Jesse Doak Roberts
Mar. 20, 1870 - Nov. 25, 1929
J. DOAK ROBERTS WILL TAKE SHORT REST FROM DUTIES.
RUMORS THAT HE WILL BE RELIEVED UNTIL NEXT DECEMBER SCOTCHED
DALLAS, June 20.—(AP)—J. Doak Roberts, president of the Texas League, is to
take a brief vacation in an effort to shake off the last effects of the
illness which has bothered him since early in the year.
Club owners of the circuit, fearing Roberts might retard his convalescence
by giving too much time to the league have suggested that he take a
vacation, turning his duties over to an executive committee of club owners.
Answering rumors that Roberts would step out until December, William B.
Ruggles, league statistician said they probably arose from the plan to give
Roberts a vacation.
“The club owners, so far as I know,” he said, “are perfectly satisfied with
the way the league is being conducted.”
PRESIDENT TEXAS LEAGUE IS DEAD; BE BURIED HERE
J. DOAK ROBERTS, ONE OF BASEBALL’S MOST POPULAR FIGURES, DIED IN DALLAS
DALLAS, Nov. 25.—(AP)—J. Doak Roberts, president of the Texas Baseball
League since 1920 and one of the game’s most popular figures, died at his
home here today after an illness of more than a year. He was 58.
Mr. Roberts was thought to have recovered from his lengthy illness and
attended a recent meeting of Texas League officials. He suffered a relapse
several days ago, however, and sank rapidly. He is survived by his widow and
one son, M. Doak Roberts, who lives here.
Mr. Roberts devoted the greater part of his life to active participation as
a club owner and as an executive of the Texas League. For the greater part
of the past season he was on leave of absence. If his health permitted, he
was to have returned to active leadership January 1.
To Be Buried Here.
Funeral services for J. Doak Roberts, who died in Dallas at 1:30 Monday
afternoon, will be held from the home of his niece, Mrs. Julian (Dude)
Ransom, 1501 West Collin street at 2 o’clock Wednesday afternoon. Complete
funeral arrangements were not announced before press hour. Burial will be in
The body will arrive here Tuesday morning about 9 o’clock over the
BODY DOAK ROBERTS BROUGHT BACK HOME BURIAL WEDNESDAY
VETERAN BASEBALL MANAGER AND OFFICIAL DIED IN DALLAS MONDAY
The body of J. Doak Roberts, 58, president of the Texas League for nine
years and life-long baseball man as amateur player, club owner and
executive, who died at his home in Dallas Monday afternoon at 1:30 o’clock
following a long illness, will arrive in Corsicana, his native city shortly
before noon Wednesday morning and will be taken to the home of Julian (Dude)
Ransom, 1501 West Collin street, where the funeral services will be held
Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock with burial in Oakwood cemetery.
The funeral services will be conducted by Dr. Cole, pastor of the City
Temple Presbyterian church of Dallas, assisted by Rev. P. Martin Baker,
pastor of the Third Avenue Presbyterian church here. Singers at the funeral
will be Mrs. Percy Townsend, Mrs. Henry Robbins, Lloyd G. Kerr and Edgar
Pallbearers will be the eight presidents of the Texas League baseball clubs.
Surviving are his wife, one son, M. Doak Roberts, Dallas, one brother, Tom
Roberts, Chickasha, Okla.; one sister, Mrs. Cora Johnson, Corsicana; three
nephews, Douglas Johnson, Waco; Gordon Johnson, Dallas; James Roberts,
Dallas, and other relatives.
The funeral will be directed by the Sutherland Funeral Home.
DALLAS, Nov. 26—(AP) The body of J. Doak Roberts, president of the Texas
League, who died here yesterday, will be returned to Corsicana, his old home
town, Wednesday for his funeral there Wednesday. His body will be
accompanied by his widow and son and by a host of men interested in baseball
and other sports who had known Roberts in his 28 years of prominence in
sport circles of the state.
As he had wished, Roberts 58, died Monday as president of the Texas League.
He had been ill more than a year and his death had been expected momentarily
for several days.
Messages of condolence, not only to the family but to the organization which
he headed, and the sport which he helped to develop poured in to Dallas last
night when news of Roberts' death reached the state and nation. John W.
