BASEBALL, HISTORY FANS FLOCK TO CARL HUBBELL’S FORMER HAWORTH HOME
BY ANDREW WYRICH
HAWORTH – The promise of getting a glimpse into the history of the country’s national pastime brought Don Sheridan, 57 of Emerson, to the home of former New York Giants pitcher Carl Hubbell on Sunday – and he didn’t come empty handed.
Sheridan brought a 1939 Carl Hubbell baseball card and donated it to the Friends of the Haworth Library, who hosted an all-day event to honor the former Giants player who lived in the borough from 1946 to 1950. Now Sheridan could contribute to others learning about the game, and its star players, in the future.
“I love baseball, and I came because I wanted to hear about the time when there were the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees all in one city,” he said.
Baseball enthusiasts like Sheridan, borough residents and even a distant relative came to Haworth on Sunday to celebrate the accomplishments and playing career of Hubbell.
Several events were planned by the Friends of the Haworth Library on Sunday – which the Borough Council proclaimed “Carl Owen Hubbell Day” – including an open house of the home the hall of famer resided in on Haworth Avenue, a lecture by a baseball historian and a display of New York Giants memorabilia that included several signed baseballs and other items related to Hubbell.
The Friends of the Haworth Library organized the event after the San Francisco Giants donated $500 to help finance a new addition to the Haworth Municipal Library in honor of their former pitcher who famously used a screwball to strikeout batters during his 16-year career. After retiring in 1943, Hubbell also worked as the director of the Giants’ farm system, even after the franchise relocated to San Francisco in 1958.
“He is one of Haworth’s most famous residents,” said Beth Potter, president of the Friends organization, adding that he served on the borough’s recreation commission during his time as a resident. “We feel like he may have fallen out into the baseball mist, so to speak, but when you read more about him, you realize he was an amazing player.”
Hubbell may be most remembered for his performance at the 1934 All Star Game at the old Polo Grounds, where he struck out future Hall-of-Famers Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in succession.
But he was certainly not a one-game wonder. At the end of his career, Hubbell had won more than 250 games, had an earned run average under 3.00 and struck out 1,600 batters, according to BaseballReference.com , a popular baseball statistics website. He was also voted most valuable player in the National League twice. Once he began running the organization’s farm system he oversaw the signing of Willie Mays and other great Giants players.
Dozens of fans who considered Hubbell’s playing time as the “golden age” of baseball filled the two-story colonial home on Sunday, which was filled with photos of Hubbell donated by his family, newspaper and magazine articles from his time on the Giants, blown up newspaper notices of Hubbell buying the Haworth home, a video showcasing his most memorable moments on the baseball diamond and refreshments – including cookies shaped like baseballs and the Giants logo.
Staats M. Pellett Jr., 85 of Haworth, said he and his sister used to babysit Hubbell’s kids when he lived in the borough and said he came out to celebrate the Hall-of-Fame career of the pitcher. As for handling the kids, Pellett said he couldn’t “recall any instances” of them acting up, he said, laughing.
Others, like John Rafti, 96, of Dumont, said he had been a lifelong baseball fan and was wearing a hat that he was given by Charlie Fox, the manager of the Giants in the 1970s.
“I thought it would be a real pleasure to come here today because he was important to the game of baseball,” Rafti said of Hubbell. “Those were different days than today, and it’s nice to see parts of the game from then.”
Barry Hubbell, of River Edge, also stopped by the open house – and, yes, that name should ring a bell. Barry Hubbell said that the pitcher was his father’s sixth cousin, and that he wanted to make sure he verified that before heading to the home on Sunday.
“I walked up to the house and asked them if I could get a family discount,” he said, laughing. “This has been really cool, I’m going to have to send pictures back to my family.”
The day ended with two lectures inside the Haworth Public Library. First, Peter Laskowich spoke about the rivalries and histories that began to form in the late 1890s and early 1900s between the Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers and, later on, the New York Yankees. Jerry Liebowitz, an avid collector of New York Giants memorabilia, then spoke about the various items he has collected over the years – including a baseball signed by Hubbell and a mechanical baseball game that was popular at the time.
Thanks to Paul Witte for sending this to us. Thanks to Beth Potter and Friends of the Haworth Public Library and NYGPS Members Peter Laskowich and Jerry Liebowitz for speaking at the event.