Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, May 22, 1910, Page Three
Fred Tenney Must Follow McGraw, Long, Nichols, et. Al
Boston Wonder Has Rounded Out Seventeen Years in Big Show – Came to Game From Brown University in 1894 – Has Comfortable Income
By C.E. Van Loan
(Special to The-Star Telegram)
New York, May 21, – Waivers have been asked for Fred Tenney.
It seems to me that Fred Tenney has been playing baseball ever since I can remember.
Away back in the days when kids collected cigarette pictures of famous ball players – and better pictures than those given away today – there as one of a tall, slim young man with a dark mustache and immense feet. That was Fred Tenney of the Boston club, the wonderful left-handed first baseman and inventor of the Tenney double plays. That was about seventeen years ago or thereabouts.
Fred Tenney is one of the best examples of the keen, level-headed, decent ball players who helped to bring the game to the high plane on which it rests at the present time. His passing from the big league will cause sincere regret.
Tenney is the sort of man who would have succeeded in almost any walk in life. If he had not been a ball player, he would probably have been a business man, and the brain which he turned to account in figuring out new plays, would have stood him in good stead in outguessing the competition.
Fred lasted a long time. Go back and pick out the names of the men on the Boston club with him in 1897-8 when they won the pennant.
Frank Selee was the manager. Frank died last year in Denver. Herman Long was the shortstop. Herman died in Denver last year. Both men had tuberculosis.
Nichols, Klobedanz, Lewis and Stivetts were the pitchers; Bergen, Ganzel and Fred Lake were the catchers. Lowe, played second and Collins third, Long and Allen alternated at short. Hugh Duffy, Hamilton, Charlie Stahl and George Yeager took care of the outfield. Where are they now?
Tenney was the last of Boston stars of 1897 to wink out of the baseball firmament, and that he lasted so long in fast company was due to the fact that he lived cleanly and wasted no time or strength in dissipation or careless living. His baseball career should prove a find object lesson to every young man just entering the game.
Tenney was a top-notcher for sixteen years, pretty near the limit of human endurance. Other men have lasted longer, but that was in the easy, early days of the game before players had to live by the clock and sleep in Pullman cars.
Fred Tenney in 1897, Boston Red Sox, Credit Boston Public Library
When Fred Tenney, a slim youngster, came into the big league, he became an immediate sensation. He was a college man, rather an odd bird, in those days, direct from Brown University, and they signed him in 1894 as a catcher, the year when the famous Orioles introduced the baseball world to “inside ball” with such players as Jennings, McGraw, Reitz and Brouthers in the infield, and Keeler, Brodie and Kelly in the garden. There were fourteen men on that team and eleven of them hit over .300 No wonder they won a pennant and then two more with it.
Young Tenney worked behind the bat against these champs and others and made good in that position until old Tommy Tucker, the first baseman, blew up with a loud report. Tenney went to first base as a sort of an experiment, and he was an amazing revelation. Because he was a southpaw, he was able to pull off double plays never before attempted and until Hal Chase came into the game, never rivaled.
In his first year as catcher, Tenney hit for .387. That must have been a wonderful year for hitters, for on the Baltimore club, Willie Keeler, with .367 was the low man in the outfield, while Kelley was high man wth .391
The next year Tenney slumped below .300, while the loving Orioles went on murdering pitchers to their hearts content. The walloping outfield of the Orioles stacked up in 1895 as follows, to wit: William Keeler, high hook, with .394; Kelly, .370, and Brodie, .365. And those fellows played in every game too.
In 1897 the Boston club broke through the winning streak of the Orioles, winning ninety-three games and losing thirty-nine, a better record than the Orioles had been able to make. Tenney hit for .325 that year and played in 128 games. Next year the Bostons repeated. Tenney hit for .335 and was in 117 games, fielding for .982. The next year Tenney’s batting average was .350 and for fourteen years he never feel below .270 and was seven times over .300 and was five times at .325 or better.
Fred Tenney in 1911, New York Giants, Credit: Library of Congress
Tenney came to New York, one of the factors in the biggest trade ever pulled off in the National League.
All last season the veteran has trouble with his legs and feet. Nature was sending in a protest against the long continued strain. He was only in ninety-eight games during the season, and his hitting slumped twenty-one points over the year before.
When he appeared for spring practice this year, McGraw found that the old boy was still having serious trouble with his underpinning, and Merkle was put in to play first regularly and Tenney was held in reserve in case he might round into form.
McGraw held to the former star as long as he could, but when the time came for cutting down the team, waivers were asked on the Boston Wonder.
What will he do now? Nothing unless he wants to work. Fred Tenney has shown as good judgment in taking care of his income as he has in taking care of his body. Good luck, old scout!
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