Society for American Baseball Research - Quebec

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St-Jean-sur-Richelieu
Année Nom Ligue V D Rang Séries
1898 Sans nom Provinciale 6 4 2e --
1899 Sans nom Provinciale 6 4 1er Perdu ronde 1
1900 Sans nom Provinciale 2 10 4e --
1905 Sans nom Canadienne de l'Est 3 5 4e --
1906 Sans nom Canadienne de l'Est 4 4 3e --
1947 (1) Braves Provinciale 37 29 3e Champions
1948 Braves Provinciale 56 44 2e Perdu ronde 2
1949 Braves Provinciale 46 51 4e Perdu ronde 2
1950 Braves Provinciale 58 49 1er Champions
1951 Braves Provinciale 52 68 6e --
1952 Canadiens Provinciale 63 65 3e Perdu ronde 1
1953 Canadiens Provinciale 57 65 6e --
1954 Canadiens Provinciale 53 73 5e --
1955 Canadiens Provinciale 86 44 1er Perdu ronde 1
1962 Pirates Cantons 12 28 6e --
1963 Pirates Cantons 22 28 5e --
(1) Trois matchs nuls en 1947
Recherche: François Dupuis, Alexandre Pratt et Christian Trudeau
 1949 BRAVES DE ST-JEAN. Article: Bill Young
Collection Bill Young
 
Red Hayworth: Former St-Jean Manager Passes Away

The death notice was brief and to the point, and even in a world where these things count, it barely caused a ripple.

“Myron “Red" Hayworth, a catcher for the St. Louis Browns in 1944 and 1945 has passed away,” it read. “A native of High Point, North Carolina, he died there on November 2nd (2006) at the age of 91.”

No mention was made of the fact that Hayworth had been player-manager for the St-John’s (St. Jean) Braves during the Quebec Provincial League’s unforgettable year of 1949. In fact, he was a popular figure there and while few might recall him today, his efforts were so appreciated at the time that the team held a special benefit for him when he left.

“Red was a real gentleman on the field,” is how former Drummondville catcher Jerry Cotnoir described Hayworth recently. “He would tell you, ‘nice play,’ even if you were on the opposing team. We appreciated that.”

The 6-foot, 1-inch Hayworth, considered a light-hitting but solid catcher, broke into Organized Baseball in 1936 with the Akron (Ohio) Yankees. After a number of years in the minor leagues, he was signed by the American League Browns in 1944 to share catching duties.

That same year St. Louis clinched the American League pennant and made their only World Series appearance in a 53-year history. The under-dog Browns - they would move to Baltimore in 1954 and become the Orioles – lost to their National League counterparts, the St. Louis Cardinals, in 6-games. Hayworth started all six games.

In 1946, Hayworth, aware that his days with the Browns were numbered, jumped his contract to join a growing number of players drawn to the Mexican League by promises of great riches.

Soon enough he discovered that playing and living conditions were not as advertised, and when the money dried up, he and the other expatriates headed home.

Unfortunately they had no place to go. For their actions the jumpers had been suspended from Organized Baseball for a 5-year period.

One of the group, Max Lanier, a first-line hurler with the St. Louis Cardinals - he had faced Hayworth in the ’44 Series – tried to counter by putting together a touring all-star team of sorts, with Hayworth behind the plate. Their venture fell flat, however, because Organized Baseball threatened to sanction any organization receiving them.

The exiles were now out of options. Almost. There was still Quebec’s Provincial League.

The Quebec circuit operated outside Organized Baseball and did not feel bound by its dictates. By 1949 local rivalries were such that clubs actively solicited the best players they could find – suspended or not. And the possibility of bolstering their rosters with Mexican League worthies was especially appealing.

Most of Lanier’s All-Stars, including Lanier himself, came on board. Hayworth, who was described as being 30-years old (he was closer to 35), inked his contract with St. John’s in February.

As manager, he inherited a Braves team which included suspended major leaguer Alex Carrasquel, and Negro League standouts, Quincy Barbee and Terris “The Great” McDuffie. They started off with a flourish, sweeping the season-opening double-header against Farnham - but then stumbled through the rest of the year.

The effort was there – both to win games and stir up fan interest. When St. John’s Capitol cinema (“The largest theatre in the district”) ran the new MGM musical, ‘Take me Out to the Ballgame,” with Esther Williams and Gene Kelly, the Braves even appeared on stage at one of the showings 

 “IN PERSON ON THE STAGE” read the notice on the movie poster. “RED HAYWORTH AND HIS BOYS: THE PLAYERS OF THE ST. JOHNS BRAVES.”

In early June, the league was dealt a blow when Organized Baseball lifted its suspension of Mexican jumpers even though it still had a year and more to run. In part the bosses wanted to stem a series of legal actions now working their way through the courts.

