G. A.R.--query

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Tue May 29 20:10:45 UTC 2001

Gerald Cohen asks:
>   Would anyone have any idea what "G.A.R." stands for in the quote
> below. It appears in the newspaper _San Francisco Bulletin_,April 19,
> 1913, p.13/5; "Sporting Tit-Bits by  'Mac'" and concerns pitching
> great Cy Young:
>   "Isn't it appropriate for 'Cy' Young to become a manager in the
> Federal League?  Cy is a member of the G. A.R. so far as the baseball
> fans are concerned."

My guess would be that the writer is saying that Cy Young is a relict of
the past, as far removed from current interests as the Grand Army of the
Republic is.  I see that Young had won 21 games as recently as 1908, and
19 in 1909, but that in his final year in the majors -- 1911 --he was
with 2 teams and had had a combined record of 7 wins and 9 losses.  But
unless Young had played for a team in the Pacific Coast league in 1912
and 1913, or unless he had spent those years talking about making a
comeback, or encouraging speculation that he might, (like a certain
basketball player,) I don't see the point of dismissing him as an
over-the-hill oldtimer.  It seems uncalled-for, if Young had retired
after the 1911 season.

Speaking of baseball record that will never be broken, as I am sure
someone among us was recently, or will be before very long, Young holds
one record that won't ever be broken.  Any pitcher who wins 20 games a
year for 25 years will be within range of Young's record for 512 wins.
But given the fact that any pitcher today who pitches 10 complete games
in a season is called an iron horse, and a throwback, Young's record of
750 complete games looks pretty safe.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African
Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

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