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Abilene Morning Reporter News (Newspaper) - May 8, 1927, Abilene, Texas Giants Relying on His Spitball for 20 Wins in Battle for Pennant By Grant J. Melton “TipHIS guy’d an easy out, he’s the pitcher.” I How many times have you heard this at a ball game when the pitcher goes to bat? How many times have you seen a big hittei walked on purpose in order to get at the pitcher? How often do you see them pull a good pitcher for a pinch hitter? Plenty, and they'll do it as long as they play baseball. But there’s one fellow with the Giants who doesn’t believe in such antics, and he has done so much to discourage the idea that pitchers can’t hit, that now when Burleigh Grimes goes to bat the fans never say: “Here’s an out.” Pitchers never pass a man to get at Grimes, and Burleigh’s manager never pulls him for a pinch hitter. On the contrary, he often goes in to pinch hit himself. rf Hard HMM Grimes Is one of the hardest working pitchers In baseball. He believes a pitcher should be a jood fielder and batter as well aa twirler. Whenever you see Grimes take the mound this summer you may be assured that the opposition isn’t going to get away with many bunts, and the opposing pitcher will hare to pitch to nine men, not eight. The last couple of years in Brooklyn Grimes was not on speaking terms with Manager Wilbert Robinson. Hjere was a situation that in most cases would call for the player being sold or traded, for what manager would trust a man to win games for him when they weren’t on speaking terras? But because Grimes Is one of the hardest working twirlers tn the game, “Uncle** Robbie had strict confidence In his big righthander. He knew that with Grimes out there on the mound he need never fear that his pitching selection was not doing •▼©Tything possible to win. Grimes never sat on the Dodgers’ bench when he wasn t pitching. When it was his turn to work Robinson would send word to him through Li^ut. Zach Wheat. A Humdvi Dynamo While Burleigh is p'tchlng. fielding, hitting running bases In a ball gum#, he expects every one else to do the same, Including the umpire. When Burleigh feels the umpire la shirking duty by not calling strikes over the corners he never hesitates to inform His Umps that he is Aying down on the job. It * a treat to watch him kick. Grimes possesses a beautiful i«et of teeth, and when he talks to the umpires you can see them flash in the sun. Incidentally, Grimes believes Bill Klem the best umpire of them all. “When Klem hi behind the plate.” says Burleigh, “I know that I'll get credit for everything I throw, tor he’s always on the job and sees them when they cut across the corner of the rubber.” In this connection there was an amusing incident in the Giants’ training camp this spring. One of the rookie ball players had watched a game from the stands and afterwards remarked to Grimes: "Say, Klem was certainly missing them out there today. I saw him muff half a dozen strikes and balls.” Pitcher of Old School It Is seldom that a player, especially a pitcher, will back up an umpire, but Grimes certainly gave that kid a lesson never to be a grandstand umpire. Grimes la one of those pitchers from the old school. He was brought up in Clear Lake, Wis., a little town where they used to serve baseball with meals when Burleigh waa a kid. Grimes played ball ever since he was able to walk. “You'd be surprised to see the class of ball they played up there,” says Grimes. “Lots of those fellows coi^id have come to the big leagues. I know there were plenty w ho were better than I am. "They’re still playing up there, but It’s dwindling. The automobile has raised the deuce with baseball in the country sections. •’I remember one game back home in wrhich they bet every-thing but their wives’ kitchen ranges. My dad was in on it and Just as we were winning the game some one on the other side pulled out a gun and began shooting up the game. We never finished it. ^ Bought for $100 in 1»13 “We liked baseball so much we’d work all morning on the IIH-: I Vt % Hh Burleigh Grimes, pitching star of the Giants, who can hit as well as toss, is shown here in two poses. Uncle Wilbert Robinson, who, despite differences with Burleigh Grimes, placed implicit confidence in bim. farm and then walk miles to the ball grounds. It was a hot baseball village. I’ll say. “Some of the boys I used to play with help me now, too, by sending me a good slippery elm from the Wisconsin woods. I go up there hunting winters with the old crowd. Dutch Henry, who lives near me in Ohio, hunts with me, too.” V Grimes was one of the shining lights of this baseball crowd at Clear Lake, and was signed by the Ottumwa club in the Central Association in 1913. In the same season he was grabbed by the Detroit Tigers for $409 and sent to Chattanooga. He played with Birmingham and Richmond before the Pittsburgh Pirates bought him La 1916. Way back in those days there were illustrations of Grimes’ strict attention to work. He wasn’t a real star pitcher at the time, and used to play the outfield a great deal in order to keep in the line-up. Traded lo Brooklyn fn 1918 the Pirates traded him to Brooklyn with Ward and Mamaux for Cutshaw, Stengel and cash. It was here that he began to blossom as one of the strongest pitchers in the league. fie won nineteen games and lost nine for the Dodgers his first year, and since then has won more than twenty games a season four times. This is a fine record. for the Dodgers always have been decidedly weak In fielding and never batted extra hard. Crimea was dissatisfied in 192S and 1926, and in these seasons fell below In his record, but this year the Giants are banking on him for twenty victories. He spent the winter hunting and fishing, and before he joined the Giants in training he took the sulphur baths in Hot Springs, Ark.. He has shown well In every appearance on the Giants’ spring exhibition schedule. Suffers for Method One of the few remaining spitball pitchers in baseball. Grimes is always an attraction in the box. He picked up this baffling delivery In the old days, and says the first time he ever threw the spitball It broke clean and sharp for him. He has used it ever since. The spitter slips out of the fingers instead of rotating like a fast ball. A spitball la harder to catch and field, and Grimes has suffered somewhat in the averages, for some scorekeeper Pitcher Who Can Hit Is a Rarity, but Grimes Does Both With Bas argue that because spitters are hard to bandle, fielders should not be given errors on them. Grimes feels this is an injustice, and rightly so. Although Burleigh lr happy to get away from the Brooklyn team, he said this spring he believe* the Dodgers have the best pitching staff in the game. Furthermore, he thinks Babe Herman, the 22-year-old Brooklyn hitter, is the beat first baseman of them all. X “I’m certainly happy to be playing with the Giants," he remarks. “We have a great ball club, with a wonderful Infield, a crew of hitters, and a wonderful manager. I don't like to talk about the other f allows, but really, you know. Brooklyn never had a good infield. Here with the Giants I have the best infield in the league behind me." Teammates Uke Him Grimes is *3 and I aa played pro ball tor fifteen years, but until this spring be never saw Ty Cobb. Ty has faced the Giants a couple of times In exhibitions, but Grimes did not work against him. Burleigh has a teammate who resembles him in one phase working on the mound, Fred Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons last year was the beat fielding pitcher in the big leagues, accepting eighty-two chances wtthbut rn blob. Burleigh thinks the world of Fits for that. Manager McCarthy of the Chicago Cubs Is a great believer In making pitchers field and hit, and this spring John McGraw gave h'a pitchers thorough fielding drills^ Grimes has a reputation for helping rookie bail players.
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