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This Day in Baseball - The Daily Rewind

This podcast is for the baseball fan with a curious mind. We bring you one event from each day in the calendar and go well beyond the box score. Our stories are brief and fun and come with some surprises.

Apr 2, 2020

Happy Birthday, Luke Appling!
Born in High Point, North Carolina on April 2, 1907, Lucius Benjamin Appling moved to Atlanta, Georgia with his family as a child. After graduating from Fulton High School, where he played baseball and football, Appling attended Oglethorpe College in Georgia for two years. Appling starred on the university's baseball team, while also playing fullback on the football team, before leaving school during his sophomore year to pursue a career in professional baseball. He signed a contract with the Southern League Atlanta Crackers in 1929 and spent one year with the team, experiencing success at the plate but also committing 42 errors in only 104 games at shortstop. Despite his early difficulties in the field, Appling remained determined to make a successful career out of playing shortstop. He later recalled, "My Daddy was lefthanded, and I was lefthanded when I was little. In fact, I was lefthanded all the way to high school. Then I switched over to righthanded 'cause I wanted to play shortstop."
An interview of Luke Appling that was conducted by Rod Roberts on the behalf of the Baseball Hall of Fame on April 10, 1987 in Greenville, South Carolina. Content of the interview includes: Side Two -- Track 1 - On breaking a finger in 1930, working out at 10 a.m. fielding 154 ground balls, 32 pop-ups plus batting practice; having arthritis (00:00:00 to 00:01:36) Track 2 - On playing 21 seasons until 1950; manager Paul Richards wanting him to stay; Appling managing in Memphis (00:01:36 to 00:02:33) Track 3 - On barnstorming with Mickey Harris and (Birdie?) Tebbetts; Appling talking to Yankees Casey Stengel and Phil Rizzuto (00:02:33 to 00:04:24) Track 4 - On watching the Cubs play in World Series and playing against them in spring training; good catchers (Mickey) Cochrane, (Bill) Dickey (00:04:24 to 00:05:29) Track 5 - Interviewer Roberts talking about Leo Durocher picking a fantasy team; more on Cochrane and Dickey; Tebbetts being a good catcher (00:05:29 to 00:06:59) Track 6 - On good first basemen Jimmie Foxx, (Hank) Greenberg, Moose Skowron (00:06:59 to 00:07:58) Track 7 - On good second basemen (Tony) Lazzeri, Charlie Gehringer; (Gil?) Gordon; (Bobby) Doerr (00:07:58 to 00:09:11) Track 8 - On good third basemen Ossie Bluege, Pie Traynor (00:09:11 to 00:10:03) Track 9 - On good shortstops Joe Cronin, (Phil) Rizzuto, a player from the Browns, (Luis) Aparicio, Marty Marion; Appling playing with older brother Johnny “Red” Marion; Marty getting Appling’s #4; shortstops need to be intelligent and learn the hitters and the pitchers; giving signs in the field; (Ted) Kazanski and Joe Lonnett using word signs; knowing Tommy Bridges curve ball; Mule Haas talking about the curve ball (00:10:03 to 00:16:52) Track 11 - On good outfielders (Joe) DiMaggio, (Ted?) Williams as a great hitter, DiMaggio’s brother a good fielder, on seeing Babe Ruth play (00:17:27 to 00:18:48) Track 12 - On Babe Ruth’s character; on changes in the game and equipment; Appling liking Spaulding featherweight shoes with spikes, getting custom shoes for $25 a pair; always changing shoes; putting feet on metal vibrator after games, still using it (00:18:48 to 00:22:57) Track 13 - On people who should be in Hall of Fame; on writers changing too rapidly; Appling being surprised at being voted into Hall of Fame; (Lefty) Grove being fast pitcher (00:22:57 to 00:25:38) Track 14 - On pitchers throwing at batters, formerly fair game, now not being allowed; hitter (?) Murphy (00:25:38 to 00:28:50) Track 15 - Interviewer Roberts taking photos of Appling; Appling enjoying the game (tape runs out) (00:28:50 to 00:30:35)
Bonura never getting married; dating Comiskey’s daughter (00:00:0 to 00:02:20) Track 2 - On Jimmy Dykes; on hit, run and steal signs; hitting plate with the bat as a sign; talking to the catcher about signs; batting practice in Yankee Stadium; catcher (George) Dickey; slider pitcher (?) Shea; watching the pitcher carefully to anticipate the pitch; underhanded pitchers; first manager for Atlanta Crackers told him he’d better remember what he said the first time (00:02:20 to 00:09:55) Track 3 - On Chicago paying to get Al Simmons, Jake Miller, Mule Haas, all at once from Philadelphia; on signing high school kids (00:09:55 to 00:12:14) Track 4 - On Simmons; on Philadelphia hecklers (00:12:14 to 00:14:03) Track 5 - On outfielder Frenchy Bordagaray; traded to Brooklyn; Jackie Hayes losing his eye, irrigating sinuses and possibly damaging eyes; eventually losing sight in both eyes; outfielder Moose Solters going blind (00:14:03 to 00:16:28) Track 6 - On center fielder Jocko Conlan becoming an umpire (00:16:28 to 00:17:20) Track 7 - On Muddy Ruel, dad-gum-it expression (00:17:20 to 00:17:48) Track 8 - On Monty Stratton, pitcher; being good friends with Lyons, “Gander” nickname; buying pistol in El Paso to shoot pheasants; shooting jackrabbits; Stratton shot himself in the leg, lost the leg and nearly died (00:17:48 to 00:21:17) Track 9 - On Lou Brissie being wounded in the war (00:21:17 to 00:21:45) Track 10 - On greatest day in baseball being when he was elected to Hall of Fame; on Red Ruffing, getting his kneecap busted by Sloan Vernon "George" Washington, left-handed hitter (00:21:45 to 00:24:07) Track 11 - Greatest fielding, (Bob) Feller was pitching, Sam West caught line drive in right-center (00:24:07 to 00:25:58) Track 12 - On George Case; fastest runner hard to say; player Ossie (?); on going against (Lefty) Grove pitching; Appling getting a couple of hits; pinch-hitter came up; getting ribbed in spring training (tape runs out) (00:25:58 to 00:30:11)
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