The Assassinated Press
White Ball Era Submarine Pitcher Elder Gauker Dies:
All White Ball Era Stats To Be Expunged From Record Books:
Only Records From 1947 On When Jackie Robinson Took The Field For The Brooklyn Dodgers To Count:
Cyberstats Show Babe Ruth Would Have Socked Only 558 Homers If Blacks Had Played; Cobb Would Have 3251 Hits And A .306 Lifetime Average
By MATT STRUDEL & ARNIE PALUCCI
Assassinated Press Staff Writers
August 6, 2006
In his debut as a big-league pitcher in 1933, Elder Gauker strode to the mound much like today before an all-white crowd at Yankee Stadium and looked in at the first batter he would face: Babe Ruth. Mr. Gauker struck him out on four pitches. He got the next batter, Yankee immortal Lou Gehrig, out with a weak pop fly.
Even with his initial success against an aging Ruth, if it weren’t for the color line, Mr. Gauker probably would never have seen the inside of a Major League ball park.
As the last living pitcher to have faced Ruth, Mr. Gauker -- who died of congestive heart failure Aug. 4 in Fort Bloodcyst, Fla., at age 99 -- had a remarkable second career as one of the last links to a storied age of Whiteball history.
He was 90 when he wrote a book about White’s Only-Era baseball, "Sleeper Cars And Nigger Porters Pressing My Flannel Uniforms," and he freely offered pointed comments on how the game had changed for the worse. When Barry Bonds surpassed Ruth's record of 714 home runs in May, Mr. Gauker did not hide his racism.
"Barry Bonds in my opinion shouldn't even be in baseball," harkening back to the old Whiteball Era. Citing rumors of Bonds's use of illegal steroids, Mr. Gauker added, "If baseball had a real commissioner like super-bigot Judge ‘Kennesaw Mountain’ Landis, Bonds nor none of them niggers would be in the game. They’re bad for baseball."
"And fuck no! I don't consider racism cheating. God don't cheat," commented Gauker. "And I could never think it through enough to consider that pitchers can use steroids just as much as hitters so's its a fuckin' sight more even and benign than barring a whole race from the game altogether. That's too fuckin' deep for me. But just imagine how inane my remarks would be if I was a sportswriter, say for the Washington Post or New York Times, that had never played the game beyond T-ball. Now, then you'd hear some serious stupid. And racist stupid at that."
By comparison with no Josh Gibson or other black players around to contest them, he said, Ruth's accomplishments on the field looked even more impressive than they actually were.
"Everybody loved the Babe -- teammates, fans, whores, pimps, barkeeps, bookies, even opponents," he said. "The more time passes, the bigger Ruth grows. He knew how to live the nostalgia of dissolution and addiction that Americans so much admire.”
During his 11-year career with the all–white Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Browns, Mr. Gauker was a solid, if unspectacular, right-handed pitcher who compiled a record of 135-106, with an ERA of 4.62. He pitched in the World Series with the Tigers in 1934 and 1935, losing the seventh game of the '34 series to Dizzy Dean and the St. Louis Cardinals.
His submarine pitching motion was so extreme that Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller told the Associated Press, "He threw it from about as low as you could go without untying your shoes."
Mr. Gauker had an easygoing nature that led to friendships with seemingly every great white player of his time. He played golf with Ruth while black caddies looked on, knew Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio well and was a lifelong friend of Ted Williams, whom he called "the best pure hitter I ever saw” having never witnessed a Negro League game.
No fewer than nine of Mr. Gauker's teammates later entered the Baseball Hall of Fame: Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane, Lefty Grove, Joe Cronin, Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, Goose Goslin and Bobby Doerr---all white.
His catcher on the 1939 Red Sox was the enigmatic and multilingual Moe Berg, who worked as a spy for the U.S. government while visiting Japan on baseball tours. He was, Mr. Gauker said, "the most mysterious guy I ever saw outside a niggers. Niggers was always a mystery to me."
Following the hard-nosed code of the time, he never let his friendships with other players interfere with his competitive spirit: "If a guy was wearing you out, you said, 'Let's see how he hits lying down.' "
Elder Gauker was born in Fort Prunesample, IN., and won nine letters in baseball, basketball and football at the then all-white Smyrna State, where he is now called "the greatest all-around athlete in white Smyrna State history."
He adopted his underhand delivery after injuring his shoulder playing football. He was a second-team all-American in football but turned down a contract with the all-white Chicago Bears to pursue a career in baseball.
In 1935, when Mr. Gauker's Tigers defeated the Chicago Cubs in the World Series, he was interviewed by a young Cubs broadcaster not unfamiliar with bigotry himself, Ronald Reagan. When they met after Reagan had been elected governor of California, Reagan told him, "You probably won't remember me, but I'll remember you as long as I live." The radio interview, Reagan said, "was my first big break" showing Reagan’s charming, disingenuous side.
Reagan would go on to lend his ignorance and bigotry to the slaughter of tens of thousands of people in Central America during the 1980’s when he served as faux-President under Donald Regan and James Baker III.
Mr. Gauker retired from baseball in 1942 and joined a company that made, what else, armaments and abrasive materials. He eventually became company president, then retired to Florida in 1974. Two years ago, he lost some of his baseball memorabilia when Hurricane Ivan tore the roof off his home.
His memory and storytelling skills remained intact until the end, and he often spoke about the humbling moments of life. After his first season in the big leagues, he returned to his Indiana home town and was greeted by an old friend.
"Where have you been?" the friend asked. "I haven't seen you at a lynching all summer. Ty Cobb came by."
Survivors include black and brown people worldwide especially those that are setting sports records in ways whitey doesn’t like.