A celebrity sports delegation attended the Saint Lawrence University commencement on June 12, 1933.
“It was the first occasion that a major league ball team had ever came here to see one of their number receive his degree,” the Ogdensburg Journal reported. “In fact, it was the first time that such a ball team ever came to the village.”
Twenty-two members of the New York Giants were at the university campus at Canton to see standout pitcher Harold Henry “Prince Hal” Schumacher graduate.
The Giants had picked up Schumacher in the 1931 season, after Schumacher’s junior year. Schumacher, from Hinckley, NY, near Utica, also had played football and basketball at Saint Lawrence University.
Schumacher, while playing for the Giants, continued his college studies during the off season, and graduated with a bachelor of science degree during a professional season in which the 22-year-old had already pitched four shut outs.
While it was a day off from the major league for Schumacher and his team mates, it wasn’t a day off from baseball.
After the commencement, the Giants played an exhibition game against the St. Lawrence University team.
Estimates of up to 10,000 people watched the “North Country Baseball Classic” at Week’s Field, where temporary bleachers were set up to accommodate the crowd.
“The game takes on all the appearance of a little world series for the North Country, with radio being pressed into service to give the details to a still larger group of devoted followers of the national pastime.”
Graham McNamee, a nationally known sports announcer, came to Canton to call play by play over WCAD radio, the college station, which transmitted the broadcast over the NBC radio network.
The score, 12-4 in favor of the Giants, was incidental.
Some news reports did not even mention the score.
Schumacher pitched the first two innings, in which his former college team mates were hitless.
At the end of the 2:30 pm game, D. P. Church, a local pilot, flew game photos to Albany to meet a late evening train that would transport them to New York City in time to appear in metropolitan newspapers the next morning.
The six-foot tall, 190-pound Schumacher, who never played minor league baseball and never was traded, played for the Giants through the 1942 season, and then took three seasons off to serve in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War.
He returned to the Giants for one last season in 1946, finishing up with a career record of 158 wins and 121 losses over 13 seasons.
Illustration: 1933 Goudey baseball card of Harold “Hal” Schumacher of the New York Giants.