Running Gags Aren’t Always Funny

This is a sad story: a minor league pitcher who became the butt of jokes after being traded for ten maple bats (he was in good company – Cy Young was sold to the Cleveland Spiders for $300 and a suit) ends up dead six months later of a drug overdose. No precise connection is drawn, and he obviously had drug problems already, but the story at least suggests that his initial good humor about the bat deal faded in the face of heckling and struggles on the mound.

2 thoughts on “Running Gags Aren’t Always Funny”

  1. Crank, I am disappointed that you didn’t use the bit about Cy Young to mention that the Spiders begat the Naps who begat the Indians and the debated influence of former Holy Cross player Lou Sockalexis on that name change.

  2. The Spiders did not begat the Naps. The Spiders were a National League team. The owner of the St. Louis team also owned the Cleveland team and took the best players from both teams for the Cardinals. The fans of the Spiders were so disgusted they stopped attending and the team played most of thier last season on the road. Two or three years later, when the American League formed, the city of Cleveland got a franchise and called it the Blues. A couple other names were used before taking the name Naps in honor of team captain Nap LaJoie (despite what Howard Stern might claim). After Lajoie was traded (or sold) to Philadelphia there was a newspaper contest to re-name the team. The name Indians was the winning entry. Some speculated that it was because of Sockalexis who was a popular player for the Spiders. Team nicknames changed a lot in the 1800’s and during part of one season the Spiders were occasionally referred to as the Indians as well.

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