Harold Harris Chase was born in Los Gatos, California on February 13, 1883; the youngest of six children. Chase's father ran a sawmill in the California foothills, and the fiery red-headed Hal grew up in a rugged atmosphere. He learned early on to look out for himself, a personality trait that would be forever apparent during his baseball career. Dr. Charles Strub, later the president of the San Francisco Seals minor league team, knew Chase during these early years.... "The first time I saw him was in a kid's game. He was a left-handed shortstop, barefooted, wearing tattered overalls." Chase, far too free-spirited for academics, left high school in the tenth grade. A natural left-hander who insisted on batting right-handed, he played on semi-pro teams in the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Santa Clara Valley. At age nineteen, Chase attended the University of Santa Clara for the 1902-1903 seasons. Supposedly studying to be a civil engineer, Chase played on the school baseball team. His academic record has not survived for posterity. According to school athletic records, he appeared primarily as a second baseman. A lefthander at second is unusual in baseball, as the natural turning and throwing done at the position favors a righthander. But, second base held no problems for Chase. The Redwood, his college yearbook, contained the notation: "Hal Chase played second base, Hal Chase would be difficult to replace." On the baseball field though, Chase never hesitated to play other positions. Dr. Strub found this out when he encountered Chase again in college: "It was a late inning and Chase was catching. We had a man on first and none out. I was up there to sacrifice which I did, all right. I sacrificed everybody! Chase stepped around me with the pitch, took the ball off the bat and doubled the runner at first...One look at Chase, you knew he couldn't miss the big leagues and it wouldn't matter much where they played him. In many respects, he was the greatest ballplayer I ever looked at. Certainly, no player had quicker reflexes."
scandals and such
the nomad
mixed legacy