Follow Up #1 on Hillsboro Phenom

The Light Shines a Little Brighter Today Our Mystery Guy is John Douglass ~ Courtesy of Contributor Davis Barker

The Light Shines a Little Brighter Today
Our Mystery Guy is John Douglass
~ Courtesy of Contributor Davis Barker

Our story on the 1899 Hillsboro, Texas Pitching Phenom named “Douglass” began yesterday with the column you will find at this link:

https://bill37mccurdy.com/2015/07/19/hillsboro-pitching-phenom-is-mystery-man/

We heard the same day from a reader and other researcher named Davis Barker of Jacksonville, Texas with this comment at the column site:

“The DOUGLASS you are referring to was JOHN DOUGLASS – he starred at the Univ of Texas in ’96, ’99, and 1900 … although he desired to make a living with his law degree, he was talked into playing briefly with Austin’s Texas League team in 1900, becoming the first UT player to play pro ball … if you desire to see the newspaper article this is based on, send me an email address and I will send it to you … I don’t think I can post it here.”

We  immediately accepted Mr. Barker’s offer and sent him an e-mail of interest in his supply of further information. Davis Barker came through with an immediate additional newsprint clip from the same summer of 1899 that contained additional confirming information on the full identity and life outcome that apparently unfolded for John Douglass, whose talent for pitching a baseball apparently was not matched by any passionate desire for greatness in the game:

Houston Daily Post August 15, 1899 Contributed by Davis Barker Jacksonville, Texas

Houston Daily Post
August 15, 1899
Contributed by Davis Barker
Jacksonville, Texas

______________________________

Mr. Barker also added the following information to the content section of his follow-up e-mail:

Am trusting Bill Ruggles’ old book (The Texas League) as source that he played with Austin in ’99 – over the last thirty years of research, while I haven’t found him to be perfect – it is a good place to start … stats were also limited in nature in those days.  … I will check further to see if I can find boxes to collect stats ….

 “JOHN STEVENS DOUGLASS (1876-1946) … got his law degree from UT in ’01
After his days in Hillsboro, he relocated to Galveston and served as claims agent for Santa Fe Railroad
Although passed over for many years, he was eventually elected to the UT Sports Hall of Honor”
______________________________

It is conceivable that a UT student athlete and pitcher with the talents of Mr. John Douglass did pitch for the 1899 Austin Senators of  the four-club Class C Texas Association, but the 19th century records of Baseball Reference, at this point, do not yet cover that specific association of minor league play. We will continue to keep the door open on this subject and, if merited, generate new ongoing columns of follow-up on our no-longer-a-total-mystery subject. The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, which also is not unerring, especially is that last decade of the 19th century period and first decade of the 20th century, doesn’t even show Austin as fielding a professional team in 1900. And that’s about all we know for sure this evening. Darrell Pittman and I, and everyone else who hangs out or gets involved here at The Pecan Park Eagle in this kind of research is still appreciative of the much extra light that Davis Barker has brought to our search for John Douglass.

Thanks, Travis! – And stay in touch!

The mystery for any of us who ever may have dreamed of having his kind of talent for baseball will always have no better than answer than the not-so-simply digestible fact that all of us are uniquely different in our aptitudes, abilities, and aspirations. – John Douglass chose getting his law degree and then going to work in Galveston as a claims agent for the Santa Fe Railroad over the possibility of a great career in baseball.

Really, John? …. Really?? …. Really???

______________________________

Addendum Information from Darrell Pittman:

Baseball Reference shows him (with one “s”) pitching one game for Austin, a  complete-game five-hit shutout, also going 1-for-4 at the plate, and they give the start and end of his career as June 3, 1899:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=dougla004joh

San Antonio Light June 4, 1899 Submitted by Darrell Pittman

San Antonio Light
June 4, 1899
Submitted by Darrell Pittman

What would have been a 4-0 victory for Austin was expanded into a 9-0 forfeit victory in favor of Austin as a result of the umpire’s ruling on the field debacle. Pitcher John Douglass still kept his one-game professional career stats, framed forever as a perfect undefeated 1-0 record and an ERA of 0.00. One other basic performance question remains unknown, according to Baseball Reference.Com. As for hitting and throwing, was John Douglass a righty or a lefty? I’m betting he was right handed. Had Douglass been a lefty, that probably would have been better publicized during that Turn of the 20th Century era as one of the “scientific” explanations for his unusual attitude about the game of baseball.

Thanks, Darrell Pittman, for the rapid expansion of everything we are learning about “The Curious Case of the Young Man Who Hated What He Did So Well!”

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