Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"Locked Up in a Cage"

In the June 15 contest between Moorhead and W-B, the actions of W-B team official Claude Rittenhouse were extreme enough to cause the Moorhead Independent to argue that he should be “locked up in a cage.” It began when Moorhead pitcher Pike Mullaney went to retrieve a throw in foul territory that had escaped the reach of first baseman Henry Clayton. When Mullaney reached the ball, the Independent claims, Rittenhouse grabbed the Moorhead ace around the neck and tackled him. Hoping his actions would enable the W-B baserunner on third base to score, Rittenhouse also was said to have tried to trip Mullaney. Watching the outlandish scene unfold was Umpire O’Donnell, who ordered the W-B runner to return to third base as a result of the interference. The umpire did not discipline Rittenhouse in any way, however, possibly because of Rittenhouse’s high position or possibly because the event may not have been as extreme as the Moorhead weekly portrayed it. The paper argued that Rittenhouse should have been ejected from the field and escorted away via police escort. (“Notes of the Diamond,” Moorhead Independent, July 23, 1897).

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