Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sam Wise: Nice gams, gee

Many years before an English man invented nerds, a young gardener1 from Akron named Sam Wise underwent an arduous journey...

Young Sam Wise, nicknamed "Modoc," was a top-notch semi-professional ballplayer on his hometown club, which at one time also included Tony Mullane. In 1882, he left home for the faraway land of Boston, where he played several infield positions for the Beaneaters. Wise struck out a great deal in his first years with the club and seldom drew a base on balls. In 1884, Boston skipper John Morrill proclaimed: "One does not simply walk Modoc2."

Wise eventually dumped the Beaneaters' Fellowship in 1890 to play for the Buffalo Bisons of the Players League. When the Players League collapsed after its inaugural season, he ventured to the mysterious land of the Orioles, where a dwarf named John McGraw taught Sam Wise the wonders of distilled spirits, broads and extreme ire. Sam fared poorly in this environ, however, and soon faced despair in 1892 with no club in which to be quartered.

But he redeemed himself in 1893 by returning to the National League as the Washington Senators' second baseman. Wise batted .311/.375/.457 that year and walked nearly twice as much as he struck out3. But the highlight of his career came that season when Sam Wise saved teammate and Senators' pitcher Jouett Meekin from a giant [Cleveland] Spider named Shelob Cy Young4.

It would be beginning of the end, as Sam Wise would play a few brief seasons disguised as an orc before returning west to his home and former occupation.

Read a little about Sam Wise's semi-pro career in Akron here.

1 Alright, Sam Wise was a firefighter rather than a gardener, but they're virtually the same thing, right: Hoses? Check. Hoes? Check. Sexy calendars? Check.

2 Sam Wise could create his own baseball fellowship.

3 It's worth noting that his batting exploits were probably inflated by the fact that the pitching mound was moved back 10 feet while he was away from the game for a year. But no bother; heroes always remain heroes.

4 Ostensibly, this would have involved Meekin's team to be trailing Young's until the ninth, when Sam Wise would strike a dagger into Young's weak underbelly by driving in the game-winning run. Unfortunately, this is completely false, as the Senators lost every single game against the Spiders in 1893.

1 comment:

  1. I've been super behind in reading this blog for awhile, but I'm glad I caught up with it this week... I'm not gonna lie, the LOTR connection caught my eye and dragged me back into this blog.