As you likely saw with the news of Gaylord Perry’s induction into the Indians Hall of Fame, Jack Graney and Jim Warfield will also be inducted into the non-player portion of the HOF. Out of the 43 people that have been honored by the Indians over the years, only 3 of those were honored for their feats off of the field: former owners Bill Veeck and Dick Jacobs, and scout Cy Slapnicka (the man that signed Bob Feller many years ago). So Warfield and Graney join excellent company later this year. Warfield, an athletic trainer, worked for the team in some capacity from 1965-2002, and served as head trainer from 1971-1996. Graney had a fascinating career that included a stint playing for the Indians from 1910-1922, a time frame that included the team’s 1920 World Series winning squad. He was the first batter to ever face Babe Ruth as a pitcher, and the first Indian to wear a number on his uniform. A left fielder, Graney’s career numbers were .250/.354/.342.
What John Gladstone “Jack” Graney is best known for (and the reason for his induction) was his work as the play-by-play radio announcer for the team from 1933-1953; the first former player to enter the booth. Broadcasting games with Jimmy Dudley, Graney has been described as such: “Possessing a crisp, stirring delivery, Graney was a master at setting a scene and his enthusiasm packed a sense of built-in drama. His ability to re-create a game from just a telegraphic report has never been paralleled.” Dudley said that he was one of the best announcers of all time; a feat that many older Clevelanders would likely agree with. He’s been inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame (he hails from St. Thomas, Ontario), but has yet to be enshrined in Cooperstown (despite the fact that he continues to make the ballot for announcers).
Even though many younger Indians fans aren’t familiar with the name Jack Graney, he is still being honored and recognized even today. He and his dog Larry are the subject of a new book by Barbara Gregorich. Our local SABR chapter (Society for American Baseball Research) is named in honor of Graney.
Speaking of our local SABR chapter, yesterday was national “SABR Day” where all of the organization’s members meet to talk baseball. Our local Cleveland chapter decided instead to meet next week instead, on Saturday, February 4 (we have members that like to travel to other meetings around the region). Non-members are more than welcome to join us; we meet in the basement media room of Progressive Field. The cost of attending is just $3 (and gets you free pop and snacks) and there will be a number of cool presentations and guests. I’m the president of the group, so I’ll obviously be there as well.
Our current lineup:
Eric Thompson: “The National League’s First Expansion Draft: Did the Colt .45s and the Mets Have a Fair Chance?”
Bob Sproule: “The First Time”
Thomas Woodman: Project on the original 15 concrete and steel baseball parks built from 1895-1923.
Joe Werner and Justice Hill: “An analysis of how the Indians will finish, record wise, in the upcoming season.”
Terry Pluto: Discussing new book on Joe Tait
(We may also have an additional special guest as well.)
The meeting runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a break for lunch. If you’re interested in going, you don’t have to stay for the entire day. We’re to enter the building through the door in the player parking lot (the fenced in area at the corner of Carnegie Ave. and E. 9th). If you want to spend a cold winter day hanging out at Progressive Field talking baseball, please make plans to join us on Saturday! (Even if you’re not able to make it, I plan to recap the meeting and what the guests/presenters have to say).