BASE 2

Tonight – And Everynight – Jack Corbett Is Involved In MLB’s Biggest Plays

Email marketing has always been fascinating to me.

It’s the same offers, deals and information that any other marketing vehicle delivers, but it’s co-mingled with the most important details of your life.

This AM, I saw a note about an upcoming trip, a question about some out of town visitors I’ll be entertaining for work, a cool link to an SI Longform piece from Fresh WC (nee Mountain Fresh) and some fantasy football league info.

Right in the middle of all that was an ‘invitation to shop’ from the Cardinals team store.

No reason in particular. They’d just like me to drop what I’m doing and give them some money. So they sent me a nicely formatted e-mail pre-populated with items I might get in exchange for my money.

Don’t get me wrong. I signed up for this. And can easily stop the emails. But they’re always good now and again for some fodder for this site. So I let the Cardinals into my inbox.

BASEIn case you’re wondering, a game-used base is going for 225 bucks.

Couldn’t tell you why this particular offering caught my eye. But I clicked through (ensuring I’ll be getting an increased load of ‘invitations to shop’ over the next few weeks, I’m sure.)

I noticed a name on the base. One Jack Corbett.

Never heard of that dude, so I did a little research.

In 1938 Mr. Corbett patented his Hollywood Base System. There isn’t much information about why he named it ‘Hollywood’. Mr. Corbett passed away living in Southern California, and he was affiliated with many minor league teams, but never the Hollywood Stars. The naming motivation was never made clear.

The name endures, though. It’s still the base system that the MLB uses today. Other fun facts from ESPN?

  • He was the inspiration for the fictional baseball man Nebraska Crane in the works of Thomas Wolfe, who was Corbett’s bat boy when he was the player-manager of the Asheville Tourists in 1916. Corbett lived in a boarding house run by little Tom’s mother, Julia Wolfe.
  • He was the executive vice president of the ill-fated Global League, which died in its attempt to become the third major league in 1968.
  • He was one of the managers of the shortest professional baseball game on record. It happened on the final day of the 1916 season, when the Winston-Salem Twins were visiting Asheville. Because the game meant nothing in the standings and the Twins wanted to catch an afternoon train, Corbett agreed to play it as quickly as possible. They even started a half-hour early, at 1:28, before the umpires and the soon-to-be furious owner got there. Total time? 31 minutes.

Interesting character.

And his name is on pretty much every single base MLB has used since the 1940’s. So if you’re watching the game tonight and Matt Adams is standing on first base, you might turn to your friend next to you and regale him or her with the story of Jack Corbett and how he’s been involved in every big play… ever.

Photo: ESPN

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