Scene from Damn Yankees
Now you will hear the tale of the Washington Senators.
The Washington Senators win or lose . . . how they played
The team was known variously as the Senators,the Nationals,
and the Griffs or Griffmen, in honor of long-time
owner-manager Clark Giffith. The press, however, preferred
the sobriquet Nats. It provided a short, snarling
headline, as in
NATS LOSE AGAIN
But the team by any name would have been as hapless.
ballclubwas Keystone Kops comedy and vaudevillian
melodrama rolled into one.
Through their lengthy history . . .
They lost a season pennant in the sun because an
outfielder left histrademark sunglasses in the
in a season opener a third-baseman knocked down his own
pitcher witha throw toward first..
A shortstop threw wild over first base and killed a fan
in the standsduring one season
the team's best hitter mysteriously disappeared over
Niagara Falls,his body found days later in the waters
They boasted Walter
Johnson,arguably the best pitcher the game has seen
and Al Schacht, the self-proclaimedclown prince of
They were a team known less for what they did than for
what was doneto them.
They were not merely good losers, they were
Fans of opposing teams often cheered the Senators toward
victory. Afterall, what was not to like?
In all their years in the American League, they won only
three penantsand only one World Series championship.
And that came in the bottom of the 12th inning of
the 7th gameof a hard-fought Series won with the help
of Walter Johnson, an errantthird-base pebble and a
lot of prayers.
From the beginning of the American League
the team tookon the reputation of cellar-dwellers
because in the first ten years, theWashington franchise
finished in the bottom berth four times.
This inspired Charley Dryden, sports
editor of the SanFrancisco Chronicle, to write: Washington--firstin war, first in
peace, last in the American League.
The line was parroted by vaudeville and
burlesque comics,and then by baseball fans across the
country. Consequently, no story aboutWashington baseball
would be considered complete without the inclusionof
this zinger. Never mind that after 1910, the Washington
club would seldomend up in the basement. The Washington
Senators -- win or lose, how theyplayed the game!
BY VANCE GARNETT
CLICK ON THE OTHERLINKS TO SEE OUR
Senators WEB SITES!
Gentlemen - I came across your site today and
wanted you to be aware of the following:
My late father, George Case, Washington Senators
outfielder and major league stolen base champion 5
years in a row, 1939-43, took 8mm COLOR home
movies of life in the major leagues during his
career - there are approximately 15 Hall of
Famer's in their prime including DiMaggio,
Williams, Dickey, Greenberg, Foxx, Grove, Appling,
Gehringer etc - also quite a bit of Washington
Senators and Griffith Stadium footage - ALL IN
COLOR with my dad's narration - Mr. Griffith,
Bucky Harris, Clyde Milan, FDR "throwing out the
first ball", spring training in Orlando, many of
my dad's teammates including Cecil Travis, Rick
Ferrell, Walter Masterson, Buddy Meyer, Dutch
Leonard - thought you might want to include this
information on your Washington Senators web page -
anyone interested in the DVD can send a check to
me and I will mail the DVD:
350 Ramsey Rd
Yardley PA 19067
$32.95 (includes postage) - approximately
45 minutes in length - there is also some footage
at the end of the DVD of the most famous of all
Washington sportswriters - Shirley Povich
inducting my late father into the DC Hall of Stars
REVIEW BY VANCE
This DVD is a Diamond in the Rough!
This fascinating collection of 8mm color
film has been transferred to modern DVD! The disc
offers a player's-eye view by Washington Senators
outstanding base-runner George Case Jr. Case,
six-time stolen base leader.
Case had the foresight (1) to take these 8mm
movies, (2) to take them in color, and (3) to
later provide narration, thereby identifying the
players for a future audience (such as us). His
son, George Case III, carefully produced the DVD.
And the result is . . . shear enjoyment!
The great outfielder of the Cleveland Indians and
Washington Senators provides glimpses into his
contemporary baseball era. These were the
significant years from just before WWII to just
after it (1 939- 1946). Ballplayers, many of them
future Hall of Famers, are shown in living
color--whether hitting, running or clowning
It's wonderful to see Washington Senators
greats I've read about and written about for
years. You'll see George Case Jr. himself, Ossie
Bluege, Bucky Harris Dutch Leonard, Buddy Lewis,
and many, many others. Included are competitive
baseball greats: Ted Williams, Hank Greenberg,
Jimmy Foxx, Lefty Grove and many others.
You will see Presidents FDR, Harry Truman,
and Ike Eisenhower making the traditional Opening
Day toss. Senators club owner Clark the Old Fox
Griffith can be seen marching across Griffith
Stadium in an Opening Day parade. Famed ballparks
may be enjoyed--Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.
You'll see the elegant Wardman Park Hotel, home of
the Washington Senators, as it was in the 1940s.
And you'll laugh at baseball's Clown Princes, Nick
Altrock and others, performing their comedy
routines on the field before games.
Around the League--not just a film, it's a "You
Are There" experience that shouldn't be
missed by Washington Senators/Nationals fans.
-- Vance Garnett Co-owner with Bill Kennick
3315 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
The Washington Monument (Frank Howard) at age 68
(Washington P0ST 2005)
Washington Senators Baseball Fan
Page (unaffiliated with MLB..Nuf Said...)