Send In the (Baseball) Clowns

My latest Flickr album, focusing on images of brass instruments, includes a photograph of Nick Altrock and Al Schacht playing sousaphones:

Nick Altrock & Al Schacht, 10/5/24. Photo by National Photo Company, October 5, 1924. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.12298

This photo and others in this blog post were taken when both men were a part of the Washington Senators organization. Both men had professional baseball careers, and were coaches when most of these photos were taken, but they are probably more remembered for their antics as baseball clowns. Altrock and Schacht would entertain the crowd with their comedy routines before and during games.

Here you see Altrock wearing a giant glove and a tiny hat. One of his oversize mitts is now a part of the collection at the Baseball Hall of Fame:

Nick Altrock, 5/19/24. Photo by National Photo Company, May 19, 1924. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.11408

What is happening here? Are the comedy partners walking an imaginary high wire while also wearing tiny hats?

Al Schacht & Nick Altrock, 10/4/24. Photo by National Photo Company, October 4, 1924. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.12297

My personal favorite involves a giant toothbrush that was a part of their comedy shtick:

Altrock & Schacht, 4/13/26. Photo by National Photo Company, April 13, 1926. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.15707

I will leave you with one last image of the baseball jokers. Schacht has become a chair for Altrock who types at a table fashioned from three baseball bats. Perhaps he is interviewing Babe Ruth, who stands next to him with Yankees manager John McGraw:

[Babe Ruth, New York AL, John McGraw, Nick Altrock and Al Schack [i.e. Schacht], Washington AL, 10/10/1923 (baseball)]. Photo by Bain News Service, October 10, 1923. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.36452

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One Comment

  1. mark strand
    October 5, 2022 at 11:11 am

    A delightful and greatly appreciated addition to understanding America, now and then. Thank you.

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