When Matt Williams’s grandpa played for the Senators

October 25, 2013
(Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Matt Williams will be the Nats’ next manager. Matt Williams’s grandfather, Bert Griffith, once played ball in Washington. Briefly. In 1924.

Now, I’m not the first person to note this, and I dang sure won’t be the last.

 

Still, this seems like a good time to review Griffith’s D.C. highlights, as read in The Washington Post and the New York Times during July of 1924.

July 5, 1924

In the night-cap of a double-header against the Yankees, Griffith got the call as a pinch-hitter with men on first and third and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, his team trailing by two runs. Via the New York Times:

Manager Harris here sent in Bert Griffith, who used to be with the Robins, and whom the Senators obtained from Nashville, to bat for Mogridge. But Griffith proved unequal to the emergency, bounding toward first. Pipp stopped the ball with his glove and tossed neatly to Jones to the bag for the put out that made the Senators’ day a complete loss.

July 7, 1924

Strap in. This is from The Post.

While kicking is generally associated with the gridiron game, a pretty ‘boot’ by Pinch Hitter Hendrick yesterday enabled the Yankees to turn in a 7 to 4 victory over the Nationals in a contest which otherwise would have gone the other way by a 4 to 3 count. Not only did this rough stuff turn the tide of victory the Huggmen’s way, but it also sent the locals so high in the air that they followed with some very sloppy work which added materially in their downfall.

Up until the ‘nightmare’ Yankee ninth, the Harrismen had looked like a real ball club, having overcome a 2-run alien lead in the early stages and then gone as many in the van in the ‘lucky’ seventh. Ruth got one of these back when he lashed out the second drive to hit in the left center stands, in the eighth, which was good for the circuit. When Schang singled to open the visitors’ ninth and was forced mid-way by Ernie Johnson, who relieved Scott at the tee, after Matthews had come through with a brilliant catch of Ward’s drive almost to the stands in deep left-center, it looked as though the home boys would get the decision.

Then came Hendrick’s masterly ‘boot.’ It might very properly be called a ‘mutual drop-kick,’ he doing the kicking and Peck the dropping. Harvey, who hit for Shawkey, singled to right and tried to make a double out of it, Rice’s peg to Peck catching him easily for what would have ended the game. Ormsby called him out, but did not see him gently kick Peck on the hand in which the ball was held and reversed his decision.

Timeout

Let me pause here to say, what the bloody hell is this writer trying to say? Was there some rule in 1924 that game stories should endeavor to be as overwrought and unclear as possible? And also never to use first names? Maybe mix in a normal sentence for the benefit of your readers 90 years in the future? Sheesh.

Anyhow

Anyhow, Griffith yet again got a chance to pinch-hit with two outs in the ninth.

Bush was on the mound for the Yanks in the Harrismen’s ninth, but was very wild. After Judge and Tate, the latter having relieved Ruel behind the plate, had been retired, Bullet Joe walked both Peck and Bluege, Rajah going to both second and third unmolested. Bert Griffith was sent to hit for Marberry, but he fanned after working the count to 3 and 2.

July 17, 1924

From The Post:

The Nationals have been kept so busy with actual competition during the past few weeks that they were excused from practicing yesterday. Bert Griffith, who is overweight and trying to get off some surplus avoidurpois, and several of the pitchers who simply warmed up, being the only ones to do any work at all.

July 19, 1924

From the Post:

Manager Bucky Harris is well pleased with his latest trade which brings Floyd Scott here from Kansas City, of the American association, in exchange for Red Hargrave, Chick Gagnon, Bert Griffith and some cash amount not given out.

And that was that.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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