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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Tue., April 16, 2013

From our archives, 100 years ago

Dr. H.M. Wright, a Spokane Methodist pastor, came to the passionate defense of Spokane’s sometimes-maligned Italian community.

“You have called the Italian dirt and have crowded him into more dirt,” he pungently proclaimed. “But God has taken Italian dirt and made a Dante, a Michelangelo, a Savonarola, a Galileo.”

The minister continued his defense in a way that grates on modern ears: “The ‘dago’ gave us the barometer, the mariner’s compass, the thermometer.”

An editorial called Wright’s sermon an “eloquent and effective” plea for equality. The editors urged tolerance toward Spokane’s Italians.

From the baseball beat: The Spokane Indians won their 1913 home opener in front of 4,500 fans in a freezing drizzle at Natatorium Park.

Pitcher Red Toner pitched a steady game, yet his best pitch was one that got away. He plunked opposing pitcher Frank Easley on the pitching arm, forcing Easley to leave the game. Two subsequent relievers surrendered the winning runs.

The “first pitch” ceremony was quite a spectacle. Washington Gov. Ernest Lister threw the first pitch to Idaho Lt. Gov. Herman Taylor behind the plate while Spokane Mayor W.J. Hindley pretended to hit. 


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