1915 March

13th In an infamous exhibition at Daytona Beach, Brooklyn manager Wilbert Robinson is set to catch a baseball dropped from an airplane flying at an altitude of 525 feet. Aviatrix Ruth Law supposedly forgets to bring a baseball aloft and instead drops a grapefruit that splatters all over Robbie. Outfielder Casey Stengel is the assumed culprit of the switch.

15th At the Giants training camp in Marlin, Texas pitcher Hank Ritter is diagnosed with typhoid fever. He will recover to go 2-1 this year. A number of players elect to receive the anti-typhoid serum.

19th At Daytona, Brooklyn beats up the world champion A’s, 18-7, doing most of the damage in the first 2 innings against Charles Voltz. Joe Schultz leads off the game with a triple and adds another in the 1st as Brooklyn scores 8. They add another 3 in the 2nd off Voltz.

20th The Braves break ground on Commonwealth Avenue and begin construction of Braves Field. Owner Gaffney wants a large enough park so that inside-the-park homers can be hit in 3 directions. The field will open on August 18th.

In a split-squad game in Texas, the Giants second squad edges the Waco Wonders, 6-5. Elmer Johnson’s bases loaded triple in the 2nd provides the margin, although the game goes down to the wire. The Waco Morning News observes, “Jack Johnson is not the only superstitious person connected with professional athletics. Two members of his race yesterday were thrown into a panic at Katy Park by defying one of the oldest superstitions in baseball. The negro trainer with the New York Giants and a bat boy gathered all the New York bats together and placed them in the bat bag during Waco’s half of the ninth inning thinking the game was nearly over. Now, it is an unwritten rule in baseball never to untie a shoe lace or give other signs of being through until the last ball is pitched, even if the score is absolutely safe. Some players take chances on the hoodoo and get their sweaters on in the ninth inning, but this is about as far as they dare proceed. When Waco started the fireworks in the ninth inning yesterday the negroes were well on their way to the hotel with all New York’s bats. They heard what was happening and made a sprint for the park, undoing the bag as they went. They not only opened the bag but put the bats back, all lined up just as they should have been. New York then won the game.” (as noted by Graham Womack)

21st A bad omen for the A’s. Louis Van Zelst, the mascot, bat boy and good luck charm for the Philadelphia Athletics, dies at the age of 20. The hump-backed Van Zelst, never in good health, worked for the Athletics for the past five seasons. He was called out of the stands by Connie Mack in 1909 and given a uniform. The A’s will lose 56 more games this year than last—a ML record– and go from first place to last.

25th At Daytona, the Brooklyns score 6 in the 8th to beat the Long Branch Cubans, 8-6.

26th Jack Coombs pitches 5 scoreless innings and the Brooklyn Nationals down the Long Branch Cubans, 6-2, in the final of the 4-game exhibition between the 2 teams. Brooklyn will next play the Yankees in a 4-game set to wrap up spring training.

28th At Daytona, the Yankees beat Brooklyn, 5-2, as the Brooks lose their star Jake Daubert, who twists his ankle on a slide into 2B in the 4th. He is carried off the field. He says it is the same ankle he injured in Boston last fall. Jake will recover to play 150 games and hit .301.

At Dallas, the Giants prevail, 10-0, over the locals, as Hans Lobert his three balls to the fence for a double, triple and homer. Larry Doyle hits one over the RF fence, the first person to do it.