, was catcher, Will North threw a ball that day so hard that when it struck Dan Dudley's head, just back of his ear, it bounced all the way back to the pitcher.
Marvin Holcomb recalls running to a nearby well and bringing a buck of water, dashing some into Dan's face and giving hima drink. Gus Long wanted to have a substitute runner take his place. Enon objected. While the argument was in progress, Dan recovered satisfactorily and trotted on down to first base. But that was ot the last of the Red Strings troubles.
Captain Gus Long took Dudleys place as catcher. In the early part of the game Fred Reinhardt threw the ball so hard that when the batter fouled it just enough to tip it upward slightely, it went through the catcher's mask and broke Gus Longs' nose. With two catcher out and noon to take the vacant post, Captain Long asked that the game ve called. Enon objected, asserting it would claim a 9-to-0 victory for the default. Gus replied (end of page 10) that was ok, but if so Red Strings would never play Enon again. Then it was agreed that another game would be played at Enon a few weeks later, when the casualties had recovered.
Marvin Holcomb, who had not gone to North Wilkesboro, played second base as the first Enon game, he took his berth for the remainder of the Red Strings playing period at third base, and Sant Holcomb joined the team in the second Enon game at the second base, also to play until the end. Red Strings went to Enon, about 10 miles, in buggies that day. When they arrived Enon players nad supporters began teasing them about their sixe. Neither Marvin Holcomb nor Dan Dudley ever weighed more than 135 pounds. Gus Long, Fred Reinhardt and Sant Holcomb were all probably short of six fee. Others were in between, probably ono weighing more than 175 lbs. The Enon players were all tall, heavy and husky.
Moreover, the Enon umpire, evidently Lee Kiger, had some advice for the small Red Strings player. He suggested to R. Blum Long, Red Strings umpire, that he advise his outfielders to play far back since the Enono players were heavy batters. Umpires Blum Long suggested he tell Captain Gus Long, and he did. Bus suggested, in reply, that he'd try to look after the Red Strings Players , and that the Enon Umpire should see that the Enon players look after their end of the game.
Captain Gus Long was the first batter. he knocked the ball over a scrub oak in the outskiret of the field which had never been readch by a batted ball before. As he rounded first base toward second for the first home run, he yelled to his boys to line up and get on the merry-go-round, or word to that effect. In this game, with Dad Dudley on second base, J. Walter Long knocked a grass cutter (grounder) which went so far, and he was so fast, that he made a home run on it-- and alost reached home before Dad did from second base--and Dan was no slouch at running either.
Little Davids Defeat Enon Giants
Today, there's uncertainty about the number of runs made that day Umpire Long thinks the game was won by the Red Strings by a 44-to-8 score. Dan Dudly is as sure that it was 42-to-7 and recalls very vividly
that both he and J. Walter Long made seven runs. Anyway, it was a hefty licking for the "big" Enon players at the hands of the little Red Strings, who had been advised to play far back for the heavy Enon batters.
Another incident that day, recalled by Sant Holcomb and others, merits mention. Please North, Catcher of the Enon battery brothers, had a babit, or adopted a plan, of standing almost on the home plate, thus annoyuing and cunfusing the Red Strings batters. This continued for probably a couple of innings and caused resentful comment from the Red strings, who had about enough of it. When Maholon Branon went to bat, he remarked to Catcher Morth continued crowding him, Branon did turn around and swung his bat backward. A quick duck by North was all that saved him from having his mask and probably his face smashed-- but he was careful not to crowd the batters after that.
When the game was over the Red Strings players, without a word or a shoud, got into their buggies--they had traveld in buggies that day-- and quitetly drwove off toward home. Umpire Long reports that he heard later some of the Enon folks commented that Red Strings mopped up the earth with Enon and didn't even crwo over their victory. The umpire did say that when they got a mile or two away they did do some shouting. It is barely possible that the little fwllows were a bit scared to crow over their victory in the presence of the Enon folks. It is a likely that the teams played later, but if so, other games didn't make such a deep and lasting impression ont eh Red Strings.
That "Umpire" Defeat by Boonville
Another game, further along in the Red Strings playing period, stands out in their memories. Red Strings had played Boonville several times and always felt that the Boonville umpire, Clarence(Clare) Transou, was too biased to umpire a game fairly. They had always defeated Boonville in spite of what they felt was strong aid from Transou. They tried to get Boonville to use John Mock, also a Boonville man, instead of Transou, feelijng he would be fairer, but Boonville held on to Transou.
Anyway, during this game, a Red Strings batter hit the ball, a grounder, which was thrown to J.Wade Shore, first baseman, now and for many years executive officer of the Boonville bank. Shore had to setp some feet off the base to catch the throw and was not back when the batter reached the first base, Red Strings claim. However, Umpire Transou called the runn out, which brought strong protests from the Red Strings, but without ( end of page 12)
avail. And that was the reason, Red Strings assert, that Boonville won that game, by a close score, 5-to-4 or 4-to-3-- the only time Red Strings lost to Booneville. It seems definte that Gideon H. Hastings*, student at Yadkin Valley Institute at the time, picthed that game too, as he did the game in Winston a few years later00 the third game Red Strings ever lost.
Red Strings charge to the attitude of Umpire Transou the storn sentiment which developed in the team agains't playing Boonville, especially at Boonville. Red Strings finally refused to play Boonville, except on neutral grounds. That is why one or more games were played against Boonville at Elkin. Another game was sheckduled to be played at Yadkinville, Wade Shore recalls, and that Tre Strings failed to show up. Tre Strings claim that a Boonville trick-- that Boonville had scheduled the game with no notice to Red Strings, only in order to claim a forfeiture. Shore answere the Red Strings charge of umpire help to Boonville by saying Boonville players felt that Umpire Blum Long gave Red Strings the breaks.
Anyway, Red Strings players recall that a year or so after Red Strings disbanded, some four fomer Red Strings players, George Holcomb and Dade Lee Pardue, who were attending Dobson High School, just to play baseball, and Marvin Holcombs and porbably Fred Reinhardt, were playing with DObson High in a game agasint' Boonville. Umpire Transou was in action. He made one deciosion as the resul of which he and Cleve Lewellyn, later organizer and head of the Surry Loand and Trust Co. with three or four branches, got into a hefty fist fight. They do not recall whethrey Lewellyn was a player then. or whether he was umpire for Dobson.
