Saturday, May 29, 2010

Barnstorming With American Giants Continues With Exciting Game In Racine

Horlick Field, Racine, WI, circa '40s (source)

Horlick Field entrance, 2003 (source)

Meeting in the fifth different city in six days, the rival Chicago American Giants and Kansas City Monarchs pulled into Racine, Wisconsin for a game at Horlick Athletic Field on Tuesday, May 29. (There is still a Horlick Field in Racine at the same site, though now a football field stands where the baseball diamond did. The original gate, seen above, still remains, and a baseball field is located next door.) Only 1,119 fans attended the game; some potential fans may have been deterred by "frigid weather." Happily, the Racine Journal Times regarded the game as newsworthy, publishing a detailed game summary and box score. Outfielder Walter Thomas, who had done some pitching early in his career, was the starting pitcher for the Monarchs, and was knocked around by Chicago before being replaced by Lefty LaMarque in the second inning. Thomas stayed in the game as right fielder. KC was down 3-8 after three innings. The Monarchs weren't done however, and pulled to within 6-8 after six. From the Journal Times:
In the crucial seventh frame, Jackie Robinson, KC shortstop and former UCLA All-American football and basketball star, led off with a double. (John) Scott hit his third triple of the evening to center field, scoring Robinson. Lee Moody doubled to count Scott, and (Chico) "Old Fellow" Renfroe, who played a sparkling game in left field for the Monarchs, hit a single to center to score Moody with the winning run.
The hardy fans who showed up were treated to quite a game. ("Old Fellow" Renfroe was 23 years old at the time...not sure where the paper came up with that nickname. He would replace Jackie at shortstop in 1946 and make the East-West all-star game.) John Scott had a remarkable day with three triples. Jackie, back in the three hole, went 3-for-5 with a double, bringing his hitting totals I've found for the year (including two preseason games) to 10-for-25 (.400). First sacker Lee Moody went 4-for-5, pacing the Monarchs' 15 hit attack. Moody's bat was on fire early in '45; in eight box scores I have for him to this point in the season, he had at least one hit in each, and had hit 15-for-34 (.441).

 May 31 Racine Journal Times

The two teams would meet yet again the next day in a Memorial Day doubleheader in Chicago, with Satchel Paige finally showing up to hurl for KC for the first time in '45.

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