Smoky Joe Wood
Baseball has often been been characterized as a father-and-son sport, which may be a bit unfair to all of the baseball moms out there watching, cheering, coaching, and keeping score at little league games across the nation each year.
But given that no woman has played Major League Baseball to date, there is a clear connection for some ball players drawing a direct path from their childhoods to baseball diamonds across the country while pursuing the lucrative careers of the professional baseball player.
A hundred years ago, Dunn, with Speaker’s advice, bought another contract from Boston. That player wasn’t as productive, but it turned out to be an important deal for the Indians.
The Tribe took a flyer on Smoky Joe Wood. He was far removed from his dominant 1912 season, where he went 34-5 with a 1.91 ERA, winning three games in that year’s World Series. In fact, he hadn’t pitched at all during the 1916 season, yet the Indians and their fans believed he still had enough in the tank to be of some service.
“If you want to know how I feel about the news that we have bought Joe Wood, you can put it down that I am tickled to death,” said manager Lee Fohl.
In 1916, Cleveland Indians owner Charles Somers was looking for someone – anyone – to buy his team.
Somers bought into the American League when it was founded as a major league in 1901. In addition to the team then called the Blues, he also owned Boston’s American League club – ultimately divesting of it in 1908 – and floated loans to the St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Athletics.
Somers also owned several minor league teams, including the Toledo Mud Hens, which he moved to Cleveland in 1914 to forestall a Federal League team from playing in League Park. The Federal League had operated as a minor league in 1913, but was going to challenge Major League Baseball’s supremacy starting the next year.