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View Full Version : Do you know about baseball in the 1930's?


glee
12-26-2007, 12:15 PM
Then you may be able to help me understand a brief reference in the first Nero Wolfe book (by Rex Stout), published in 1934.

Archie Goodwin mentions 'Snyder leaping one handed to spear a hot liner'.

I assume this is a fielder for one of the New York teams (the books are set in Manhatten) catching a ball driven hard along one side of the baseball field.
Am I right?

I'm pretty sure this is a real person, since another book mentions Texas Guinan, who was pretty interesting!

Lamar Mundane
12-26-2007, 12:25 PM
Then you may be able to help me understand a brief reference in the first Nero Wolfe book (by Rex Stout), published in 1934.

Archie Goodwin mentions 'Snyder leaping one handed to spear a hot liner'.

I assume this is a fielder for one of the New York teams (the books are set in Manhatten) catching a ball driven hard along one side of the baseball field.
Am I right?

I'm pretty sure this is a real person, since another book mentions Texas Guinan, who was pretty interesting!
The only Snyder who played in that general time frame was Frank Snyder, who played for the New York Giants until 1926, but he was a catcher, so the description wouldn't fit (Catchers don't "spear liners".)

Your presumption is correct, but it looks like the player is fictional.

Crotalus
12-26-2007, 12:28 PM
You've got the scenario right. Spear is sportswriter lingo for a quick one-handed catch, and a liner is a line drive, which is a hard-hit ball which doesn't have much arc on it. The only Snyder I can find playing in New York in the era is Frank (http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/snydefr01.shtml) , who retired after 1927. But he was mainly a catcher, who wouldn't get to spear liners very often. Maybe it was spelled differently?

Beaten by Lamar!

Asimovian
12-26-2007, 12:35 PM
Archie Goodwin mentions 'Snyder leaping one handed to spear a hot liner'.

I don't know if you're quoting from memory or directly from the book, but the phrasing is a bit odd to me. All the terminology is correct (and is still used today), but "leaping one-handed" creates a weird visual for me. :) I think an announcer would be more likely to say "Snyder leaping and spearing a hot liner (one-handed)." As pointed out in the previous posts, the "one-handed" part isn't even necessary as it is implied by the use of "spear," but it seems misplaced regardless.

twickster
12-26-2007, 12:35 PM
Couldn't Snyder be a player from another team in NYC to play the Yankees?

Crotalus
12-26-2007, 12:38 PM
Couldn't Snyder be a player from another team in NYC to play the Yankees?I looked here (http://www.baseball-reference.com/player_search.cgi?search=snyder&Search+for+Player.x=55&Search+for+Player.y=11) for anyone named Snyder, regardless of team. And don't forget the Dodgers and the Giants.

Who_me?
12-26-2007, 12:43 PM
Couldn't Snyder be a player from another team in NYC to play the Yankees?

Unfortunately, there weren't any.

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player-s4.shtml


I knew I should have refreshed...

At least my link is different. ;)

twickster
12-26-2007, 12:50 PM
Ah, well, then, never mind. :D

Wee Bairn
12-26-2007, 01:07 PM
He could have replaced an injured player at one of the other positions perhaps.

Ichbin Dubist
12-26-2007, 01:23 PM
It is an odd phrase. Making a "one-handed" catch is not is that remarkable -- there is a glove only on one hand, I'm sure almost all line drives are caught one-handed. It sounds to me like he heard the phrase "bare-handed catch" and then remembered it wrongly.

As far as the player goes, maybe he was going all Nostramdamus on us and predicting the great Brooklyn outfielder Duke Snider (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_Snider), just getting his name wrong.

Colibri
12-26-2007, 02:06 PM
He could have replaced an injured player at one of the other positions perhaps.

The Baseball Almanac indicates the only position he ever played with the Giants was catcher. In any case, it would be very unusual for a catcher to replace any other fielding position in the course of a game.

Freddy the Pig
12-26-2007, 02:29 PM
It is an odd phrase. Making a "one-handed" catch is not is that remarkable -- there is a glove only on one hand, I'm sure almost all line drives are caught one-handed.That's true today, but with the smaller, less flexible gloves of the 1930's (see pics (http://keymancollectibles.com/baseballgloves.htm)), fielders attempted to catch balls with two hands when possible. In that era, a leap and a one-handed catch of a line drive hit over one's head would be worthy of comment.

RealityChuck
12-26-2007, 03:22 PM
Also, the leaping part would be remarkable. It would mean the ball was over the player's head and he jumped up to get it. That's a pretty impressive play even today, especially on a hot liner, where you're going on reflexes alone.

Crotalus
12-26-2007, 04:16 PM
The Baseball Almanac indicates the only position he ever played with the Giants was catcher. In any case, it would be very unusual for a catcher to replace any other fielding position in the course of a game.You are correct, sir. He played some first, second and short for other teams before he went to the Giants. I'm beginning to think that Lamar was correct, that it was a reference to a fictional player.

Exapno Mapcase
12-26-2007, 04:24 PM
Here's the original paragraph for context:
As many times as I had been there, I never went in the plant-rooms without catching my breath. It was like other things I've noticed, for instance no matter how often you may have seen Snyder leap in the air and one-handed spear a hot liner like one streak of lightning stopping another one, when you see it again your heart stops. It was that way in the plant-rooms.
I think it's clear that Stout was just straining for a metaphor and that "Snyder' was a name invented for the purpose.

Crotalus
12-26-2007, 04:27 PM
Here's the original paragraph for context:

I think it's clear that Stout was just straining for a metaphor and that "Snyder' was a name invented for the purpose.
Thanks for the actual quote. I think you and Lamar Mundane are correct. A random, made-up name.

glee
12-26-2007, 06:27 PM
Thanks to all who replied. :D

Given that Texas Guinan (mentioned by Stout in a later book) did exist, I thought it was odd that he made this name up.

Happy New Year!

Beware of Doug
12-26-2007, 07:52 PM
Thanks to all who replied. :D

Lucky you asked about baseball. It's about all anybody does know about from the '30s these days, except for movies and a broad outline of politics.

Exapno Mapcase
12-26-2007, 08:08 PM
Lucky you asked about baseball. It's about all anybody does know about from the '30s these days, except for movies and a broad outline of politics.
Speak for yourself, non-history-buff. :smack:

Hari Seldon
12-26-2007, 08:33 PM
You sure it was the 30s? I guess Rex Stout might have been writing that early. At any rate Hall of Famer Duke Snider played from 1947 to 1964, mostly with the Brooklyn (and then Los Angeles) Dodgers and was a star center fielder and slugger. I once saw him hit a ball that went over the 40 right field wall in Shibe Park right near the 465 foot sign. Mickey Mantle hit HRs over 500 feet, but this was close. And yes he could have made a one-handed spear leaping in the air. He wasn't up to Willie Mays but he was a super center fielder.

Could Rex Stout have got the spelling wrong? I just checked and it was Snider.

Exapno Mapcase
12-26-2007, 10:46 PM
Fer-de-Lance was published in 1934. I'm sure.

Rube E. Tewesday
12-27-2007, 07:44 AM
Wolfe and Archie lived in a kind of alternate universe, with its own brands of cars, guns, etc. Its own baseball stars wouldn't be much of a surprise.

Beware of Doug
12-27-2007, 07:49 AM
Speak for yourself, non-history-buff. :smack:Only posing as one, to comment on a widespread cultural trend. ;)

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