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100 years before the Brewers adopted Hank, the Indians had a bull terrier mascot named Larry

Image: National Baseball Hall of Fame Library

To many, Jack Graney was the first former professional baseball player to make the transition into the broadcast booth. Some might regard him as a member of the 1920 World Series champion Indians. But to many Cleveland fans in the early 20th century, Graney was just one half of baseball's most adorable tag team.

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In February 1912, Cleveland Naps trainer Doc White won a bet with the superintendent of Cleveland's luxurious Hollenden Hotel when Johnny Kilbane took the World Featherweight title off of Abe Attell in a 20-round decision. To make good on his end of the bet, the superintendent gave White a bull terrier -- way before teams started adopting whatever cute pet wandered into their Spring Training facilities. When White brought the pup along to Spring Training the next season, the Naps just had to adopt him as their official mascot.

The Naps named the pup Larry and allowed it to hang out in the dugout during games and practices at Spring Training and during the regular season. After Graney injured his shoulder in a 1912 game against the Tigers, he was resigned to spending the rest of the season in the dugout, and Larry was there to keep him company.

Graney and Larry formed a bond, so the outfielder brought the dog home with him during the offseason -- teaching Larry all sorts of tricks. Over the next few years, Larry would entertain Naps fans with his antics: Leap-frogging over players, tracking down foul balls and stealing straw hats from unsuspecting spectators. Barbara Gregorich -- author of a book about Graney and his relationship with Larry -- writes that Larry became the first dog to be formally introduced to a sitting U.S. president when he met Woodrow Wilson in 1914 ... and promptly chased a squirrel across the White House lawn.

Perhaps Larry's greatest trick, though, was that he could travel with the team ... or by himself. Per SABR:

"Often during the season the dog became so exhausted that Graney would send Larry back to his hometown of St. Thomas for a rest. The dog took an overnight lake steamer to Port Stanley, Ontario, where crewmembers let him off; he then rode the interurban streetcar to St. Thomas. The streetcar conductor would drop off Larry at Elgin Street and the dog would trot over to Graney's parents' home."

The newspapers loved Larry, and so did Cleveland's opponents. In 1916, The Day wrote that Larry was the pet of all the American League players. Sadly, Larry died the following year, so he wasn't around when Graney and the re-named Indians finally won the World Series in 1920.

If you'd like to learn more about Graney, Larry or Graney and Larry, Gregorich's book would be a great place to start.