Elkin Favorite Red Strings Opponent
The Elkin baseball team was a favorite opponent of the Red Strings, as Red Strings team was a favorite opponent of Elkin. Several conditions contributed to this sort of mutural admiration. Elkin merchants, business and industrial leaders realized the value of having Red Strings come to Elkin to play, since the Red Strings had developed a section-wide reputation
* Jude G.H Jasting, Winston-Salem, evidently was pitcher in two of the three games lost by Red Strings-later, after refresing his memory and talking with contemporaries, he is certain that Boonville won the game he pitched agaisn't Red Strings in 1898 or 1899 while a student at Yadkin Valley institute Boonville. This was the game in which he, for a rarity, got a hit making a home run off Fred Reinhardt, he reports. C.H. Beeson was his catcher and the Shore boys. Thad and Wade played in the game. That just about ties it downsince Red Strings maintain they only lost one game to Boonville, the one in which they claim Wade Shore took his foot off first base to catch the ball and during that interval the Red Strings runner reacherd first base safely, but was called out. Some Red Strings players think John Speas pictched that game.
Later too, Judge Hastings recalls that the Winston (Southside) team is addition to him as pitcher, and Harry Nissen, catcher, included John T. Benbow, and S.E. Hall, both Yadkin County (East Bend) natives, still law partners in Winston-Salem: Luther Ferrel and Henry O. Sapp. lawyers, Red Weisner and Jones he believe that Red Strings play other games with Winston teams before that final game. (end of page 1)
They were a great drawing card, bringing many visitors to Elkin. Too, Elkin was only about 15 miles away and Red Strins could make the trip Saturday morning just most anytime for a Saturday afternoon game.
Often during the week.Elkin would have the Red Strings come for a game on a hiliday or speicla occasion then induce the players to stay over for another or two cames the next day. Red Stirngs would be put up at the Elk Inn. operated by the popular Charles GWYN, and their every need and hospital entertainment would be looked after--even possibly to a clandestine dring now and then. Elkin people loved the Red Strings and supported them agaisn't any team except Elkins'. Alex (Bud) Chatham, Sr. (Then Jr.) was credited not only with being a wonderful host, but a great friend of prectically every membver of the Red Strings team. In fact, Elkin people generally treated them almost as lords.
Estimates by Red Strings are that they played full 30 games against the Elkin team in the severn seasons of play--or just about half of the real match games played. Another reason for the games agaisn't Elkin and at Elkkin was that most of the Elkin playes worked in mills, stores, sops and factories, and it was not conveinient for them to get off early Saturday morning for a trip down into Yadkin County, but could get off long enough for the afternoon games.
Alex chatham, Sr. then known as Bud and then a young man, was able willing and did help out number of Red Strings players with finances. He now recalls that the first thing Red Strings would do when they started a game was to pull off their shows and"my, how they could run!"Reminiscing, Mr. Chatham said he could not recall that Elkin ever did beat Red Strings. And he had some supporting evidence in that position, even through most of the Red Strings admit Elkin, with outside help, did win one game, And what a game!
Elkin's Weddington-Reed Victory
Elkin, although friendly, smarted at continuous defeats from Red strings. Men with money in the community decided to do something about it. They shopped around and found that that best available batter was at Concord, some 80 miles away. THey made arrangements for this batter, Weddington and Reed*, to come up and play with the Elkin team. Also they called in two or three other players in the area, from North WIlkesboro and probably Mount Airy, to make sure of a victory. Then they challenged Red Strings, naming a date. Red Strings accepted and were in Elkin at the hour and on the date specified.
Weddington was a terror. The Red Strings were doubtless a bit cowed, farm boys grwoing up agaisn't this " ringer". In the first place he was large, probably over six feet and probably over 200 lbs. In the next place, he had remarkable breaking curves, as well as a hard straight ball. To add all this, in his wide-up, Wddington flailed the aire as redStrings had never seen before. His gyrations fascinated as well as trouble, the Red Strings. "He looked like a Dutch Windmill:. Anyway, the Red Strings just coudln't "find him". Elkin, with Weddington and Reed, et al, won that game by a small margin, 6-to-5 or 5-to-4 or something like that--only game Elkin ever won from Red Strings.
In the interval, Red Strings talked it over and decided , individually, that they could find Weddington if given another chance. And that chance came. Some two weeks later Weddington came back, without Redd this time. It seems that Charles Woods, Elkin catcher, caught in that game. The Red Strings made good on their claim. They knocked Weddington complete out of the box and won the game by a lop-sided score-they don't recall just how much.
That is the generally accepted vcersion, but not the only one. Alex Chatham asserted that"I don't recall that we ever did beat them" , and he was on the Elkin team, playing in the outfield at least part of the time. Dan Dudley, an all-time Red Strings player--catcher, shortstop, etc,. remarks with very deep conviction: "Elkin never did beat us".
*Jake Hugh Wiliams, prominent Concord attonry has dug up the infomratio the Weddington and Reed the imported Elkin battery were members of prominent Cabarrus county familyies. William Wedding was a graduate of Roanoke College, Salem. Va. and later became principal of one of the concord public schools. Richmond Ree, catcher became an employess of the Concord Postoffice. They achieved extensive local renown General assembley (East Bend native) and Mrs Ethel Reavis Williams (Courtney Native) . He was a nephew of the late John D. Williams. East bend native and of Mrs Annie Edgerton Wiliams. of Greensboro, who taught the Branon school for three years. (1896-1898) from which came the nucleus of the Red Strings team.
Or did Weddington Really win?
Backing this up, William D. Holcomb, Jonesville, a younger and occasional Red Strings substitute, tells about this way. Elkin got Weddington alone for the first game and Charles Woods, Elkin catcher, caught him. Red Strings won that game but by a narrow margin. Weddington told Elking officials (baseball) that for so much money he would bring his own catcher, Reed, later and they would give Red Strings the licking of their lives. This way agreed to and another game was scheduled, probably a week or two later.
In this second game with Weddington picthing and Reed catching. Red Strings won by a much larger margin that in the first game with Weddington alone. That, D. Holcomb insists, is the way he recalls it, and with the support mentioned. But most of the Red Strings seem just as confident that the first version is the more accurate.
