Sunday, July 09, 2006

Historic day in Cascade

Saturday was a special day for Cascade, Iowa. That evening, the son of the late Red Faber, a National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and Cascade native, came to town to present some of his father's memorabilia to the Tri-County Historical Society.

In a ceremony after the Telegraph Herald Semi-Pro All-Star Game, Urban C. Faber II presented four items to the society, which operates a museum in Cascade. As Red Faber's biographer, I had gotten to know Urban II, and was pleased to help facilitate the donation.

The items are:
  • A baseball autographed by Red Faber in 1960 at a ceremony honoring the 50th anniversary of his minor-league perfect game. (The baseball is also signed by Dennis Ribant, a minor leaguer who threw a perfect game in 1960.)
  • A wristwatch presented to Faber by Loras College in 1964. Faber once attended the college's prep academy and later pitched for the college varsity in 1909, shortly before turning pro.
  • A paperweight-plaque from Campion Academy, the Prairie du Chien, Wis., prep school that Faber attended for two years. At the time, it was known as Sacred Heart.
  • A gold pocketwatch that was a gift to Faber from the fans of Cascade in 1916. It is engraved to mark the occasion.
Of the four items, the treasure is the pocketwatch. Here is the background:

Early in his career, for three straight seasons, Red Faber and the Chicago White Sox traveled to Dubuque for exhibition games.

On May 3, 1916, the White Sox played against the institution today known as Loras College. In the third inning, when Faber came to bat, the game paused for a special ceremony. A delegation of Cascade residents, headed by Mayor F. J. Keefe, walked to home plate and presented Red Faber an engraved pocket watch as a gift from the people of Cascade.

That gold watch has remained in the Faber family the past 90 years. On Saturday, Urban Faber II returned that watch to Cascade by donating it to the Tri-County Historical Society.

The watch will be proudly displayed in the museum once updating and relocating the Faber exhibit is completed.

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