Baseball History for December 24th

<— DEC 23     DEC 25 —>


1859 Joe Crotty

Catcher – usually the backup – of the 1880s, getting the most time with the Outlaw Reds of the Union Association. He wasn’t much of a hitter, but he was known for his catching skills.

“Crotty caught (Hecker’s) swift down shoots in fine style, and threw with tolerable accuracy to second, but did not get much chance to exercise himself in this respect, as the visitors seemed afraid of him.”

“Another Good Game Won.”, Louisville Courier-Journal, 02 July 1885, Page 2.

1862 Joe Quinn
1869 Frank Ealton (Zeke) Wilson
1877 George Elmer (Del) Howard
1878 Reuben Alexander (Rick) Adams
1880 John Brackenridge
1884 Ernie Groth
1884 George Zackert
1886 Henry Mathewson

Brother of Christy – made three appearances as a pitcher for the Giants in 1906 and 1907, earning a loss in his only start (he walked 14 batters in a complete game loss).  In the other two appearances, researchers have given Henry saves for his relief work.  In his first career appearance, he actually came on in relief of his brother, Christy, to protect an 8 – 1 lead in the ninth.  After allowing an unearned run, the game ended, 8 – 2.  How is that worthy of a save?  His final appearance was even less save worthy. Henry came in to pitch the last inning of a 10 – 0 win.  Again – that’s not a save by any definition.  That’s mop up duty.

Anyway, Mike Piazzi wrote his SABR Biography, which is not only interesting but full of crazy tragedies involving all four of the Mathewson brothers.

1889 Paul Franklin (Bill) Otis
1889 Esley Porterfield (Ed) McCreery
1890 Yale Yeastman (Tod) Sloan
1899 Tex Burnett
1910 Lloyd Johnson
1912 Thad Christopher
1912 Dave Coble
1913 George Jeffcoat
1913 Owen Scheetz
1915 Frank Trechock
1916 Jack Graham
1924 Vinicio Otilio (Chico) Garcia
1930 Evelio Hernandez
1937 Larry Foster
1938 Bobby Henrich
1943 Al Stanek
1949 Frank Taveras
1951 John D’Acquisto
1957 Victor Cruz
1960 John Costello
1964 Tim Drummond
1964 Carlos Diaz
1966 Meredith Leroy (Mo) Sanford
1968 Kirt Ojala
1971 Alex Cabrera
1974 Kevin Millwood
1974 Keith Luuloa
1974 Jamey Wright
1977 Matt Ginter
1979 Joe Valentine
1983 Gregor Blanco
1985 Andrew Romine
1992 A.J. Ladwig
1993 James Norwood
1994 Fernando Romero
1994 Miguel Castro
1996 Nicholas Padilla
1997 William Contreras


1894 Charlie Duffee

When news of his death was announced articles said he died on Christmas Day, but his gravestone says Christmas Eve.  Duffee, who was one of the first players nicknamed “Home Run,” died of consumption at 28.

“Around the Bases,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, December 30, 1894: 8.
“Death of Duffee, the Ball Player,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 26, 1894: 7.

1913 Chief Sockalexis

Louis Sockalexis, Penobscot Indian and the wonder of baseball at Holy Cross and with Cleveland in 1897, died of illnesses associated with chronic alcoholism according to his Maine death certificate.

1915 John Doyle
1927 Al Myers
1936 Ren Deagle
1938 Luke Lutenberg
1938 Bill Yohe
1945 Hughie Miller
1947 Joe Cobb
1953 Pinch Thomas
1955 Jake Boultes
1956 Del Howard
1957 Hal Reilly
1958 Jim Boyle
1959 Bill Friel
1963 Skipper Roberts
1968 Johnnie Heving
1975 Russ Lyon
1978 George McQuinn
1978 Bill Rodgers
1980 Bob Habenicht
1981 Joe Kracher
1987 Nino Espinosa
2004 Johnny Oates
2005 Xavier Rescigno
2005 Herman Purcell
2009 Stan Benjamin
2016 John Barfield
2017 Jerry Kindall


1967 After his Cy Young season, Boston Red Sox pitcher Jim Lonborg tears up his left knee in a skiing accident.

A couple of notes here – the wire copies that came out on the 27th said the accident happened on Sunday (24th), but the Boston Globe story by Will McDonough on the 26th said the accident happened on Saturday (23rd).  They did agree on a few things…  Lonborg was using a snowplow technique to slow down when he lost control of the skis injuring both knees.  (The right knee was bruised, the left knee was placed in a cast and required surgery later.)  And, Lonborg, who just started skiing during the winter before the 1967 season, was on a beginner’s hill.

McDonough, Will. “Sox’ Lonborg Hurt Skiing,” Boston Globe, December 26, 1967: 1, 23.

Beatrice, Mike. “Lonborg Calls Skiing His Greatest Challenge,” Boston Globe, October 30, 1967: 31.

“Lonborg Injured Skilling; To Undergo Knee Surgery,” San Bernardino County Sun, December 27, 1967: 22.


1914 The Braves send two players (Oscar Dugey and Possum Whitted) and cash to Philadelphia for Sherry Magee.

1927 St. Louis sends Chick Galloway, Harry Rice and Elam Valgilder to the Tigers for Lu Blue and Heinie Manush.

1964 Kansas City signs amateur free agent pitcher Rollie Fingers.

1986 Oakland brings back (aging) slugger Reggie Jackson as a free agent.

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