Baseball History for December 17th

<— DEC 16     DEC 18 —>


1859 Bill Hutchinson
1867 Elmer L. (Babe) Doty
1867 Jack Wadsworth
1875 Jim McHale
1876 Roy Patterson
1879 Frederick Peter (Cy) Falkenberg
1883 Ennis Telfair (Rebel) Oakes
1886 George Decalve (Jack) McAdams
1889 Ben Harris
1893 Oscar Tuero

Tuero was a soft tosser, also threw a spitball.  What I remember about him is that he was dragged out of retirement to face another ancient spitballer, Snipe Conley, years after the spitball was banned.  Both pitchers were allowed to use their full arsenal in this league game – years after Frank Shellenbach last threw a professional spitball.  Conley lasted longer than Tuero, making Conley the last professional pitcher to legally throw a spitball.

1893 Robert Watkins (Bert) Yeabsley
1896 Jim Mattox
1898 Louis William (Red) Lutz
1900 Karl Swanson
1914 Dave Smith
1918 Dale Jones
1919 Johnny Kucab
1920 Mike Schultz
1926 Ray Jablonski
1934 Kent Hadley
1935 Cal Ripken
1936 Jerry Adair
1936 Rollie Sheldon
1938 Leo Cardenas
1947 Charlie Sands
1957 Bob Ojeda
1957 Mark Dempsey
1959 Bryan Clutterbuck
1959 Marvell Wynne
1967 Rafael Valdez
1967 Steve Parris
1968 Curtis Pride
1969 Rudy Pemberton
1970 Mike Cather
1971 Bret Hemphill
1975 Brandon Villafuerte
1976 Jason Dellaero
1976 Edwin Almonte
1976 Eric Eckenstahler
1978 Chase Utley
1978 Alex Cintron
1979 David Kelton
1980 Dale Thayer
1982 Josh Barfield
1982 Juan Mateo
1984 Stu Pomeranz
1985 Fernando Abad
1986 Josh Edgin
1987 Donovan Solano
1987 Travis Tartamella
1990 Tyler Rogers
1990 Taylor Rogers
1992 Miguel Gomez
1992 Daniel Vogelbach
1993 Josh Sborz
1996 Darwinzon Hernandez
1999 Ryan Weathers


1891 Ed Springer
1916 Scoops Carey
1916 Elias Peak
1924 Pat Dealy
1927 Bill Gilbert
1933 Charlie DeArmond
1935 Charlie Atherton
1947 Lee Viau
1953 Walt Devoy
1953 Lou McEvoy
1954 Red Proctor
1955 Rube DeGroff
1956 Ona Dodd
1957 Fritz Ostermueller

The Red Sox had two promising rookies in the Spring of 1934. One was Julius (Moose) Solters, a heavy-hitting outfielder. The other was Fritz Ostermueller, a left-handed pitcher.

They were big leaguers for a number of years, but their luck was nothing to rave about. Solters is now blind. Ostermueller, 50, died yesterday at his home in Quincy, Ill. He pronounced it Quintsee.

Solters was traded to the St. Louis Browns in May, 1935.

One of the first things he did was to line a foul into the left field wing of the St. Louis grandstand that hit a woman who was the lone spectator in the section. The woman was his wife.

(A Hard Guy to Keep Down)

Several weeks later, Solters lined a ball back at the mound and broke the pitcher’s leg. The pitcher was Ostermueller.

That was when Ostie announced his famous discovery: “They can hit ’em harder than you can throw ’em.”

Earlier that season, May 25, at Fenway Park, Hank Greenberg lined a ball through the box that hit Ostermueller in the face.

Instinct told him to make a play on Greenberg, but he could not find the ball. It had bounced to the third base foul line.

Later, the pitcher said he thought his mouth was full of peanuts. Only they weren’t peanuts. They were broken teeth.

Ostie was one game guy. Two weeks after stopping Greenberg’s liner with his face, he started against the Yankees in Fenway Park and beat them, 4 to 2. But then he had to rest for six weeks. The Greenberg liner had given him a permanent case of sinus trouble, if not something worse. He died of a throat affliction, for which he had been operated on last Summer.

