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Feb 18

Well, the Man wanted a tryout

During spring training in 1933, a visitor arrived in Biloxi, Mississippi wearing a four-day beard and covered in lawyers of country grime. He was out of work, so he rode the train cars from town to town in search of a job. He had some pitching experience, so why not seek a tryout with rookie manager Joe Cronin and the Washington Senators? “Sure old kid,” Cronin told him, “Go over there to the clubhouse and put your suit on.”

The prospect emerged from the clubhouse in his working clothes, and he was instructed to take the mound and pitch a few. As he went to work the veterans of the Washington pitching staff watched with a smile while a few turned away and covered their mouths in order not to embarrass anyone.

A dozen pitches were made before Cronin told the prospect thank you but no thank you. The visitor left without saying a lot, got on the next train, and was on his way to the next town in hope of finding work.

Gary is the author of The Wrecking Crew of ’33; The Washington Senators’ Last Pennant.