Leslie Mann Baseball Lantern Slide, No. 30
- Leslie Mann Baseball Lantern Slide, No. 30
Eddie Ainsmith, a catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, stands at home plate with a net located behind him to stop the ball in case Ainsmith misses the baseball when swinging the bat. Ainsmith holds the bat in front of home plate with both of his hands. Ainsmith's front left foot remains planted on the ground while his entire back left foot appears to be in the air. A catcher is walking towards him, and there are a couple other players located behind him. Also, there are a few fans sitting in the stands.
- Mann, Leslie
- Springfield College Archives and Special Collections
- Collection (local):
Leslie Mann Baseball Lantern Slide Collection
Ainsmith, Edward Wilbur
St. Louis Cardinals
Batting Swing--Follow Through
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Eddie Ainsmith is demonstrating an incorrect follow through. He hasn't fully extended his bat the full 360 degrees in this slide, meaning he hasn't completed a full follow through. The reason it is so important to follow through all the way is because it increases the power of your swing. It also is the proper way to fully make contact with the baseball. It is still easy to hit the baseball without following through completely, but the success rate for these batters would be lower than the success rate for batters who actually follow through completely. Following through correctly is a natural motion and doing it should be the natural way of hitting. Anyone who doesn't follow this natural way of hitting will lose a tremendous amount of power on their swing.
Edward Wilbur Ainsmith was born on February 4, 1890, in the Russian Empire. Up until 2013, Ainsmith is one of only five Major League players to be born in Russia. However, Ainsmith moved to the United States at a very young age and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He originally wanted to be a boxer but his parents disproved of this, so Ainsmith instead chose to pursue baseball. He became a member of the Washington Senators when he was 20 years old in 1910. He spent his first nine seasons on the Senators, hitting no higher than .226 and only batting more than 300 times once in these nine seasons. Of course, this was during the Dead Ball Era so these stats aren’t as concerning as they would be if Ainsmith played baseball today. Ainsmith was violent both on and off the field and developed an unfavorable reputation for multiple reasons. Ainsmith constantly argued with the referees and was thrown out of games, and was arrested for assaulting a man on the streets. However, Clark Griffith, the manager of the Senators, was able to get him out of the jail sentence. Ainsmith was drafted for World War 1 but refused service. He argued that baseball was a job that should be excused from military service, a claim that was eventually rejected. However, Griffith was able to get Ainsmith to be part of a shipyard workers team in Baltimore rather than him being shipped overseas for the war. This didn’t help his reputation as Ainsmith was viewed as taking the easy way out. Ainsmith was known as Walter Johnson's preferred catcher. Johnson was a famous pitcher for the Senators, and he raved about Ainsmith. Ainsmith finished his career with the Cardinals until 1923 and the New York Giants in 1924. However, he was released during the 1924 season, ironic enough since the Giants went on to win the pennant. In 1924, Ainsmith took 28 men to Japan, and then in 1925, he partnered with Mary O'Gara to tour Japan with the Philadelphia Bobbies as a way to promote women's baseball. There were high expectations for the trip, as the team would compete against college aged Japanese men. The trip was expected to generate high levels of income for everyone involved. The ages of the members of the team ranged from 13-20, and included Edith Ruth, Nella Shank, and Leona Kearns. Ainsmith would also play on the team as the catcher, making their team coed. They departed for Japan on a one way trip with the return home date unknown. The trip was a financial disaster, as two of the Japanese sponsors never paid anything and the third went bankrupt. The team was also horrendous, failing to win any games. Ainsmith also clashed with O'Gara, and the two separated as Ainsmith and Earl Hamilton (a former pitcher for the Pirates) took Ruth, Shank, and Kearns to Korea to continue playing baseball, enlisting the help of four locals to finish the team. Since everyone was broke, there was no way for anyone to purchase a ride back to the United States. O’Gara begged for money and received shelter for her and the remaining members of the team in Japan from Harry Sanborn. Sanborn eventually convinced a man to donate the money as a gift so the women could return home, and O'Gara and the Bobbies made it home safely. However, Ainsmith and the remaining girls were still in Korea. Ainsmith was able to raise enough money to get him and his wife (who came for the trip) home safely, but not enough money for the other three girls. Ainsmith and his wife returned home, leaving the girls behind, who eventually took refuge with Sanborn as well. Eventually, word got to their parents of the horrendous situation that had occurred, as communication before then had been inconsistent and inaccurate, and the parents paid for the girls to return home. However, Kearns was washed overboard and died when the Empress of Asia was hit by a huge wave. Ainsmith is still considered partly responsible since he willingly left three teenage girls stranded alone and broke in Korea.
Leslie Mann identifies the player in slide 30 as Eddie Ainsmith on page 17 in his manual titled the Fundamentals of Baseball.
This digital image is made from two separate digital scans; one scan of the lantern slide (reflective); one scan of the image (transparecy); the two images were then combined in Photoshop to create the final image.
Lantern slide from the Leslie Mann baseball instruction course, "The Fundamentals of Baseball"
Gregorich, Barbara. "Dropping the Pitch: Leona Kearns, Eddie Ainsmith and the Philadelphia Bobbies." Society for American Baseball Research, [ https://sabr.org/research/dropping-pitch-leona-kearns-eddie-ainsmith-and-philadelphia-bobbies ]. Accessed 22 May 2018. ___Internet Archive___ [ http://web.archive.org/save/https://sabr.org/research/dropping-pitch-leona-kearns-eddie-ainsmith-and-philadelphia-bobbies ].