Welcome to RIP Baseball. Here, we take a little different approach than other baseball blogs, which talk about the goings-on of the MLB. We just focus on the… goings.
I had a chance to travel to New Bedford, Mass. a few years ago. While I was there, I came up with the idea of finding Harry Stovey’s grave, since I knew that he became a policeman there when his playing days were over. It took a good amount of time and a whole lot of luck, but I did locate the final resting place of that five-tool baseball superstar of the 1880s and ’90s. From there, I started looking for more. A trip to Texas located Hall of Famers Ross Youngs and Rube Waddell. I found 1870s player Russ McKelvy in Omaha, Neb. Bill Webb, who pitched 1 inning in the majors in 1943, was in Marietta, Ga. That led to the question of, what do I do with these pictures?
With this project, I aim to tell their stories. Sure, there will be plenty of names you’ll recognize, like Cobb or Musial or Paige. There will be players you’ve probably heard of but aren’t intimately familiar with, like Rube Waddell, Harry Wright or Dan Quisenberry. Then, there are the players you never knew, unless you have an in-depth knowledge of third-string catchers of the early 1900s or one-game wonders. I do the research and write their story in a bite-sized bio that shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to read.
There have been more than 19,000 people who have played in a professional ballgame, from 1871 to the present day. Add to that the managers, general managers, owners, fans and people whose lives intersected with baseball in odd, often tragic ways. Add to that the players from the minor leagues, the Negro Leagues, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Add to that the writers, the announcers, the pioneers from the era when baseball was two words, and you’re talking tens of thousands of people who have built up the history of this game. I’ll find where they’re buried, take a picture and tell you a bit about them. I’ve enjoyed learning about baseball’s history since I’ve started this project, and I hope you’ll enjoy these stories as well.
If you want to follow me on social media, I am at Instagram (@rip_mlb), Twitter (@rip_mlb) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/ripbaseball). If you want to reach me, e-mail me at samgazdziak at gmail dot com.
Thanks for reading!
(All photos courtesy of Sam Gazdziak unless otherwise noted. RIP Baseball logo designed by Matt Hood of Graphics Without Borders. Visit his website at www.grfxwb.com.