Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mini-biography on the web

A month or so ago, I volunteered to write a short biography of a baseball player who was unknown to me. Considering that he played less than 100 games in the majors, and his best season was more than a century ago, I hope that I can be forgiven.

However, I was intrigued by the fact that I had as a source the player's son.

The story is about pitcher Jack Sutthoff, who recorded his best big-league season in 1903, when he went 16-9 for his hometown Cincinnati Reds.

I did the story, mostly during vacations in December, with the assistance of his son, retired FBI agent Bob Sutthoff. Bob had contacted the Society for American Baseball Research, asking if someone would write his dad's story. After seeing the offer on the SABR web site, and not having any immediate projects at the time, I volunteered.

Bob is a friendly 90-something who shared clippings from his dad's scrapbook and assisted me with a couple of telephone interviews.

SABR has posted hundreds of biographies on its BioProject web site. The project has the lofty goal of doing one of these stories on every man who ever played an inning of major league baseball.

It was a fun project, and I was reminded that a person does not need to be a superstar to have an interesting story.

2 comments:

erik hogstrom said...

"Of the four hits made off him in the first two innings, three would have been easy outs if Jud Smith had been accompanied to the field by his wits."
Ouch!
That was an interesting biography. I like that there was a time when people could acquire gainful employment by pulling people from the path of an oncoming locomotive. It's also interesting that Sutthoff's widow attended games at each of the different baseball parks.

Brian Cooper said...

How would he list it on his resume? "Hero" or "lifesaver"?

Thanks for reading the bio on Sutthoff. When you have time, check back for some of the other stories of lesser-known major leaguers.