"Meerns" from "Moderns"?

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Sat Dec 23 18:38:07 UTC 2000

     I received a helpful e-mail from Allen Maberry which sent me
checking the 1913 _S.F. Bulletin_ articles prior to the one in which
'Meerns' appears. Here now is an update:

(1) To avoid possible confusion concerning quote marks, here is the
relevant quote once more, which I'll present without my own quotation
marks in order to avoid possible confusion; the article begins as

     As Pop Anson would pause to remark, "I knew him when he was the
equal of a bum baseball player they call Tyrus Raymond Cobb."  Yes,
Meerns, that was some years ago.  This geek [G. Cohen: = guy] is now
a prosperous real estate dealer in San Francisco and one of the most
graceful and airy, fairy turkey trotters that ever trotted over a
hardwood floor. We 'lude to Citizen B. Lange, best known to major
league rooters as "Little Eva."

(2) The above quote (with Meerns) appeared March 11, 1913 (p.18,
cols. 5-6). A week earlier (March 6, 1913, p.17, cols. 4-5) the _S.F.
Bulletin_ carried an article about Pop Anson on vaudeville tour in
San Francisco. (heading): 'Anson Can See No Improvement In The
National Pastime,' (subheading): 'Old Hero of Baseball Declares There
Are No New Wrinkles;  Old-Timers Better Than Moderns, He Asserts.'
     Within the article is a heading: '"Pop" Says the Old-Timers Were
Better Than Moderns.' This part of the article begins: 'The writer
saw Anson in his vaudeville stunt at the Empress yesterday and after
it was over he dropped in to "Pop's dressing room to have a chat.
    Old Anse has not forgotten anything about the game.  He'll be 61
years young next April....

[Then, after some comments about the modern players being no better
than the old-timers, Pop Anson discourses on Ty Cobb and Bill Lange]:
'Ty Cobb is a wonderful boy, but he [col 5] has never shown anything
that Bill Lange could not do.  He's no better hitter, no better
fielder, no better base runner.  When Lange quit the game the Chicago
management offered him a salary of $10,000 a season to come back, and
$10,000 in those days was more that $20,000 now, and you don't see
any of the modern stars getting that much.
    "When anybody tells you that the modern teams are any better than
the old ones, tell them to take their chatter to the marines.  The
old White Stockings was a great aggregation, so were the Baltimore
Orioles [etc. etc.].

(3) The March 6 article just above must furnish whatever clues we are
seeking concerning Meerns. My guess is that Meerns is a rough
approximation of how Pop Anson might have slurred 'Moderns' (a word
which appears several times in the March 6 article.). The writer is
saying in effect: 'Yes, you modern players, that was some years ago.'

(4) As for my earlier very tentative speculation that Meerns might
have been a nickname of Pop Anson, I now withdraw it. There's no
mention of Meerns in the  March 6 article, and so the S.F. newspaper
readers would have known of Anson only as Adrian Anson, Pop Anson, or
Old Anse.

---Gerald Cohen

More information about the Ads-l mailing list