Friday, May 26, 2023

The Mystery Continues: Hiser (Hisey) and Striner

By early September of 1934, the Beavers were sitting in second to last place (29-51), with nowhere to go but down (which is where they'd end up by seasons end). As would often happen during this era when a team found itself in this most undesirable of spots, "bushers", mostly of the local variety, would start being brought in on the hope that said losing team might find a diamond in the rough. By doing this, management was not so subtlety signaling that they were already looking ahead to the following season; though local fans would rarely tolerate the team coming out and actually saying that.

For the select few players that would be brought in from a local amateur or semipro team, this was a big opportunity, though they rarely got more than one game (less if you were a pitcher) to show off what they could do. The pressure must've been immense for those kids, and as we can read in old recaps/box scores today, many were heavily affected by the enormity of their situation and ended up underperforming during what often turned out to be their only opportunity to ever rise up through the ranks of baseball.

To add insult to injury, minor league beat writers had a tendency to look down their noses at "bushers" (as has already been seen in previous posts), and seemingly went out of their way to accentuate any faults that a player might have during his one tryout. This dislike could also be seen by the fact that the writers rarely ever took the time to learn how to properly spell the name of a "busher", and almost never used their full name (misspelled or otherwise) in a game's recap (little did they know how much trouble this would cause researchers many decades later).

I mention all of this because it all factors in to today's post.

The Missions, of San Francisco, traveled to Portland for a three-game series during the second weekend of September back in 1934. Despite only sitting in fifth place at the time, the Missions took the first game on Saturday the 8th, and then easily won both games of Sunday's doubleheader. From a historical perspective, it wasn't exactly the most exciting of series', but the second game of the doubleheader does provide some interest (at least to me), because not only did the Beavers decide to use that game to get a look at three "bushers", which was a lot for one game, but also because two of those three guys still haven't been identified.  

The Oregonian 9/10/34
I'll start with "Hiser" (you'll see why that's in quotes in just a second). Of the two, I believe that he will be the more difficult to try and identify, if only because we don't even know if it's Hiser or not. Apparently the paper couldn't even decide what his name was...

This is the box score for that second game, and you can clearly see that within just a couple of inches his name has been change to "Hisey". 

And later in the week it was still Hisey...

I have found two Hiser's, and three Hisey's who played baseball, none of whom could be a match for this player. There were no other players with either name playing baseball in Oregon at this time either. Looking at information from the Census, there are no Hisey's in Oregon at this time (or at least none who filled out the census). Searching for Hiser did yield one possibility though, and that's an Everett A. Hiser who was born in 1917; which would've made him 17 or 18 at the time that this game took place.  Unfortunately, Everett Hiser doesn't yield any results when searching for connections to baseball.

The other unknown player is the "scared" pitcher, Striner, who came in to relieve Ed Bryan in the seventh. At least with him we're given somewhere to start looking, i.e. that he was playing in the Tualatin Valley League prior to his appearance with the Beavers. 

The Tualatin Valley League was a semi-pro league based in Forest Grove (OR), and as of 1934, was made up of six teams; Amity, Carlton, Hillsboro, Newberg, Sherwood, and Verboort. 

Tualatin Valley's season was finished by September, and given how it was phrased, I'm assuming that Striner had played during it's '34 season, but as of this writing, I haven't been able to find him in what few box scores are currently available. And knowing that Striner might not even be his correct name, I've looked for anything similar as well, but nothing has come from that either. 

The 1910 census lists one family from Austria named Striner living in Oregon. There are two sons, one born in 1895, and the other in 1898. Both of them were most likely too old to have been the Striner that I'm looking for, but it is possible that one of them could be the father of this Striner. It's worth noting too that one of the Sacramento papers that covered this doubleheader has Striner listed as "Stronger" in it's box score. And before anyone asks, yes, I've looked for "Stronger" too. Nothing doing. Striner is also listed on all of the usual sites as having played one game with the Beavers in '35 as well, but I haven't found any source for that either.

Some may have noticed that I skipped over the second "busher" mentioned in the recap, the third basemen "Pajnik". I did so because he's not an unknown, that's Frank Pajnich (someday I'd like to come back to him). His name was obviously misspelled though, which of course then makes one think that there's a very good chance that both Hiser/Hisey and Striner's names were too.

I think that Striner will eventually be easier to find than Hiser/Hisey, and I will continue to keep searching, but for now they'll have to remain a mystery.


  1. There used to be a Chris Heisey on the Reds. Maybe Heisey/Heiser, even Streiner?

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Maybe a slightly different spelling. These are always tough to track down.

    2. Bo: I wasn't familiar with Chris. No results for Heisey, and there were some Heiser's around, but none were playing baseball. And Streiner was one of the variations I had already tried, obviously to no avail. I appreciate the suggestions though.

      Jeff: Even more so when no one else seems to be looking for them.

  2. Good research. I am always amazed by how carefree the writing was back then, practically no rules in comparison with what I was taught. ... Something to consider: back in the '90s we used to compete with another (smaller) newspaper that was known for completely making up names of players not from their area. I mean totally made up, not even close to anything the player was named. Hopefully you're not dealing with a situation like that.

    1. Carefree is the perfect way to describe it. Often times I prefer how reporting was done back then, but in some instances, like this one, it can also be terribly frustrating as well.

      I have no doubt that these guys existed, it's just that no one cared enough to find out how to correctly spell their names. That's pretty crazy about that other paper though. You wouldn't think that that sort of thing could've still been happening into the 90's. Heck, given how late it was, they might've even been the last paper to ever do such a thing; at least on a routine basis.

  3. I'd love to know how the top of the 7th actually played out and what exactly Wimpy's lively fielding means. Maybe an unassisted triple play to help scared Striner get out of a jam?

    1. Yeah, some of these recaps leave a lot to be desired.