And after Solters’ liner hit him on the leg, it was 10 days before he gave in, submitted to X-rays, and learned his left fibula was cracked.

In seven years with the Red Sox, Ostermueller won 59, lost 65 games. He was tormented by wildness, so much so that Eddie Collins, then Red Sox manager, promised to buy him a suit the first full game he pitched without giving a base on balls.

The southpaw finally made the grade, at Detroit, bought a $64 suit (worth $150 today) and had the bill sent to Collins.

The G. M. paid for it, but not before he protested, “You didn’t even win the game. It shouldn’t count.”

Ostermueller made up for it by winning a game in Washington, 11 to 4, in which he gave 12 bases on balls.

(Fritz Learned Late, Became N.L. Winner)

The Red Sox sold Ostermueller to the Browns after he developed a sore elbow. With him went Denny Galehouse.

Eight years later, Galehouse was back, pitching one of the biggest games ever played by the Red Sox – the 1948 playoff they lost to Cleveland.

Ostermueller never returned. Instead, at 36, he went to the National League, where he won 52, lost 44 games for Pittsburgh and Brooklyn, before quitting at 41.

“I became a pitcher when I lost my fast ball and went to breaking stuff,” he once explained. “I finally got control using curves and sliders.” And, some hitters said, spitters.

Ostermueller was with the Red Sox in 1936, when they flew from St. Louis to Chicago – first big league team to fly. But he and Jack Russell refused to fly.

A few days later, en route to Boston from the West, Ostermueller and Russell got off at Albany to buy a paper, and lost the train.

“It’ll cost them $150 each if we get to Boston ahead of them,” said Joe Cronin, with a grin.

It looked like a sure thing, but the fines were never collected. Ostermueller and Russell, the non-flyers, caught a plane at Albany and beat the team home.

His luck was not all bad. He had a nice family, a pleasant disposition. And, one night against the Cardinals, he won a 1 to 0 game when Stan Musial lined into a triple play with the bases full in the ninth inning.

Kaese, Harold. “Ostermueller Won Baseball’s Respect As a Game Guy”, Boston Globe, 18 December 1957, Page 17.

(Checking this… Musial hit into a triple play in the first inning of a complete game pitched by Ostermueller on 07 September 1948. Pittsburgh beat the Cardinals that day, 6 – 2.

Also, the Solters drive off of Ostermueller occurred on 18 August 1935 in the first inning – yeah, the first inning. It ricocheted to second base and Solters was thrown out. Not only did Fritz finish the game, but he pitched three more times, throwing two complete games and coming in once in relief before taking a month off.)

1959 Del Young
1961 Ping Bodie
1968 Hank Severeid
1970 Jim Park
1975 Kerby Farrell
1985 Ken O’Dea
1985 Elmer Bowman
1989 Zeb Eaton
1991 Jesse Flores
1995 George Cox
1997 Mel Mazzera
2006 Larry Sherry
2008 Dave Smith
2010 Walt Dropo
2012 Frank Pastore
2015 Hal Brown
2017 Doug Gallagher


1891 The American Association, as a major league, dies. Not completely, though, as Baltimore, St. Louis, Louisville and Washington would join the National League.

1975 Upon taking over the White Sox, Bill Veeck fires Chuck Tanner and puts Paul Richards in charge of the team.

2000 With city backing, the Marlins announce the future construction of a new retractable roof stadium on the site of the old Orange Bowl in Miami.


1924 The Yankees bring back Urban Shocker from the Browns by sending Bullet Joe Bush and Milt Gaston to the Browns, and with both teams sending players to Toledo of the American Association.

1932 St. Louis sends Jim Bottomley to the Reds for Ownie Carroll and Estel Crabtree.

1980 San Diego signs amateur free agent infielder Ozzie Guillen.

2011 San Diego sends Mat Latos to the Reds for Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger, Yasmani Grandal and Edinson Volquez.

2012 The Mets send reigning Cy Young winner R. A. Dickey, Josh Thole, and Mike Nickeas to the Blue Jays for John Buck, Travis D’Arnaud, and Noah Syndergaard (and minor leaguer Wullmer Becerra).

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