Let’s play ball!

Posted April 4, 2019 at 8:52 am by

This month’s his­to­ry col­umn from the San Juan His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety & Muse­um pos­es many questions…

These two strik­ing pho­tographs were shared by the fam­i­ly of one of these Fri­day Har­bor Tigers team­mates. At last month’s 3rd Annu­al Show and Tell evening at the Library, archives researcher Andy Zall pre­sent­ed on the impor­tance of “read­ing” a pho­to­graph, rather than just “look­ing” at it. With that in mind, we have been “read­ing” with curios­i­ty. Where did this team play? Who did they play against? Who are all these guys? And can we make out all the busi­ness spon­sors on the backs of their uniforms?

We know the iden­ti­ty of the man on the far right. It is labeled as John Dou­glas, Jr., who was the son of Jack Dou­glas, pro­pri­etor of the icon­ic pio­neer estab­lish­ment known as Saloon Best. The younger Dou­glas was mar­ried to Flo­rence Guard and would turn 32 the sum­mer this pho­to was tak­en in what we think was 1921, so we know it was an adult team. San Juan Islander news­pa­per arti­cles had been report­ing on the Fri­day Har­bor team for many years, so we know it was a well-estab­lished team. One 1910 arti­cle referred to their play­ing field as “on the King place, fronting on Guard Street.”

The Fri­day Har­bor Tigers played against teams from places such as Lyn­den, Belling­ham, and Fort Wor­den. In 1912, Fri­day Har­bor had won 15 straight games before los­ing to Seguin (the old spelling of Sequim – win a triv­ia con­test with that one) by the score of 13 to 3. It was lat­er revealed that the Seguin team man­ag­er had hired “ringers” from Seat­tle and Fort Wor­den (San Juan Islander, August 2, 1912). We should have won that game!

We may not know the names of 10 of the 11 men in these team pho­tos, but we can doc­u­ment the names of all 11 busi­ness spon­sors. It reads like a page from a busi­ness direc­to­ry. From left to right: Ross Tul­loch Hard­ware, McCrary? Bak­er Bil­liard Par­lor, Wm Fowle Ice Cream Par­lor, Churchill’s Gen­er­al Store, Ford Sales & Ser­vice, San­i­tary Meat Mar­ket, Leonard & Egland (appears to be mis­spelled), The San Juan Coun­ty Bank, Fri­day Har­bor Drug Co, Carter’s Dept Store Inc, and Bell Mid­dle­ton Co.

Now we have not only research to do on 11 base­ball play­ers, but also 11 island busi­ness­es from almost 100 years ago, includ­ing Fri­day Har­bor Drug which is, of course, quite in the present. Do you rec­og­nize any­one from your fam­i­ly in this team pho­to? We can find some of their names in archived issues of the Jour­nal, but it would be great to know who is stand­ing where in this line of players.

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Categories: History

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