Baseball History for December 20th

<— DEC 19     DEC 21 —>


1852 Herm Doscher

Herm Doscher with Friends

Photo found in the Buffalo Evening News on 24 March 1917 shows a bunch of old ballplayers hanging out with Billy Sunday (3rd from left).  To Billy’s left is Herm Doscher.

Association and NL Player and umpire. He’s the first father to have a son also play in the majors (Herm with Chicago in 1879, and his son, Jack, with the Cubs in 1903).  In 1892, Doscher scouted an outfielder named William O’Kelleher who was playing semi-pro baseball in Brooklyn and arranged for O’Kelleher to play professionally for the Birmingham Bingos.  O’Kelleher is much more famous as the name he took after becoming a professional: Wee Willie Keeler.

Weinstein, Matt. “Bingoes key to Keeler’s career”, Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin, 02 September 2014, Page C1.

Sometimes Herm’s name is spelled Doescher in the newspapers…

Herman Doescher seems to have stopped up his end of the pipe line he had laid to secure the appointment of umpire in the Eastern League, for he has opened a saloon in Buffalo. There will be many regular attendants of the games on the circuit who will regret the passing of Herm Doescher, a man who has been steadily connected with the national game since 1875 as a player, manager, and umpire.

“Base Ball Comment.”, Wilkes-Barre Record, 22 March 1897, Page 7

1853 Jack Manning

Pitcher, outfielder. Went 33 – 7 over two seasons as a pitcher for two Boston clubs (Association and NL), and was a good enough hitter to keep playing in the field once his pitching wing died.

1856 Harry Stovey
1866 Joe Gormley
1869 Bill McCauley
1876 Jimmy Williams

Infielder with the Pirates – the only Pirate who defected to the American League when the AL formed, signing with the Orioles then moving to the Highlanders. He finished with the Browns before heading off to the American Association…

1878 Bob Hall
1878 William “Doc” Moskiman

William Doc MoskimanOakland area pitcher who got a brief trial with the Red Sox, but was much more successful pitching in the early days of the Pacific Coast League.  At some point, earned his medical degree from Cal and would work as a doctor in the off-season.  After a long minor league career, he took his local fame and managed a west coast division of Spaulding Sporting Goods and lived the rest of his days in Oakland.

When he died in 1953, he left behind a son, William, and a daughter, Elizabeth (White).

“William Moskiman, Ex-Oak Hurler, Dies”, Oakland Tribune, 12 January 1953, Page 32.
The picture you see of Moskiman here was found on page 11 of the Oakland Tribune published 02 August 1909.

1879 Ham Wade
1881 Branch Rickey

Only the most important General Manager before Theo Epstein… Had a LONG career, successful with many teams. And he integrated baseball by signing Jackie Robinson.

1885 Joe Wilhoit
1885 Paddy Baumann
1886 Joe Berger
1888 Fred Merkle

Famed for his baserunning error (not completing his trip from first base to second base on a single by the batter, thus being called out on an inning ending force play) which was infrequently called (though there were other examples of this before him) but upheld in a key game late in the 1908 season.  He had a pretty long and successful career, even joining the Cubs at one point.

1893 Deacon Jones
1894 Butch Henline
1897 Snooks Dowd
1899 George Pipgras
1900 Charles (Gabby) Hartnett

The best National League catcher until Campanella, and maybe until Bench.

1902 Carl Yowell
1904 Spud Davis
1908 Art McLarney
1910 Calvin Chapman
1912 Tommy Irwin
1915 Marv Felderman
1920 Julio Gonzalez
1923 Grant Dunlap
1930 Troy Herriage
1931 Julio Becquer
1936 Dan Pfister
1940 Thad Tillotson
1943 John Noriega
1944 Don Mason
1945 Vince Colbert
1945 Keith Lampard
1948 Jim Norris
1949 Cecil Cooper

Couldn’t get regular work with the Red Sox, so was moved to the Brewers.  Became a devastating hitting first baseman with the Brew Crew, hitting .352 in 1980 and being the middle of the lineup force for a World Series winner.

1949 Oscar Gamble

More famous for his hair, but a fine hitter (usually a platoon guy) with very good power.  Helped the Yankees get over the top and was a member of the South Side Hit Men with the White Sox.

1951 Mike Hart
1953 Paul Moskau
1957 Bill Laskey
1960 Jose DeLeon
1965 Fernando Ramsey
1966 Jeff Mutis
1971 Marc Valdes
1974 Augie Ojeda
1976 Aubrey Huff
1979 David DeJesus
1980 Luke Carlin
1981 Chris Narveson
1981 James Shields
1982 David Wright

AKA Mr. Met.