But they also clearly intended to disrupt the workings of the Provincial League. It had become too successful for baseball’s liking, and they feared its outlaw tendencies could well threaten the security of the organized game if left unchecked.

With the hammer of suspension now removed, most of the players affected began drifting back, taking some of the league’s allure with them. Alex Carrasquel packed up in early July: Hayworth, however, declared that he intended to remain.

The league held its All-Star game in early July, and Hayworth was named manager of the South team (Farnham, Granby, St. Johns). His squad lost in a tight, 13-inning encounter, when, with the bases loaded and one out, Farnham catcher Eudie Napier let a pitch get by him, allowing the winning run to score.

For Hayworth, this marked the beginning of a downturn in fortunes. Within days, the St. John’s Messenger was reporting that “playing manager Red Hayworth was unable to take his place behind the plate because of doctor’s orders,” although no further information was forthcoming. He returned to duty shortly afterward, but not for long.

However he went out with a measure of glory. In what appears to have been Hayworth’s last match, a home game against Drummondville that went into the bottom of the 10th, the Messenger breathlessly reported that “Red worked the count to 2 and 2 and then lofted one over the left field fence to give the Braves their [winning] margin. It was a real story book finish.”

By the next week the paper was describing a new player, Don Savage, as “playing manager,” without explanation. In fact, Hayworth had banged up his right knee blocking home plate. The injury was serious enough that he required surgery, and was sent to a Montreal hospital to have damaged cartilage removed. It was only the end of July, but Ray’s season was already over.

The team was sorry to see him leave and felt that he merited a special good-bye. On August 1 the organization staged a benefit exhibition game in his honour, pitting the Canadian members of the Braves against their American counterparts.

 ”There was plenty of clowning,” stated the Messenger, “and all the players and umpires joined in the fun, much to the delight of the younger ones in the stands.” Red was present, in uniform, and thanked the fans for their consideration, adding that he “hoped to be able to return to St. Johns to play again.” The benefit netted him $2000.

And with that, Red Hayworth slipped  out of  the region. He continued playing elsewhere for three more years and then retired to become a coach and scout. He always retained a warm spot in his heart for St. Jean. His son, also Myron Hayworth, wrote recently that summer in St-Jean meant fishing with his dad in the Richelieu River, where, “the water was so clear you could see the fish on the bottom.”

When Hayworth left, a young player, Norman Smith, who had been his protégé, went with him, to the displeasure of the local faithful. Smith has always been a bit of a mystery to Sabr researchers: we knew that he was a college student playing under a false name to protect his amateur status. But who was he?

The answer might lie in a recent note from Myron Hayworth, Jr.  Talking about his dad’s funeral he commented that although his father had been in baseball for over 50 years, only one person in baseball actually showed up. “He was Billy Smith who my father had called to join him in St. Jean to play baseball. Billy Smith went on to play in the majors and he told me how much it meant to him.”

Norman Smith? Billy Smith? There was a Bill Smith who broke into organized baseball in 1950 with High Point in the North Carolina League (Hayworth was from High Point!) and so we can probably make the assumption that Norman and Billy were the same person. Bill Smith played baseball for 10 years but Atlanta of the Southern Association was the highest level he reached. 

As for the Braves in 1949, they improved enough to make it through the first round of the play-offs before losing out to Farnham.

Red Hayworth’s participation with the hapless St. Louis Browns is now an arcane piece of baseball history. But his role with St. John’s is part of our story. As Jerry Cotnoir reminded, Red brought a gentle honour to our game.  And for that we remember him fondly.

 
Les joueurs
 P  Photo / Picture  C  Carte / Card
De St-Jean aux majeures
Leon Viau (1899)
 P  Jean-Pierre Roy (1947-48)
Buzz Clarkson (1948)
Alex Carrasquel (1949)
John Corriden (1949)
Bobby Estalella (1948)
Glenn Gardner (1949)
Myron Hayworth (1949)
Lou Klein (1949)
Ebba St-Claire (1947)
Don Savage (1949)
Walt Signer (1949)
Carlos Bernier (1950)
Jim Delvin (1950)
Ruben Gomez (1950-51)
Lou Johnson (1954)
Bill Koski (1954)
Gordon Maltzberger (1952)
R.C. Stevens (1953)
Valmy Thomas (1951, 1955)
Claude Raymond
Nos documents
1905 Dessins de Archambault et Berger
1906. Le gérant J.F. Moreau
1955? Photo d'équipe des Canadiens de St-Jean
>>> Voir notre médiathèque
 
Nos lectures
L'histoire de la Ligue Provinciale (1898-1903) (Alexandre Pratt, 2006)
Disorganized Baseball: The Provincial League from Laroque to the Expos
Merritt Clifton( 1982)
Le clergé québécois et le sport (1930-1960)
Jean Harvey (1988)
L'histoire de la Ligue provinciale 1947-49. Christian Trudeau