Martin, president of the Southern Association, was one of the first to send
expressions of sympathy. Martin said Roberts' death was a great loss to his
friends and to the game. Club owners of the Texas League and of other
smaller leagues in which Roberts had taken an interest at one time or
another, added their words of condolence.
Ill Several Months
Roberts died of a kidney affection which had bothered him for some time.
During the last year he had turned the affairs of the league over to J.
Alvin Gardner of Wichita Falls, executive vice president and to William B.
Ruggles, league secretary, while he fought to conquer the illness that
several times brought him very close to death. At the last meeting of the
league here he had so far recovered it seemed probable he would be able to
continue his duties. A relapse suffered last week, however, forced him back
to his bed, and he grew steadily worse.
Roberts was the only club owner who had won, or shared in eight Texas League
flags. He had owned clubs at Corsicana, Temple, Cleburne and Houston. For
more than a quarter of a century he has been the schedule maker for the
Texas League and had given smaller nearby leagues the benefit of his advice,
serving one year as president of the Texas-Oklahoma league.
Missed Two Stars
A brilliant roster of stars, headed by Tris Speaker, developed under
Roberts' management, but he used to gain the greatest pleasure in telling
how the two most famous players he ever owned escaped him. Ty Cobb, who once
belonged to Roberts, was told not to report because of an epidemic in his
section. Rogers Hornsby did not become a member of Roberts' team because
Roberts had been told by scouts Hornsby could not hit.
Roberts was elected head of the Texas League at the end of the 1920 season
and held that position until the time of his death.
One of the founders of the modern Texas League, Roberts had been its
president the last nine years. His second five-year contract still had three
years to run and he was apprehensive that his health might force him to
resign before the expiration of that contract. Often he expressed the wish
that he might die as league president.
Granted Leave of Absence
Recognizing the good he had done the league, its members in a meeting July
1, granted Roberts a six-month leave of absence. J. Alvin Gardner of Wichita
Falls became active vice president in October, leaving Roberts free to
regain his health, if possible. His kidney ailment, however, bested the
"Grand Old Man of the Texas League" but he died the titular head of the
baseball circuit he built.
Born at Corsicana, Texas, in 1871, Roberts lived there until 1921 when, on
his election to the presidency of the Texas League, he moved to Dallas. His
earliest connection with baseball was as a pitcher on independent teams in
his home town and as a semi-professional team promoter before the
reorganization of the Texas League in 1902.
Joined Ted Sullivan
When the reorganization was effected, Roberts joined the late Ted Sullivan
and his associates as owner of the Corsicana franchise. He operated league
clubs at Corsicana in 1902, 1903 and 1904; Temple in 1905; Cleburne in 1906.
In 1907 he attempted to quit baseball when the Texas and South Texas Leagues
merged, retaining only his interest in several player contracts sold to
Claud Riely at Houston. Late that year Riley asked Roberts' aid in directing
the club and the next year Roberts purchased a half interest in the Houston
team. In 1920 Roberts sold his interest after having built up a substantial
fortune by methods that still are considered model by other clubs which
envied his ability to develop winners and conduct a baseball club
During his direct connection with the teams he made Texas League history.
His clubs won Texas League pennants at Corsicana in 1902 and 1904, Cleburne
in 1905, Houston in 1909, 1910 (ties with Dallas), 1912, 1913 and 1914 (tied
with Waco), a record for one-man league championships. The 1902 Corsicana
club still holds a record of 27 consecutive victories.
Develops Many Stars
Roberts developed and sent many players to the big league, including Tris
Speaker, Dode Criss, Nig Clarke, Rick Adams, George Whiteman, George Foster,
Joe Jenkins, Hickory Dickson and Pat Newnam. He once claimed title to Ty
Cobb and Rogers Hornsby, refusing the former because of an epidemic in
Cobb's vicinity and Hornsby because scouts agreed the Rajah could not hit.
He always was of the old school that thought an owner should run the playing
field as well as the box office.
He was the only man who had maintained a connection with the league from
1902 until 1929. In mid-season of 1904, he became president, remaining in
that position until 1906 when the merger occurred. In the fall of 1920,
after disposing of his Houston interests, he succeeded President J. Walter
Morris. He was re-elected in 1927 under a five-year contract.
