The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 30, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Keeping up with the Kennedys

By DON McCORMACK - donmac@suite224.net
Sports Editor

Paying another visit to the variety store...



A home run

Our most recent chapter of my series, “From AC to MLB,” featuring men who were born within the Ashtabula County lines and played in at least one Major League Baseball game, caught the eye of an area late last week.

Doug Kennedy said he enjoyed the fifth installment of the series, which appeared in our Thursday, June 27 edition, and featured Sherman “Snapper” Kennedy.

Turns out, Sherman Kennedy was Doug Kennedy’s great-grandfather.

“I thoroughly enjoyed your story about my great-grandfather, Sherman Kennedy,” Doug, a 1976 Edgewood High School graduate said in an email. “I knew that he played one game in the majors and was an accomplished golfer, but I knew little of the details of his life.”

Sherman Kennedy played in only one major-league game, on May 1, 1902 for the Chicago Orphans, whose name would be switched to Cubs the following season. “Snapper,” a 5-foot-10, 165-pound switch-hitting outfielder, went 0-for-5 in the game.

What was not known, however, is why he appeared in but one major-league game.

His great-grandson offered a possible explanation.

“As for why he only played in one major-league game, my father told me that one day, (Sherman) received a telegram calling him to come to Chicago. The next day, as he was preparing to leave, he got a second telegram telling him to cancel.

“He tore that telegram up and went, anyway.”

Now living in Austinburg, Doug’s father was Alan and his grandfather, Sherman’s oldest son, was Frank. Like Doug, all of the Kennedy men were born in Conneaut.

As was Snapper’s father, Benjamin Franklin Kennedy.

Turns out, Benjamin and Sherman’s names have lived on in their hometown.

“My father also told me that Benjamin and Sherman streets in Conneaut are named after my relatives,” Doug said. “I think they were acquainted with Andrew Carnegie.”

He said he’s enjoying the trip down memory lane, though first five parts of the series have chronicled men who made their appearances in the majors from 1886 (John Lee Richmond, from Geneva) through 1903 (Roy Brashear, from Ashtabula).

“I look forward to reading about the rest of the major leaugers from Ashtabula County,” he said.



Stopping short

Though Zak Blair has played shortstop pretty much his entire baseball career, he’s spent the first part of his professional career playing second base for the Arizona League Cubs in Mesa.

And that’s just fine, as far as Blair is concerned.

“I’ll always be a natural shortstop, but playing second is OK by me,” he said. “And in all honesty, not that any position is easy... I’m certainly not saying that.

“But second base, compared to shortstop, is a much easier position to play.”

He then reiterated a point.

“But I’ll always be a shortstop,” he said through a laugh.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.