Baseball History for April 13th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1858 Bill Barnes

Played eight games in the Union Association in 1884 for the St. Paul Saints.  The Saints were a replacement team that helped finish the season.  He really wasn’t a major leaguer.

1863 Charlie Sweeney

California born pitcher, blew out his arm, which ended a promising career, and – well, everything went bad quickly for him.  According to MLB Profiles, 1871-1900, Sweeney left baseball rather abruptly, and then kept getting into scrapes.  One scrape, which wound up with gun shots being fired, put Sweeney in prison for murder.  Even that ended quickly when it was found out that the brother of the dead man committed perjury.  Still – Sweeney got out of one prison, but wound up in a worse spot.  He contracted Tuberculosis and died before turning 39.

1864 Billy Murray

Phillies manager in the first decade of the last century…

Phil Williams wrote his bio for SABR:

1866 Herman Long

Arguably the best shortstop before Bobby Wallace…  Hughie Jennings in in the Hall, but Long was every bit as good – and both played on championship teams.  Long led the NL in homers with 12 in 1900, and in runs scored with 149 in 1893.

1870 Abel Lizotte

Played something like seven games with Pittsburgh – but spent two decades in the minors.

1875 Pete Cregan

Played seven games in two stints – a game with the Giants in 1899 and six games with Cincinnati in 1903.  Batted 2 for 21 in his career.

1875 Kid Elberfeld

One of my favorite characters of the 1900s – fearless, played an angry game, really, but boy could he play.  Once went 4 – 4 against Rube Waddell in a game – the only four hits Waddell allowed.

Terry Simpkins wrote his SABR biography.

1879 Jake Stahl

College football and baseball star turned Red Sox hero.  Read John Stajl’s SABR bio here.

1881 Patsy O’Rourke

Baseball lifer – probably spent 53 years in baseball, but just 53 games with the Cardinals in 1908.  I see a future research project.

1883 Mike Simon

Indiana grad, catcher for the Pirates with fairly good defensive skills.  Left Pirates for the Federal League, but was done after 1915.

1884 Phil Ketter

Went 2 for 6 in two games with the 1912 St. Louis Browns.  A catcher, and born Phil Ketterer (apparently he was hiding his identity or thought the extra “er” was redundant), he spent a decade in the low minors before returning to his hometown St. Louis.

1885 Red Killefer

Charlie Weatherby tells the story of a man with nearly as many nicknames as teams he played for.  Attended both Purdue and Michigan…

1885 Vean Gregg

Eric Sallee penned this bio of a great lefty with a rather nomadic baseball career.

1889 Claude Hendrix

Everybody gets a SABR bio today.  Jonathan Dunkle weaves the tale of an athletic spitballer who killed his career by throwing games.

1890 Al Platte

Outfielder who played nine games for Detroit in 1913.

1890 George Shears

Highlanders pitcher in 1913 – pitched in just four games.  On the other hand, his Wikipedia page says he was a leading chiropractic doctor for several decades…

1893 Roy Walker

Tennessee native who alternated between the majors and minors for three different teams over an 11 year period between 1912 and 1922.  His most productive season was 1921, where he went 11 – 12 for the Cardinals.  For whatever reason (research project?) he couldn’t stay anywhere very long.

1894 Squiz Pillion

Cecil Randolph Pillion was given a tryout by Connie Mack in 1915 – two appearances – but he gave up ten hits and two walks in just 5.1 innings and was dispatched back to the lots.

1894 Pat Martin

Connie Mack gave him two shots in 1919 and 1920, but failed to stick in seven starts (1 – 6, 5.61 ERA).

1900 Rufe Clarke

Pitched for the Tigers in 1923 and 1924 – just seven games, splitting two decisions.  Brother, Sumpter, also pitched in the bigs.

1902 Ben Cantwell

Giants and Braves pitcher, considered bright, and once went 4 – 25 for a lousy Boston team.  His SABR bio was inked by Gregory H. Wolf.