One more incident of the first Weddington-playing game should be mentioned. Fred Feinhardt, Red Strings pitcher, was quoted before the ame as saying he was going to strike out Weddington or throw his arm off trying. He did strike him out. Weddington looked daxed when he swung the third time. dropped the end of his bat to the ground and stood looking at Reinhardt for a second or two. Then, as is to himself, he said: "You are d---- good' . This low-toned remark was heard by the catcher.
Elkin merchants offered a pitcher to the winner of one of the Red String-Elkin games, presumable the second in which Wedding pitched. Red Strings won and the cup was presented to Capt. Long. In that game sant Holcomb had knocked a home run with the bases full, thus bringing in four runs. On the return home the team voted to present the cup to Sant Holcomb for his contribution toward winning game. In turn, it was presented to Mrs. Holcomb (or Miss Mary Victoria Helton- sister of Charles Helton--as the case may have been at the time). Their daughter, Margaret Holcomb, now Mrs. W.R. Wellborn, wife or Dr. Wellborn, now living in Morganton. is the proud possessor of that pitcher.
Elkin had two successive baseball diamonds, both on the Yadkin River, and one nearer Big Elkin Creek: the other nearer the Old Wooden Bridge. While both were of regulation size, the Red Strings seemed to delight in knocking balls into the Yadking River, as if in league with Reich and Spaulding, baseball makers. Elkin supplied many baseballs--and they seemed to delight in it-which sank in the Yadkin. On one occasion at Elking, Blum Reinhardt, substitute player, went to bat. Before stepping up to the place, he waved his arm, indicating that the outfielder should play further back. The very first pitch he knocked into the Yadkin River.
Red Strings continued with the four original players, Captain Long, Fred Reinhardt, Dan Dudley and charles Helton. Dock Long and Dock Carter evidently dropped out after that first game with North Wilkesboro. J. Walter Long played in some, but not many of the early games. After a few games, Rutherford Farrington moved west with his family. Marvin Holcomb, who missed the North Wilkesboro game: Sant Holcomb and probably Mahlon Branon were in the first game scheduled with Enon, but called. Barnett Weatherman joined this team fairly early. Mahlon Branon dropped out after two or three seasons of play.
Other occasional players on the Red Strings team in the earlier period included Charles L. Holton, son of Rufus E. Holton, for many years clerk of Yadkin County's representative in the General Pinnix, number of times Yadkin Count's representative in the General Assembly, who played in two or three games; Miles Martin, Long's school house community, carpenter and cabinet maker in Yadkinville and probably two or three others who would go to games and play when one or more of the farm-boy players had to work at home.
Red Strings "Raid" Blue Strings
In 1897 or 1898 a younger edition of the Red Strings was organized--the Blue Strings, amonth them several younger brothers and nephews of the Red Strings. BLue Strings, orgainized by Captain Frank Whitaker, all lived within about two miles of Center, the community made famous by the annual camp meetings held by the Methodists for many years under arbors of framwork covered by limbs of trees. These young Blue Strings also developed an excellent team and also became very ambitious.
Red Strings never actually had much of a home baseball field. They did rent a broomsedge field at Center for a few seasons. This was considered a practice ground and on numbers of Saturdays when they had no game scheduled elsewhere, they would gather here from practice. Right under their feet were the BLue Strings who were ready, waiting and anxious to give them the needed practice. At times the Red Strings and the Blue Strings would split up, for Captain Long wanted his Red Strings to have the experience of Fred Reinhardts pitching.
Then came a day, early in 1900, when the BLue Strings were able to hold the Red Strings to a 3-to-0 win-- and that, they boasted, was some acheivement. Moiles. V. West, Blue Strings pitcher, proudly claims that he struck out Fred Reinhardt once during htat game, also admitting that Fred struck him out once. In fact, Miles contends even today, that the Blue Strings were the second best team in the state- second only to Red Strings. The only point of superority the Red Strings had, he maintained, was in thier pitcher--thus placing Fred Reinghardt above himself.
Develop a David for Giant Fred
Anyway, as a result of that 3-to-0 game, or following it, Captain Gus Long made a raid on the Blue Stings, taking over three of their players bodily. These were David Lee Pardue, catcher; George Holcomb, outfielder, brother of Marvin Holcomb and then only 16 years old, and Miles West, who was a substitue pitcher, but played regularly in center field--because,with his good pitching arm, he could not only throw runners out at bases, but also peg them out at the home plate. He halted many runs of poopnents by his speedy and accurate throws from center feild to the home base.
George Holcombs, slightly larger than his 135 pound brother, Marvin, then succeeded Charles Helton as "the baby" of the team. George was not a home run batter, but he develdoped into probably the safest batter on the team. Seldom would he fail to get on first, sometimes second, base. He also became the teams official bunter, easing them down close to advance a runner. And, more often than not, he owuld beat the bunts out-safe on first. Also he was an effective fielder. The Teammates recall one line drive, out of reach of infield players. This would undoubetdly be a save hit. George Holcombs raced in from the outfiedl. With hands shamped like a shovel, he scooped up the ball, just a split instant before it was to hit the ground- a spectacular catch, robbing the batter of a hit.
David Lee Pardue proved to be just what Doctor-Captain Gus Long ordered and had long needed. Dan Dudley, as tough a farm boy catcher as ever donned a mask, seldom weighed as much as 135 pounds. He was just too light to hld the pitches Fred Reinhardt developed. They would lift him off the ground regulary. In the four years of Red Strins catching, he was selcom free from puffed hands, out of joint fingers or tonr finger nails. But dan was resourceful. he had developed a technique all is own. When the bases were clean, as was usually the case. dan would simply knock reinghardts' pitches down with his mitt- not try to catch them. The third strike he would cling to grimly, or occasionally thorw the batter out at first base.
Dudley Warns Batters
Dan Dudley had another effective techinque. IN his low, well-modulated voice he would talk to the batter, mere mumbling to the ear of the umpire. "This is going to be a hard one"_Boy, don't yoy let this one hit you -- you'll have to be carried out on a stretcher:- 'You'll never know what struck you if this one should hit you". The batter would inch away from the plate.