Member National Board
For several years Roberts had been a member of the national board of
arbitration, the advisory body of the national Association of Professional
Baseball Leagues. He never missed a meeting of that association and when
that body convenes in Chattanooga next month it will be the first time in 28
years it has been without his services and advice.
Gardner will continur in charge of league affairs until a meeting is held
during the national association convention at Chattanooga to choose a
Surviving Roberts are his widow and one son, M. Doak Roberts, both of
Roberts Great Leader
FORT WORTH, Nov. 26. - "it is with regret that we hear of the death of Doak
Roberts,' Ted Robinson, president of the Fort Worth Baseball club stated
this afternoon. "The Texas league and baseball has lost a great friend."
By Paul Moore, Sun Sports editor
J. Doak Roberts, “the grand old man of the Texas league,” native of
Corsicana, “died in harness” as president of the league he helped found and
organize, at his home in Dallas Monday afternoon. His body will be brought
here Wednesday and the funeral will be held here Wednesday afternoon.
Roberts has been a follower of baseball since he was a little boy and was
recognized as one of the shrewdest men connected with the national pastime.
He was a close friend of K. M. Landis, czar of baseball, and was one of the
officials of the national committee. Landis valued the advice of Roberts on
intricate baseball questions and has on a number of occasions sent Roberts
to meetings as his personal representative.
Many of the notables and magnates of baseball will likely be on hand
Wednesday afternoon for the funeral.
Mr. Roberts helped organize the Texas league in 1902 and was the guiding
genius of the 1902 Corsicana Club which set a record that has stood the
record of winning straight baseball games since that time.
Roberts was conceded to be one of the best schedule-makers in baseball and
whenever Doak Roberts made a schedule, baseball men usually adopted it.
Roberts was also connected with some of the class D. leagues in this section
in addition to his duties as the president of the Texas League.
J. Doak Roberts, as an amateur pitcher in baseball long before the Texas
League was heard of, was the first one of the first men in this section who
learned to throw a curve ball.
J. DOAK ROBERTS BURIED WEDNESDAY OAKWOOD CEMETERY
PROMINENT BASEBALL OFFICIAL DIED IN DALLAS MONDAY AFTER LONG ILLNESS
The body of J. Doak Roberts, 58, veteran baseball player,
club owner, president of the Texas League, and an authority on baseball, who
died at his home in Dallas Monday afternoon at 1:30 o’clock following a
lingering illness, arrived in Corsicana, His native city, Wednesday morning
at 11:50 o’clock, accompanied by a number of the members of his family and
officials of the Texas League. The body was taken to the home of Julian
(Dude) Ransom, 1501 West Collin street.
The funeral was conducted from the Ransom residence Wednesday afternoon at
2:30 o’clock with burial in Oakwood cemetery, and was largely attended by
baseball men and friends who had known Mr. Roberts throughout the years.
Baseball Men Here.
Among the baseball men who accompanied the body to Corsicana on the Southern
Pacific trains included T. S. Hickman and Art Phelan, both of the Shreveport
club; R. L. Stuart, president of the Beaumont club; Fred Ankeman, president
of the Houston club; J. Alvin Gardner, active vice president of the Texas
League, Wichita Falls and formerly president of the Wichita Falls club; Bob
Tarleton, business manager of the Dallas Club; Homer H. Hammonds, president
of the San Antonio club, and Julius Schoepps, long-time friend, Dallas.
Other officials expected to arrive early in the afternoon were Walter
Morris, formerly of Dallas; Ike Sablosky, also formerly connected with the
Dallas baseball club; C. R. Turner of Waco, and others.
Mr. Roberts was born in Corsicana and was one of the first curve ball
pitchers in this section of Texas. He played independent baseball in
Corsicana and this vicinity and was one of the organizers of the Texas
League in 1902, becoming the owner of the Corsicana club along with a number
of associates, including Edward M. Polk, Sr., and others. Later he was
connected with the Cleburne, Temple, Houston and Dallas clubs. He had been
president of the Texas League for the past eight years and his oft-expressed
wish to “die in the harness” as president of the league he aided in
organizing was realized. He had been in ill health for some time, and last
spring was given a six-months’ leave by the officials and owners of the
league. Wm. B. Ruggles was acting president during the playing season. J.
