Aug 07

The Day the Aces got Trumped

One of the pleasures is finding odd or unique articles. I found this in the District News and Facts, dated. 1 October 1895.[1]

“The Day the Aces got Trumped,” by Parson Nicholson[2]

I do survey work for the Great Northern, one of the few to avoid the troubles.[3] This takes me too many small towns along the rail line. I arrived in Shinbone to attend a party to be held for their best known citizen Ambassador Ransom Stoddard.[4] The talk of the town was not about the former Senator but wild goings on down the tracks a spell at Singletree this past July.

It is hard to separate fact from fancy but out here in the west they say when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.[5] I say this in relating the tale to me by Moonlight Graham, a well known doctor, who declares himself to be a witness to what is now being called the, “Day the Aces got Trumped.”

While the local loathing of the Wagner’s is still felt by many rooters here in the District, interest in baseball remains strong, especially so in the rural regions out west where the local nine is a source of pride. Games tend to be a social occasion where ladies and gentlemen gather in their Easter best and where a game of chance might be easily entered into.

Singletree, Montana was celebrating its Silver Jubilee; people from nearly 20 miles around came to celebrate. There was a medicine show, games of chance and Sam and Gracie. Gracie of course is the town of Singletree’s celebrated mule. It is said to be capable of wondrous feats although I doubt being able to talk is one of them although I have heard that it has done so once or twice. A talking mule, what is next a talking horse!

The Barnstorming Excelsior Aces were in town to play against the local team of ranchers and miners. Many have heard of the Aces Crazy Joe Silver King. Toughest man in the west since the passing of John Wesley Hardin. It is said he beat up a handicapped heckler. Then there is Moses Foster. Said to be as strong as an ox and could hit the ball a mile. He is called the “Cuban” because of his skin color although not from Cuba. He would be in the majors if he was white skinned, he is that good and I have seen him play.  There is also “Peach Pie” O’Connor. Said to always eat two plates of taters before every game. He is the only player hurt by a fork. He always carried his fork in his back pocket and he hurt himself sliding into second.

To celebrate the team’s founding they would play by 1864 rules. That meant under hand pitching and the bounce rule would be in effect. This was agreed to by the Aces business manager. “Crazy Joe” and the players when told of this did not like it but they liked having a paycheck more, so it was agreed to. The ball used was slightly larger and softer; the players would not wear gloves, although some would say the current day Senators would benefit from playing without gloves.

The home town team put up a good fight and the Aces did not have their usual big lead.

During play, “Crazy Joe” Silver King was distracted by Sam and Gracie standing down the third base line. “Crazy Joe” didn’t like mules, had been kicked in the head by a mule some time back. Gracie feeling “Crazy Joe’s” anger started making fun of the ball player.

The town folk and even the players on his own team started laughing at “Crazy Joe.” This made “Crazy Joe” even madder. He looked at Gracie baying at him then back to his teammates. He yelled for the folks to get the mule out of there. Well sir she was part of the town and the demand was declined.

Darn if “Crazy Joe” didn’t grab the baseball and throw it right at Gracie. Some say that he hit Gracie, but some say Gracie caught the throw, then threw it up in the air and kicked it back right at him. Sam, a young lady seeing this, and despite being half the size of “Crazy Joe,” ran over and punched him. This ended the game and raucous rhubarb broke out engulfing the players and town folk.

For more please see the video, Tales of the Wild West Episode 2 “The Day the Aces got Trumped.” Directed by Wayne Shipley. Editor, Jeff Herberger


Here is the link

The movie was submitted for the 2012 Baseball Hall of Fame film fest.

See also the article on the filming of the movie Day of the Gun from which this movie short was derived.

Special thanks to Wayne Shipley and Bill Blewett from One-Eyed Horse Productions,


[1] A fictional article and newspaper.  Please see the video it is based on, Tales of the Wild West Episode 2 “The Day the Aces got Trumped.” Directed by Wayne Shipley. Editor, Jeff Herberger

Here is the link

[2] While there was a Nicholson who played for the 1895 Senators the name and this account is based on the short film “The Day the Aces got trumped,” and is therefore fictional. The film is however real.

[3] The Panic of 1893

[4] The name of the Ambassador/US Senator in the film, “The Man who shot Liberty Valence”

[5] From the movie, “The Man who shot Liberty Valence”