1903 Ken Jones

Georgetown grad, nicknamed Broadway, but pitched just just nine major league games.  Got in one game in 1924 with the Tigers.  Spent a while in the minors, and got eight games (one start) with the Braves in 1930.

1905 Biff Wysong

Reds prospect in the 1930s, Harlan Wysong went 1 – 3 from 1930 to 1932, but walked 34 guys while striking out 11.  Apparently, his arm went bad in 1932, so he returned home and played semi-pro baseball as a first baseman for a few years.  (“Wysong’s Pitching Arm is Treated”, Wilmington News-Journal, 27 July 1935, Page 2.)

“Harlan Wysong, little son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Wysong, was severely burned in the face last week by an explosion of coal oil, which he was pouring on a fire.”

The Wilmington Journal, 21 Feb 1912, Page 2.

“Common Pleas Judge Frank M. Clevenger granted Eva Wysong a divorce on the grounds of neglect.  Custody of their two children was awarded to Mrs. Wysong and he was enjoined from interfering with the plaintiff, but is to have the right to visit the children.  He was instructed to play $10 per week for support of the children.”

“Granted Divorce”, Wilmington (OH) News-Journal, 25 April 1946, Page 2.

Wysong was in poor health for a few weeks – just 46 years old – when he passed on.  Apparently he was temperamental, and frequently displayed an uncontrollable temper.  “…His admiring fans all chipped in to buy him a fine leather traveling bag.  They presented it to him with appropriate ceremony before a game and the tempermental Biff gave it an unappreciative kick under the player’s bench and remarked something about not being able to pitch with ‘a thing like that.'”

“Death of Biff Wysong Sets Off Reminiscing About Baseball Here”, Washington Court House Record-Herald, 9 August 1951, Page 17.

1906 Roxie Lawson

Swing man for staffs on Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis (AL) – member of the 1935 Tigers, and went 18 – 7 in 1937.  His arm couldn’t take the load, and he career went downhill from there.

1911 Woody Upchurch

North Carolina native, lost two decisions in both 1935 and 1936 for Connie Mack.  Must have had a live arm, but he couldn’t throw strikes and Connie didn’t keep him around after that.  Didn’t go to the minors, though.  I see a future research project.

1912 Jake Mooty

Texas A&M grad, pitched for the reds, Cubs, and Tigers in the 1930s and 1940s.  Looks like his career ended during World War II and he never made it back.

1915 Oscar Grimes

Dad, Ray, also played.  Oscar was a utility infielder for the Indians and Yankees (and Athletics) for about a decade.  Not a horrible player, either.  Good eye, made contact, the three years he played at least 100 games, he’d get on base at a .360 or better rate.

1917 Jim Schelle

Born Gerald Anthony Schelle, went to Villanova, and played in a single game for the Athletics in 1939.  Unlike Kevin Ohme (below), he allowed all five guys he faced to reach base, three of them scored, so his ERA is infinity.

1941 John Stephenson

Catcher (slash) guy for four teams in the 1960s and 1970s.  You might have a few of his baseball cards, but might not recognize him.

1942 Ike Brown

Memphis native, played in the Negro Leagues (briefly – they were dying following integration) and spent six  years with the Tigers playing all over the field.  (Unlike Gates Brown, who just hit – and wasn’t related.)  Pretty good hitter, good eye, not so good luck.  Cancer took him in 2001.

1959 Ed Amelung

Dodgers prospect who got two tries as an outfielder, but didn’t stick.  A San Diego State alum, he’s now a regional sales manager for Master Meter.

1962 Jeff Bittiger

Smallish reliever with a big arm who got four years in the bigs.  Now a scout for the Oakland A’s.  Actually started as a third baseman before being converted to the mound.

1963 Mark Leiter

I’m more familiar with his brother, Al, who pitched for the Marlins…  Mark had a nice career, too.  Spent 11 years in the bigs, sometimes as a starter, and sometimes not.  Now runs a youth baseball camp.

His son is on the way to the bigs soon.

