Friday, January 1, 2010
The 1932 Ellington Apartment Inferno... and the Philadelphia Athletics
I have some connections to Cleveland Ohio. Yeah, it is really not close to Kentucky, but it is in a neighboring state. Cleveland is oozing with baseball history in addition to many strange tales. I spent nearly a decade there. I can vouch- lots of baseball and lots of weirdness.
I need to cover the 5 book series about crime and disaster in Cleveland (6 if you count an internet volume available to read for free) on my other, non-baseball related blog. I have read 3 of the 4 volumes I own.
Which brings me to a mention of John Stark Bellamy II's "They Died Crawling." Chapter 7 of this book, "Five Minutes Out of Nowhere" covers the Ellington Apartment fire. The Ellington was a very large structure with apartments and retail outlets. Not to give away the ending but one of the retail store owners paid some pros to set a fire for insurance money.
According to the Baseball Almanac, the Athletics had topped the Tribe on June 6th, 5-2. The fire occured after midnight. The Athletics would lose to the Indians later that day after the fire (June 7th) by a score of 7-10.
Bellamy mentions that Jimmy Foxx was staying at the nearby Hollenden. He also mentions that Mickey Cochrane and a Philadelphia sports reporter helped the firemen rescue people from the fire.
Bellamy covers hundreds of true crime stories that have happened in and near Cleveland. He very tastefully keeps it to stories that happened at least a few decades ago. He is great about mentioning the locations of the strange events relating them to what is at the location now, and sometimes giving an update on some of the characters. If you are familiar with the Cleveland area (or even if you are not) Bellamy's books are a very fascinating read.