Then when one of the Reinhardts' braod curves seemed to be headed for his ribs, he'd jump back and strike would be called. Dans' mumbling may not have been according to the rules, but it was routine--and effective.
Dave Lee pardue's acquissition was welcomged, doubly welcomed, by Dan Dudley, who was reserved as catcher when Charles Helton pitched. He played shortstop and other positions in other games. Pardue was tall and tough. Anter moderate practice, he was able to take Reinhardt in stride in the three seasons the Red Strings contineued to play. He was also effective in throwing them out at bases. He was able to take Reinhardt in stride in three seasons The tred Strins continued to play. He was also effective in throwing them out at bases. He was handy with the bat and continued his baseball career several years and after Red Strings disbanded.
But that didn't end Captain Long's raid on the Blue Strings. Other members of that junior team were rung in when regulars had to stay home with the crops. Even Blue Strings Captain Frank Whitaker played with red Strings occasionally. HIs brother, "Dowdy" Whitaker: Jack and Blum Reinhardt, brothers of Fred: Issac Weatherman and probably other Blue Strings players were called into the Red Strings line up. at times. Barnett Weatherman became a regular Red Strings player in the earlier Blue String's operations.
Red Strings players, even though not Amazons, had reputations of being as tough as they made them. They would work on the farm, a few in stores, from sun-up to sun-down during the week, starting out on a long trip Friday nights; or medium trips Saturday mornings, or after hurried lunches at noon Saturdays for practice games, usually at Center. When they started playing, the catchers' mitt and mask were the only items of protection: no catcher's breastplate or knee guards" no mitt or glove for the baseman: no
gloves for the fielders. Soon Captain Gus Long had a glove at first base: after a few seasons, other basemen had gloves. With or without gloves, Fred Reinhardt would literally life basemen off their base, for he threw as hard to basemen as he did to batters.
As noted by Alex Chatham, Sr,. the first thing Red Strings owuld do, as a game was about to start, would be to pull off thier shoes. The author saw the Red Strings in action once, or possibly twice, and then in practice games. On one of these occasions they played at Center on a burned -off fields, with sharp broomsege spikes two or three inches high-in their socks-feet. Often, when horses and mules were in use, they would walk two or three miles to practice or to join teammates for a trip.
Miles West recalls riding a bicycle from Center to Elkin, about 15 miles, early one Saturday morning: played with the Red Strings agaisn't the principal Elkin team Saturday morning, and pitched part of a game for Blue Strings agains't a second Elkin teams that afternoon. He admits they brought him and his bicycle home in and on a buggy after that last gaem. One playr, probably Dave Lee pardue, recalls riding a Star Mail Route from Yadkinville to Rockford, starting at 8 o"clock with Nath Vestal in his over weighted, lop-sided buggy, catching the North Wilkesboro train about 11:00 and arriving at Elkin about noon for a game that afternoon.
That Fabulous "Fed" Reinhardt
Just here it is proper to take time out for a closer look at that fabulous Red Strings pitcher, "Fed: Reinhardt. Fred was "discovered" by Dan Dudley on that first outside trip to North Wilkesboro. Dan had learned some pitching quirks from Charles. M. and Dr. Bob Hauser, Guilford college graduates, near whose home he worked. While stopped for lunch along the roadside, Dan "practiced" Reinhardt and relayed his impressions to Captain Gus Long. Gus told Reinhardt he would like to pitch him in that game, instead of Rutherford Farrington, who was due to pitch. Fred agreed. The result was a win--with only eight players.
Fred, at 23 years of age, had arrived. He had practiced pitching, yes" but he then practiced as he had never practiced before. They related that at home he laid out a pitcher' box, a home plate and a backstop, regulation distance. For hours at the time he would throw the ball through a 12-inche hoop form a nail keg and never touch it. The ball would hit a box behind and bounce back toward the pitcher's box. Fred made his fast straight ball faster. Many times in games the ball would hit the catchers mitt by the time the bat crossed the home plate.
But Fred was not satisfied. He began trying out curves. These he developed further, probably, than any amateur pitcher ever did, before or since. He had finally, incredible curves: to the left, to the right" up or drops. When he had a chance he threw to Dan Dudley, whose knobby hands and knotty fingers showe to this day the punishment he took. His success is demonstrated by the record. He probably pitched more than 50 of the estimated 60 games played by Red Strings in eight seasons--and lost only three.
Reinhardt established some kind of pitching record by striking out 22 of the 27 batters and it was normal for him to strike out from 15-20 batters. Teammates recall that inevitably, as he got ready to wind up for the pitch, he placed both hands and the ball behind his neck. He explains that this was to prevent the batter from seeing how he gripped the ball, so he couldn't see what he planned to throw next. And, following the lead of Catcher Dan Dudley, Dave Lee Pardue, 1900 to 1902 catcher, would speak in low tones to the batter" "He's going to throw a hard one", "Don't let him hit you with this one", and other such disconcerting remarks.
Numbers of avid and expert baseball fants traveled many miles to see Fred Reinhardt pitch. One is quoted as saying he was the only pitcher he had seen in operation who could throw a ball over the plate any time he wanted to. Another, the umpire in the notable Winston game, remarked that he had seen many pitchers but had never seen one who could beat Reinhardt. Weddington, of Concord, who faced Reinhardt in the Elkin game, spoke emphatically and apparently to himself when Fred struck him out his first time at bat: "You are d--- good!"
"Fed" Had his big league Chance
Blum Long, Red Strings umpire, relates that a baseball scout who watched Reinhardt in one Winston game, came to him and asked if Fred would be interested in league baseball. Blum got them together and the scout made a good offer to Fred. Fred declined. Blum felt that Fred had marriage on the brain at the time-- and did get married soon afterward. It is likely that Reinhardt had other chances at league baseball, and it is interesting to speculate on how far he would have gone in league baseball- probably as far as did Ernest Shore, another Yadkin County product, whose chief fame was won as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.
When Red Strings disbanded in 1902, Reinhardt was in his 29th year, yet he continued to play baseball for about another decade. He played with Dobson agaisn't his old foe, Boonvill. He played with Elkin, another friendly foe, agaisn't Pinnacle. He played with Pilot Mountain agains't Promimity, a textile mill village near now a part of , Greensboro. He and the other former Red Strings joined a High Point team which beat the regular Statesville team-- then Sttesvill took him over. In fact, Reinhardt was probably 40 years old before he stopped playing baseball.