1985 Tyler Sturdevant
1988 Erik Goeddel
1990 Bruce Maxwell
1992 Joey Krehbiel
1994 Dane Dunning
1996 Abraham Toro
1997 Bryse Wilson


1892 John Fitzgerald

Do you know how many guys named John Fitzgerald in New England there are/were?  This one was 26 at the time.  I can’t find (yet) a death certificate, so what is your guess?  Typhoid?  Tuberculosis?

1897 William Brown

“Big Bill” had lung trouble the last two years of his life and tried living in Southern California, Arizona, and even Hawaii – but, as his death article notes, it was in vain.  Tuberculosis, sounds like, took him at 33. – “His Last Inning,” Pacific Bee (Sacramento), December 22, 1897: 3.

1917 Will Calihan

His page says pneumonia.

1924 Jimmy Woulfe

American Association outfielder with Cincinnati and the Alleghenies in 1884, but only briefly.  He was REALLY fast, but you got to hit more than .150 to stay in the league.

1934 Parke Wilson

The Giants catcher of the 1890s died of heart disease. – “A. P. Wilson, Former Giant Catcher, Dies,” Mattoon Daily Journal-Gazette and Commercial-Star, December 21, 1934: 6.

1944 Elmer Zacher

Famous for being among the first to catch a ball dropped from an airplane…  Was a Giant outfielder, then St. Louis, and spent time in the PCL.  Spent most of his post baseball life in Buffalo working recreation management jobs, but was once the Assistant Secretary of State for New York…  Ill for four months before he passed at 64.  – “Ex-Major Leaguer Elmer Zacher, Dies,” Elmira Star-Gazette, December 21, 1944: 24.

1950 Carroll Yerkes
1960 Skip Dowd
1962 Charlie Luskey
1963 Dinny McNamara
1965 Al Lyons
1966 Doc Farrell
1971 Tom Fitzsimmons
1972 Gabby Hartnett

On his birthday, no less.

1980 Mike Knode
1984 Steve Slayton
1984 Cuckoo Christensen
1984 Gonzalo Marquez

I remember his baseball card with the Cubs – might have been a 1973 card.  Did you know he had three consecutive pinch hits for the Athletics in the World Series once?  Marquez died in an automobile accident in Venezuela at just 38. – “Ex-Athletic Marquez dies in crash,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, December 22, 1984: 1D.

1984 Art McLarney
1986 Joe DeSa

Driving home after a winter ball game in Puerto Rico, DeSa was in a head-on collision; both drivers died.  – “DeSa Killed in Puerto Rico Car Crash,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, December 20, 1986: B-1.

1987 Jake Eisenhart
1991 Hal Finney
1991 Don Williams
1993 Felix Mackiewicz
1994 Bob Wellman
1994 Larry Crawford
1998 John Anderson
1999 Dick Bertell
2007 Tommy Byrne

Yankee and WWII Navy hero died of natural causes. – Charlotte Observer, December 24, 2007: 5B.

2015 George Burpo

Natural causes took the WWII Navy veteran and (briefly – two relief appearances in 1946) Reds pitcher.  – Arizona Daily Star (Tucscon), December 24, 2015: A12.

2016 Phil Gagliano

A heart attack took the former utility infielder from us. – Indianapolis Star, December 23, 2016: 8C.


1940 Connie Mack buys out the heirs of Benjamin Shibe and now is the sole owner of the Philadelphia Athletics.

2001 John Henry buys the Red Sox from the Yawkey Trust for more than $600 million.


1903 Boston sends Tom Hughes to the Highlanders for Jesse Tannehill. Boston wouldn’t win another World Series for another nine years, until Tris Speaker vanquished the Curse of Long Tom.

Just kidding.

1921 Boston sends Stuffy McInnis to Cleveland for George Burns, Elmer Smith and Joe Harris.

Boston was still short of cash, though, so it sent Bullet Joe Bush, Sad Sam Jones, and Everett Scott to the Yankees for four players and $100,000.

1926 St. Louis sends Rogers Hornsby to the Giants for Frankie Frisch and Jimmy Ring.

1973 Montreal sends Pat Jarvis to Texas for Larry Biittner.

1983 Toronto sends Jorge Orta to Kansas City for Willie Mays Aikens.

1984 New York dispatches Steve Kemp and Tim Foli to the Pirates for Dale Berra, Jay Buhner, and Alfonso Pulido.

1993 Cleveland acquires Omar Vizquel from Seattle for Felix Fermin and Reggie Jefferson.

2005 Chicago trades Orlando Hernandez, Chris Young, and Luis Vizcaino to Arizona for Javier Vazquez.

Free Agent Signings:

1979 Willie Horton (Seattle)
1990 Charlie Liebrandt (Atlanta)
2002 Sandy Alomar (White Sox)
2004 Carl Pavano (Yankees)
2008 CC Sabathia (Yankees)

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