Baseball History for April 12th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1850 Sandy Nava
1859 John Harkins
1862 Harry East
1863 Buster Hoover
1875 Lew Post
1876 Vic Willis
1879 Bill Clancy
1879 Fred Brown
1880 Addie Joss
1881 Harry Ostdiek
1887 Sam Agnew
1888 Charlie Pick
1888 Bill Bailey
1888 Harry Sullivan
1888 Kid McLaughlin
1895 Sammy Vick
1898 Trader Horne
1898 Mickey O’Neil
1899 Bernie Henderson
1908 Joe Vitelli
1909 Eric McNair
1910 Bill Miller
1912 Jack Wilson
1918 Chucho Ramos
1922 Bill Wight
1926 Lou Possehl
1926 Walt Moryn
1928 Bill Stewart
1929 Mel Held
1930 Johnny Antonelli
1933 Charlie Lau
1940 Woodie Fryman
1942 Tommie Sisk
1942 Dale Roberts
1943 Ken Suarez
1943 Vicente Romo
1944 Terry Harmon
1956 Jose Alvarez
1960 Bill Lindsey
1964 Jerry Goff
1964 Mike Macfarlane
1968 Dave Staton
1968 Cliff Brantley
1971 Matt Williams
1972 Paul Lo Duca
1973 Antonio Osuna
1976 Jeff Wallace
1977 D. J. Carrasco
1979 Jordan De Jong
1980 Daniel Garcia
1981 Hisashi Iwakuma
1982 Justin Ruggiano
1985 Adonis Garcia
1985 Brennan Boesch
1986 Brad Brach
1989 Pedro Hernandez
1989 Raudel Lazo
1990 Edgar Olmos
1990 Burch Smith

OBITUARIES:

1889 Frank Ringo
1929 Tom Phillips
1937 Ed Morris
1940 Fred Klobedanz
1941 Frederick Boardman
1947 Tom Sullivan
1966 Gussie Gannon
1966 Joe Harris
1968 Frank Sigafoos

As a major league player, Frank Sigafoos was a bit snake bit.  Getting four different chances with four different teams, he never was able to get in a good groove with either Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, or Cincinnati.

He once hit a home run off of Cuban lefty Oscar Estrada that technically didn’t happen.  It was the only game that Estrada would pitch in the majors – he came on in relief in the ninth inning of a game between the Browns and Detroit.  With a runner on second, Sigafoos drilled a pitch far over the wall in right-centerfield.  Except that home plate umpire Bruce Campbell called a balk, nullifying the pitch, the homer, and instead of giving up two runs, Estrada’s penalty was to give up a base to the runner at second.  It would have been Sigafoos’s first, and only, homer.  Maybe it would have turned things around.  Instead, Sigafoos would have to be a star in the minor leagues.

Frank Sigafoos was born in Easton, PA on 21 March 1904 and after his days in high school he would work in the coal mines outside of his city.  Looking for a better life, he enrolled in Purdue University where he would play baseball there.  Returning to Philadelphia after college, he was playing semi-professional ball when scouted by Connie Mack.  Mack signed him but then dispatched Sigafoos to Newark for the 1925 season.  After hitting .284 there as a third baseman, Mack moved him to Reading where Sigafoos would play shortstop and hit .321, earning a cup of coffee with the Athletics at the end of the 1926 season.  He’d bat .256, but in just 43 at bats.  Mack was no longer enamored with his prospect; he sold Sigafoos to Portland in the PCL instead.

For two years, Sigafoos would hit .335 and .296.  Detroit signed him for the 1929 season, but things didn’t work out and Sigafoos returned to the PCL, this time for Los Angeles.  Hitting .305 there, Cincinnati took an interest in him.  However, after a solid spring training, Sigafoos hit .169 for the Reds and was dispatched to Indianapolis in the American Association.

It was in Indianapolis that Sigafoos had his best seasons, including a 1933 season where he batted .370, and had a league record 41 game hitting streak.  Sigafoos loved the city, he loved the fans, and a few years after his baseball career ended, he would return to Indianapolis for the rest of his days.

In the off-seasons, he took a position with Citizens Gas in Indianapolis.  After spending two years in Louisville – and his batting average falling from .341 to .253 – he soon decided he was done and went to work for Citizen’s full-time, which he did for nearly 30 years.

After his retirement, the company’s recreation and athletic association endowed a scholarship in Sigafoos’s name, awarded to a local high school baseball player for use in his first year of college.

Sigafoos died on 12 April 1968.

1970 Dick Brown
1970 Red Shannon
1971 Ed Lafitte
1977 Tim McCabe
1977 Hal Leathers
1979 Sam Edmonston
1980 Mel Preibisch
1981 Dick Hoover
1983 Carl Morton
1988 Frank Skaff
1989 Arnold Carter
1990 Johnny Reder
1991 Gene Lillard
1999 Cliff Ross
2001 Nelson Burbrink
2004 Frank Seward
2008 Jim Goodwin
2009 Gene Handley
2011 Eddie Joost
2014 Hal Smith

YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT!

1933 Opening Day the fans wanted?  Ruth homers twice, Sammy Byrd hits a pair, and Gehrig, Simmons, and Foxx all homer in a 12 – 6 opening day win for the Yankees over the A’s.

1965 Don Drysdale homers off of Larry Jackson of the Mets on Opening Day – the only pitcher to have homered in two different Opening Day starts.  He homered in 1959 against the Cubs and Bob Anderson.

1988 Bobby Witt commits four balks in eight innings of work…  He lost to Detroit, 4 – 1.

1992 Cleveland defeats Boston, 2 – 0, without getting a single hit.  Matt Young walked seven batters in getting the loss.  Kenny Lofton walked, stole two bases, and scored on an error.  Two walks and a fielder’s choice scored another run in the third.

1994 Boston’s Scott Cooper hits for the cycle against the Royals in Kaufman Stadium.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1962 Detroit sends Steve Demeter to Cleveland for Norm Cash.

1977 Detroit trades away Willie Horton – sending him to Texas for Steve Foucault.

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