Saturday, September 13, 2003

You Betcher Sweet Bippy 

A friend of mine sent me a cool e-mail the other day. To protect his identity, I'll call him Repoz. Repoz was telling me about an old player named Frank Betcher. Betcher had a nondescript baseball career, putting up a robust 500 OPS in 1910, his only season. Even in the light-hitting deadball era, that translated to an OPS+ of 49. You can look that up in your Baseball Reference!

Nonetheless, Betcher went on to a more illustrious career as author Frank Bettger. He wrote numerous motivational books, mainly trying to instill a positive mental attitude in insurance salesmen. Repoz told me that in one book, "Benjamin Franklin's Secret of Success and What it Did For Me" (with a blurb from World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker,) he tells some stories about playing minor league ball in New Haven at Savin Rock Field. That kind of stuff interests me, especially because Betcher was playing in New Haven right around the same time frame that I am trying to research.

Incidentally, Bettger wasn't intentionally playing under an assumed name. The book goes on to say that a contract was mailed to him from the Reds' Johnstown team with the Betcher name on it and since he was a 17 year old kid at the time, who was he to argue?

Over the years, exploits of an athlete's playing days tend to get embellished. But this website went over the top. It seems like they got Bettger/Betcher mixed up with Frankie Frisch or Rogers Hornsby.

This isn't earth-shattering stuff, but it is the type of material that makes for a good story. I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?