If I had a time machine, I wouldn’t go back to but Facebook stock at a low price, and I wouldn’t go back to see Abraham Lincoln at Gettsburg. Nope, I’d aim my time machine at 1915 to see the heart of baseball’s Deadball Era.
Why did they call it the Deadball Era? Well, the baseball was hard to hit far. A great batter might be lucky to sock the ball over the head of an outfielder and have it roll into roped off sections of spectators for a ground-rule double.
Imagine going through the turn style at new Fenway Park (only three years old in 1915) and sitting down for an afternoon game between the Red Sox and the Tigers. There would be so many foreign things to your eyes: the five-cent hot dog, the predominantly male crowd, most wearing top hats, and the wool uniforms. But so much of what you’d see on the diamond would be familiar: a tall pitcher on the mound, the quick shortstop in the middle of the diamond, and line drives finding the green grass of the outfield.
Our Helmar Cigar series features characters from arguably baseball’s most interesting era.