Baseball History for February 26th

<— FEBRUARY 25     FEBRUARY 27 —>


1856 Frank Decker

Made brief appearances with two teams around 1880.

1863 Sam LaRoque

A regular for the 1890 Pirates, but only because there were three leagues. Bit part player in 1888 (Detroit) and 1891 (PIT, LOU).

1863 Ed Sixsmith

Got in one game with Philadelphia in 1884.

Sixsmith was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Owen), growing up in Philadelphia to become a catcher by trade in a baseball crazy city.  He was a regular on local amateur and semi-professional teams before he got chances to play in the minors.  He had returned home and was playing for Franklin (PA) when he was called on to catch in an emergency.  (The Quakers did this a lot – they used something like twelve catchers that year, most of them for fewer than five games.)  Starting catcher Mike DePangher (who only caught four games that year) left in the third inning with an injured hand.  In came Sixsmith, who wasn’t really a MLB quality catcher.  Eight passed balls contributed to 19 Chicago runs.  (Those runs would be 19 of the 34 runs Con Murphy would allow in his three game tryout…  Ouch.)

Back to the amateurs…  Sixsmith would injure his arm in an exhibition throwing contest, costing him a couple of years.  He married Sally Burgess and took up work as a machinist.  He struggled with gastritis for years and it eventually killed him, per his death certificate, on December 12, 1926.

“Very Badly Beaten,” Philadelphia Times, September 12, 1884: 4.
“Ed Sixsmith, Former Phil Catcher, Dies,” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 15, 1926: 24
PA Death Certificate

1874 Bill Banks

Made five appearances for Boston in the mid 1890s. Won his first start in 1895, lost three starts in 1896. Never made it back.

1881 Frank Leary

Two appearances, one start, with the Reds in 1907. Only gave up two runs in eight career innings – one earned – but in that lone start he got the loss.

1887 Pete Alexander

Came in winning 28 games for Philadelphia in 1911 and averaged 27 wins for his six years there. Lost time to World War I after signing with Cubbies – was never the same after the war, though still an effective pitcher as the lively ball era started. Eventually drinking and other maladies got the better of him, but not before he won 373 games and was one of the heroes of the 1926 World Series as a cagey, albeit erratic veteran arm. Lost in the story is a 21 win season in 1927 for the Cardinals, throwing 268 innings. By then, though, he was getting by on keeping the ball down and not walking anybody. He struck out just 48 batters, walking 38 in those innings…

1891 Jack Hammond

Got in 35 games with the Indians in 1915, then didn’t resurface in the majors until 1922 with both Cleveland and Pittsburgh…

1892 Harry Weaver

Pitcher for Philadelphia and Chicago from 1915 to 1919, but never more than eight games or three starts in a season… In three of his five seasons, his ERA was over 18.00.

1896 Rip Collins

Longtime pitcher of the 1920s, signed by Yankees in 1920 and went 25 – 13 in two seasons there. Then moved to Boston and Detroit where he alternated good and less good years. After a one year hiatus, signed with the Browns in 1929 and was okay until his career ended in 1931.

1898 Lee Thompson

Lost three decisions in four starts for the White Sox in 1921.

1898 Frank Callaway

Lefty who lost two brief shots with Connie Mack in 1921 and 1922, though hitting about .250 didn’t cut it then…

1905 Emmett Nelson

Briefly pitched for Reds in 1935 and 1936. Spent forever in the minors…

1906 Joe Graves

Played in two games, batting five times without a hit, for the Cubs in 1926.

1907 Cy Malis

Appeared in relief once for the Phillies in 1934, even got to bat once.

1911 Bill Starr

Brief appearances with the Senators in 1935 and 1936…

1915 Bill Conroy

Got brief trials with the Phillies in the 1930s, then reappeared with Boston during the war years.

1915 Preacher Roe

Brooklyn Dodger legend of the 1950s, went 93 – 37 in his seven years there, capped by a 22 – 3 record in 1951. Roe appeared first in a game for the Cardinals in 1938 but wasn’t ready for the big leagues. He lost time to the War, returning in 1944 to pitch for Pittsburgh. After two years, the regulars returned and Roe actually struggled – he went 7 – 23 between 1946 and 1947, making himself eligible to leave town and find another home… He figured things out starting in 1948 – and then helped to make history.

1915 Stew Bowers

Briefly pitched for the Red Sox in 1935 and 1936, winning two of three decisions.

1917 Johnny Grodzicki

Just as his career started rolling. so did the tanks. Pitched for the Cards in 1941, 1946, and 1947, but couldn’t make it stick after struggling in 16 appearances that last year.

1920 Danny Gardella

Yankee at the end of the war, 18 – 71 – .272 in 121 games in 1945. When everyone got back from Europe and Japan, Gardella was out of a major league gig. Oh – and he took a deal to play baseball in Mexico, which got him blacklisted from the majors for a little while. Did make a return to the majors, though, getting a pinch hitting appearance for the Cards in 1950.

1922 Steve Biras

Two at bats for Cleveland as a pinch hitter in 1944 – both hits.

1930 Ron Negray
1930 Vic Janowicz
1933 Johnny Blanchard
1934 Don Lee
1941 George Kopacz
1944 Don Secrist
1945 Steve Hertz
1950 Jack Brohamer
1952 Dennis Kinney
1954 Jeff Yurak
1958 Bob Hegman
1958 Darrell Miller
1962 Kelly Gruber
1967 David Howard
1967 Scott Service
1968 J.T. Snow
1971 Danny Perez
1971 Matt Luke
1975 Mark DeRosa
1977 Josh Towers
1980 Gary Majewski
1983 Jose Reyes
1983 Joe Martinez
1983 Francisco Rodriguez
1988 Hector Rondon
1988 Dustin Ackley
1991 Kevin Plawecki
1996 Rihard Urena
1997 Luis Rengifo


1873 Cy Bentley
1896 Pat Sullivan
1896 Horace Phillips
1913 Mike Drissel
1929 Jim Moroney
1937 Ernie Lush
1938 Tex Jones
1940 Matt Broderick
1961 Happy Smith
1967 George Yantz
1967 Tommy Heath
1970 Everett Bankston
1977 Harry Welchonce
1978 Claral Gillenwater
1979 Forrest Thompson
1982 Bill Miller
1984 Joe Kuhel
1985 George Uhle
1988 Tom Oliver
1991 Jimmy Zinn
2006 Ace Adams
2011 Greg Goossen
2017 Ned Garver
2021 Al Naples


1911 Minority owner General Taylor purchases a plot of land once owned by the leader of the Sons of Liberty, known as Dana lands (after Francis Dana) – the qould eventually become the site of Fenway Park. The land was purchased at auction for $120,000.

2004 The foul ball touched by Steve Bartman is blown to smithereens at Harry Caray’s restaurant in Chicago.


1935 The Boston Braves sign Babe Ruth to be a player, coach, and honorary VP – Ruth had been released by the Yankees to allow this to happen.

1957 The Giants send Hoyt Wilhelm to the Cardinals for Whitey Lockman.

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