Sunday, March 13, 2005

 
March 13th, 1915

Wilbert Robinson Attempts to Set Record

Wilbert Robinson was a long-time catcher in the nineteenth century and would later manage the Brooklyn franchise to two pennants in an eighteen year career at their helm. In 1915 while at spring training with the club and despite being fifty-two years old, Robinson decided he wanted to set the record for the farthest distance a baseball had ever been caught from. To this end, Robinson assigned a pilot, Ruth Law, to fly a plane at 525 ft and drop a ball down, which, if everything went according to plan, "Uncle Robbie" would catch.

The first problem was that Law "forget" to bring a baseball, and took a grapefruit instead. Casey Stengel is often credited with prompting Law's bit of forgetfulness and suggesting a suitable replacement. Law dropped the grapefruit and Robinson just missed it, closely enough that it landed against his chest and, as one might imagine, exploded. Robinson was at first incredibly distressed, thinking that the baseball had penetrated his chest and the gooey substance he was feeling was his insides. He was convinced this was not the case when he noticed that rather than rushing to his aid, his team was rolling with laughter. History does not record his reaction, but I imagine his boys did a few extra laps that day.



March 13th, 1886

Frank Baker Born

Happy Birthday to Frank, who I've written about before.



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