Later Reinhardt worked in furniture plants in South Carolina, Lincolnton, where married the second time, and in Charlotte. Also, when furniture work was slack, he picked up and becomae and expert in shoe repair work. He worked in and operated shops in Charlotte. He retired a few years ago and lives at 623 North Pine Street. Charlotte. He frequently visits his sones and daughters there and in Oxford and elsewhere. He also visits his old haunts of Longtown and Hamptonville, and until recently enjoyed hunting with old friends. In the best of health, he is approaching his 83rd birthday anniversary, December 29. (end of page 21)
At one time, when Captain Gus Long was having a seige of typhoid fever at antoehr time Reinhardt suffered form the same malady and didn't play in a few games-- Elkin publicized a challenge to any team in Western North Carolina or all of North Carolina for a baseball game. Gus Long's illness may have inspired this challenge, since he couldn't play. Anyway, Reinhardt worked up a team most all Red Strings players, with a few substitutes, journeyed to Elkin and won the game easily.
Third and Final lost to Winston
Time passed and in it's passing, Red Strings won more games. Then in June, 1902, a series of games was scheduled with Winston, or what was known as the Southside team at Southside Park for July 2,3,and 4. Only July 1, the Twin City Daily Sentinel Announced this game in about ten lines. Next day that afternoon paper, under the heading:"Red Strings Vs. Southside," had this item: -The red Strings ball team arrived here this morning from Yadkinville, The first of a series of three games was called at 4:00 this afternoon. Reinhardt was in the pitcher box for the visitors. Pardue was catcher. The battery for Southside was composed of Hesten* and Nissen. Note: red Strings had come overnight in a wagon furnished by Sant Holcomb.
The next day, July 3, The Sentinel displayed on its front page under this heading:"Southside Defeats Red Strings," this further item:
The baseball game at Southside Park yesterday between the Red Strings of Yadkin County, and the Southside team, resulted in a victory for the latter aggregation by a score of six to five. The Red Strings played superb ball and had the game well in had until the fifth inning, the score being two two nothing in their favor. A new pitcher was substitued at this piont and the Southside batsmen took kindly to his curves, making four runs and winning. The Red Strings team, which was to have played three games here with the Southside team, returned this evening. The games will be continued, however with the Winston-Salem team.
That report was evidently second-hand and, according to Red Strings players, contains errors. Fred Reinhardt maintains that he pitched until about the end of the seventh inning, when he had a catch in the small of his back, probalby a torn ligament, and had to stop. He also avers that the score was four -to-0 when he quit, and other Red Strings back him up.
* Heston was evidently misspelled and the author assumed it was Hester. He recalled that G.H. Hastings prominent lawyer and former Municipal Court judge had pitched several games agains't the Red Strings whild a studetn at Yadkin Valley Institute. Boonville. It was thought he might possibly recall some of the Winston players in that game. After a brief conversation, it dawned upon him that he, as a young lawyer, had pitched that game agains't the Red Strings, He explained his father had spelled the family name "Hasten" and that was meant by "Hesten" in the paper. Some three years' later in 1905. he got Cyrus B. Watson, Winston lawyer to have his name changed back to Hastins, as a brother had alredy done. Red Strings players recall that Judge Hastings pitched the Winston game. Some think John Speas pitched and Marion Speas, his brother caught that Boonville game Red Strings lost. (end of pg 22)
Fred even carried the scoreboard back with him, just to settle a bet. Dan Dudley maintains that 12 out of the first 13 Winston batters were struck out by Fred, the 13th having been thrown out by him, as shortstop, as second base. The final score, they relate, was 5-to-4.
The Winston players and fans were a hospitable group. Among other attentions showered on the visitors, they had a tub of lemonade, ice and lemon peel floting in it, with plenty of dippers. The Red Strings were ugred to help themselves. Other Red Strings teased Red Reinhardt, saying he drank too much lemonade, as county boys of that day might be inclined to do, and foundered himself. Fred claims he never had such a painful catch in his back, before or since. He was able to finish the game in the right field, however, and recalls throwing a batter out to Gus Long at first base.
Hastings pitcher in 2 of 3 losses
The Red Strings held a consultation after the game ended. They feared Fred would not recover sufficiently to pitch either the second of the third day. Charles Helton had proved ineffective. Miles West was left, but he coldn't pitch both games, even if he should be able to hold his own in one. It was a very gloomy prospect, They promised to return later and finish the series. They never did. Lke the Arabs, they hitched up the horses, crawled into the wagon and stole silently, and a bit disgustdly, away.
G.H. Hastings, whom they had met beofre at Boonville, completed with the game as pitcher, as far as he can recall. So, he is credited with the win. He also recalls, 57 or more years later, that he pitched a game at Boonville which Boonville won, evidently the one"with the help of the umpire", he does recall knocking his only importatn ome run while playing at Boonville agaisn't the Red Strings, with Fred Reinhardt pitching. He also recalls that Harry Nissen, for many years cheif of the Winston-Salem Fire Department, was his catcher that day in the Winston game. He recalls other Yadkin County players on that Winston team.
But that WInston game was the beginning of the end of the Red Strings. They played several other games that season, at least one game was played agaisn't Boonville at Elkin, and probably another one or two at Boonville. One or more games was played agains't Elkin at Elkin. It is likely that Red Strings played North Wilkesboro again, probalby at Elkin. Some Red Strings members thought they had played in 1903 and probably some in 1904. Most agree that they didn't play any after the season in which Winston won on Jyly 2. Some of the oldtimers were approaching 30 years of age, as were some of the later recruits. They began to drop out, a few not playing in later games that season. (end of pg 23)
In the last game, which Fred Reinhardt thinks was against Boonville at Elkin, he recalls the line up this way: Gus Long, first base: Sant Holcombs. second base: Marvin Holcomb, third base, Charles Helton, Shortstop: George Holcombs, center field: Jack Reinhardt, Fred's brother, left field; David Lee Pardue, catcher, Fred Reinhaardt, pitcher. Dan Dudly had called in a day and Miles West had moved away, he thinks. Jack Reinhardt and Davis Long took their places. But, 54 years is a long time to recall details-that may have been the last game, maybe not. Dad Dudley and Miles West both think played against Boonville at Elkin.
