Friday, August 10, 2012

Thorpe is Poor Ballplayer -- August 10, 2012

This article, from the 01-February-1913 Washington Herald, casts doubts on Jim Thorpe's abilities as a ballplayer. 

This image is from the 29-May-1912 Tacoma Times.


Noted Indian Not Likely to Make Good in Major League Ranks.

Jim Thorpe, the Carlisle Indian, who has just been declared a professional by the Amateur Athletic Union is a joke ball player, and if the New York Giants have signed him at a fancy salary somebody has been badly stung.

During the season of 1909 five Washington boys played in the Eastern Carolina League and batted against Thorpe. They all state that the Indian was only a fair minor league pitcher, a poor hitter, worse fielder, and that his only asset was speed on the bases, which availed little as he seldom got on the bags.

This was four years ago, and possibly the Indian has improved a whole lot since, but the Washington plavers who saw him yn action all tell the same story.  They do not think he will ever be able to hold a job in the big show. 

The records of Thorpe s work down in the Carolina circuit are not startling, and would seem to bear out the opinions our young men in Washington have of the Indian's ability.

In 1909 whlle with Fayetteville, Thorpe took part in sixteen games and batted .250.  The same season, with Rocky Mount he played in twenty-nine games and hit .236.  The following season with Rocky Mount the Indian batted .253 for forty-four games. His pitching record that season was nine games won and ten
lost.  In the other contests he played first base. 

The Washington plavers who were in the Eastern Carolina League during the 1909 season are Jack Spalding, Heinie Gastmejer, Cy Macdonald, Curly Brown, and Al Handiboe. They will bear out the truth of the foregoing statement. 

The writer knew of Thorpe's playing professional baseball three vears ago and could have made the whole matter public had he so desired.  So could have countless other baseball scribes, but what was the use.  The records of the great Indian were published in Spalding's record books of 1909 and 1910, and it was up to the A.A.U. to do the probing.  Thorpe played under his own name and never made any attempt to conceal the fact that he plaved baseball in professional ranks.

Thorpe mav turn out to be a great ball plaver but if he does, there will be five Washingtonians greatly surprised. 

Perhaps McGraw will keep him on the bench as a pinch base runner, for it is claimed that the Indian is a marvel on the paths.  He is sure to be a great drawing card, anyway , and for that reason, alone will doubtless be worth the salary the Giants will pay him

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