I am very pleased to announce that the one and only Jim Hartley will be our newest contributor at D.C. Baseball Yesterday and Today. I am personally very excited to have Jim share his wonderful stories about D.C. baseball history with us. So you can learn a little bit about Jim Hartley I am going to share a Q & A interview that I had with Jim in January, 2010.
January 9, 2010
Last year, I was lucky enough to meet D.C. baseball historian and author Jim Hartley. Jim Hartley is also the president of the Washington Baseball Historical Society, plus he is the publisher of Nats News. I thought it would be a good idea for my readers to find out more about Jim Hartley, so I invited him to have a Question and Answer session.
Q – When did you first attend your first Washington major league baseball game?
A -My first major league game was at Griffith Stadium in August, 1959. The dreaded Yankees beat my Senators 4-0.
Q – What was your most memorable time at a Washington baseball game?
A – Its difficult to pick just one. Of course, my first game was very special, and any game with a monstrous Frank Howard home run fits there too. I vividly remember Gene Green‘s pinch-hit grand slam homer to beat the Yankees at Griffith Stadium in 1961. One special game was in August, 1967 when the Senators returned to DC Stadium after a successful road trip with a .500 record. DC Stadium was almost filled, and the crowd cheered every pitch. Unfortunately, the Indians scored three runs in the 8th inning and won 3-0, but it was special to feel pennant fever; that late in the season. Any game during the Ted Williams era was fun. A few that stand out are a Del Unser walk-off home run, Jim Hannan throwing a two-hit shutout, the festive atmosphere of the last game of 1969, Opening Day, 1971 (Dick Bosman threw a shutout and the Nats beat Vida Blue 8-0). There were a lot of thrills. It’s hard to pick out just one.
Q – Who are your top three all time Washington ball players? Why are they your favorites?
A – One of my favorites during his career, and still a favorite of mine, is Jim King. He was always going full throttle, and I saw him throw out several runners trying to go from first to third on hits to right field. What an arm! And accurate too! I had the pleasure of interviewing him for my first book, and he is a real down-to-earth, first-class person. Roy Sievers was my first hero. Back in the dismal, late -’50s, Roy was just about all we had in Washington. Another favorite was Tom Cheney. I really liked him when he pitched. If he hadn’t suffered an elbow injury, I think he would have gone on to be a perennial All-Star. Either that, or they would have traded him for a washed-up star and a promising minor league pitcher named Bob. I had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with him at a Nats Fest back in 2000. (That sounds strange way back in 2000.Ouch!) He entertained me with stories about the 1960 Pirates and the Senators in the early – ’60s. They may not have won that many games, but they sure had fun.
Washington Baseball Historical Society and Nats News
Q – When did you first become president of the Washington Baseball Historical Society?
A – Tom Holster was the founder of the WBHS. After five years, the demands of life itself forced Tom to step down in 2001. No one offered to take over, so I thought I’d give it a go. At that time we didn’t have a team, and memories were all we had. Even now, there are still quite a few fans of the old teams.
Q – How many members are there in the Washington Baseball Historical Society? Can anyone join the Washington Baseball Historical Society?
A – Anyone can join. The more the merrier
Q – How long have you been publishing the Nat’s News quarterly newsletter?
A – I published my first Nats News in the summer of 2001. We just published our 50th issue. Did you know that every issue of Nats News is in the National Baseball Hall-of-Fame Library?
Q – How many writers submit stories to the Nats News?
A – We have a hard-core group of five or six people who submit articles. A few others write when they can.
Q – What is the easiest way to subscribe to the Nats News?
A – The easiest way is to send a check for $20 to;
9039 Sligo Creek Pkwy.
Silver Spring, MD 20901. It might be a good idea to include your name and address
Q – When did you write your first Washington baseball book?
A – Back in the pre-internet days, unless you were willing to pore over reel after reel of microfilm in the library, there was virtually nothing out there on the Senators. In the mid-80’s, I started to compile stats and other info for my own amusement. Ten years later, I got the bright idea to write a book. In 1996, the project really took off and the end result was my book on the expansion Senators.
Q – How many books have you written about Washington baseball? Do you have a favorite?
A – I have written three books on Washington baseball. My favorite is always the most recent.
Q – Do you think the Nationals are heading in the right direction?
A – Absolutely! I couldn’t say that during the Jim Bowden era. It seemed that everyone Bowden acquired was weak in fundamentals. I couldn’t believe how many players were making little league mistakes. Since Mike Rizzo became interim (and now permanent) GM, I can see progress. It’s going to take another couple of years but I really believe they will be a force in the National League. Washington is going to be THE place to play.
Q – Where do you think the Nationals’ have improved the most since the end of the ‘09 season?
Q – What other areas do you think the Nationals’ need more improvement?
A – I think they need a second baseman who keeps his head in the game and a consistent performer in right field. Of course, there’s pitching. Which Jason Marquis will show up in 2010? Will John Lannan finally get offensive support and win more than nine games? When will Strasburg be ready? And what about the bullpen? Thanks to Mike Rizzo, I’m sure they feel a lot better about their pitching staff now than they did at this time or anytime last year.
Jim I want to thank you for doing this interview with me. I hope to see you a lot at Nationals Park this season.
Mark, thanks for the opportunity. It’s always great to talk baseball.
If you are interested in purchasing one of Jim Hartley’s books just click on the book title.