Disbanded Red Strings Continue Playing
However, some of the Red String continued to play. Gus Long, Fred Reinhardt and Charles Helton played with Elkin against Pinnacle. Dave Lee Pardue and George Holcomb went to school the next spring at Dobson, John H. Allen, principal, just to play baseball, getting thier board and tuition. Then they were employed in a furniture plant in Mount Airy, not working much, primarily to play baseball. Later they were employed by a gerneral contractory, Charles James, in High Point, also to play ball, Fred Reinhardt joined them there and Marvin Holcomb also played. During the time the four joined Pilot Mountain to play against the Proximity team. The high Point team, with four former Red Strings, played Salisbury, Spencer, Thomasville, Trinity and other teams in the area. In the Proxmity game they played against Charles G. (Chick) Doak, then at Guilford College.
Miles West moved to Iowa in 1904 and played with his firm's team one year. He then moved to New Castle, Ini,. where he joined that city's team as an Indiana league, playing pretty well over the state. He was pitcher and first baseman. He retunred to Winston-Salem and, after 28 years with the Norfolk and Western Railway, retired in 1950
Present date on member of the Red Strings players (See Personal Sketches, Vital Statistics for further information) state briefly, follow:
Gus Long, organizer, captain, manager, died just under 41 years of age, buring in Long Cemetery, Branon, widow lives on Route 3, Yadkinville
Fred Reinhardt, 83 next December 28, living at 623 N. Pine St., Charlotte.
Dan Dudley, 82 1/2 years old, retired farmer, Rt 3 Yadkinville.
Charles Helton, nearing 79, retired farmer, Branon, Rt. 3 Yadkinville.
Marvin Holcomb, 79 supervises farm at Mitchell Chapel, Rt 2, Boonville.
Sant Holcomb, 79 retired whole sale merchant, supervises farm, lives in Jonesville.
Barnet Weatherman, moved to New Providence, Iowa, prosperous farmer, retired and died about 1946.
Miles West, 75, retired N. & W. Ry. employee, lives at 543 Griffith St., Winston-Salem.
David Lee Pardue, 76, fromer store manager and operator, poultryman, East Bend.
Goerge Holcomb 72 former furniture maker. Farmer Yadkinville.
Substitutes and occastional players during the eight years:
Dock Long and Dock Carter, both deceased: Rutherford Farrington, moved to west and reported deceased: Blum and Jack Reinhardt,deceased: J. Walter Long, later Methodist minister and secretary, N.C. Sunday School Association, living at Concord, died at Morganton hospital: Charles Holton, attorney, moved to Asheboro, candidate for Congress, moved to Florida, died some years ago: Eugene Pinnix, lived in Winston-Salem, now reportedly living at Courtney: Davis Long, brother of J.Walter Long, deceased.
Wm. D. Holcomb, 75, former wholesale merchant, retired postmaster, living at Jonesville.
Frank T. Whitaker, 80, center community farmer, RFD, Yadkinville.
Dow E. (Dowdy) Whitaker, 74 former farmer now Center merchant RFD, Yadkinville.
Miles Martin, 75 Cabinet maker and carpenter, Yadkinville. and Umpire R. Blum Long, 86, retired farmer, comminssioner, legislator, Longtown, RFD, Yadkinvill. (Died October 9, 1956. )
Yadkin County, as is generally known, has been almost invaribly Republican in politics fro some 75 years. Notable exceptions were elction of Democrats Dr. M.A. Royall, State Senator (district): Mr. Hampton. father of Miles and Victoria, Clerk of Superior Couty, and Henry douglas, father of Mrs. John H. Folger, Mount Airy, Register of Deeds, for one Frank Woodhouse, representatives in the General Assembly: Paul Davis, Board of County Commissioners, and possibly one or two others. It is interesting to note, however, that probably more than three-forths of the Red Strings players and substitutes were Democrats, some of them active. These include all the Holcombs, Longs, Dudley, Helton, Branon, Weatherman, Whitakers, etc. On the Republican side, families, the Reinhardts, Pinnix, West, Holton (Charles, candidate for Congress) and some of the survivors are now Democrats. (end of pg 25)
First Reunion in 54 years
It was a remarkable occasion, when the Red Strings held their first reunion in the Community Building at Yadkinville July 7, 1956, more than 60 years after the team was organixed and about 54 years after is disbanded. The occasion was a bit sad over the avsense of thier deceased organizer, captain, and manager, Gus Long, only deceased member of the team as it was constituted during the last season or two, and absence becuase of sickness of Charles Helton, Branon.
The seven regular players present were Fred Reinhardt, pitcher, Dan Dudley, catcher, and shortstop, Marvin Holcomb third base, Sant Holcomb, second base, David Lee Pardue, Catcher, George Holcomb, left field. Miles West, center field and subpitcher, and substitues W.D. Holcomb and Miles Martin. Meeting with them was their regular umpire R. Blum Long, 86 and M.R. Dunnagan who had worked up the reunion. Three substitute players who might have attneded if they had been located in time are Frank and "Dowdy" Whitaker, brothers of Center, and Eudene Pinnix, reported later as living at Courtney.
The meeting was opened at 11:00 and was entirely informal. The author had distributed to most of the players a photostatic copy of an article he had written over three columns, while city editory of the Charlotte Observer, which appeartd in the newspaper of September 11, 1922. The article was the result of an interview with Fred Reinhardt, then and now, living in Charlotte, supplemented by youthful memories of the writer, a native of Yadkinville. This refreshed the memories of the players present and brought forth a flood of incidents recounted with interest. Most of these are retold in this little volume.
About lunch time, when it was found that some of the players had to leave, Bill Rutledge of the Yadkin Ripple was contacted and took a picture of the group, which he used with an article in his next week's news paper. Later, after four of the group had left, Mrs Gordon Tomlinson, of The Yadkin Herald, was located and informed of the reunion and took a picture of those remaning. This, wish an article about the team, was used in the next weeks' issue of her paper.
