Once a man breaks in as a regular in big league baseball the publicity hounds and the sports editors are hot on his trail. This department has been no exception and in the cases of Hank Greenberg and Phil Weintraub we have played them to the last ditch with aces high.
Of course we can say that it isn’t so often that a Jewish lad in his second season as a big leaguer, and we mean the youngster from the Bronx who is covering the first-sack for the Tigers, is considered “the most feared batter in the American league.” Then again, it isn’t so frequently that the playing-manager of a world’s championship baseball team has to send for a hard-hitting, heavy-slugging, but inexperienced outfielder from the miners in the middle of a season. Yet, at the same time, it is news when a rookie like Phil Weintraub keeps on pounding the gloss off the ball every time he steps up to the plate and keeps on hitting the apple as it was tossed by some bush-league pitcher.
But, we’d like to devote this column to an unsung hero among Jewish baseball players. This baseballer deserves a great deal of credit and although the newspapers and the sporting pages have as yet not awakened to his potentialities as a big league backstop, what is more important is the fact that the great Carl Hubbell has used this young Jewish catcher as his battery mate in something like the last eight games that he has pitched. And Hubbell is the old maestro, the man with the wizardry in his slender left arm, who knows just how much of an asset a clever catcher can be in winning ball games.
DANNING CAME UP FROM MINORS LAST YEAR
Harry Danning was one of the best backstops in the minor leagues last year and towards the end of the season was recruited from the Buffalo Bisons much in the same manner as was Phil Weintraub just a short time ago. Danning was batting .349 per cent when he was lifted to the big time circuit.
At the beginning of the training stunt down in Miami, Danning reported along with Paul Richards, Frankie Healey, and the old reliable Gus Mancuso. Bill Terry couldn’t possibly use this great number of catchers. One of them had to go. Due to the lack of experience as a major league performer Danning was the man scheduled to grab a fast freight for the grape fruit circuit. However, as luck would have it, Gus Mancuso went under the knife and it solved Terry’s problem for a while. Gus was slated to be back in harness after a four weeks’ convalesence and in the interim Terry kept close tabs on Healy, Richards and Danning.
These three gentleman backed up the home plate with such an agile dexterity that the playing-manager of the New York Giants realized why his team was the world’s champions. The first two athletes, Richards and Healey, were at the beginning of the season better catchers than Harry Danning. However, Danning, even early during the spring campaign revealed to Memphis Bill the fact that he could slug and slug plenty hard. In pinches he came through better than did Paul Richards.
TRAINING CAMP RUMORSâ€”
In March the wires were being burned up by the camp correspondents as to the battle between these three men. Here’s one flash that came through. … “It may be a bit too late but somebody ought to call Paul Richards’ attention to the old gag about not taking anything for granted in baseball. Paul thought he had the first string catching assignment all sewn up pending the return of Gus Mancuso. … However, he has lost some of his early enthusiasm. So now, Harry Danning is the head man around these parts.”
And, your old sports scribe wasn’t drunk either when in the April 2nd column of Slants on Sports he said, “If the Phil Weintraub-Hank Leiber decision is a tough nut for Terry to crack, the Healy-Richards-Danning embroglio is even more so. All three of these fellows have been standing each other off since the training campaign opened. Of course Gus Mancuso will settle this dispute.”
“Richards has had the most experience of the three catchers and uses his head when quick skull decisions are needed. Healy is just a good all-round ball player. Harry Danning is a fine catcher BUT by far the hardest hitter.
“In the final payoff hitting is the thing that counts. Therefore we are convinced that Weintraub and Danning will be in the big league stadia in one year. These baseballers have proved time and again to Terry that McGraw was right when he said, ‘What I need on the New York Giants is a hard hitting Jew.'”
A GLANCE AT THE RECORDS TODAY
A glance at the record books today reveals the facts that Hubbell has chosen Harry Danning as his battery mate over first-string Gus Mancuso and the other sub Paul Richards. Frankie Healy has long ago departed to the hinterland and the backstops of the minor leagues.
Of the three catchers Mancuso has participated in most games. Notwithstanding, let us take another slant at the record books. In 299 times at bat Gus Mancuso has only connected for sixty-nine hits, has scored twenty – eight times and has driven in thirty-five runs. Richards has been on the right side of the rubber on seventy-four occasions but has hit only eleven times driving in two runs and crossing the plate eight. Mancuso has a batting average of .231 per cent and Richards, .149 per cent. But, now we go to Harry Danning, the hard-hitting battery mate of the greatest pitcher in baseball today. Harry has only played in twenty-nine ball games and has faced opposing pitchers on fifty-three occasions. In these trips to the rubber he has garnished twenty-one hits driving in six runs and crossing the home sack six times also, for a total batting average of .396 per cent.
Of course, inasmuch as the number of games played by each catcher are so incomparable we cannot discuss the corresponding batting averages accordingly. However, we can point out the fact that Harry Danning is far the hardest hitter of the trio of backstops on Bill Terry’s team of champions.
We’ll be hearing more about this Jewish rookie when Hubbell pitches to Mickey Cochrane’s men with Harry Danning as the catcher.
THE SPORTING CALENDAR FORT HAMILTON WRESTLING TOMORROW NIGHT
Sandor Szabo, young Hungarian strong man, headlines the wrestling card again Tuesday night on the Fort Hamilton mat. He is matched to go to a finish with Mike Romano, husky Italian neck-twister, who has been making a name for himself in the grappling fraternity that other grunt and groaners are having trouble in equalling.
To make sure that a program is all of the torture fest that the fans want it to be, Floyd Marshall and Vanka Zelezniak will also get together but not at the same time. Likewise on the same gala card are Sid Westrich and George Hagen. Marshall meets Westrich and Zelezniak takes on Hagen.
Two other thirty minute scrambles will bring Joe De Vito into action against Bobby Stewart.
CONEY ISLAND VELODROMEâ€”BOXING TOMORROW NIGHT
Abe Yaeger, the old maestro of the Coney Island Velodrome is all hopped up about the boxing bill that promoter Otto Bass has arranged for tomorrow night’s entertainment at the famous seashore sport plant.
Topnotchers in the boxing world are scheduled to trade blows and the postponed Lew Feldman-Peady Hayes bout will awaken into reality. The supporting card offering thirty-two rounds of exceptional drawing ability is sufficient to send even the flintiest soul home sure that he has had a run for his money.