Saturday, January 12, 2013

1926 Gehringer Heading South

In a continuing chronology of articles found in the local newspaper, the February 24, 1926, issue had the following short blurb:

More honors come to Charlie Gehringer, the Fowlerville ball player, as the dopesters play the summer game around the stove.  The last oficial figures show Gehringer led the International league with Toronto in second base fielding last season.  His average was sky high with .966.  Gehringer is to go south with the Detroit Tigers in the near future.

A few months later the following article from the Detroit News was reprinted in the local paper:

Gehringer to Come in Later~~Frank O'Rourke will be at second base for Detroit when the American League season opens April 13.

Rob Roy Fothergill will be in center field in place of Ty Cobb and bat fourth.

Cobb made these announcements today as the Tigers prepared to start north after five weeks in the training camp here.

While O'Rourke will begin the season at second base, Cobb still believes that Charlie Gehringer will play a majority of games at that position in 1926.  It is because of his inexperience that Gehringer will not appear in the starting line-up.

Cobb intends to use the veteran O'Rourke in the early game until Gehringer has had a chance to become accustomed to his major league surroundings.  After the glamour  of the setting has sworn off, Cobb will send Gehringer to second base and the Tigers manager insists he will do.

Gehringer has much mechanical skill.  There can be no mistake about that.  He has been termed the greatest "find" of the training season.  He has the often-stressed "great pair of hands."  He can go far in either direction for a ground ball.  He can travel deep into the outfield for fly balls.  He can come in fast for a slow roller.  He can throw quickly and accurately, even while off balance.  That is, he can do all these things in practice and in the exhibition games.  Cobb thinks that he can do them in the American League if his nerve and confidence are not weakened by an untimely "break" at the start.

In addition to his experience, Gehringer lacks fire and determination.  He is easily discouraged.  He is likely to waver under criticism or bad "breaks."  A mistake before the big opening day crowd might seriously affect his major league career.  For these reasons, Cobb has decided not to put Gehringer to too severe a test at the outset, but to bring him along gradually.

So O'Rourke, far behind Gehringer in mechanical gifts, but 14 years ahead of him in base ball experience, will go to second base when the season starts.  He also will bat second, the place Gehringer has filled in the exhibition games.~~Detroit News

For more information on Frank O'Rourke, click here.

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