Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November 1st, 1931

Russ Kemmerer Born

That's more than your standard Kemmer, folks, he's Kemmerer. Admittedly he's not Kemmerest, but what are you going to do? While he might have been the Kemmerest of the world, Russ was able to lay claim to three different nicknames: Rusty, Dutch and Kimmersak. The first and third nicknames are obviously based on his given name (although how you get from Kemmerer to Kimmersak is a little hazy to me) while I assume the second is on account of Kemmerer playing in the era when Federal law mandated each team have at least one "Dutch."

Kemmerer actually filled that role for a variety of teams, playing for the Red Sox, Senators, White Sox and Colt .45's during his career. (That last one, in case you didn't know, is the team that became the Astros when they moved into their new domed stadium--it was named the Astrodome for them, not the other way around--and someone finally realized that a baseball team named after a gun was just too tacky for words.) Kemmerer was never an especially great pitcher but he was consistent and able to both relieve and start. According to Kemmerer his best pitch was a hard sinking fastball, although he also threw a breaking ball.

A few years ago, Kemmerer authored a book, Ted Williams: Hey kid, just get it over the plate! I can't speak to the book's quality, but I have to say that I admire Kemmerer for having written it, it's something more players of past eras should do, so that when they are gone the times and context can be remembered.

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