Friday, March 28, 2014

Michael Morse: Another Smead Jolley?

Smead Jolley

Giants' outfielder Michael Morse was so inept last night in the exhibition game with Oakland---botching three plays in left field---he brought to mind the legendary Smead Jolley, who once made three errors on one play:

He was stationed in right field in a game against the Athletics in Philadelphia. Bing Miller smashed a single and, to the White Sox's dismay, it headed right for Jolley. As expected, the ball rolled through his legs for error number one. Jolley whirled around to play the carom off the wall. To no one's surprise, the ball scooted back through his legs for error number two. Jolley could have stopped while he was ahead, but perhaps sensing immortality, he seized the moment to vault himself into the twilight zone of fielding. He picked up the ball and heaved it over the third baseman's head for error number three. Meanwhile, Bing Miller circled the bases.

The local angle: Jolley played for the San Francisco Seals for five years early in the 20th Century. Maybe he wasn't much of a fielder, but he was a great hitter.

Jolley played before my time, but as a kid I saw some Seals games at old Seals Stadium, where the Giants played before Candlestick Park was built.

Seals Stadium

Jolley played for the Seals before the stadium was built. But Joe Dimaggio played there, and I was thrilled to see Ted Williams play an exhibition game there once---he lined a single into right field---when the Seals were a Boston Red Sox minor league team.

Below is the former location of Seals Stadium at 16th and Bryant, now a strip mall.

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