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Mar 19

Dark Days in Altoona

Nestled in the Alleghany Mountains of Pennsylvania, is Altoona.  Altoona is a railroad town, the famous Horseshoe Curve is nearby but this is also a baseball town. The city has a strong baseball following and any fan who has been to Peoples Natural Gas Field can enjoy a game and watch the people riding the roller coaster past the outfield fence.

In 1884, Altoona was home to a fledging Major League Club thanks largely to Henry Lucas and his creation, the Union Association. The Altoona Mountain City nine was doomed from the start and played just 25 games before folding. But it was the scene of a dark day in District baseball history.

At the start of the season Michael Scanlon selects Bill Wise[1][1] and Ed McKenna as the first battery, the second battery is composed of Milo Lockwood and Mark Creegan. Milo Hathaway Lockwood is 5-10 feet tall and 26 years old. In 1883 he played for Johnstown in the Western Interstate League.

Milo Lockwood starts the season with stiffness in his pitching arm. Despite this he starts the season opener and loses to Baltimore 7-3.

In May Washington arrives in the Altoona for a four game series. It will be a battle of tail-enders. Washington is in 11th place with a record of 5-15, two games ahead of Altoona.

The first game on 21 May goes to Washington 13-3. Milo Lockwood is mysteriously ill and unable to make the start. Bill Wise takes his place in the box and a search is made for a player to play the outfield. Al Bradley,[2][2] a local player, is signed and plays a “magnificent center field. Bill Wise gets the win over Jim Brown.[3][3]

After the game Michael Scanlon visits Lockwood in his room and according to the Washington Post, “found him drinking beer and enveloped in the smoke of cigarettes.” Henry Moore and Ed McKenna celebrate the win by “painting the town red” and get drunk.

23 May, a 8-7 loss. Ed McKenna is too hung over to play. Nothing is said of Henry Moore but he can’t be in top shape. Bill Wise takes the loss, John Ward, an outfielder and another quick addition to the roster, makes his only start for Washington in centerfield.

The third game of the series on 24 May is another win for Altoona. Washington suffers a loss on the final day of the series on 26 May, 6-2. Milo Lockwood gets the start and is unable to keep Altoona in check.[4][4]  It becomes known that Milo Lockwood had lived in the same place the year before and had “forgotten” to pay the hotel bill of $10. Since the sheriff had a warrant for his arrest he thought it better to stay in his hotel room then to go play ball where he would be seen. He is dismissed after the game and returns to Washington.

This is Lockwood’s last game for Washington; he will never again pitch in the majors. He ends his major league career with a record of 1-9 and an ERA of 7.32. He did run up the bill at Mankin’s, corner of Eighth and E Streets in the District for $75 which he unaccountably forgot to pay.

The series might be the highlight for Altoona and a low point for Washington. Altoona plays their last game on 31 May and then folds. Michael Scanlon rebuilds the Nationals and they go 42-47 for the rest of the season.

Milo Lockwood dies 8 October 1897 in Economy, Pennsylvania.

 


 


[1][1] William E “Bill” Wise is a native of the District, born here in 1861.

 

[2][2] Albert Joseph Bradley, born 1856 in Brady’s Bend, This is his only game in the majors. He dies 5 February 1937 in Altoona, PA.

[3][3] Brown is a 22 years old rookie from Pennsylvania.

[4][4] The Nationals now go with a rotation of Bill Wise and Alex Voss.

*The Flynn’s have written two books about baseball in D.C.