Alvin Gardner was recently made active vice president and is expected to be
the successor of Roberts.
During his career as a baseball club owner, Mr. Roberts developed many
stars, including Tris Speaker, Nig Clark and scores of others. He was one of
the few men who could make baseball clubs successful in the early days.
Mr. Roberts was a close personal friend of K. M. Landis, commissioner of
organized baseball, who had a high regard for Mr. Roberts’ knowledge of
baseball and his judgment in baseball matters. Commissioner Landis often
conferred with Roberts on intricate questions and had sent the Texas League
President to important meetings as his personal representative.
He was a member of the national committee and was an expert in schedule
making being recognized as being without a peer in the South. He also was a
friend to the minor leagues in this section and on many occasions he has
counselled with the local league officials. He served one time as president
of the Texas-Oklahoma league prior to the organization of the Texas
Association, and usually drew the schedules for the leagues.
Formerly in Business Here.
In the early days, Mr. Roberts conducted a grocery business here and later
was in the coal and wood business. He owned considerable properties in
Corsicana as well as elsewhere, and was a frequent visitor to his old home
town here on both business and pleasure trips.
Sutherland Funeral Home directed the funeral.
Many beautiful floral offerings were sent here for the funeral today,
including two entire truck loads out of Dallas, which arrived at an early
hour Wednesday morning. One of the offerings was a huge baseball with
crossed bats sent from the Texas League. Scores of telegrams of condolence
and sympathy have been received by members of the family.
Active pallbearers were presidents and officials of the Texas League.
Surviving are his wife, one son, M. Doak Roberts, Dallas; one brother, Tom
Roberts, Chickasha, Okla.; one sister, Mrs. Cora Johnson, Corsicana, and a
number of other relatives.
Honorary pallbearers are the following which were listed by Mr. Roberts a
short time before his death:
Dallas—Judson C. Francis, William B. Ruggles, Dr. I. A. Estes, Dr. Reuben
Jackson, Charles A. Mangold, Ike Sabiosky, P. W. Allen, Sol Dreyfuss, Robert
Tarleton, William H. Hitzelberger, John R. Atkins, Charles Maxvill, Joe
Gardner, John C. Jester, H. C. Cate, W. C. Proctor, E. R. Brown, Emmitt
Wilkerson, Dexter Hamilton, George Miller, John R. Allen, W. H. Matchett and
Charles E. McDuffie.
Fort Worth—Hub Diggs, Amon G. Carter, Roy Meeban, Bobby Stow, Frank Snyder,
Ben Keith, Robert Shepherd and W. P. Stripling.
Corsicana—Tom McElwee, Sam Kerr, Beauford Jester, Harris Ransom, Cal Kerr,
E. E. Drane, W. D. Nolan, Ed Polk and W. M. Peck.
Kenesaw M. Lundis, Chicago; Branch Rickey, St. Louis; J. H. Farrell, Auburn,
N.Y.; M. H. Sexton, Rock Island, Ill.; Dale Gear, Topeka, Kas.; W. G.
Bramham, Durham, N.C.; T. J. Hickey, Chicago; Harry A. Williams, Los
Angeles; Cal Ewing, Oakland, Cal.; John D. Martin, Memphis, Tenn.; Herman J.
Weisman, Waterbury, Conn.; J. V. Jamison, Jr., Hagerstown, Md.; A. J.
Heineman, New Orleans; Jakie Atz, New Orleans; Harry D. Burton, Chicago;
John H. Crooker, Houston; H. B. Hearn, Shreveport; J. Walter Morris,
Memphis, Tenn.; N. E. Leopold, Galveston; Wilbur P. Allen, Hebronville; Jess
Eubanks, Sherman; Dr. J. H. Burleson, San Antonio; A. B. Honeycutt,
Cleburne; Bob Kilpatrick, Galveston; Otto Sens, Houston; R. O. Harvey,
Wichita Falls; Guy Alrey, Wichita Falls; William E. Huff, Wichita Falls; T.
S. Hickman, Shreveport; Tom Conners, San Antonio; Jim Galloway, Wichita
Falls; Derrill Pratt, Waco, and T. L. Denman, Mount Pleasant.
