Friday, April 1, 2011

Intro -The incredible week of Jack Flater and the 1908 Williamsport Millionaires

Sorry that I haven't been posting much as of late. I've been working on a few baseball projects. I'm finishing up a biography of Clarence Kraft, a fellow who had just three at bats in the major leagues (all for the 1914 Miracle Braves), but was more noteworthy in baseball circles primarily for his being an early home run hitter. That biography will be appearing in a book by SABR on the Braves which should be released next year.

I've also been working on my presentation that I will be making in Cooperstown in June. That's coming along nicely.

My other project, the one that captivates me the most, is a history of the Tri-State League. The Tri-State League (this particular one, there have been a few Tri-State Leagues) existed from 1904-1914 in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. It started off as an independent league but grew so powerful that the National Association was forced to bring it in the fold where the league became a Class B League, roughly the equivalent of AA nowadays. From 1907-1910, the league produced a large number of players who went on to the major leagues including Hall of Famers Frank "Home Run" Baker and Stan Coveleski.

This league fascinates me for so many reasons. The early hook was that it was a league local to me. Lancaster, a town I live right outside of, had a team in the league for most its existence. My birthplace, Altoona, had another. As I've researched the league, I've found lots of things to captivate me and push me onward. My intent is to start sharing some of these items.

At the Boiling Out Conference in Arkansas last year, I presented a talk on the 1907 Harrisburg Senators, a Tri-State team that reeled off an 18 game winning streak (just shy of 15% of the games they played over the course of the season) and still ended up finishing second in the league.

The team they lost to was the one that excites me the most, the Williamsport Millionaires. From the beginning, the Millionaires were the strongest team in the league. In 1904, they finished second, won the championship in 1905, finished second again in 1906, took the title in 1907 and 1908, then had two more winning seasons before the team folded after the 1910 season. Of those teams, I'm fond of the 1908 team. Tomorrow I'll be writing about an amazing run they had in August of 1908 and the role Jack Flater played in that run.

On days where I write about other things, I'm going to conclude the post with my progress on becoming an endurance athlete. I weighed myself for the first time in a long time and I have definitely let myself go. I am at 289 pounds. My first workout was largely off the rower. I warmed up with a 2500 meter row. Then out to the barn for the first time in a while (I am so sick and tired of winter) to work out.

This was a night workout, my first in forever. I have tried to do morning workouts as much as possible but it's not always feasible. Need to make use of the PM.

I started with deadlifts: 5x315, 3x335, 3x345, 3x365, 1x385. Then a dozen vertical jumps, unmeasured. Then hollow rocks and supermen, thirty each.

Now, you might question how this has anything to do with endurance sports. It's core development and some leg work. All part of the plan. I just happened to start with a day with no rowing outside of my warmup.

I'm trying to feel positive about this. I hadn't lifted in two, maybe three months. And if there's another almost 290 pound, almost 40 year old man out in the freezing cold working on his vertical jump, well, he's clearly insane. So on the one hand, I don't think that's too bad of a workout. But back in the peak era mentioned yesterday, I was around 260 body weight and pulling 485 on the deadlift. It doesn't feel like that long ago even though it is. I'm trying to focus on where I am and where I'm going instead of where I've been.

The moral of this story, though, is if you're trying to be fit...going broke, attending grad school full-time, working full-time, being a single Dad, and fighting self-confidence battles is NOT the way to go about doing so. Aren't you glad I told you that?

1 comment:

--Transfixed Ingress said...

You're doing better than me. Keep it up.