Kid Elberfeld's Influence - Jimmy Austin

Source: Amazon Online Books

The Glory of Their Times : The Story of Baseball Told By the Men Who Played It

Lawrence S. Ritter

Of course, they weren't called the Yankees then. We were called the New York Highlanders, because we played in a little park - it only seated about 15,000 - located at 168th Street and Broadway, which was on pretty high ground. You could look from the stands and see all the way down the Hudson River. Sometimes we were called the Hilltoppers. The Highlanders had a pretty good team when I joined them in 1909. We ended fifth in 1909, and second behind the Athletics in 1910. Three real old-timers were on that club when I got there: Willie Keeler, Kid Elberfeld, and Jack Chesbro. Gee, they were great fellows. They were all close to forty by then, and they didn't play much longer, but I got a thrill just being on the same team with them.

You know, you hear all that stuff about the old-timers being so rough on rookies in those days. Well, you can't prove it by me. Those guys were swell to me.

Wee Willie Keeler was still a pretty good ballplayer, even thea. He could loop 'em over the infield better than anybody I ever saw. Wonderful fellow. I was too shy to say anything to him, but he came to me one day and said, "Jim, you've got a great career ahead of you. If I can help you in any way, you just say the word How about that?

And Kid Elberfeld. Golly, I was out after the Kid's third-base job, but he always treated me fine. One day the Kid got in a hassle with Tim Hurst, the tough old umpire, and got suspended for five days and was fined 50 bucks. The Kid slid into second base, safe on a double, sure as could be, and Tim, who was umpiring behind the plate, called it a foul ball. Well, the Kid started arguing with Tim, and while he's talking he's all the while jabbing Tim in the belly with his finger. Finally, Tim took his mask off and whammo! He whacked it right across the Kid's nose. After they separated them, they were both suspended.

Anyway, the point of all this is that George Stallings, who was our manager then, put me ia at third base while the Kid was out. And do you know that Elberfeld insisted on me sleeping in a lower berth on the train. The lower berths were for the regulars. Us second-stringers slept in the uppers. I was climbing into my upper one night, after I'd been in there at third base a few days, and the Kid saw me. He grabbed me by the ankles and said, "Where do you think you're going?"

"This is my berth " I said.

"The hell it is" he said.

"The hell it ain't" I said. "I've had it ever since I've been with the club"

"Well, you're not going to have it anymore" he says. He marched me over to the club secretary and says, "Put the youngster down in a lower berth. Take mine if you have to. He's playing every day, bustling like the devil out there, and he needs his rest" That's the way the old-timers treated a rookie in those days. At least that's the way they treated me.

Stallings was a fine manager. One of the best. Like I said, we finished in second place in 1910, and you've got to say he deserved a lot of the credit for that. Talk about cussing! Golly, he had 'em all beat. He cussed something awful. Once, in a game, he gave me a real going over. Later that night he called me in and said, "Jim, I'm sorry about this afternoon. Don't pay any attention to me when I say those things. Just forget it. It's only because I get so excited and want to win so bad."

AND - From WikiPedia:

Jimmy Austin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Third Baseman
Born: December 8, 1879
Died: March 6, 1965 (aged 85)
Batted: Switch Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 19, 1909
for the New York Highlanders
Final game
October 6, 1929
for the St. Louis Browns
Career statistics
AVG .246
Hits 1328
RBI 390
Teams
As Player
New York Highlanders (1909-1910)
St. Louis Browns (1911-1926, 1929)
As Manager
St. Louis Browns (1913, 1918, 1923)

Career highlights and awards
Led AL in sacrifice hits in 1911 with 34

James Phillip "Jimmy" Austin (December 8, 1879 - March 6, 1965) was a professional baseball player and coach.

Austin was born in Swansea, Wales, the son of a shipbuilder. He was one of only two Major League baseball players to be born in Wales (the other being pitcher Ted Lewis). His father moved to the USA in 1885 to find work, and Austin followed in 1887.

After leaving school in 1889, Austin became an apprentice machinist with Westinghouse. After finishing his four-year apprenticeship, Westinghouse went on strike. Austin took up an offer of $40 a month, plus a job, to play independent ball in Warren, Ohio. He returned to Westinghouse that fall, but in the spring of 1904, he signed with the Central League's Dayton, Ohio club.

Austin remained in Dayton until 1907, when he was sold to Omaha in the Western League. He stole 97 bases for Omaha in 1908, and at the end of the season was sold to the New York Highlanders of the American League.

He made his major League debut in 1909 at the relatively advanced age (for baseball) of 28. He played two seasons in New York, but was traded to the St. Louis Browns in 1911 by new Highlanders manager Hal Chase, thus beginning a thirty-year career with the Browns as player and coach.

In 1913, when the Browns' player-manager George Stovall was suspended by the American League for spitting at an umpire, Austin was made manager on a temporary basis, until he was replaced by the legendary Branch Rickey. It was Rickey's first managerial job. Austin continued as Rickey's "Sunday Manager" - Rickey had promised his mother that he would not enter a ballpark on the Christian sabbath, and therefore Austin managed the Browns on those days.

In this famous photograph, Austin attempts to avoid Ty Cobb's spikes on a stolen base attempt.Austin played regularly for the Browns until 1921, and served as a coach for another 20 years. In 1929, at the age of 49, Austin became one of the oldest major leaguers in history when he was inserted into a blowout. He cleanly handled two chances at third base, and struck out in his only at bat.

Austin was one of the ballplayers who told his story in Lawrence Ritter's classic book, The Glory of Their Times, from which much of the information in this article came. Austin is also immortalized in the Charles M. Conlon photo as the third baseman trying to avoid Ty Cobb's spikes on a stolen base. Of the play, Austin said, "That's Cobb sliding into third and the other guy is me."