Everybody’s got a story to tell, for Ed Baruch and Bill Turner, their stories are linked to an old MLB team. The Washington Senators were a Major League team that played ball from 1901-1960, in the franchise’s final years Baruch was the score keeper and Turner was the team’s batboy. Both men were teenagers in the mid to late fifties when they were employed with the defunct ball club. Since then, Turner has worked in the legal system as an Attorney then an Associate Judge and has been retired since 2000. Baruch became a television and movie producer who’s still working.
Both men started working with the Senators in 1956, the same year the All-Star Game was played in what was then Griffith Stadium. This was done to honor the team’s owner Clark Griffith who died the previous year. 1956 also marked the first time in Baseball history that there was a game shown on TV in full color, this was unheard of at the time.
The stadium’s now gone and the land is now home to the Howard University Hospital which has a wing with Senators’ memorabilia. This only gives us a taste of the past, but Turner and Baruch can fill in the rest of the blanks.
Bill Turner was in High School at the time and had dreams of playing in the MLB, however, he ended up being the bat boy instead. Turner also cleaned the player’s shoes, and the baseballs for each game, this was relatively new back then. Before the 1950s, Turner explained that, “The baseballs would get lost in the sun so we had to put mud on it so the ball would be easier to see when it was up in the air.”
Turner’s job did force him to miss school and baseball practice one day which resulted in him getting kicked off his high school team that year. Turner did make it on the Baseball team again the following year, but had to promise that he wouldn’t skip school/practice again. Despite this, Turner still enjoyed his job, “The best part was getting to know the players,” he said. “He also added that, “Some of the players were like big brothers to me.” Ed Baruch’s story is just as interesting to hear as well.
Being a scorekeeper in the pre-digital age was fast-paced and chaotic. Baruch would get updates from a manager in the clubhouse. Then he’d run up and down a few flights of stairs to update the scores for the games being played that day. Sometimes the balls would bang against the metal boards, or the numbers would slide off the brackets, falling onto the field. The falling numbers would usually happen when Baruch was in a great hurry.
Behind the Stadium, there would be kids playing ball in the streets, sometimes Baruch would give the kids extra balls for them to play with. There would even be times when Baruch would hear the kids through the window yelling, “Hey, scorekeeper! Can we have some balls?!” It is priceless memories like these that Baruch and Turner said inspired them to do this presentation.
This tour started when Baruch and Turner noticed that a section of a wing in Howard University’s hospital is used to keep the memories of the Senators alive.
They were inspired by that and said they will continue this tour until November 1st.
For the past few months, these men have toured around Virginia and Maryland to show people, “what it was like back then, so everyone, even the young people won’t forget,” explained Baruch.
Both men also have appeared on MASN, WETA, and News Channel 8 to relay their experiences to countless generations about the Senators; a team that may be gone, but never forgotten.