Roberts Great Leader.
FORT WORTH, Nov.—(AP)—It is with regret that we hear of the death of Doak
Roberts, Ted Robinson, president of the Fort Worth Baseball club stated this
afternoon. “The Texas league and baseball has lost a great friend.
The Corsicana Daily Sun - Wednesday, November 27, 1929 - Submitted By Diane
MANY FRIENDS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE PAY LAST TRIBUTE TO DOAK ROBERTS
Representatives of all branches of sport to which he devoted the greater
part, of his life mingled with childhood, sandlot day, and business friends
of the late J. Doak Roberts, president of the Texas League, as funeral
services were conducted from the home of Julian (Dude) Ransom at 1501 West
Collin street, Wednesday afternoon with interment in the family plot in
Hundreds of others in all walks of life who were unable to attend the rites
sent expressions of their tribute through telegrams and floral offerings;
and many others of his Corsicana friends passed the bier of the departed
leader as his body lay in state for a few brief hours Wednesday, after
arriving near noon from Dallas where he had made his home for several years.
All men recognized the loss of a friend and a leader, but it was those men
who were closely associated with him in Texas League affairs who felt the
brunt of the blow; and many a baseball man whose hair was tinged with gray
about the edges stood with bowed bare head and a stoical expression
resulting from long years of meeting the breaks as they came as the body of
their friend and associate was lowered to its final resting place, and then
turned reluctantly away from the grave, speaking not at all or in greatly
Floral Offerings Profuse.
Hundreds of floral offerings covered the casket and were banked about the
walls of the room in which the body lay in state; and covered a great area,
when they were taken to the cemetery; among the most outstanding tributes
was that of the Texas League which consisted of a huge baseball made up of
white flowers, with the familiar red and blue seams traced in flowers of
that color, while underneath were two crossed bats of golden flowers.
A quartet composed of Mesdames Percy Townsend, and Henry Robbins, and
Messrs. Lloyd Kerr and H. E. Metcalf sang three of Mrs. Roberts’ favorite
hymns during the services at the home and at the cemetery.
The funeral services were conducted by Dr. Floyd Poe, pastor of the City
Temple Presbyterian church of Dallas; assisted by Rev. P. Martin Baker,
pastor of the Third Avenue Presbyterian church of Corsicana. Dr. Poe’s
eulogy was one of the most striking tributes ever presented at a funeral.
Representatives of the members of the Texas League were active pall-bearers,
and were Fred Anknmen, president of the Houston Buffs; R. L. Stuart,
president of the Beaumont, Exporters; Homer H. Hammond, president of the San
Antonio club; C. R. Turner, president of the Waco club; T. S. Hickman,
secretary of the Shreveport club; and J. Walter Morris of Memphis, Tenn.,
whom Mr. Roberts succeeded as president of the Texas circuit.
Baseball World Represented.
All branches of baseball were represented in the group of men who
accompanied the body to its last resting place and included Bobby Stow,
secretary of the Fort Worth Club, Art Phelan, manager of the Shreveport
team; Jack Zeller of Fort Worth, scout for Detroit Americans; Bob Tarleton,
business manager of the Dallas Steers; t. L. Denman of Mt. Pleasant,
president of the East Texas League; J. Alvin Gardner, of Wichita Falls,
acting league president; William B. Ruggles former acting president and
league statistician and secretary; Fred Marberry of the Washington Senators;
“Zennie” Clayton, umpire in the Western League; and Julius Schepps, former
stockholder of the Dallas club and one of the leading sandlot backers of the
state, and others.
Other out of town visitors included Tom Ransom, E. N. Johnson, Ben Johnson,
Paoli Blair, and Stanley Kerr, all of Dallas; and a large number of friends
of the deceased from all parts of Navarro county.
The funeral was directed by the Southerland Undertaking Parlors, assisted by
Mr. Archer of the Archer-Cox Undertaking company of Dallas.
After reading a brief sketch of Mr. Roberts’ life, and recounting briefly
outstanding events in his great career, Dr. Poe delivered the following
eulogy, which is given in full:
If the Apostle Paul had been living in America in our time he would have
used some such similar expression with reference to himself—“I have played a
good game.” When he lived the chief sports were foot racing, wrestling,
physical contests in the arena. And so from time to time he says “for our
wrestling is not with the flesh and blood but against the spiritual hosts of
wickedness;” “and put on the whole armor,: and “I have fought a good fight.
