Kelly Now Catching for Whomever

King Kelly. Hall of Fame
19th Century Master of Deception

Catcher King Kelly, as most of you know, was pretty famous for his acts of deception as a 19th century Hall of Famer, mostly for both Boston and Chicago of the National League. He was famous for his supposedly successful acts of deception bending the rules to the extreme for the sake of winning ~ and, sometimes, just outright lying and cheating for the sake of getting the last out in close games.

The problem is a familiar one to baseball from early on, but probably could not have been worse than it was during the 19th century ~ when it was even harder to build evidence from contemporary accounts as to what actually happened on the field ~ and the issue of separating fact from fiction was at its worst.

The old “Ruth’s Called Shot” fever reigned. ~ There was no New York Replay Review Committee to help with asides like did Babe Ruth really predict his home tin Chicago during the 1942 World Series.

Had there been the kind of digital record coverage in 1932 that we have now, can you just imagine the commentary on screen as the world waited to get evidence on how much the ego and will of Babe Ruth were responsible for this jaw-dropping moment:

A Magical HD Moment in HD Fantasy Form at the 1932 World Series….

Milo Hamilton: “What do you think, Wrangler? Did Babe Ruth just do what we think he did? ~ Whoa, everybody! Did he raise his right hand and point with his index finger to centerfield ~ as if to tell Cubs pitcher Charley Root that he planned to hit that bomb to centerfield exactly where he put it? ~ HOLY TOLEDO! ~ What’s this game coming to?”

Wrangler: “Hold on, Milo. ~ We’re getting New York’s opinion now. ~ New York is saying that Ruth did raise his right hand before the homer pitch ~ but it was the middle finger he was raising ~ and it was pointed straight at pitcher Root ~ with a much wordier message ~ based upon his visible facial movements ~ and it was apparently much more personal.”

Who knows. ~ We could play fact or fiction with Babe Ruth alone for the rest of our tomorrows and never run out of contentious moments in his history.

As for King Kelly, even with far more modest stats, he could rival and probably out-do Babe Ruth on the cheat and lie side of fact-or-fiction.

Sarah Wexler wrote a great column on King Kelly three years ago for the December 4, 2015 edition of The Hardball Times. I completely recommend it as a great read on the fact-or-fiction aspects of this man’s career. Some old news stays fresh.

 

******************************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

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