May 22

The Bob Larner Story – One of the best known newspaper men in the District

Robert Martin “Bob” Larner

25 October 1877, the baseball season is nearly over and the Creightons[1] the so-called “Greens” take on the Georgetown College nine in a 8 to 4 win.[2] “For the victors Howard Wall and “Bob” Larner led the batting, and Tucker and McKenna accepted every chance which offered to throw a man out; in fact, their playing was superb, the lion’s share of the fielding falling to them, as the curve pitching of Tucker was too much for the Georgetown team. Turner, the pitcher of the college nine, never did better in his life, and his efforts the smallness of the score is attributed. A large audience, including ladies was on hand.”[3]

Bob Larner, a talented twirler for the Creightons would soon make his mark on sports in the District.

Twenty-nine years later on 18 August 1906 the Washington Post said this about the passing of Rob Larner at the age of 50. “Well-known newspaper correspondent passes away. Scored many notable “Scoops,” and was a leading spirit of the Gridiron Club.”

Born in the District in 1856 he was a page at the Supreme Court before beginning his journalistic career with the Washington Sunday Herald. He would later write for the Baltimore Sun (Washington Bureau) and the Charleston News and Courier (Washington Correspondent). Mr. Larner’s rise in the newspaper world was rapid, and he soon became known as one of the ablest newspaper man in the city. He was one of the organizers and leading spirits of the Gridiron Club.[4] Larner was a remarkable individual and one of the best known newspaper men in the District. He was an avid baseball fan and considered one of the best baseball writers of his era.[5] His writings give us an insightful view of the early days of baseball in this city.


[1] Named after Jim Creighton

[2] Playing for the Creightons, Tucker-P; Dean-C; Gaskins-1b; Sullivan-2b; Wise-3b; Burch-SS; Groves-Lf; McKenna-Cf, and Wall-Rf. This is the posted line-up from the previous day, not apparently accurate since Larner played.

[3] Washington National Republican.