In 1929, the Philadelphia Athletics prepared to face the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. On a team that included twenty-game winners Lefty Grove and George Earnshaw, Manager Connie Mack started a veteran bullpen pitcher who was at the end of his career—Howard Ehmke.
Ehmke had gone to his manager and asked to start the game. “I know I can get these Cubs out,” he told the legendary manager. Ehmke led his team to victory against the Cubs, and the A’s went on to win the Series, 4-1. Mack later said that listening to Ehmke was the wisest decision he ever made.
Ehmke struck out thirteen, breaking the World Series record for strikeouts in a game. That record stood until Carl Erskine eclipsed it in 1953 with fourteen strikeouts.
A year later, Ehmke retired from baseball. He went to see his old manager with another idea. Perhaps remembering the wisdom of his earlier decision, Mack once again bought Ehmke’s idea – a large canvas tarpaulin that could be spread over the infield when it rained to keep water of the baseball diamond. Thus was born Ehmke Manufacturing Company, Inc.