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BASEBALL; Cooperstown candidate

Even avid baseball fans aren't likely to be familiar with Clarence Beaumont, the first batter in "modern" World Series history. But that hasn't stopped the Burlington Standard Press, a Wisconsin newspaper, from campaigning for his selection to the Hall of Fame.

Ginger, as the stocky redhead was nicknamed, spent much of his life in the Burlington area. But his best years as a player came in Pittsburgh, where Pirate teammate Honus Wagner generally overshadowed him. Still he managed to lead the National League in hits four times, capture the circuit's batting title in 1902 with a .357 average, and hit .311 during his 14-year career.

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Though short and powerful at 5 ft. 8 in., 190 pounds, Beaumont was primarily a line- drive, spray hitter. His ability to bunt, steal bases, and beat out grounders also made him an excellent leadoff man, who once went 6- for-6 without hitting the ball through the infield. "On my fourth try," he recalled, "the third baseman stood 10 feet from the plate and I still beat out a bunt."

By sending newspaper clippings on Beaumont to other publications, the Standard Press is trying to convince them of his Cooperstown qualifications. A groundswell of sentiment could influence a special oldtimers' committee when it convenes next March.

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