Saturday, January 11, 2014

"The Brewers Expect to Tango Their Way to 1914 Championship"

We're starting our 1914 season in review a little earlier this year, with a look at a delightful article from the Milwaukee Journal published on January 11, 1914:



While the local Radiator league are batting about eight hundred and umpty umpty, smoking large pipes of Federal "okum," they have overlooked the best bet of all - the new dances. It has been learned on pretty good authority that several of the Brewers, during the winter, have taken to the new steps and just a glance at some of their capers, would lead one to believe that Milwaukee has the pennant won before they start.

In Paulding, Ohio, Harry Clark has gone mad over the Tango. Yes, sir, dippy is the word. Harry says that he has a set of steps that he expects to use around third base that will bewilder the heaviest sticker in the association. Clark is working on what he calles the "Altizer Hesitation," and promises to use only his feet in executing it.

Little Johnny Hughes has rented a barn on the outskirts of the city and while none have been able to see him in action, except his one man orchestra, John expects to charm the umpire with what he calls his "Catch-as-Catch-Can-Can."

Tom Dougherty promises a real surprise. Tom is caretaker over at Slapnicka's Parch Parlor and when not coaxing a beer out of the icebox or mixing up a brown soda, is hard at it, rehearsing his "Snit Snitsky," which he claims will cause the best batters in the league to clout wildly at nothing.


Little or nothing can be learned of Tom Jones, but an unconfirmed rumor has wandered into the office to the effect that Tom has missed several nights of good sleep, struggling with the "Dippy Dip." If properly danced it is said that a runner after making a hit, seeing the dance, stops dead in his tracks as if suddenly hypnotized and becomes an easy out. Here is hoping that Tom dances it properly.

Phil Lewis takes time out, only for meals perfecting what he calls the "Terrible Twitch," and he says that if he can muster it, there will be no stealing on the Brewers next year, as the steps strike terror into any runner that has overcome Jones "Dippy Dip: and reached first. In fact, Phil says that it will take a brave man to even advance to second on a hit.

Randall, who has charge of a herd of pin boys over at the Eagles' Club, is battling with a new one called the "Fly Ball Flip" and states that in a pinch he can take care of the entire outfield as the steps take him all over the lot.

All the other players promise to kick in with some new dances of this winter look like a man with rheumatism and gout in a wooden leg, trying to run a hundred yards in ten seconds.

From a new dance standpoint, next year will be a winner and gossip has it that President Timme of the Milwaukee club combined pleasure with business in his trip abroad, looking for the very latest in fancy steps. If the above reports carry any truth, Secretary Nahin is making arrangements with the fire department to flood the field in the middle of the game, so as to cool it off a bit after a few innings of these dances.

And let's take a look at the graphic that accompanies it:

A little context: the tango had come to the United States the year earlier, becoming all the rage in New York in 1913. Very au courant for the Journal to reference it.

So what can we learn from this article, other than purple prose was alive and well in 1914? I admit that I find it all rather dense, but it's exciting to see interest being churned up months before Spring Training.

Within months, the Brewers would re-assemble to defend their American Association championship. And perhaps work on their dancing at the same time.

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