June 5, 2002: From the Editor
Photo: 1942s Class Baby, Woody Rutter, arrived in a helicopter with his father, Joseph Rutter 42, to throw out the first ball at the 1947 Reunions game against Yale. Catching was Chan Brewer 45. (PAW archive photo)
As the poet said: In the spring a young ladys fancy lightly turns
to thoughts of baseball. (Especially with the Red Sox currently atop the
AL East. I can dream, cant I? as the boy from the Jimmy Fund
used to say.)
Princeton baseball, of course, has a storied past. Princeton played its
first intercollegiate game against Williams in 1864 (the Tigers won, 2716).
According to the Princeton Companion, it was a Princetonian, William Gummere
1870, who first stole second base by sliding feet-first; a Princetonian,
Joseph Mann 1876, who first learned how to throw a curve ball in the college
game, and as a result threw the first no-hitter in the history of baseball,
professional or amateur (against Yale); and a Princetonian, William Schenck
1880, who first used a chest protector while playing catcher (stacked
copies of The Daily Princetonian).
The first half of the next century belonged to Bill Clarke. Clarke, a
catcher for professional baseballs Baltimore Orioles, was Princetons
first paid baseball coach. From 1900 to 1944 he coached 36 seasons, compiling
a cumulative record of 56432210, a .642 winning percentage.
Highlights of Clarkes tenure included the 1923 team with shortstop
Moe Berg 23, who led the team to 18 straight wins before embarking
on a career as a major league catcher, accomplished linguist, and American
spy; Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League champion teams in 1941 and
1942; and Americas first televised baseball game, Princeton at Columbia,
May 17, 1939. (Tigers 2, Lions 1.)
Coach Eddie Donovan moved in for the next 25 years; he won two EIBL titles
and coached future major-leaguer David Sisler 53. Though Princeton
had its share of highlights after Donovan retired in 1975, the last quarter-century
of Princeton baseball was notable for two peoples absence: no-show
coach Jeff Torborg, the major-league catcher and manager who agreed to
lead the Tigers starting in 1982 but changed his mind and continued his
career in the majors; and star pitcher Chris Young 02, whose 2000
signing by the Pittsburgh Pirates left this years fans wondering
what might have been.
Though the Tigers results have been uneven in recent years, of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball, two are run by alumni: the Cleveland Indians, whose general manager, Mark Shapiro 89, we profile on page 16, and the aforementioned Boston Red Sox, who named Larry Lucchino 67 president and CEO at the start of the season. While I wish both Tigers luck, I hope Mark will forgive me for wishing Larry more say, an ALCS and World Series worth. Play ball!