Play ball!

By RUSS HATTER Asst. Curator Capital City Museum Published:

Playing baseball has always been an important part of Frankforts history. Whether young or old, getting a team together has never seemed to be a problem.

In our research we have located several local parks and grandstands devoted to the game. Most of the baseball games in 1887 were played at Lake Park in Bellepoint at the end of Kentucky Avenue just before you reached Lock IV.

Glennwood Park was a favorite place for picnics and outings. Besides baseball they also held a theatre program for summer-stock companies. On Sunday afternoons the F & C Railroad ran a passenger train to the ballpark in addition to street cars to accommodate the attendees.

Glennwood Park was located in the field across from the present day Thorn Hill Baptist Church on Holmes Street. That field today is being developed into a shopping area including a gas station.

Bill Stone of Louisville is researching the Frankfort Lawmakers team from 1908 to 1912. They played in the Blue Grass League with home games played at Glennwood Park. Some of the players were Leo Angermeier, Pat Bohannon, Ovid Nicholson, Lester Cornell and Fritz Hoffman. Albert Blanton was president and Frank Stagg was treasurer.

One of the Frankfort teams won two pennants in the Blue Grass League. This team sent several notable players to the major leagues, including Dick Crutcher pitching for Boston and Grover Land to the Cincinnati Reds.

Stone found that Richard Louis Dick Crutcher played for the Lawmakers in 1908 and one game in 1909. There was also a Louis C. Crutcher who played for Frankfort in 1909, 1910, and 1911 and an Edward V. Crutcher who played one game in 1909. According to a Crutcher cousin, Shirley Phillips, the Crutcher boys were brothers.

Richard Dick Crutcher was born Nov. 25, 1889 and died in Frankfort on June 19, 1952. After starting out in Frankfort he played major league ball with the Boston Braves as a pitcher in 1914 and 1915.

His wife Ethel (they married in 1912) wrote in a State Journal Remember When article that Dick was drafted to Boston from St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1913. The following year they won the World Series from Connie Macks Athletics in four straight games that I shall never forget. I knew all the baseball greats: Jim Thorpe, Johnny Evers, Hank Gordy, to name a few. Babe Ruth lived in the same apartment building where we lived. He was a pitcher in those days. The players wives had special box seats and I never missed a game.

In a State Journal 50 Years Ago column we found that Moe Urdang was surprised when thumbing through a magazine he came upon a picture of baseballs oldest, consistent, active hurler. The 71-year-old bespectacled pitcher from Frankfort, Kentucky, who played for a Pittsburg sandlot was John Scissors McIlvaine. It is said he pitched 800 consecutive games from 1899 to the present day (June-1955). In 1914 he pitched for Old Taylor in the old Bluegrass League. The late Bud Roberts, a Frankfort barber, gave him his nickname Scissors because of the loose motion in crossing his arm while winding up to pitch.

In an April 15, 1910 State Journal article we find Scissors McIlvaine, the Human Slat, arrived for a workout and created a favorable impression. He has lots of speed and curve. His full name was John G. McIlvaine and he is one the players depicted in the 1910 Old Mill Tobacco baseball card series.

I am sure these accompanying photos will bring back lots of memories and generate more photos and information. Thats what we feed on here at the Capital City Museum.

On another note: For several years Billy Gayhart has been actively collecting local school letters. He doesnt need the jackets but he sure would love to complete his collection. He needs letters from Western Hills and the old high schools at Bridgeport, Bald Knob, and Peaks Mill. If you can help contact me at 502-803-1808 or 696-9127 or you can email us at russh@mis.net.

The Capital City Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 to 4 and is free. And remember, all of our minivan and walking tours require advance reservations.

Recent Acquisitions

Ted Lance donated a stack of wooden coins that Frances Jones Mills used in her 1976-1980 State Treasurer political race. One side read Commonwealth of Kentucky with a dollar sign- then time is money.

Jean Abrams donated a photo of Harry Innes Wilson in what looks to be a baseball team photo out in the country, possibly the Peaks Mill area. The picture shows Jean Abrams great uncle Harry Innes Wilson. He was born October 1887 and died October 10, 1973.

Ruth Thompson donated a scrapbook that once belonged to Joyce Mason Young.

Sharon Kouns donated some photo-copies of Frankfort history related newspaper stories.

Steve Brooks donated some 1999 newspaper clippings relating to the acquisition of the Sullivan House atop Fort Hill and also a box full of old color slides of Frankfort.

Sue Belle Winans let us scan some memorabilia and photographs from a scrapbook containing historical material of the Frankfort Business and Professional Womens Club and also a State National Bank small trivet.

Roger Solheim brought in some photographs from the 1930s and 1940s showing Elkhorn School students, an Old Crow baseball team, plus material about his father Mike Solheim who was a great National Distillers softball pitcher and a coach as well.

Anonymous gave us negatives of the Lutkemeire scrap book, a copy of William C. Lutkemeire miscellaneous writings, State National Bank promotional sponge, Southern Bell Telephone Blue Book of telephone numbers and instructions for direct distance dialing from August, 1960, a Wayne Harrod Interstate Gulf ice scraper, matchbooks for Saylors Truck Stop and Pewitts Motel, six glass Frankfort, Kentucky ashtrays, a Statesman Restaurant hurricane glass with Pete Flynns image, a blank East Frankfort Branch Farmers Bank book, 2 Frankfort transit trolley metal tokens for the Kentucky Traction Company.

Current Reading

James L. Swansons Manhunt The 12-Day Chase for Lincolns Killer, W. H. Averills A History of the First Presbyterian Church Frankfort, Kentucky, Morgans Men A Narrative of Personal Experiences by Henry Lane Stone, The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, Da Vinci Code Decoded by Martin Lunn, and Bayless Hardins Frankfort Notes Vol. VI.

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