Jon Terry Looks Back at the History of Baseball Acts
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Jon Terry is the owner of SRO Productions of Tulsa, Inc. and has been booking touring sport entertainment acts since 1992.
He started by managing sport's comedian nerd Myron Noodleman and quickly added other acts that have included Morganna "The Kissing Bandit," Krazy George, Jake "The Diamond Dog," Lou "Simon Says" Goldstein and many others.
Terry took an interest in the background of his industry and found a colorful history. His research is just beginning and he hopes that anyone with stories, names, photos, film or video about any former sport entertainment act to contact him so that more information can be compiled.
Gameops.com: What started you studying the history behind touring sport entertainers?
Jon Terry: I met Max Patkin at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Los Angeles in 1995. He sent me his book "The Clown Prince of Baseball." In his book, Max wrote that he wasn't the first Clown Prince of Baseball but he inherited the title after Al Schacht died. At that moment it dawned on me that I had never heard about anyone before Max, so the research began. I felt that it was important for me to know all there was about the business that fed my family.
Gameops.com: Max Patkin goes back a ways. Who were the "pioneers" that came before him?
Jon Terry: A complete list is going to be impossible. If you counted every act that was ever hired to perform at a ball game it would be endless. I have to wonder how many circus acts, daredevils, comedians, actors and miscellaneous odd balls ever graced a field because of team owner Bill Veeck alone. But I've found some amusing stories about a number of acts and it only makes me want to learn more.
In my efforts to compile information about entertainers there seems to be some categories in which you can group these performers.
Group One: If You Can No Longer Play, Make 'Em Laugh.
This is a list of guys who found ways to stay in baseball after their playing careers ended:
Walter "Arlie" Latham, born 1859 - died 1952. Listed by the New Hampshire Historical Society as the first "Clown Prince of Baseball." Arlie played in the 1800's when only the catcher and first basemen wore gloves. At the age of 50 Arlie is the oldest player to ever steal a base in major league history. As a coach he would try to distract opposing pitchers with silly stunts and taunting. He was known for entertaining the fans by dancing jigs in the coaching box, and would turn cartwheels when his team scored. Also had nicknames of "The Dude" and "The Freshest Man on Earth" (from a song of that era).
Germany Schaefer, 1877-1919. Known as the "Master of Stealing First Base." While playing for the Detroit Tigers he attempted a double steal. He was on first and Davy Jones was on third. The Cleveland catcher held the ball and Germany was safe on second. The next pitch Germany ran back to first. The next pitch he stole second again drawing a throw from the catcher and Jones went home for the winning run. In 1912 he started baseline coaching and teamed up with fellow clown Nick Altrock.Custom Printed Silcone Sports Watch