This comedic oversized joke baseball bat belonged to Pete Telosky, a local baseball legend, and was made by his friends for him in the 1960’s. The wooden “bat” was cut from plywood with writing and drawings over the face. It is decorated in jokes that sadly have lost some of their zing through the years. This great piece of art is adorned with classic quips such as “Hold Here!” written on the handle and “This side up!” written on the comically large flat end of the “bat”. Many of the jokes are baseball insider jokes like the “No Dusters” which refers to a pitch thrown particularly close to the hitter.
There is a hand drawn plaque description on the bat which reads “In 1906 Punk Telosky hit a solid Texas leager off Grandma Moses with this stick which won the final game of Fraser Valley Ladies Aid Tournament.” Unfortunately, this gift of artistic poetry and comedic gold has lost some context due to the passage of time, so we have taken it upon ourselves to deconstruct and define its clever wordplay.
“In 1906 Punk Telosky hit a solid Texas leager”
When a ball flies from the bat in a tall arc that is easily catchable it is referred to as a Pop Fly. If that Pop Fly lands between the in-field and out-field without being caught, and results in the batsman running to the first base unimpeded, then that Pop Fly is now referred to as a Texas Leager.
“…off Grandma Moses”
When a pitcher is aggressive and aiming for the opposing batsman to miss their swing entirely, rather than to hit it insecurely, they are “attacking the strike zone”. If the opposing batsman manages to land hits squarely despite the fast throws then they have “hit off” that pitcher, essentially having won that little testosterone contest. So within the context of this riveting story Pete Telosky has successfully hit off the opposing pitcher who happens to be renown artist Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses.
“…with this stick which won the final game of Fraser Valley Ladies Aid Tournament.”
A ladies aid is an organization of women dedicated to contributing to war efforts by running medical care facilities, providing clean clothes and blankets to soldiers, and other jobs. They began during the American civil war, after which many of them stayed open as memorial associations. The “Ladies Aid Tournament” is a made up joke tournament played by members of different ladies aids groups represented by baseball teams. Presumably these women are old ladies, given the context of Grandma Moses being the pitcher. Given the details of this literary masterpiece, you should now see the whole picture: Telosky used this bat to win a tournament against old women in 1906. It is truly a product of its time.
The jokes are all good natured and some poke fun at Telosky. They were a way of his loved ones to show their affection of their aging friend. Pete Telosky was known for his sense of humor and larger than life personality. It is a special object that in its very nature show the history baseball in Maple Ridge, friendship, love and community.
This blog was researched and written by Darren Ragoonath, Douglas College