SOX STORIES

“Feeling Blue”

Pennsylvania had “Blue Laws” in the earlier part of the 20th Century, which outlawed baseball being played on Sundays in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. So while the White Sox sat idly by on Sunday, August 21, 1932, not able to play the Athletics in Philly, they would travel a short distance over to Phillipsburg, Pennsylvania for an exhibition game with a local semi-pro team called the North Ends.

Charlie Berry, who had been traded to the White Sox earlier in the 1932 season from Boston, a catcher, had convinced the White Sox to play this team on this day. Traveling via bus from Philadelphia, 14 Sox players would make the trip while others chose to enjoy the day off at their hotel. The Pale Hose would also choose to give the day off to three of their future Hall of Famers to keep them fresh, shortstop Luke Appling, Pitcher Red Faber and Pitcher Ted Lyons.

Sox Manager, Lew Fonseca would field a lineup of Elias “Ellie” Funk in center, Carey Selph at second, first baseman Billy Sullivan, left fielder Bob “Fats” Fothergill, shortstop Ralph Kress, third baseman Charlie English, right fielder Bob Seeds, catchers Berry and Frank Grube along with two pitchers, Les Bartholomew And Paul Gregory.

The thrill of seeing a big league team in a small town always brought out the locals in droves, creating an overflow of fans converging on the North Ends baseball field.

The pitcher for the semi-pro team was known as a fast worker who had played on many semi-pro teams as well as the 1933 Philadelphia A’s and 1934 Boston Red Sox, Dick Oliver. He would again play in the bigs for the National League Phillies during the war years of the mid 1940’s.

The star of the day wouldn’t be anyone on the White Sox roster, rather the catcher of the North Ends, Jim Hanson who would go 3 for 4 at the plate and would make three outstanding putouts at the plate while on defense.

There would be one home run hit in the game, coming off the bat of Charlie English for the White Sox. The Chi-Sox would actually lose to the semi-pro players by a 7-6 final score, and it would stand to reason, the Sox were not very good that season, finishing 7th of the 8 A.L. teams, winning only 49 games while dropping 102. And without three of their best players, they didn’t have much of a chance, giving them the “blues”.

⚾️ Catcher Charlie Berry (right) with starting catcher Frank Grube in 1932