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Friday, November 22, 2013

President Kennedy, Earl Battey, And The 1962 All Star Game

"World War II Aviation hero Quesada and a few other friends"
                                           Those little tykes (Dennis Marcel, Frank Brown, members of the Washington Boys Club)
                                                     certainly got a front row to history! PHOTO
Cecil (Cecil William) Stoughton 
The Twins would win their first pennant in this same ballpark three seasons later.

The above photo was posted by Minnesota Twins President Dave St. Peter on Twitter today, the 50th anniversary of November 22, 1963 assassination. Earl Battey shakes hands with President Kennedy at D.C. Stadium before the playing of the 1962 All Star Game. Between them stands then-MLB Commissioner Ford Frick, and Elwood R."Pete" Quesada  (glasses), the new Senators chief majority owner. Off to the side (left) stands Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey and an unidentified dignitary. Do examine this You Tube video of the game. You see superb footage of not just the ceremonial first pitch, but that of Pascual pitching in the the 6th inning during the NL rally, the Rollins blooper hit, run scored, and closeups of JFK sitting in the box seats.

In it's lightheartedness, the entire scenario that included two young boys as guests stands in stark contrast to the pivotal fall approaching, i.e., the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the year to follow in the Kennedy's lives.

Above Photo from Alton Evening Telegraph 7/11/62- "Minneapolis Twins" - LOL!! (see PDF)

Battey was the starting catcher for the AL that day, going 0 for 2 at the plate in the 3-1 loss to the NL. He still shined, however, using his howitzer of an arm to throw out Roberto Clemente on an attempted steal in the fourth inning. Twins third baseman Rich Rollins also started that day going 1 for 2, scored the only AL run, and was hit by a Don Drysdale pitch (yes, Dandy Don drilling someone, quite the shock!). 

Twins star righty Camilo Pascual was the losing pitcher, tossing 3 innings, and allowing 2 earned runs.   The Sporting News (page 1) of  July 21 included a great account of the game, with the circumstances surrounding their handshake in the photo, plus a black and white photo of Battey on page 2.

You can view a story with this Kennedy photo, game report included, at a newspaper PDF link to the Burlington Daily Times of July 11, 1962. One of my personal favorites, Stan Musial, was playing in his 22nd All Star Game that day, got a key hit off Camilo, and earlier had a personal audience with JFK (see Eau Claire news link PDF). Dodger shortstop Maury Wills also got a ton of press with his exploits, running wild and stealing bases.  The Lima News also had a nice account and photo of the game's stars the next day. 

It was the first All Star Game ever played at D.C. Stadium, the home of the new expansion Washington Senators. They had come into existence in 1961, when the original Senators franchise up and moved to Minneapolis-St. Paul to become the Minnesota Twins. D.C. Stadium would later host the 1969 All Star Game, renamed R.F.K. Memorial Stadium by then. Clem's Baseball retro stadium site is fantastic in its photographic and architectural schematics of the stadium and its history. The FIRST cookie-cutter style stadium, as the You Tube video makes plain.

Kennedy threw out the First Ball, with Lyndon Johnson standing by (left), hoping he'd be asked to throw one of his infamous curve balls in relief if needed - you'll read of the photographers caught napping at The Sporting News link above. That would include Presidential Photographer Stoughton.

Prior to handshake - President attends the 32nd All-Star Baseball Game, throws out first ball. Speaker of the House John W. McCormack, Dave Powers, Vice President Johnson, President Kennedy, Commisioner of Baseball Ford. C. Frick, Lawrence O'Brien, others . Washington, D.C., D.C. Stadium - PHOTOCecil (Cecil William) Stoughton

First pitch of the game below: note high pitch, where Battey sets up to receive - higher strike zones were more the norm, especially pre-1969...

Photo: Logansport (IN) Herald 7/11/62, see PDF)

More than likely, I'll be adding to this post later, the incessant tinkerer.

Ready to wing it towards Earl!

As Herb Carneal signed off after post game shows:


Aase said...

Doesn't look like McCarthy...once I get it on a bigger screen I can confirm. Pretty awesome pic regardless. Nice of TwinsPrez to post it.

ClassicMNTwins said...

I concur. You can see my doubt (added "?"), tried Google photo search, not answers. Smiles like John Connolly, but don't think that's correct either.

Jeff said...

Hi , Great article.It looks like Walter Mondale to me. Sad day but nice for you to remember our fallen President with you're Blog. Jeff at Http://

Bob said...

In the photo where the ball is about five feet out of JFK's hand, the guy standing next to LBJ, in front of him a bit, in a straw hat and biege suit, with his hands folded in front of him, is Dave Powers, Kennedy's pal and aide, who knew as much baseball lore and legend as any man in Washington DC at the time. If a visitor came to the White House claiming to know baseball, Kennedy would have Powers grill him a little bit. On November 22, 1963, Powers was in the back-up car along with Secret Service agents (including Clint Hill) and various others. This car arrived at Parkland a few seconds after the presidential limo. Powers leaped out of his seat and ran to the presidential car, fully expecting JFK to jump up from a duck-and-cover and say, "I'm all right!" Instead Powers found blood and brain matter and carnage, and a dead president. Powers said, "Oh my God, Mr. President!" and burst into tears.

As noted, LBJ is immediately behind Powers, to Powers' left. He would be president in 18 months. Behind Powers, to Powers' right, is Speaker of the House John McCormack, who in 18 months would be next in line to be president and leader of the free world.

ClassicMNTwins said...

Wonderful, Bob, I really loved all your detail. I've never heard of Powers, I confess. Just a mention of the the name Kennedy, and images and low feelings about the assassination are never far behind. It's just part of the territory, I guess, something our generation will have to shoulder for the rest of our lives. And that story, that detail about Powers coming upon his deceased friend, the (now former) leader of the free world … Indescribably sad. It's so out of step with the write up of this sunshiny, joyful day in DC-in midsummer, 1962. Thanks for commenting, friend.