Loved Sports, Writing, and Ty Cobb
“In any all-time rating of players: Tyrus Raymond Cobb stands alone. He was the greatest of the greats, a fiery genius, and the game’s outstanding individualist. Brilliant and unorthodox, he made baseball history for more than two decades.” An excerpt from the “The Umpire” The Detroit News November 2, 1924
It can be said that Harry Salsinger had three loves – his wife Gladys, his son Harry Jr., and writing – and one great interest – Ty Cobb. Harry George Salsinger was born on April 10, 1885 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His love of sports morphed into a successful, lifelong career. After a brief stint writing in Cincinnati, Harry moved to Detroit and landed the job of Sports Editor at the Detroit News; the year was 1909. Salsinger immediately began covering Tiger baseball and did so for 49 years until his death on Thanksgiving Day – November 27, 1958.
Through his column he became nationally known as straight up writer and one of the world’s foremost authorities on the record breaking, infamous baseball player Ty Cobb. In 1924, many national papers published his writing titled The Ty Cobb Story. The player himself read the piece – “I read every word of it, “ Cobb said. “No man could have been fairer. Some of his comment hurt – but all of it was honest writing. That’s what we always got from Sal.”
Salsinger was a charter member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. He was posthumously honored with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award – the oldest media award given by the Baseball Hall of Fame which began assigning it in 1962. Salsinger authored many books about baseball and is frequently mentioned in books written about the history of the sport.
The Detroit Parks and Recreation commission recommended the location of the H.G. Salsinger Memorial Playground [which included a baseball field] be at Linwood Avenue just south of Fenkell behind the former St. Francis Home for Boys Orphanage. Seems like a perfect spot! The orphanage later changed into the remnants of the former Paul Robeson / Malcolm X Academy. Since a devastating fire, the Robeson Academy moved about a mile north to the Hally School on Grove Street in Detroit and continues to serve the community.
The Salsinger Playfield remains on this somewhat lonely stretch of Linwood around the corner from Fenkell. It is a large lot with practice area for football or soccer and features a baseball field with a newer backstop.
© Andrea Gallucci 2013. All Rights Reserved