Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Vintage Brew: "CATCH 22: Milwaukee Brewer Glenn Myatt"

Editor's Note: This article, originally published by MEARS, spins a unique (if brief) chapter in the story of the Brewers, using an artifact left behind. is grateful to contributor Paul Tenpenny for allowing us to re-print it here.

"CATCH 22: Milwaukee Brewer Glenn Myatt"
by Paul Tenpenny
Copyright 2018 Tencentzports
Printed with permission of the Author

Spring training opened for the Milwaukee Brewers on March 9, 1922 in Caruthersville, Missouri. Hoping to end their poor showings since their back to back American Association championships in 1913 & 1914, they were optimistic that the return of Harry Clark as manager would reverse the team’s residence in the 2nd division.

As players began to arrive, the Brewers were concerned with the absence of pitcher Dennis Gearin whose holdout over salary with owner Otto Borchert wasn’t the only reason for his not showing up. Gearin had to decide whether to wear his baseball uniform in 1922 or don an apron to work at dad’s grocery store. His father’s health had been slipping and it was reported that he might have to retire from baseball to manage the family store in Providence, Rhode Island.

My, how times have changed.

The diminutive Lefty, Denny Gearin pictured in 1921 with teammate Bob Trentman (Author’s Collection)

Milwaukee had a hard-hitting ball club in 1922, battling within the 1st division for most of the year, occupying 2nd place for a time until the long season became too much for the team. In August, injuries and illness to the infield ravaged the team, forcing manager Pep Clark to come off the bench and put himself back in the lineup for the first time since 1916. Despite Harry’s best efforts as a player and manager, the team finished with an 85-83 record, an improvement, but leaving them in 5th place at season’s end.
1922 American Association Final Standings

TeamWins vs Losses
St. Paul Saints107-60
Minneapolis Millers92-75
Kansas City Blues92-76
Indianapolis Indians87-80
Milwaukee Brewers85-83
Louisville Colonels77-91
Toledo Mudhens65-101
Columbus Senators
(renamed the Redbirds in 1931)
But that wasn’t the only story in 1922. Among the 24 players showing up at spring training that first day for Milwaukee was a young catcher named Glenn Myatt.

1922 Milwaukee Brewers Team Photo (Author’s Collection)

Glenn Myatt is pictured front Row, 2nd from left

Glenn Myatt and outfielder Paul Johnson were both part of a deal that sent hometown favorite “Unser Choe” (Our Joe) Hauser to Philadelphia. A 24-year old Myatt, after two years with Philly, found himself on the Brewer roster with veteran Dick Gossett. Between these two catchers, American Association opponents had their hands full. Gossett batted a whopping .338 for Milwaukee, but Myatt outdid him and then some with his league leading .370. While the team may have faded in late summer, Myatt’s star shined all season long as he became the American Association’s batting champion.
April 30, 1922 “Myatt Homer Not Enough to Win Game”

Jun 19, 1922 “Myatt Clouts 2 Homers in 2nd”

July 31, 1922 “Bigbee Blanks Enemy in Opener and is Aided by Myatt’s Heavy Hitting”

August 9, 1922 “Myatt Stars at Bat as Brewers Wallop Whitted Gang”

August 25, 1922 “Myatt Continues Bat Lead in A.A. With .370 Average”

The “Catch 22” for Milwaukee and Glenn Myatt was that having such a great year meant that 1922 was his only year with the Brewers. Milwaukee definitely noticed him, forgetting the loss of Joe Hauser. The major leagues also noticed as he joined the Cleveland Indians in 1923.

Glenn Calvin Myatt (Author’s Collection)
Bats Left, Throws Right
Born July 9, 1897 in Argenta, Arkansas
Died August 9, 1969

Myatt had a 16-year career as a catcher and sometime outfielder in the majors. Beginning in 1920 with the Philadelphia Athletics, with stops in Cleveland, New York Giants and finishing with the Detroit Tigers in 1937. After being shipped off to Cleveland in 1923 he went on to bat .342 as their starting catcher in 1924 and backed up Luke Sewell for most of 1926-33. He had a lifetime batting average of .270. Myatt also played in the International League for part of 1936 and with Houston of the Texas League in 1937.

1933 Goudey Glenn Myatt (Author’s Collection)

1935 Diamond Stars Glenn Myatt (Author’s Collection)

1935 Autographed 3x5 – Glenn Myatt (Author’s Collection)

A very interesting bat is pictured here. Returned to H&B by Myatt, it shows the original Harry E. Heilmann stamping along with Glenn Myatt’s. As this bat dates no earlier than 1921-22 and exhibits heavy use, it could very well have seen use during Glenn Myatt’s AA league leading season of 1922. You can still see where the mailing label was attached, just left of signatures.

1921-22 Glenn Myatt H&B 40 HH brand side written bat, Heilmann and Myatt Stampings
Mears Authentic #308345 (Author’s Collection)

At some point in time, this bat would have contained side writing which would have designated the players name, size and weight and date the bat was returned. Due to 80+ years of storage, the side writing has been lost to time. Immediately above the center brand is a 3"x10" area that has been prepared for the application at the factory of the side writing. Small amounts of pencil lettering can be seen but the exact message has been obscured. The information contained is no longer visible, but the documented practice of the application of side writing can been seen in the prepped area above the center brand which is consistent with all known documented side written H&B bat examples. Heilmann began his signature contract with the company in October 1920, so this bat must be from 1921 or 1922. This is a hand turned 40HH (Harry Heilmann) signature model bat used and returned by Glenn Myatt. Myatt played for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1922 and led the American Association with a .370 batting average. This bat is another in the line of positively identified #40 model bats with two separate signature stamps on the barrel.

Multiple views of Myatt game used bat (Author’s Collection)

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