Saturday, February 9, 2019

2/9 Through the 1940’s: Preacher's Headache; HBD Harry, Dutch, Jim, Wally, Lee Roy, Hi & Sumner

  • 1867 - LHP Sumner Bowman was born in Millersburg, Pennsylvania. His big league career was brief, with 18 outings from 1890-91, spending part of the ‘90 campaign with the Alleghenys and posting a 2-5/6.62 line in nine appearances (seven starts, six complete games). Bowman was also an outfielder and he hit .278 for Pittsburgh. The Penn grad’s true calling was the law. Bowman's baseball career ended after his law school graduation from Dickinson in 1892. He went on to practice law for seventeen years in New York City, also serving as a Deputy Attorney General for the state of New York for four years. During World War I, he served in the Judge Advocate General's Department. 
Sumner is #2, second from the L, top row (1890 Penn baseball team)
  • 1869 - Harry Pulliam, early Pirate exec, was born in Scottsburg, Kentucky. Originally a newspaper writer covering the Cubs for the Louisville Commercial, he was considered one of the leading authorities on the game. Pulliam, then the newspaper editor, met the owner of the Louisville Colonels, Barney Dreyfuss, who hired him away from the Commercial, appointing him to the position of club secretary, then quickly moving him to club president; Pulliam negotiated an ownership position in the team. He followed Dreyfuss when he purchased the Pittsburgh Pirates as the team president, and convinced Hans Wagner to join the club, later talking him and his teammates from bolting to the AL during the 1900 raids. Pulliam was unanimously elected president of the National League in 1902. He acted as president, secretary and treasurer of the league from 1902 until 1907, when the stress, workload, and occasional head bumping with owners who thought he favored Pittsburgh in his decisions caught up to him; he committed suicide. Harry was buried in Louisville on August 2nd, and for the first time in history, both NL and AL games were postponed in tribute. 
  • 1870 - OF Arthur “Hi” Ladd was born in Willimantic, Connecticut. He spent two games a big leaguer, going 0-for-1 in 1898 for the Alleghenys with another outing for the Boston Beaneaters. Those games were the highlight of a 20-year pro career, with Ladd spending a decade playing for Bridgeport, 60 miles southwest of his hometown, before retiring at age 41. Hi may have picked the wrong sport - he’s the great-great-grandfather of long-time NHL winger Andrew Ladd. 
  • 1895 - OF Wally Hood was born in Whittier, California. Hood spent parts of three seasons in MLB, getting two games and two PAs with the Pirates in 1920. Hood had an interesting career, serving in WW1 before playing ball, then appearing in the baseball film "Warming Up," the first sound feature released by Paramount Pictures, with further uncredited roles in Rhubarb, The Stratton Story and Alibi Ike. He also umpired for a decade in the PCL while his son, Wally Hood Jr, was a big leaguer with the Yankees in 1949, albeit for just two games. Fittingly, Wally Hood passed on in Hollywood at the age of 70. 
  • 1904 - RHP Lee Roy Mahaffey was born in Belton, South Carolina. He got his start as a Pirate, getting into six games (1-0/5.14) in 1926-27 before being dealt as part of the Larry French deal. After some seasoning, he came back with the Athletics in 1930 and put in seven more MLB seasons. Per SABR, Roy had a passel of nicknames - “Workhorse” because he was willing to take the ball at any time, “Speed” due to his heater and hard curve and most commonly, “Popeye,” speculatively because he was a strapping lad who was a bricklayer in the offseason.
Dutch Dietz (photo via Out of the Ballpark Developments)
  • 1912 - RHP Lloyd “Dutch” Dietz was born in Cincinnati. Dutch tossed from 1940-43 for the Bucs. He went 13-15-4/3.51, and worked pretty regularly in 1941-42, highlighted by 1941’s 7-2/2.33 slash. He was traded to the Phils in ‘43, then to the Dodgers. Dietz entered military service with the Army Medical Corps in 1944, and was stationed in Texas where he pitched for the Fort Sam Houston Rangers. After his return to civilian life in 1946, he played four more minor league seasons before hanging up the spikes in 1949. Dutch was a common nickname for German players as a sort of an anglicization of “Deutsch” or German. 
  • 1944 - C Jim Campanis was born in New York. Jim spent small parts of six seasons in the show (he got into just 113 games in that time) making his final appearances with the Pirates in 1973, going 1-for-6 in six games. He was Dodger GM Al Campanis’ son, and pops traded him to KC in 1968; from there, Jim joined the Bucs as part of the 1970 deal that included Bob Johnson and Jackie Hernandez for Freddie Patek, Bruce Dal Canton and Jerry May. Jim’s son, Junior, played in the minors and wrote the book “Born Into Baseball” describing the family ties. Senior is a long-time Dodger community affairs rep. 
  • 1946 - Talk about your off season mishaps! Bucco LHP Preacher Roe’s 148 strikeouts in 1945 led the NL and he was selected for the All-Star Game. But while coaching high school basketball after the season, Roe suffered a concussion (some say he actually fractured his skull) in a fight with a referee. His pitching fell off a cliff, dropping from 27 wins in 1944-45 to seven in 1946-47, and his ERA almost doubled. He was traded to Brooklyn, where he lasted seven seasons, winning 93 games while earning four All-Star berths. Some credit the bounceback to a return to health, while others thought it due to his new pitch - the spitter.

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