Duffy Lewis

Outfield
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Red Sox
  • League: American League

George Edward Lewis (1888-1979) turned 18 on April 18, 1906 and thought he’d never see 19. His home town of San Francisco was rocked by quake and fire but Lewis survived to play college and minor league ball before Boston Red Sox owner John Taylor trekked all the way to the coast to personally sign this promising youngster. Lewis didn’t endear himself to his teammates in 1910 — too pushy for a rookie, didn’t defer to Speaker, Hooper, et. al. But his bat justified his cockiness and Lewis quickly emerged as one of Boston’s finest. Long before the Green Monster, eternally quirky Fenway sported an incline up to the left field fence. No one mastered that terrain like Lewis and the geography became “Duffy’s Cliff.” Went on to anchor left for perhaps the best defensive outfield ever. Three Series’ titles and league leadership in most hitting categories followed.

  • Witness to the Babe’s first and last HRs, the final while coaching the Braves (1931-35)
  • Proudly recounted the time he pinch hit for Ruth, 7/11/14, and won the game
  • Only member of the famed OF trio not to be inducted into the Hall

Auction History

Pop Lloyd

Shortstop
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: American Giants
  • League: Independent
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

John Lloyd (1884-1964) was one of the best shortstops in baseball history. Called by whites the “Black Wagner,” Honus himself deemed that association with Lloyd an honor. Lloyd was a pillar of black baseball with a lifetime Negro League BA of .343. He also spent 12 seasons in the Cuban League, batting .329.

  • Babe Ruth called Lloyd the best baseball player ever
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1977

Auction History

Connie Mack

Manager
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Athletics (AL)
  • League: American League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Cornelius McGillicuddy, Sr. (1862-1956). An average catcher with strong leadership skills for 11 professional seasons (1886-1896), Mack then owned (1901-1954) and managed (1901-1950) the Philadelphia Athletics for half a century, establishing many managerial records and a unique place in the pantheon of baseball icons in the 20th century.

  • 5x World Series Champion
  • Most Managerial Wins: 3,731
  • Most Managerial Losses: 3,948
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1937

Auction History

Sherry Magee

Outfield
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Phillies
  • League: National League

Sherwood Robert Magee (1884-1929) was a brawling rogue and one of the best outfielders in Philadelphia history. Fans with long memories smiled when this man who had once been suspended for cold-cocking an ump turned to officiating games upon his retirement as a player. Magee began a decade-long streak as the Phillies’ left fielder as a 19-year-old rookie. He had great years at the plate but none better than in 1910, the year before he knocked out Bill Finneran and suffered the worst sanction dealt by the NL since 1877. In ’10 Sherry bested even Honus Wagner, winning the NL batting title and leading in runs and RBI.

  • Magee played minor league ball until age 40, then turned to umpiring. The NL put him under close watch due to his prior history but he established himself as a fine arbiter
  • Struck down by pneumonia at 44, Magee was lauded in the press as “one of baseball’s most colorful figures,” and “one of the greatest natural batsmen in the game”

Auction History

Rabbit Maranville

Shortstop
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Braves
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Walter James Vincent Maranville (1891-1954) played 23 ML seasons as a madcap shortstop, catching pop-ups like a circus performer and hitting in the clutch often enough to make the Hall of Fame with a .258 lifetime average. Along the way, “Rabbit” became the smallest 20th Century inductee and the only one to be demoted to the minors mid-career. His endurance and eventual recognition among the pantheon of the sport are tributes to his effervescent spirit and dogged work habits. He partied as hard as he worked, witnessed by his pivotal HR on 8/6/14 that sparked the Boston Braves’ “miracle” comeback to take the pennant and Series — he never saw Babe Adams’ pitch. He was way too hung over. A broken ankle in an exhibition game with the Yankees effectively ended his long career in 1934.

  • In retirement, Rabbit mentored many young players in NY, including Whitey Ford & Billy Loes
  • His record of most MLB seasons wasn’t eclipsed until Pete Rose in 1986
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1954

Auction History

Rube Marquard

Pitcher
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Richard William Marquard (1886-1980) was a dominant left-hander with the Giants, Robins, Reds and Braves from 1908-25. His Hall of Fame plaque highlights his outstanding performance for NY’s consecutive titles 1911-13 with 23+ wins each year and a record 19 in a row. This streak vindicated the outlandish $11K price the Giants paid to get him from the American Assoc.