1964 Doug Strange

NC State alum, utility infielder for a decade, now working for the Pirates in management…

1965 Jeff DeWillis

3rd round draft pick for the Blue Jays, but he only played 13 games in the big leagues.

1966 Wes Chamberlain

Outfield prospect with the Pirates, Red Sox and Phillies.  Went to Jackson State and now is the CEO of a company that provides youth sport programs.

1970 Ricardo Rincon

Long time Mexican lefty who appeared in 565 games over a 12 year period.  Had 21 career saves, 400 strikeouts, and 201 walks in his 443.2 innings (lefty one-out guy…).

1971 Kevin Ohme

Long time prospect who had more elbow surgeries (three) than games with the Cards (two).  He batted once and singled – so his lifetime batting average is 1.000 and his lifetime ERA is 0.00.

1980 Jose Diaz

Dominican right handed pitcher who spent the bulk of his minor league career at AAA with a 5+ ERA.  For some reason, he got five major league games with Kansas City and Texas…

1983 Hunter Pence

Old school, free spirit, fun outfielder for three teams.  Injured in 2015, keeping him from playing at least 150 games for the first time since 2007 when he came up with Houston.

1983 Steve Pearce

Tampa first baseman who has already played for five different teams now.  He’s got some power, he’s got a good eye, but he doesn’t make enough contact to keep a job.

1986 Lorenzo Cain

My son’s favorite Royal.  I remember when they got him from Milwaukee and wondered why he didn’t play every day right away.

OBITUARIES:

1897 Charles Yingling
1898 Charlie McCullough
1908 John Kelly
1909 Fred Cone
1923 Gene Krapp
1927 Tommy Johns
1927 Kirtley Baker
1929 John Castle
1929 John Kelty
1933 Ody Abbott
1941 Joe Schultz
1945 Joe Kutina
1946 Billy Gumbert
1951 Wish Egan
1962 Bill Akers
1964 Ed Pipgras
1967 Tommy Griffith
1967 Herb Welch
1971 Troy Puckett
1976 Mike McCormick
1979 Frankie Kelleher
1982 Ray Knode
1992 Steve Shemo
1995 Hal Peck
1997 Harry Rosenberg
1998 Randy Brown
1998 Jack Bolling
2000 Frenchy Bordagaray
2005 Don Blasingame
2006 Dutch Fehring
2006 Bill Baker
2009 Mark Fidrych

YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT!

1963 Pittsburgh’s Bob Friend ties a major league record by committing four balks in a game.  He finished the game and got the win over the Reds.  Pete Rose tripled in the game, by the way – it was his first major league hit.

1982 After 17 innings and with the game knotted at three, a game between Seattle and California is suspended.  The remainder of the game is played the next day – California won on a Bob Boone single that scored Don Baylor in the 20th inning.

1984 Expo Pete Rose gets his 4000th hit off Phillies pitcher Jerry Koosman.  He’s the first (and only) National League player to reach that milestone.

1993 Detroit hangs 20 runs on Oakland, banging out 18 hits and three homers.

1998 Tampa outlasts Minnesota, 13 – 12, in 14 innings.  The game featured 41 hits and eight homers.

1998 Lawrence, KS’s own Lee Stevens hits three homers for Texas in a 10 – 1 win over Detroit

1999 Pudge Rodriguez hits a pair of homers and knocks in nine runs to help crush Seattle, 15 – 6.  Of the four hits, he homered for three runs in the first, singled home a pair in the second, and hit a grand slam in the third.

2003 Philadelphia scores all 13 runs in the fourth inning in a 13 – 1 win over the Reds.  The Phillies only got six hits, but the last one was a three run homer by Ricky Ledee.

2007 Houston’s Carlos Lee knocks out three homers, driving in six, and beats Philadelphia, 9 – 6.

2009 While with the Dodgers, Orlando Hudson hits for the Cycle against the Giants.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1991 Texas signs free agent outfielder/DH Brian Downing.

1995 Texas signs free agent Mickey Tettleton.

2010 Toronto signs non-drafted free agent Adeiny Hechavarria.

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