Thursday, March 18, 2010


It's no secret that Laguna Beach has long been a favorite vacation spot for the Hollywood elite - an escape from the glitz and glam of old Hollywood. Many of the those rich and famous called Laguna Beach home. For my wife's mother, Allyn ("Ma'am-in-law") and her mother, "Grandma Bev", there is a pleasant connection to two famous individuals.

The home Allyn has lived in for the past twelve years was owned by a famous Major League baseball player from early days of the sport and my Grandma's home is rumored to have been purchased by Rock Hudson  for his partner.  Although, no tangible proof source has been obtained for the "Giant" (with James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor) movie star, it's a story a classic movie history fan like me chooses to believe.  Both homes, coincidentally, are around the corner from each other - no more than five houses of seperation.  The home my wife and I lived in was only a neighborhood block from them.

While placing her home on the market recently, Allyn discovered some interesting information on a very famous previous owner.  His name was Clifford Carlton "Gavvy" Cravath (Mar. 23, 1881 - May 23, 1963), an American right fielder and right-handed batter in Major League Baseball from April 18, 1908 - October 2, 1920 and was regarded as one of the sport's pioneer sluggers of the 20th century, Cravath went on to become the first player to win more than five home run titles.

Cravath purchased Allyn's home in the 1940's that, besides it's true address, was known as "Lot 52, Tract 888"

In 1964, the home with personal property was appraised at $17,300 - his 1958 Ford Ranch Wagon was appraised at $600

Gavvy Cravath on a 1909-11 American Tobacco Company baseball card

Some background from the internet:

Clifford Carlton "Gavvy" Cravath was a Major League Baseball Player. The home-run king of baseball before Babe Ruth was the son of Augustus Cravath, the first mayor of Escondido, California and his mother Kate, who hailed from an old San Diego county pioneer family. Clifford Cravath was born in a rural area of the County in what today is Rancho Bernardo. He attended Escondido High School, lettered in both football and baseball and his passion after gradation led him to a San Diego team connected with a California League. A year later, he was signed by the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League. Cravath made his entry into the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox and after one season traded to Chicago, then Washington finally winding up back in the minor leagues with the Minneapolis Millers. An outstanding record won Cravath another chance in the majors with the Philadelphia Phillies where he became a mainstay for eight years. His total of 24 homers in 1915 was the highest ever for a major-league team until broken by Babe Ruth in 1919. His career home run total of 119 was also broken by Babe Ruth in 1921. Cravath's major league career was relatively short because he was 31 when he hit his stride and began starring for the Phillies. He was a player-manager in his last two years as an active player then continued on as manager and a scout for the Phillies. Upon retirement from the game, he settled in Orange County, California selling real estate while serving as a justice of the peace until his death in Laguna Beach at age 82. Epilogue: He was inducted into the Breithbard Hall of Fame in the San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum located in historic Balboa Park. Campaigns to honor him at Cooperstown, N.Y. have been unsuccessful. Baseball is a sport steeped in trivia and is so with Clifford Cravath. He played in the dead-ball area when opposing pitchers could legally doctor baseballs. This practice was probably responsible for curtailing his hitting. He contributed to rule changes. During a game, caught in a rundown between second and third with the players lobbing the ball back and forth, Cravath grabbed the ball in mid-lob, threw it into the stands and raced home. A subsequent rules change made this action illegal. Cravath received his nickname while playing with the Los Angeles Angles in the Pacific League. He hit a drive which killed a sea gull in flight. Spanish fans took up the chant, gaviota! (sea gull), gaviota.' The nickname 'Gavvy' was created.


  1. I'd just sent this link to Bev, discussing Rock Hudson's Laguna Beach days:

  2. Howdy "Ma'am"!! Oh how I'd love to read proof that Grandma's house was, indeed, owned by Rock Hudson.