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This week's Flashback
Friday is courtesy of a 1941 scrapbook that was dropped off from Jim Riedl.
The Appleton Papermakers opened the 1941 Wisconsin State League season on
Thursday, May 15 against the Sheboygan Indians.
A big crowd turned and they saw the start of the Legend of Pat Seerey.
The inimitable Gordon McIntyre has the game story from the May 16, 1941
edition of The Post-Crescent.
Busts Home Papermakers Win
Blast Climaxes Four Run Assault in Last Half of the Ninth
There's a new hero in this here man's town, one Pat Seerey from away down
Arkansas way and the pudgy, good-natured right fielder for the Appleton baseball
For last evening, Pat came to bat in the last of the ninth inning with a mate on
base and one run needed to save the Appleton Papermakers from defeat and two
runs needed to pull the old ball game out of the fire.
So Pat took a toe hold and when the first pitch came down the alley,
instead of letting it go by as the Papermakers often do, Pat took a gentle cut
and sent the ball sailing high, high into the air and over the centerfield
The 3,000 fans who were watching the game went wild and members of the
Papermakers squad galloped to the third base line to take picks on various parts
of Pat's anatomy as he rambled the last 90 feet to the plate.
And after they got through there were the kids and all the folks Pat had
to pass on the way to the dressing room.
Pat's homer gave the Papermakers a 7 to 6 victory in their opening struggle of
the 1941 season with Sheboygan the loser.
Up to the ninth inning the Papermakers were best described by the words from a
famous baseball telegram: "Good
field, no hit." Of course the
fielding was erratic on a couple occasions but generally speaking it sparkled
with enough class to thrill.
Dick Williams the Loser
Or perhaps you could have
blamed that veteran campaigner, Dick Williams, for part of Appleton's
troubles. Dick was on the mound for
Sheboygan and he wasn't so wild any more.
As a matter of fact he had good control and he used his head to good
advantage and counted ten strikeouts. Until
the fatal ninth he had allowed only four hits and not more than one an inning.
He gave up seven for the game, the same number as allowed by Tommy White
and Harold Keith of the Papermakers.
Appleton was the first to score when Williams wobbled a bit in the second in the
matter of control. He walked Seerey
and Rolf in succession and Harry Heller, who arrived only yesterday, laid down a
bunt moving both along. Then
Williams got off a wild pitch and Seerey legged it home.
With Rolf on third base, Tommy White came up and punched a single into
right for the second run. A couple
errors and a long fly to center enabled Heller to score in the fourth as
Appleton led 3 to 0.
But Tommy White, Appleton hurler who had allowed no hits through the first three
heats, allowed one in the fourth and walked two batters and was having trouble.
Came the fifth and the trouble arrived.
Rocek opened the frame with a
double to left and Williams drew a walk. Richel
was next and being a little fellow, no one expected him to hit hard.
But he blasted a homer over the left field fence and there were three
runs. White walked the next two
batters and that was enough for him with Harold Klein, a southpaw coming in.
Sheboygan got another run before the side was retired with the Indians in
front 4 to 3.
Appleton got men on bases a couple times but nothing happened and when Sheboygan
took a 6 to 3 lead in the eighth, the Appleton cause almost seemed lost.
With one away, Ballinger singled to right.
Beyer rolled to Klein who turned to throw to second and start a double
killing. But he was under too much
pressure and tossed badly to Shortstop Gregory and all hands were safe.
Then Rocek singled and Ballinger tallied from second.
Williams rolled to Klein and Beyer was out at the plate.
A passed ball moved Rocek to second and he took third on the Williams'
roller. Rocek tallied when McDonald
threw the ball past Lapham while trying to nip him off third.
The fans were still hanging around when Appleton came up in the last of the
ninth although they really figured Williams and Sheboygan had a win tucked away.
Vernon Erickson was sent in the pinch hit for Pitcher Klein and he sailed
a single to left as the crowd came alive to the possibilities.
Then Hugh Lapham worked Williams for a walk putting two men on base.
Meier was called out on strikes but Gregory sent hopes roaring when he
uncorked a double to left scoring two runs.
Herb Conyers was next and everyone was pulling for the big first sacker to smash
one a mile and win the ball game. But
Herb rolled to second as Gregory took third.
15, 1941 - BOXSCORE
Atta Boy Pat! ! ! !
Richel, lf 5
+Singled for Klein in ninth.
#Two out when winning run scored.
Sheboygan 000 040
Appleton 020 100
Errors - Lapham,
McDonnell, Klein, Yednock 2, Ruch, Beyer, Williams. Runs Batted In - Lapham,
Gregory 2, Seerey 2, White, Richel 3, Rocek.
Two-base hits - Conyers, Gregory, Richel, Yednock.
Home Runs - Seerey, Richel. Stolen
Bases - Seerey. Sacrifices -
White, Heller, McGuire. Double Plays
- Lapham to Heller to Conyers. Left
on Base - Appleton 8, Sheboygan 7. Bases
on Balls, off White 7, Williams 3. Struck
out, by White 5, Williams 10, Klein 4. Hits
off White 3 in four innings, 0 out in 5th; off Klein 4. Wild Pitches
- Williams 1. Passed balls
- McDonnell. Winning Pitcher - Klein.
Pat Seerey would hit 31 home runs for the Appleton Papermakers in 1941.
That is still an Appleton Professional Baseball record for homers in a
Seerey hit four homers in a game on
July 18, 1948. One for
each exclamation point after Atta Boy Pat
The Vernon Erickson who got the pinch-hit single to start the Papermakers rally
in the bottom of the ninth is the grandfather of current Rattlers manager Matt
The photo that goes with the article is from a Milwaukee Journal "photographic
microscope" that ran on June 15, 1941. Frank
J. Scherschel was the photographer. The
shots are great. I'll share them
over on Rattler Radio on a day before the season starts.
I am looking at a Post-Crescent photo
of fans sitting in the aisles while the 1941 opener is being played.
The men are wearing suits, ties, and fedoras.
The ladies are wearing skirts and blouses.
It is astounding that there is only one cigarette visible in the photo.
By the way, I have been looking through this scrapbook from 1941.
It is AMAZING! There are
clippings in here of the University of Wisconsin Basketball Team (Big 10 and
NCAA Champions in 1941), the UW Boxing team, the Packers (Cecil Isbell, Clarke
Hinkle, and Tony Canadeo) and other great time capsule pieces.
Plus, there is a terrific series of Post-Crescent
photos from an August game between the Papermakers and Green Bay in which the
Appleton faithful make fun of Red Smith, the Green Bay manager.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.