Sixth and seventh of a series...
Perhaps it would be more appropriate if Rod Serling authored this one. Because the sagas of Samuel Beryl Ralston and Charles Edward Moyer are just short of being worthy of an episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
The two men were born 12 days apart, two decades after the conclusion of the Civil War and the similarities in their respective lives akin to hearing Serling narrate, “That’s the signpost up ahead.”
Samuel Beryl Ralston was born on Aug. 3, 1885, the son of S.H. Ralston and Martha Brown, in Pierpont.
A dozen days later, Charles Edward Moyer was born, on Aug. 15, 1885, the son of Dr. Walter E. Moyer and Alma Track.
Both young men were raised in Ashtabula County and in a rarity in that day and age, both Ralston and Moyer went off to college. While it is not known where Moyer headed to continue his education, Ralston studied at the University of Pittsburgh (1904 through 1910).
Hitting the bushes
In 1908, Ralston, known as “Doc,” began his professional baseball career, starting with the New Castle Nocks in the Ohio-Pennsylvania League, a Class C level league (the equivalent to Class A today).
A 6-foot, 185-pound right-handed outfielder, Ralston his .277 in 36 games, going 36 for 130. He was then promoted to the Class B Wheeling Stogies of the Central League. He struggled with the West Virginia-based squad, hitting but .214 in 69 games, going 52 for 243.
Ralston spent the 1909 season away from the game, presumably to dive into his education at Pittsburgh.
He returned to the diamond in the 1910 season at age 24, playing most of the summer with the Akron Champs, a Class C squad in the Ohio-Pennsylvania League and having an outstanding season.
Ralston his .285 in 131 games, with 25 doubles, 11 triples and 11 home runs, going 135 for 473 at the plate.
While Ralston left Ashtabula County to go to college and also play professional baseball, Moyer, going by his middle name, Ed, did not get back into baseball until the 1910 season.
Playing for the Youngstown Steelmen, a Class C squad in the Ohio-Pennsylvania League, the right-handed pitcher made 20 starts, posting an 8-10 record on the bump.
With both Ashtabula County natives playing in the Ohio-Pennsylvania League in the summer of 1910, they no doubt squared off on several occasions.
Despite his less-than-break-even record for the Class Youngstown Steelmen, something about Moyer’s work on the mound must have been impressive.
Because in mid-July, the Andover resident was summoned.
To the majors.
On Wednesday, July 20, 1910, the 24-year-old Moyer made his major-league debut for the Washington Senators in an 8-4 victory against the visiting Cleveland Naps, later to be known as the Cleveland Indians. He was the first Andover native to appear in a major-league game.
While the Senators, members of the National League, were managed by Jimmy McAleer, Moyer joined a pitching staff that was anchored by Walter Johnson, who would be elected into the Hall of Fame in 1936.
While Moyer had been with the Senators since mid-July, just less than two months later, he would be joined by a familiar face.
As in fellow Ashtabula County native Doc Ralston.
On Thursday, Sept. 8, 1910, the 24-year-old Ralston made his major-league debut in an 8-2 loss to the visiting New York Yankees. He was the first Pierpont native to reach the majors.
Moyer pitched in six games for the Senators that season, posting an 0-3 record and a solid 3.24 earned run average. Three of his six appearances were starts, two of which he completed.
He worked 25.0 innings, allowing 22 hits, 9 earned runs, 1 home run, striking out 3 and walking 13.
Moyer also made eight plate appearances, recording 1 hit for a .125 batting average. He struck out 5 times, but did drive in a pair of runs.
Ralston played in 21 games for the Senators, all in left field, and hit .205, going 15 for 73. He had 1 double, drove in 3 runs, walked 3 times, stole 2 bases, was hit by two pitches and laid down 4 sacrifice bunts.
In the field, he had 38 putouts, 3 assists and made 1 error.
Moyer made his final appearance on the mound that season on Oct. 4 in an 8-5 road loss to the Yankees, while Ralston appeared in both ends of a doubleheader split against the visiting Boston Red Sox two days later.
Despite the presence of Hall of Famer Johnson (25-17, 1.36 ERA) on the mound, Moyer, Ralston and the rest of the Senators struggled mightily as a team in 1910, finishing 66-85, seventh in the eight-team American League.
Washington finished 36.5 games behind the pennant-winning Philadelphia Athletics.
One and done
That 1910 season, which started began in Class C ball in Youngstown and concluded in the majors with Washington, was Moyer’s only foray into professional baseball.
He followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a doctor, as denoted on his draft registration card for World War I. The draft card, which he filled out on Sept. 12, 1918 at age 33, listed Moyer’s address as 2046 E. 88th St., Cleveland, and his occupation as “physician.”
He would also register for the draft in World War II.
Staying at it
While Moyer gave up baseball after his one season in the majors, Ralston stuck with it for a couple more seasons.
He spent 1911 with three teams — the St. Paul Saints, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Columbus Senators — of the Class A American Association, hitting just .208, going 70 for 337 in 101 combined games. Among his 70 hits were 8 doubles, 8 triples and 6 home runs, posting a .332 slugging percentage.
Ralston’s final season on the diamond was in 1912 with St. Paul, then playing at the Class AA level. Playing in 81 games, the Pierpont native hit .247, going 67 for 271, hitting 8 home runs, 6 triples and 6 home runs.
However, at age 26, he was done with the game.
While Moyer went to college to become a doctor, Ralston did so at Pittsburgh to become a dentist. On his World War I draft registration card, filled out Sept. 12, 1918, it listed him residing in Allegheny, Pa.
On Moyer’s World War II draft registration card, the then-56 year-old was listed as being a dentist and working in an office located in the Union Trust Building in Allegheny.
The card also listed him as having “a scar above his left eye.”
Samuel Beryl “Doc” Ralston died on Aug. 29, 1950 in Lancaster, Pa. He was 65.
Charles Edward Moyer outlived his former Senators teammate, dying on Nov. 18, 1962 in Jacksonville, Fla. He was 77.
In one final connection, the two Ashtabula County natives were both cremated.
McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.