  • The nickname wasn’t a “bumpkin” reference but a comparison to Waddell
  • Helped Brooklyn to pennants in 1916 & 1920
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1971

Auction History

Armando Marsans

Outfield
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: St. Louis
  • Team: Terriers
  • League: American League, Federal League
  • Hall: Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame

Armando Marsans (1887-1960) was the first Cuban to make a real impact in the major leagues. Frank Bancroft had spotted Marsans and Rafael Almeida in exhibition games in 1905 and finally brought them to Cincinnati in 1911. In his sophomore season with the Reds, Marsans hit .318 with 35 stolen bases and only 17 strikeouts in 448 plate appearances, placing a respectable 18th in Chalmer’s Award voting for 1912. A row with fiery manager Buck Herzog resulted in Marsans seeking a job with the new Federal League’s St. Louis Terriers in ‘14. When the league folded, Marsans signed on with the Browns but inactivity took a toll. Two years with the Yankees ended his MLB career in 1918 but Armando had many more years of baseball left. He continued to play winter ball back home through the 1928 season and became the first to play in the majors and the Negro Leagues in 1923 with the Cuban Stars. Marsans thrived as a manager in both Cuba and the States (another first for his countrymen), finally retiring in 1947 after 43 years in baseball.

  • The blue-blood Marsans was well-educated and an entrepreneur as well as a savvy baseball mind. Nevertheless, the Reds fended off race-baiting accusations in 1911
  • Artist’s Note: Images of Marsans are fairly rare and it is not uncommon for me to take liberties with dates and uniforms. This photo was taken in 1916 when Marsans was with the St. Louis Browns. In anticipation of the feedback I will receive, I’d like to invite you to join me in pretending this is a St. Louis Terriers’ uniform. Cheers!
  • Elected to Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in its inaugural class: 1939

Auction History

Christy Mathewson

Pitcher
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Christopher Mathewson (1880-1925) was the consummate right hander of the early 20th Century. His “fadeaway” pitch baffled NL hitters from 1900-16. Mathewson won 22+ 12 straight years, 30+ 4x, and holds the modern NL record with his 37 wins in 1908. He hurled 3 shut-outs in 6 days to gain his sole world championship in 1905.

  • One of the “first five” into Cooperstown
  • Accomplished all this while honoring his Christian faith by not pitching on Sundays
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1936

Auction History

John McGraw

Manager
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

John Joseph McGraw (1873-1934) was an innovative player (the hit-and-run, the “Baltimore chop”) but went on to true greatness as a manager for Baltimore and, most noteworthy, the NY Giants. Only Connie Mack’s teams won more games and no NL manager approached him. Not shabby as a hitter (ranks 3rd all time behind Ted Williams and Babe Ruth in OBP), has been called “the best player to become a great manager.”

  • Played for and/or managed ten NL pennant winners
  • Upon his death, McGraw’s wife discovered a list of all the African-American players he wanted to sign but was prevented
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1937

Auction History

Stuffy McInnis

First Base
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Athletics (AL)
  • League: American League

John Phalen McInnis (1890-1960) helped five teams to world championships as a stellar first baseman. He broke in with the Athletics in 1909 and soon became part of the elite “$100,000 Infield” with Eddie Collins, Frank Baker and Jack Barry. That team won four AL pennants in five years with three titles before losing to the Miracle Braves in their incredible 1914 sweep. Federal League incursions prompted Connie Mack to break up his famed nine but kept Stuffy through the 1917 season. A great batting eye made McInnis one of the toughest to fan (he struck out a mere 189 times in 7822 career at-bats.) and he compiled a .307 lifetime average. Equally adept afield, Stuffy was a perennial defensive leader at first. In 1921 he made one error in 1651 attempts. His Red Sox record was not exceeded until Kevin Youkilis played 120 error-free games in 2007. McInnis would play for the Indians, Braves, Pirates and Phillies, wrapping his long and distinguished career as player-manager in Philadelphia in 1927.

  • His skill at the plate enabled McInnis to accomplish 384 sacrifice hits, the third-best in MLB history
  • After his career in the majors, Stuffy coached college squads ending with the Harvard Crimson from 1949-54

Auction History

Bill McKechnie

Third Base
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Indianapolis
  • Team: Hoosiers (FL)
  • League: Federal League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

William Boyd McKechnie (1886-1965) was a noted baseball strategist and the only manager to lead three teams to NL pennants. Won World Series titles with two clubs: the ’25 Pirates and ’40 Reds. A player, manager and then coach for nearly half a century, “the Deacon” was known for his temperance and piety.