A luncheon had been scheduled at Williams' Restaurant, nearby, but four of those attending had to leae, Sant and D. Holcomb. George Holcomb and Miles Martin. The remainder had lunch together, then returned to the Community Building for a further session of about two hours. It was then that personal data and vital statistics of those present were secured, supplemented by correspondence later with those not present. (end of Pg 26)
When the Red Strings gathered, a container of lemonade was on a side table, not the author remded them. to bring back unpleasant memories--the tub of lemonade at the distressing Winston game--but as a hot day refresher. He also announced (facetiously, of course) that a local young baseball team had challenged the Red Strings for a game that afternoon and that he had accepted on behalf of the team. Fred Reinhardt, asked if he would pitch, allowed he was not quite up to it, and "they with one accord began to make excuses" So no bones of the Red Strings were broken.
An annual reunion, while a few of the members lived and were able to attend was diacussed and while no definite organization was formed to promote such gatherings, all expressed the wish to attend as long as they were able. Fred Reinhardt,then 82 1/2 , and living fartherest away, Charlotte, and Miles West, next fartherest, Winston-Salem, hoped they could continue to attend. All of the other players and stubsitutes live live in Yadking County, several in the homes in which they were born, or in the same vicinities.
Captain Gus Long was a great leader of the Red Strings, not a rigid and inflexible dictator, but by reasoning and fair dealing, and the affection his teammates had for him. He frwoned on drinking before or during a game, but permitted a drinkg afterward. One player got "high and wild" after one game and was drinking during another game. That was his last.
If and when the surviving Red Strings players hold another reunion, they have expressed the home that they can extend some honor, pay some tribute, to the memory of their fallen leader, Gus Long's body lies in the Long burying ground on the former Long farm. The land around it has passed into other ownership. The area around and approeaching it has grown up and the graveyard is just about unapproachable by vehicular traffic. This graveyard, about five miles west of Yadkinville, is some two miles northeast of the present Long home and farm, across Highway N. 421 and across South Deep Creek from the home in a rugged, rockey and overgrown section, near the site of the Long-gone Mills Mill. Just what form this hoped for honor and tribute will take has not been determined at this time.
(end of pg 27)
Nucleus from Miss annie Edgerton's school at Branon
This sketch of Miss Annie Velura Edgerton, later Mrs. John D. Williams, is included in the history of the Red strings because she taught school for three years, 1894-1896, at Branonon and it was from her students that the nucleus of the Red Strings baseball team came. Indirectly, her teaching and influence resulted in the organization of the team and contributed to it's success.
Five of her students were August M. (Gus) Long, organizer, captaint and manager of the team throughtout it's existence: Fred F. (Fed) Reinhardt, one of the most remarkable amateur baseball pitchers this States as produced: Charles Helton, substitute pitcher and shortstop: Santford G. (Sant) Holcomb, who started with the team after one or two games had been played.
Miss Edgerton found a local prejudice against a woman teacher on the basis that a woman could not teach arithmetic. One Branon community leader stated that if he had a dozen children, he would not send one of them to her school. She was given what was believed locally to be an examinsation, largely in arithmetic, which would eliminate her. She handled it quickly and accurately, rating 100%. When her school closed after a few months, the man who had ovjected to her storngest headed the delegation to get her to return. revising his earlier statement to tell her that if he had a dozen children, he would send them all to her school.
Her comments on her students are revealing. She recalled that Gus Long was a grown young man, 21 years old, when he entered her school. He was the son of s widow and had attended school very little, if any, before. She made a sort of special student of him, not placing him in classes of tots in which he normally belonged. She game him personal instruction, allowing him to move along as rapidly as he could. She was gratified that at the end of three years he had caught up with the students his own size and age.
Charles Helton, at the home of whose mother she boarded part of the time, was as she recalls, and independant type and wanted to selevet his own courses. He yielded, however, and was a good student. Fred Reinhardt and Sant Holcomb, both of the Longtown community, were good students. Fred taught school for four years in that section and Sant became a successful buriness man, a partner in Holcomb Brothers, wholesale grocery firm in Elkin.
Miss Edgerton was brong September 25, 1870, at Fremont, eldist of twelve children of John Henry Edgerton, and Sarah Elizabeth Moore, Her father had previously married Annie Dixon, of Snow Camp, whom he had met while both were students in the New Garden Boarding School (later Guilford College), She had died when their third son was an infant. His second wife was a good friend of his first.
Mr. and Mrs. Edgerton, in 1888, moved to Guilford College to offer educational opportunities to thier children. Annie Edgerton finished the first half of her junior year at Guilford and entered Christian work in the Christian Endeavor Society. About Feburary 11, 1894, she started a subscritpion school at Branon. Bartholomew (Bart) Brown, Hapmtonville., several times representative of Yadkin County in the General Assembly, had taught the public school three months, when she started. The next two years she taught both the public school and the subscription school.
After spending a year in the Friends Bible school in Cleveland, Ohio. Miss Edgerton answered the call to Christain service in India and left with a Friends missionary December 8, 1898. They arrived some five weeks later at Nowgong, Bundelkhand, Central India. Here she taught and served until March, 1905, when she started on the return home.
While teaching at Branon, Miss Edgerton recieved a letter which let to correspondence and leter culminated in marriage to Dr. John D. Williams, of East Bend, at the Edgerton home in Guilford College July 27, 1905. He was awarded a certificate and pin by the N.C. Medical Society, honoring him for 50 years of service in the State. He and Mrs. Edgerton were living at Piedmont Hall, 701 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, after 50 years of married like, when Dr. Williams died March 7, 1956. Mrs. Williams still lives at the same place.
Paul C. Edgerton, prominent Greensboro citizen, and Mrs. Carl C. Poindexter, Elkin, and Mrs. Claude Shelton, Greensboro, are brother and sisters of Mrs. Williams. Other sister are Mrs. Charles W. Meades, St. Petersburg. Fl. and Mrs. A L.Couch,. Scottsboro. Al. (end of pg 29)
Ernest Shore, Yadkin's greatest pitcher, and the The Red Strings
Sheriff Ernest G. Shorte of Forsyth County, undoubetedly Yakkin county's greatest contribution to baseball and a pitcher pare-excellent, playin in Big League circles for a decade with such teams as the New York Giants, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. was only a youngster while the Red Strings of Yadkin County were cutting such a wide swath.
