This is really a FanShot, but since the link is to a PDF file, it's easier to copy it into a FanPost. I hope Mr. Van Loon doesn't mind.
ABOUT A BASE BALL PLAYER'S CAREER.
The Once-Famous Ball Tosser, Now a Noted Bugologist, Discourses of the Effects of Ball Playing as a Profession.
BY E. C. VAN LOON.
San Francisco, Cal, October 12.
A few weeks ago the Friday Morning Club was entertained by a tall, sunburned young man, who discoursed on the subject of butterflies, illustrating his lecture with thirty cases of winged beauties. If any one had told the women of the Friday Morning Club that the interesting young man had once been one of the greatest ball players of his time they would have had to change their views of the professional base ball player. I have known Ervin Harvey, boy and man, for nearly twenty years. When in the Los Angeles High School Harvey divided his time between butterflies and base ball. When he was not chasing over the hills with his butterfly net he was practicing new curves, for he was the star pitcher of the high school aggregation. It was not unusual for him to fan 18 men in a game, and when he was 16 years of age his work was the main topic of local base ball circles.
"SPORT AND SCIENCE."
His butterfly collection was a fine one and the youngster poured over all the entomological works which he could find, adding to the knowledge which he secured from books by going out into the fields to study insect life at home. Then came the "Examiner" "Kid" tournament, which is still remembered because of the great ball players it developed. Harvey pitched for the Los Angeles team, which won the big silver trophy, and before the Los Angeles team returned home the lads were all professional players. They participated in a couple of games for which they were paid, and thus they lost their amateur standings. One by one the boys drifted into
and Harvey was the last to go. His work was of such a phenomenal order that the offers which he received were enough to turn the head of any eighteen-year-old boy. Harvey went to the Gilt Edge team, of Sacramento, and the old-timers in the capital city remember him as the greatest pitcher that ever wor a Sacramento uniform. They called him "Old Silent." because he never had a word to say. He was hired to play ball and off the diamond he was seldom seen by the base ball enthusiasts. It was natural that work such as Harvey's should attract attention in the East and he was claimed by the Chicago White Stockings.
A MAJOR LEAGUER.
After some time he secured his release from the Chicago team and signed with the Cleveland Club, and his pitching arm having given out on him, went into the outfield. When he made up his mind to become a professional base ball player Harvey studied the situation thoroughly and decided that the man who could play only one position was seriously handicapped. Harvey began to study the art of scientific batting and day after day he went into the outfield in order to learn how to judge fly balls. When his great pitching arm went out of commission Harvey stepped into the field, scoring an immediate success. Cleveland sporting writers call him the greatest batter that ever wore a Cleveland uniform. In one game he made six safe hits, out of six times at the bat. He was an "inside ball player," or in other words a man who played the game with his head as well as his hand. He developed himself along all lines until he was the terror of the league with the stick and any ball hit into his territory was as good as an out.
An acute attack of stomach trouble caused Harvey's retirement from the game five years ago. The Cleveland fans mourned and the management kept sending him contracts, but his health would not permit his return. On returning to his home in Los Angeles Mr. Harvey's health mended rapidly, and he is now a sound man physically, but he says he will never play base ball again. He is giving all his time to scientific pursuits and would rather be known as an entomologist than the greatest ball player of his years. Asked to write something about base ball from a player's point of view, Harvey remarked that his article would probably be unique. "You know my views are a little radical on the subject," said he.
HIS VIEWS OF BASE BALL.
But here is Ervin Harvey's own estimate of the career of a player from a player's point of view:
"To the majority of cultured and refined people the average professional base ball player is a personage of but little consideration, other than when on the field, for the reason that they associate with him a life of dissipation and regard him as a man of few good qualities. Little thought is given the matter from other than this standpoint, and this is unfortunate, for in base ball one often comes in contact with rare characters—men who would be a credit to any environment. Especially does this apply to the players of the present day.
"There are more enlightened minds among the present-day players. The inducements in the way of remuneration which are offered young players of ability, and the opportunities offered to travel about at the expense of others, are sufficient to cause many young men of standing to enter professional base ball. And, should they be so inclined, what an education is in store for them, if advantage be taken of every opportunity as it presents itself. The chances of visiting scientific institutions, museums, art galleries, libraries and various other places of note, are very numerous.
"Then there is the chance of learning a great deal of human nature, for so many different classes of people and individuals may be encountered. This is, in itself, a liberal education, one result of which should be the production of an enlightened man of strong character. Fortunate indeed is the player who has succeeded in working himself up to the topmost rank of the profession. The man who saves his money can then branch out into a more appropriate calling, or at least one more suited to his nature. If this be the case, he will find that his experience and knowledge will prove of the greatest assistance.
A STEPPING STONE.
"The prevailing idea seems to be, once a ball player, always a ball player. I presume the saying is correct to a great extent. There is a fascination about the life as it is a rather easy-going one, and once having been initiated and having reached the point of fame it is rather a difficult matter to relinquish a hold. But to the one who is so fortunate and can enter a more suitable life career, great profit should result from having encountered a multitude of various experiences and from them gained knowledge. A base ball career is not one which a young man of standing should select, as there are features in connection with the life which are not altogether commendable."