Local man recalls dad’s baseball days

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 30, 2002


LAPLACE – In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, people didn’t have much money. Come to think of it, people did not have much of anything. Well, except for memories. One LaPlace resident has a lot of memories about his father

living out his dream. A dream that lead George “Mule” Haas Sr. to playing in World Series games with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1929, 1930, and 1931. Now 78-years-old, George Haas, Jr. remembers baseball when it was a sport. That time was the time when his father played.

The early days

Born in Montclair, New Jersey on October 15, 1903, Haas signed his first minor league baseball contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1923. After a brief stint with the Pirates and a minor league team in Birmingham, Alabama, the elder Haas had his contract bought by the A’s in 1928.

“When I was five-years old ( in 1929) I attended all of the World Series games my father played in,” recalled Haas. “I either got on my mother’s lap or my grandfather carried me and let me sit next to him.”

The younger Haas remembered a time in either ’30 or ’31 when he was not allowed to get into the game because he did not have a ticket. His father carried him over the gate in order to have him near. Playing centerfield throughout his career, media, fans, and players were comparing the A’s stand-out to another great player during the era.

” They thought he was like Joe DiMaggio. I don’t think that really bothered him though,” commented Haas.

From 1933-37, the player known as “Mule” went on to play in Chicago.

The then 9-year-old Haas spent a couple of summers with his father in Chicago doing a variety of things. He was given a uniform and even chased fly balls in the outfield during practice. To him, it was like Christmas had arrived early.

“In 1934 and 1935 I was 11-years-old and rode on a train to Chicago to see spend time with my dad and see him play for two weeks,” said Haas.

World Series

Like all baseball players, the New Jersey native wanted to play in the World Series. In fact, Haas said his father was the hero of the 1929 World Series.

“In the third or fourth game of the Series, the Cubs were ahead 8-0 in the seventh when the A’s got 10 runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 10-8 lead. My father got up and hit a two-run home run to win the game. They defeated the Cubs 4-1 in the series.”

Another great moment for the Haas family happened in the fifth game of the series in 1929. The senior Haas slammed a two-run home run that enabled the Athletics to win the game.

“He also played in a World Series two years later, but came up short losing four games to three,” added “Mule’s” only son.

Post-baseball career

The end came for the former Major League Baseball player in 1939. Finishing with a career average over 11 seasons of .292, Haas’ career was cut short with an injury.

“When my father got hurt he became a bench manager and was eventually fired,” observed the LaPlace resident.

In addition, the former MLB slugger managed a minor league team in Oklahoma City in 1939.

He then spent the next few years as a baseball and basketball coach for various teams. The next several years would be important time Haas would spend with his young children until his death in 1974 in LaPlace.

“We had a lot of people living together during the offseason and such. There was my mom, dad, grandmother and grandfather all living together.”

The only thing the Riverlands Estates resident regrets is something that meant so much to his father.

“I regret that he lost his World Series ring before he died. We thought it came up but it did not.”

Like father, like son

Like his late father, Haas Jr. had a professional baseball career.

Although not as successful as his fathers, he still enjoyed the game. The junior Haas signed a minor league contract with Pittsburgh in 1947. He spent the ’47 season with a minor league club in York, Pennsylvania. Stops in Waco, Texas, and Anderson, South Carolina are also included on his resume.

“I remember playing one game in North Carolina where there mountains around the baseball field. That wasn’t easy,” Haas remembered.

However, an injury to his throwing arm cut his career short.

“I guess the tough part about playing baseball is that I was always compared to my father. I told one guy in Lancaster, ‘you can say anything you want about me, but just don’t say anything about my father.'”