Max Patkin, Baseball Clown

His Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Mar 26, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Humor, Sports, Twentieth Century

The Banana Bat

In the late nineteenth century, Emile Kinst decided that the game of baseball was too easy, so to make it more challenging he invented a curved bat which came to be known as the "banana bat". Obviously his invention never caught on. But Kinst made several hundred of these bats, and the few that are still around are quite valuable. The one shown below sold for $2880.

image source: goldin auctions

From The Boston Globe - Apr 24, 1904:

Bats have been the subject of brain cogitations by ambitious inventors. Some years ago the players became familiar with what was called the flat bat. This was never patented, but it showed the inventive genius of some player. This bat was made by shaving one of the round bats with a knife until a part of the bat near the end was flat. The object of this was to give the player a chance to bunt the ball by catching it a short clip...

There was another bat invented, however, and the man who originated it had such faith in his idea that he had it patented in 1890. This bat had a curve in it and was something like a lacrosse stick. According to the theory of the inventor, Emile Kinst, when the ball was struck by a certain portion of the bat, in addition to the regular flight produced by the blow the ball would receive a rotary motion more or less violent. The result was supposed to be a ball not only difficult to handle by the fielder if it were to come straight at him, but also hard to hold if it were a fly and he got under it, because of the spinning produced by the bat.

It was also designed to produce the effect of a bunt, but in a better way, for the inventor claimed his bat would cause the ball to land near the batter and stay there under certain conditions. With these results Mr. Kinst claimed that it would make the game more difficult to play, and therefore more interesting and exciting. But his hopes were not realized, for the bat never got the official sanction of the league.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 04, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Sports, Nineteenth Century

Shaver’s Golf

Shaver's golf = a game to find out the smallest number of strokes with which you can shave your face.

Minneapolis Star - Aug 6, 1939

A useful aid for this game would be the "stroke-counting razor" invented by engineers at Gillette a few years ago. Using this tool, Gillette determined that the average man takes about 170 strokes to shave his face. So, in the game of shaver's golf, I guess that 170 would be considered par.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 12, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Games, Sports, Hair and Hairstyling

The Camouflage Bat

On April 9, 1932, Leon "Goose" Goslin of the St. Louis Browns stepped up to the plate with a striped "camouflage bat" during an exhibition game against the Cardinals. The bat was "designed to confuse the pitcher and fool the infield players." The Cardinals didn't object so Goslin used it.

But when he tried to use the bat again three days later during the opening game of the season against the Chicago White Sox, the umpire declared "That's not our kind, Goslin!" and forced him to use a regular bat.

The next day, William Harridge, President of the American League, ruled out any further use of the camouflage bat.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Apr 14, 1932

Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 19, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand, Sports, 1930s

The Eskimo HIghkick

High-kick competitions were once part of Kivgiq, the Messenger Feast. As each man entered the qargi he tried to kick an inflated animal bladder or ball suspended from the ceiling. An Iñupiaq story tells of a young woman who owned two balls; the larger was the sun, and the smaller the moon. The sun ball fell (or in one version was dropped by Raven) and burst open, bringing light to the world. The circular designs seen on this ball represent the sun and commemorate this ancient story.

Source of quote (with more pictures).

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 03, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Ethnic Groupings, Regionalism, Sports

Henry the Home Run Chicken

No explanation available.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Oct 03, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Animals, Sports, Tourists and Tourism, Natural Wonders, Twentieth Century

The strange death of Frank Hayes

June 4, 1923: Jockey Frank Hayes suffered a heart attack and died while riding the horse Sweet Kiss in the steeplechase at Belmont Park. He nevertheless won the race.

It's the only time that a horse race has been won by a dead jockey. And it's probably also the only time that a sports competition has been won by a dead contestant.

More info: wikipedia

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - June 5, 1923

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 09, 2020 - Comments (7)
Category: Death, Sports, 1920s

Tony Galento’s Training Regimen

Wikipedia tells us:

Galento, who claimed to be 5'9 (177 cm) tall, liked to weigh in at about 235 lb (107 kg) for his matches. He achieved this level of fitness by eating whatever, whenever he wanted. A typical meal for Galento consisted of six chickens, a side of spaghetti, all washed down with a half gallon of red wine, or beer, or both at one sitting. When he did go to training camp, he foiled his trainer's attempts to modify his diet, and terrorized his sparring partners by eating their meals in addition to his.

He was reputed to train on beer, and allegedly ate 52 hot dogs on a bet before facing heavyweight Arthur DeKuh. Galento was supposedly so bloated before the fight that the waist line of his trunks had to be slit for him to fit into them. Galento claimed that he was sluggish from the effects of eating all those hot dogs, and that he could not move for three rounds. Nevertheless, Galento knocked out the 6'3" (192 cm) DeKuh with one punch, a left hook, in the fourth round.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jun 30, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough, Food, Hygiene, Sports, 1930s

World Championship Sardine Packing Contest

The World Championship Sardine Packing Contest was launched in 1970 in Rockland, Maine. But by 1990 the contest had fizzled out, due largely to an inability to find anyone willing to compete in it. This reflected the decline of the sardine packing industry in the region, as well a shift to mechanization.

The contest in 1972. Source: facebook

Circa 1971. Source: Digital Maine

Five-time champion Rita Willey became known as "the Mahammad Ali of all sardine packers." There's an exhibit honoring her in the Maine Coast Sardine History Museum. According to the museum:

when Rita was the reigning champion, she could pack 400 cans per hour. That means cutting and packing five fish per can. Her fame landed her on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson, "What's My Line?", "To Tell The Truth", and "Real People".

image source: Maine Travel Maven

Evidently there must still be sardine packing contests held on occasion, though no longer in Rockland. The video below shows a 2005 contest sponsored by the Canadian firm Connors.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 29, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Sports, World Records, Fish

Apparatus for temporarily immobilizing earthworms

Worms wiggle. This can make it hard for fishermen to impale them on a hook. But in 1989, Loren Lukehart of Boise, Idaho offered a solution. He received a patent (No. 4,800,666) for a method of "dewiggling" earthworms.

His invention was essentially a rectangular box full of sand. From his patent:

To dewiggle a worm, the fisherman has to simply set the worm in the rectangular container on top of the sharp grained sand. During the worm's natural locomotion process, the sand becomes partially imbedded in the earthworm and causes an immediate reaction wherein the earthworm completely relaxes. The earthworm is then effectively dewiggled and ready to be impaled onto the fishing hook.

Once the sand coated earthworm is immersed in water, the sand rinses free and the earthworm resume its normal wiggly character.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jun 28, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions, Sports, 1980s

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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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