"Ernie" or "Legs" if you knew him while he was pitching for Guiford College, was only five years old when Red Strings started and only 12 when the team wound up its colorful career. Although he was several miles away-almost at the opposite end of the county--he knew about the Red Strings exploits and later had opportunity to play on teams with some of the yonger Red Strings members.
Like many another Yadkin County boy, he longed to learn to play well enough to play with the Red Strings, and admits that, although he never saw Fred Reinhardt in action, he hoped to be able some time to pitch as well as Fred did.
At any rate, Ernie won for himself a reputation that was nation-wide, probably as great a reputation as Fred Reinhardt would have won, had he decided to accept offeres extended him to get into big league play.
Ernest Shore was born March 24, 1891, at Flint Hill at one time during his youth incorporated as the Town of Shore: between east Bend and Enon in eastern Yadkin County, the son of Henry Shore. He attended school at Flint Hill, then went to the East Bend Graded school, graduating there is 1910.
*9 as shown in picture of Ernest Shore, Yakind greatest league player now sheri of Forsyth County. *This picture was from a larger one of Ernest shore displaying is scrapbook of clipping about the perect game" he pitched for the Boston Red Sox against Washington in Boston in 1917. Babe Ruth had started the game walked the first batter and was arguing with the umpire over the forth ball. He was ordered out of the game and SHore took the mount. He threw the runner out at second base, and went on to finish the game without allowing another man on base. He was called to New York in Conncection with the perfect game pitched by Don Larsen of the Yew York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers October 10, 1956, and appeared in the television show"Today" Octover 12. That day his AP wirephoto, from which the above picture was taken appeared in many of the newspapers through the nation.
Here he played baseball and started his career as a pitcher At that time, however, he was overshadowed by Charle Frank Benbow, as a pitcher. He recalls that when he received a new uniform of the East Bend Graded school, the "B" in the initials, "E.B.G.S." was sewed on backward.
Estimates. are that the Red Strings played probably 60 games which may have been classed as match games, or actual contests, outside of the Blue Strings practice games.
Marvin Holcomb played second base in ths game. but third base was his position later in all the reast of the Red Strings games, until 1902. He caught part of the time without a glove and Fred Reinhardts throws to him fairly raised him off the ground--for Marvin was a small man, probably never weighting over 135 pounds, In one of the games, probably with North Wilkesboro, one of the opponents, seeing Marvin was going to put in out, ran into him and knocked him widing severla yard from his base-- and was thus called safe. Marvin and Fred Reinhardt joined brother George and Dave Lee Pardue with DObson agaisn't Pinnacle. He also played with Dobson against Boonville and with other teams.
George Mecans Holcomb Yadkinville, Marvins younger brother, was born October 2, 1884, at the Dr. Holcombs home. He was married to Victoria Long of the Long's School house area. They have four chidlren and several grandchildren. He has been a farmer most of is life.
Red Strings" met all comers and often rode miles on muleback in wagons, with an occasionaly buggy to play a tea, and as stated before in all of those games often in three game series, but largely on Saturday afternoons, that team won ever game played but three.
Principal teams played probably in order of the number of games, were at Elkin, Boonville, North Wilkesboro, Enon. Mt Airy, Dobson, Pilot Mountain, Winston Salem, or rather, Winston, for the two towns had not been consolidated at that time.
Reinhardt could have gone higher,
despite the fact that organized base
ball was confined at that time to the
larger northern cities, with probably
a beginning in the south. Traveling
men. used to seeing the big leagues
play, often told him and others on
occasions when they would
Three Balls--Three Strikes
His favorite method was to throw
three balls, then throw three strikes,
if none of the balls, then throw three strikes.
if non of the balls were struck at
He seldom walked a man, but when he
first began pitching more than one
man saw stars in mid day and some
of them limply dropped probably com
ing around again befor ethe game was
over, but sometimes waiting until the
next day to come back from a winged
trip thorugh teh clous
For Reinhardt admits that he was
slightely wile when he stared learning
to curve balls. He did not need curves
often for his speed was such that the
average batter would cross the plate
with the stick after the ball had landed
in Pardue's mitt with a heavy dull thud
that apparently lifted the lengthy
catcher clear off the ground.
Could Play all day.
The boys compsint the Red strings
team were hadry rascals. They would
travel a long distance and play a dou-
ble header wihtout apparent trouble.
Reinhard could pitch two games or a
strijng of three or four in as many days
with such ease that his iron constitu-
ion and great arem wre often ojects
of more than passing comment. Som
times Helton would relive him, but
Helton was young and if an opposing
team appeared to be finding him, Rein0
hardt would step in and "show them
where to get off:. on a few occasions.
Miles West would start the game, but
he was also young and it would be
necessary for the veteran to take a lost
game and shut out the opponents, turn
ing into into a victory.
I've got a terrible kick left in the
arm yet, and the curve is still about
as mean as ever:, Reinhardt said.
If you don't bveleive it, just get a
mitt some day and I'll show you".
The writer assured him it would not be necessary to hold himself up as a martyr to prove the veteran pitcher's assertiion, for the write came from teh same county as a boy tried to emulate the example, but was more successful in singing the praises of Red Strings hurler.
Still a man of Strength. Reinhardt was a large man. big frame, with traces of heaviness. but when he entered the pitchers box as the writer has seen him do on a few occasions, he was active and spry as if he had not follwed a mule to a Dixie or bull-tongued plough from sun up till sun down. He has lost that heaviness now, still haveing that appearance of a muscular man. He is oly 47 years old, but there is a slight stoop in the broad shoulders. Reinhardt is a native of Yadkin county and lived there until he was around 30 years old, playing ball several years after his first marriage. Later he went to Statesville and played ball on occasions for a time while there., for a few years he lived in Lilncolnton., where he married a Lincolnton girl several years after his first wifes's death.
For 10 or 12 years he lived in Spartianburg and about two and a half years ago came to Charlotte to make his himme. Although modest, he will talke about his baseball days with gusto. partifulcar to people who know some thing of them already and will lead him. He lives at 907 west second St. So. Charlott probably has the most renowned amature pitcher of the old school that is to be found in hte state.
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