Saturday, January 5, 2013

1924 Gehringer Sent to Minors

For a very few months in 1924, Charles Gehringer was on the Detroit Tigers pro-baseball team.  But in April of that same year, it was reported "Gehringer Sent to Minors" in the local newspaper.  The article, which was republished from the Daily Paper, read as follows:

Augusta, Ga.~~Here is one for the well known ledger.  Ty Cobb has been trying to land a second baseman for the Tygers for the past four years.  Ty thinks he might have won the pennant last year if he had had a star second baseman.

This year he has what he calls the "best looking young second baseman I ever saw."  And he is sending him away.

The gent in point is Charley Gehringer of Fowlerville, Mich.  Gehringer has hands like Lutzke of the Indians and is built like Kamm of the White Sox.  And in field skill he is the equal of either.

"I never saw a man who was surer on a ground-hit ball," Cobb says.

Gehringer, however, has never played a professional game of ball in his life.  He came up to Cobb in Detroit last fall and asked for a tryout.  That's how he happens to be here.  Naturally he is terribly green, and he has no style at all at the plate.

Cobb figures a year in the minors will just about make him.  "I'd give my right arm to be able to use him now," adds the Tyger leader.~~Daily Paper

The Detroit team released Gehringer and he moved on to the Mint League in London, Ontario, to play ball.  In an article giving this information, a little bit of insight into his personality was relayed.  The article was published in the Detroit News.  A couple of paragraphs follow:

Cobb and other judges of playing talent say that Gehringer has more mechanical (*) skill than any youngster they have ever seen.  With some experience at infielding, he should become a major league player.  Cobb would not be surprised if Gehringer played second base for Detroit next year.

Gehringer got into Detroit's line-up once this year and that was in the first exhibition game the team played, opposing Rochester at Savannah, Georgia.

Cobb sent up Gehringer as pinch batter.  The Rochester pitcher struck him out on three pitched balls, all fast ones.  Gehringer looked bad and he was never tried again.

There has never been a recruit who said as little as Gehringer.  He never uttered a word.  He sat on the bench day after day absolutely silent.  Only once did he break his silence and that was during one of the Detroit-Cleveland games.  Tris Speaker needed a relief pitcher and he sent in Guy Morton.  After Morton pitched a few innings, Bob Fothergill observed:  "This Morton is throwing one of the best curves I ever saw.  Look how that ball is breaking over the plate."

A moment's pause and then Gehringer remarked:  "If he's got any better curve than the one that guy struck me out on in Savannah that day, I'd like to look at it."

It was the only remark he ever made.

(*) Maybe this is how he became known as the "Mechanical Man"?

According to another article, he started perfecting his bunt while also playing second baseman.  Unfortunately, in one game "he was badly spiked in the hand while sliding to a base in a game at Flint a few days since and will be laid up for a short time."

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