Donkey Baseball (PIC, May 1938)
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Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Aug 21 06:09:03 UTC 2001
DICKSON'S NEW BASEBALL DICTIONARY has no details:
_Donkey baseball_ A baseball game played for laughs by players mounted on donkeys. Although still staged, such intentional fiascos are not as popular as they once were.
There are some web hits that seem to show 1931-1935 games.
This is from PIC, 31 May 1938, pg. 4, col. 1:
In the dark Depression days of '31 and '32, M. A. Smithwick of San Francisco found his career as a salesman folding up under him. Then he thought up donkey baseball. He bought and trained a troupe of donkeys and introduced the sport to the West Coast. Now he has two groups of donkeys and a steady income. A group (Col. 2--ed.) of Smithwick's donkeys are booked into a town and two teams of local amateur ballplayers put on the game, giving Smithwick a percentage of the gate. An indoor baseball is used and neither the players nor the spectators take the game too seriously. Donkeys are unpredictable, perverse creatures and anything can happen.
_Batter up!_ In donkey baseball, the batter has a picnic--he stays up there winging until he catches hold of one and hits it fiar. But then the fun begins! He must mount his donkey (left) and gallop ( he hopes!) to first. Pitcher and catcher remain on foot but cannot leave their respective positions.
_Too much donkey-business!_ And the outfielder takes a dive. Few fly balls are caught and the fielders must ride to the ball, dismount, remount and ride in or throw to the pitcher who relays all throws from the outfield to the proper base. Sounds like a cinch for the batter to make a homerun.
_That's what you think!_ But you've never tried to make a soutbound mule go north--or vice versa. This fellow was in such a hurry he got on his ass backwards.
_Safe!_ The batter's burro wanders along and finally gets to first base just before the throw from the pitcher. Don't confuse donkeys (same thing as asses and burros) with mules which result from mating between horses and donkeys.
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