Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: Canadian man tries to pass forged check under baseball star’s name

A Canadian man identified in paperwork as W.G.G. Foss was arrested in Spokane in January 1921 on suspicion of passing checks under the name of Jimmy Ring, a professional baseball pitcher in Cincinnati.  (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A man posing as Jimmy Ring, a star pitcher for the Cincinnati baseball team, was arrested in Spokane after a forged check-writing spree.

The man professed to be outraged at this shocking treatment.

“Why should I be subjected to this humiliation?” he asked detectives. “My salary is $11,500 a year (a fortune by 1921 standards) and my reputation is worth too much to spoil by passing a no-good check.”

However, upon questioning, “Jimmy” could not tell them where the Cincinnati ballpark was located, nor where the Chicago Cubs played.

After a search of the lining of his overcoat, detectives found papers indicating that he was W.G.G. Foss, a silk hosiery salesman from Canada. He carried discharge papers showing that he had served in the Canadian army and had won several medals for conspicuous bravery.

The papers also indicated that he had been discharged from the army because of shrapnel wounds to his left temple, which might explain his erratic behavior.

He later told officials that he was subject to “spells,” and that he “might get to thinking that I am King George himself.”

The real Jimmy Ring had a 12-year major league career. He went 17-16 in 1920 with a 3.54 earned-run average.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1908: President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the Grand Canyon National Monument (it became a national park in 1919).

1935: Aviator Amelia Earhart began an 18-hour trip from Honolulu to Oakland, California, that made her the first person to fly solo across any part of the Pacific Ocean.