Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nickname #27 -- July 16, 2013

Willam "Jap" Barbeau played for three major-league teams in four seasons, from 1905 to 1910.  He was 5'5" tall, but played well.  This item from the 19-July-1909 Spokane Press, describes his arrival at the Pittburgh Pirates' training camp.  Honus Wagner was the greatest shortstop and one of the greatest batters of his time.  Bill Armour, the Detroit Tigers' manager, had traded Barbeau to Pittsburgh.  Note that the article omits the "h" from Pittsburgh, which was common practice at that time. 


"Hi, Fred, what's that?"

Big Honus Wagner, king of batsmen, looked at Fred Clarke, manager of the Pittsburg Pirates, at the opening of the present season, for an explanation.

Honus was looking at a little fellow in a base ball suit, who was about as big as a nickel's worth of ice on a hot day.

"That's what is called a ball player. Honus," said Clarke.  "Name's Barbeau, from Toledo. I think he's the goods."

Clarke was right. The Pirates are playing the best base ball in the country today, and little Jap Barbeau is daily setting Pittsburg fans wild with joy. He plays third base, and his throws across the diamond. slow and gentle, like a 22 caliber bullet, have sent lots of hopeful batters back to the bench talking to themselves.

Some people said that Bill Armour had handed Clarke a lemon last fall. They'll own up now that they're pretty bum predictors.

Wagner has made the little fellow his special charge, and the two chase around after hours in Wagner's machine, looking like Texas and Rhode Island. 

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