I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” And again—“Let us lay
aside every weight and every sin which doth so easily beset us and run with
patience the race which is set before us.”
Paul used the allusions and figures of speech taken from the public and
national sports of his time,. If he had been living today he would have said
something like this—“I have played the game according to the rules. I have
run the bases, and I have finally come home safe, henceforth there is a
crown of rejoicing.
Played Game Fairly.
I believe this is about the most fitting thing we could say today of Doak
Roberts—“I have played the game, I have run the bases, and I have made home
The First Base of his experience was interested. He loved life. He did not
want to die. From earliest boyhood he was full of zest for life—just life
itself thrilled him. He had a tremendous interest in living. Life was never
commonplace for him. In this restless age, when men were changing plans,
growing tired of what they are doing, Doak Roberts kept up his interest in
the thing he set out to do. His interest grew instead of lagging. With most
men there is all the eagerness of revellie, the early enthusiasm of the cock
crow in the morning, the vitality of youth, the eagerness of new
beginnings—and then follows the setting down to life, accepting it, as it is
and then finally the rut with the fun all gone out of it, just doing it as
the horses walk around a treadmill. But this was not so with him, for he had
an interest in life which followed him all the way through. It never grew
bore-som, he was just as keen for his game the last week of his life as in
the early years. He made the first base of interest. Around the corner held
no mystery of nothing new to him. He went to the game as a child to play,
always on his toes. And wherever he is today he is enjoying life and happy
in all its surprises.
He also made second base of industry. Doak Roberts was a hard worker. His
history will show you that. He told me with pride of his early days when he
had to quit school and go to work, and how hard he worked, and what long
hours and what little pay. He told it not complainingly nor bitterly but
joyfully. That mental attitude toward work never forsook him. He had a mind
to work. He doubtless worked too hard oftentimes until midnight in his
office. He literally burned the candle at both ends. He would rather wear
out than rust out. Nothing with which he was ever connected could ever of
him that he did not give the last ounce of brain and strength which he had.
He used to love to visit with the men of his profession—and his office was
generally filled with them from all over the country—but when evening came
it left him with work undone. And so after dinner he would go back to the
office and work until midnight or later, doing the work which had been put
aside for his friendships. He cultivated these friendships but his work was
never sacrificed. Doak Roberts was a hard worker, and never a clock watcher.
No Job Too Hard.
No job was ever too hard for him to tackle—he knew nothing about shunning
his task or sidestepping his duty. He spared not himself. He was
industrious—and so in this game of life he played he made the second base of
industry without being put out of the game.
There are lots of men these days that go whining about crying that they have
been put out of the game—that they made a good start, but that they were
caught between first and second. Quite often the real trouble is that they
were caught loafing or napping between these two bases and were just
naturally tagged and went out of the game. Doak started to the second base
with all the eagerness of life and by sheer industry, without the equipment
many less successful men have, and yet with indomitable energy he made
second base. He was industrious. No man can ever say that Doak Roberts
loafed on the job or mooched his way through life, he made what he got. He
belonged to the old school and had no patience with the new eight hour, five
and a half day week.
He also made the third base of loyalty. Disloyalty was not in his makeup. He
never went back on his family or his friends. He never betrayed a situation.
He never sold out. He was loyal alike to man and situation. He played the
game according to the rules, and asked for no special favors. He stayed by
his desk and sacrificed much for it. Paul said “I have fought a good fight.”
Doak Roberts could have said, “I have played the game according to the
rules.” And I mean by all this that he could be trusted with any
responsibility. The one great trouble with all our modern educational and
training schemes is that they make people competent but they do not
necessarily make them loyal. Loyalty is a spirit, an attitude which comes
from something inside a man which is essentially worthy and strong. It never
occurred to him that he could betray a man or a situation.
Loyalty to His Friends.
