This Date in Baseball History

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

This blog post is NOT about this date, but a conversation with my old radio colleague Bob Smiley. We recounted a phone interview we conducted with an old-time major league pitcher, Smokey Joe Wood. Smokey told a tale about a big game in which he had struck out the legendary Babe Ruth. There's a good chance you never heard of Wood. He's not in the Hall of Fame despite once compiling a single season record of 34 and 5. As legend goes, the right handed pitcher got his start in baseball posing as a female on a women's barnstorming team. The Bloomer Girls competed against men's teams. Wood was a good looking youngster with youthful features that allowed him to play in disguise. The Red Sox were so smitten by his talents that they signed him to a contract. The rest is baseball history. During our conversation with the baseball legend years ago, Wood brought up the fact that he was sidelined in 1918 due to a pandemic that struck the globe. It was a respiratory ailment that became known as the Spanish Flu that killed upwards of 50 million. That was 101 years ago and for some strange reason I was comforted by the fact that Smoky Joe survived the pandemic and lived to the ripe-old age of 97. By the way, when I asked Joe about striking out Babe Ruth, he didn't seem to think it was such a big deal. For Joe, surviving the pandemic of 1918 was the Ruthian accomplishment.

Red Sox pitcher Smokey Joe Wood

16 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Spring 2022

By Dave Popkin Jesus Christ slides headfirst into home plate at Yankee Stadium, because if you’re going to make a big entrance, why not pick the center of the universe? The lone security guard shakes