June 2011

Booe Hooe

Since we seem to be in baseball mode these days, we thought we’d tell some interesting tales about Everett Booe, who was brought to PC in 1913 as the first real athletic coach and the first head of the physical education program. Booe (pronounced ‘Boo’- this will become important later) was a star athlete at Davidson College, lettering in football, baseball and track. By the time he came to PC, he had already played briefly in the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and had also been with minor league clubs Portsmouth and Petersburg in Virginia, Wheeling of the Central League, Springfield in the Triple I League and St. Paul in the American Association. That experience running track paid off – while he was with Pittsburgh he set the world record in going from home base to first – three seconds.

According to the 1914 PacSac, under Booe’s leadership PC “had athletic games in abundance throughout the entire year.” Football made its first appearance, and two of the college’s tennis players made it into the state semi-finals. While the track team turned out to be a disappointment, the recently-established basketball team did well. Baseball, however, had been the major sport at PC for a number of years, and according to the PacSac, the team’s “prowess is known and feared throughout the State every season.”

Everett Booe as pictured in the 1914 Pac Sac

Coach Booe selected the 1914 team, and started off the season as the coach, but a bidding war soon began for him between the Saint Paul Saints and the Indianapolis Hoosiers of the newly established Federal League. The Hoosiers won out, but the college refused to allow Booe to break his contract unless an equally qualified replacement was found. Indianapolis provided Carl Vandagrift, who had already coached several college teams and played with a number of professional clubs, and the issue was resolved. Coach Booe went on to play for Indianapolis and Buffalo in the Federal League, and then enjoyed a long career as a player and manager in the minor leagues.

The most interesting stories about Everett Booe’s major league career center around his name. Remember, that final “e” is silent, kind of like the “t” in “Clinton.” Since baseball parks lacked any kind of PA system, it was the custom for the umpire to announce the name of an incoming player. And several umpires, faced with Booe for the first time, were utterly confused. According to Fred Lieb’s history of the Pittsburgh Pirates, in his first appearance for the team in 1913, Everett walked up to the plate and umpire Bill Klem asked him his name. “‘Booe,’ said the rookie. ‘What’s that you’re giving me?’ demanded Klem. The kid raised his voice and fairly shouted: ‘Booe!’ ‘What are you trying to pull on me, you fresh busher,’ yelled Bill. ‘You’re out of the game!’ It was necessary for Wagner to come out of the dugout and explain the situation. Klem said, ‘nobody has such a name,’ but Hans insisted, and Klem, still only half convinced, permitted Booe to bat.”

On another occasion, in a game with the Yankees, Booe’s name actually forced dour umpire Hank O’Day to laugh. According to the Olean Evening Herald, when Booe was put into the game as a pinch runner, O’Day prepared to introduce him. “‘Booe,’ Hank began, and the crowd bellowed its delight. ‘Booe,’ Hank said again, and shrill cries of ‘Booe for you,’, ‘Pooh, pooh for your boo,’ and ‘Oh, Booe Hooe,’ rang through the park. ‘Booe,’ granted Henry once more, and then he laughed. Could you blame him, even if it did wreck his long solemn physiognomy?”

Everett Booe eventually settled in Texas, where he operated a successful lumber company for many years. He died in 1969 at the age of 77.