He was loyal to his friends—and they rise up and call him blessed. He was
loyal to his ideals—and he never let them escape him. He knew what could be
done with organized baseball, he had his dreams and he was loyal to those
ideals. He never traded off a higher ideal for a lower one even if he
thought it might pay. There was in his makeup a stern sense of obligation to
the best that was in him. He had his failures, and his weaknesses as any
other man had, he was not perfect, and would have been the last man to claim
that—in fact the source of greatest worry to him was that he was not better.
He never was so sincere about it that he doubted his own acceptance with
God. But in all his anxieties and his humilities he had an inner something
noble about him; there was a shrine at which he always worshipped, and a
worthiness in him to which he was always loyal. There is a ruggedness in
some men which causes them to say that very thing in the presence of
temptation—“I just can’t do that thing, I don’t know why but it just isn’t
in me to do that.” That is what we call “loyal to the royal within.:
I am not trying to make an effeminate saint out of this man—that would be
doing him a grave injustice, but I am trying to say this truth about him,
that he was loyal to the light as he had the light. I am trying to say that
he never traded off a greater good for a lesser good. That he made no
compromise with the truth. That he played the game. He wasn’t the kind of
player in life’s game who would run the bases without touching them, spike
intentionally a fellow player. He was loyal to the rules as the game is
Touches Home Base.
And he touched home base at last, the Home Base of Faith. He believed that
it was all worthwhile. If a man does not inherently believe in the
worthiness of his cause he will never enjoy that cause nor make the success
of it he might otherwise have done. Doak Roberts believed in his job—he
believed it was a good thing. That faith never faltered. And he believed in
the eternal verities. This is something remarkable about these modern
successful men. They have the faith of a simple child. The scholars, the
scientists, the critics, the intellectual luminaries may doubt God, the
morality of the universe, the goodness of the plan of the creator—but these
big successful business men have such doubts. They are all eventually
planning to touch home base. “Safe home at last.” Is their idea of the whole
thing. They may not talk much about God—but he is the background of their
lives. They may not even go to church, or have much to do with organized
religion, but they are religious. So Doak had his faith in God, in
immortality, in the final justice, and in an eternal home. It was a long
stiff run for him—but he made it safely home at last. There was nothing
particular about it. Some men are spectacularly in their youth, on the
battlefield, or in some great fire, perhaps in the first battle they fight,
the sun is high in the heavens of their existence—and they make a home run
at the first time at bat. Their lives go out in one great dash. But not so
with many others, they go to first, they go to second, they must wait awhile
for the move of the next player, they go to third, and then finally they go
home. Nothing spectacular about it.
John the Baptist made a home run; he died a tragic death before he was 35
years old. The king had him beheaded and his head brought in on a great dish
as an offering for a dancing woman. John made a home run. But old Paul made
first base when he was stricken down on the Damascus road. He made it to
second base when he heard God’s call and responded, he reached third base
when he started down to Jerusalem, and touched home base along the Appian
Way when they beheaded him. And as he finished his course he said—“I have
kept the faith. I came around slowly, I had to stay on some bases longer
than on others, but I never lost faith in my hope of home base.
Young Nathan Hale, who was but a young soldier, made a home run when he was
early captured by the British and Killed as a traitor, but George Washington
more slowly touched home plate after many years of effort. But they achieved
the final victory.
And so Doak Roberts believed in the final victory. The last book he bought
and the last book he read was a new translation of the New Testament. He
believed in its message. And I am sure that he reached home at last.
My prayers for all his friends, for all his companions, for those who played
the game with him, for all his loved ones that they too shall touch home
base at last. That they shall believe in the hereafter, the immortality of
the soul—and in so doing run the bases with patience looking unto Jesus, the
author and finisher of their faith.
The Corsicana Daily Sun - Thursday, November 28, 1929 - Submitted by Diane
Baseball Pays Last Tribute to Leader of Texas League Friday
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Dec. 7—(AP)—Professional baseball has paid its last
tribute to J. Doak Roberts, late president of the Texas League.
In a resolution adopted at the convention of the National Association of
Professional Baseball Leagues, it was recalled he had been active in
professional baseball for more than a quarter of a century in the Texas
League and as a member of the national board. “One of the founders, he
attained by merit the pinnacle of success in his beloved Texas League, and
aided in marked degree its splendid ascendancy,” the resolution said.
Oakwood Cemetery, Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas