Over the years Washington players have taken different, often bizarre routes, to the majors. Some like Bert Shepard had to make a detour on the way that took him over Nazi Germany.
Lew Drill’s case is unique. He probably never desired a professional career. He was a student at Georgetown working towards his law degree. In the spring of 1902 while catching for Georgetown he volunteered to catch for Washington in a preseason game. Washington was without a catcher. A story for another day.
Here is the report of his work that cold spring day, “He caught extremely speedy pitching of three of the fastest twirlers in the American League, without a passed ball or error of any description; and in addition to this, won the game by placing the leather over the left field fence at a critical point. He also demonstrated that his whip is one of the best in the business, and by taking great chances showed that he is a born ball player.”
Saying with Washington, Drill continued to impress. Against the Jersey City nine, “The visitors were dubbed Jersey mosquitoes, Jersey lilies, etc., by the bleacher savants, but they were not dubbed dubs, as they threw a scare into Loftus pets in the first game, which they might have won but for the home run of catcher Lew Drill, of Georgetown University, who donned the windpad for the Senators and thereby gave rise to circumstances, which will probably land him in the Washington camp.”
But then this transpired…. The Georgetown management communicated with the Amateur Athletic Union and were advised by wire that Drill had undoubtedly professionalized himself. His case has not been officially and finally passed upon, however, and may be considered still open. After the game Manager Loftus made him a liberal offer to sign a Washington contract and he promised to do so in case his amateur standing is forfeited, which seems in evitable under the AAU rules. Up to Sunday eight the deal had not been consummated. If Drill has forfeited his amateur standing, Georgetown’s loss will be Washington’s gain. Lewis Drill entered Georgetown University in the fall of 1900, and at once took rank as the club’s star backstop, despite the wealth of material possessed by the famous Blue and Gray. He is a fourteen jewel stem winder, being a very hard and timely hitter, fast on the bases, a great catcher and thrower, and a quick, resourceful and inside player. He has received flattering offers from the Boston and Philadelphia National League teams.
Drill would go on to sign with Washington play four years in the majors; he would also get his law degree and become a pretty good prosecutor.
Contrast this with Harrison, no first name. On 27 September 1902, Harrison makes his first start and only for Washington in left field. The Washington Times adds, The 300 spectators present imagined they would have some sport watching the work of the new left fielder who blew into town yesterday morning armed with a letter of introduction from a friend, who evidently though any old sort of a ball tosser would do for the Senators. Harrison did not give evidence of being much of a player, although when the first chance came his way, a long fly from Hoy’s bat, he ran to nab the ball and then, suddenly getting his bearing, veered around and went scooting toward the fence, but he was not fast enough to get under the sphere, and the mute was credited with a double. At the bat too, Harrison proved to be possessed of the fatal weakness of backing away from the rubber every time the pitcher settled down to business.
No first name is given or listed for Mr. Harrison. Sporting Life states that he is a Southern League recruit. This is a reference to the Southern Association which did play in 1901. No Harrison played only any of the teams. The Washington Times adds this, “Harrison blew into town yesterday with a letter of introduction to Manager Tom Loftus from a friend.” There was a George Harrison who is linked to the 1901 Kansas City Blues of the Western League. But no information can be found about this George Harrison either. If a friend recommended him then Kansas City might be a place to look. The manager for 1901 Kansas City Club, George Tebeau, who played for Washington in 1894. Or it could have been 1901 Washington manager, Jimmy Manning, and the joke was on Loftus.