  • Served as coach for young Indians manager, Lou Boudreau, winning the ’48 Series
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1962

Auction History

Jose Mendez

Pitcher
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Havana
  • Team: Stars of Cuba
  • League: Independent
  • Hall: Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame, National Baseball Hall of Fame

Jose de la Caridad Mendez (1887-1928) visited America from his native Cuba in 1908 and demolished the ML Cincinnati Reds and minor league all-stars from Florida. He was unbeaten, untied, and unscored upon. He allowed but a single to Miller Huggins in the 9th inning of his first game on US soil, and hurled a no-hitter in Key West. Ira Thomas, catcher for the 2-time world champion Athletics, compared Mendez favorably to Walter Johnson and said “he is a remarkable pitcher, and if he were a white man would command a good position on any Major League club in the circuits.”

  • Became a star in the Negro Leagues, leading the KC Monarchs to pennants in ’23, ’24, and ‘25
  • The Cuban “Black Diamond’s” career spanned 1908-26
  • Elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in its inaugural class: 1939
  • Elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame: 2006

Auction History

Chief Meyers

Catcher
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

John Tortes Meyers (1880-1971, a Native American in a benighted era, “Chief” faced many hurdles in becoming perhaps the best hitting catcher of his day. Literate, poised and good-humored, Meyers gained fame as battery-mate to Christy Mathewson, hitting over .300 for 3 consecutive Giants pennants, 1911-13.

  • Toured the vaudeville circuit occasionally in an act with Mathewson they called “Curves”
  • Hit .358 in 1912 and was third in the MVP balloting

Auction History

Clyde Milan

Outfield
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Washington, D.C.
  • Team: Senators
  • League: American League

Jesse Clyde Milan (1887-1953) spent most of the first half of the 20th century as a Senator. He was a steady outfielder and renowned base stealer from 1907-1922. After brief stints in the minors, Milan returned to scout and coach for the team until stricken on the field in spring training. Over his 16 seasons Clyde hit .285 and stole nearly 500 bases. His 88 steals in 1912 stood as the ML record until Ty Cobb swiped 96 in ‘15. Clark Griffith considered Milan the franchise’s greatest centerfielder whose speed allowed him to play more shallow than any in the game. Clyde was lured to D.C. by a $1000 bonus, joining fellow rookie Walter Johnson who signed for a hundred bucks. The two became fast friends and the best players on the roster. Griffith tried to make a manager of Milan in 1922 but he didn’t have the stomach for the job. Ulcers drove Clyde to the minors for several years before rejoining his beloved Senators.

  • For two seasons, Milan was a teammate of brother Horace: 1915 and ‘17
  • Only 167 players spent their entire career with one team. Milan’s tenure in Washington ranks him in the upper fourth of those stalwarts

Auction History

Dots Miller

First Base
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: St. Louis
  • Team: Cardinals
  • League: National League

John Barney Miller (1886-1923) broke into major league ball in 1909 at the top of the game. As second-baseman for the Pirates, Dots would spend his rookie season with a champion as Pittsburgh won the NL pennant and beat the Tigers in the World Series. Miller went on to a fine 12-year career with three National League clubs: five with Pittsburgh, five with the Cardinals and the last two with the Phillies. When Fred Clarke brought Miller to the ‘09 spring camp he played him at short as the team’s regular, a guy named Honus Wagner, was late arriving. There was no way Miller would stay at that position once Wagner finally showed up but his play impressed Clarke enough to earn a spot at 2nd. A reporter asked Wagner who the new kid was and Hans said “That’s Miller.” The scribe noted it phonetically and a memorable nickname was born. Dots became a versatile addition to each team, playing every position for St Louis and prompting Ring Lardner to dub him the best utility man of the era.

  • Miller succumbed to TB just as his promising managerial career was beginning. He led his San Francisco Seals to the PCL pennant in 1922
  • NL president John Heydler paid tribute to “a brainy player, well liked everywhere…”

Auction History

Hank O’Day

Manager
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: Cubs
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

“The Reverend” (1859-1935). O’Day was a pitcher & occasional position player over 7 ML seasons for 5 teams. Hank then umpired for 30 years, interrupting his tenure twice: to manage the Cincinnati Reds in 1912 and the Chicago Cubs in 1914.

  • Member of ’89 Champion Giants
  • Umpired 10 World Series
  • Officiated Merkle’s Boner
  • Called 4 no-hitters in 4 decades
  • Only person to play, manage & umpire in NL
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 2013

Auction History

Rebel Oakes

Outfield
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Pittsburgh
  • Team: Rebels
  • League: Federal League

Ennis Telfair Oakes (1883-1948) came north from tiny Lisbon, LA and Louisiana Industrial Institute (now LA Tech University) to play his rookie season in the majors with Cincinnati in 1909. Rebel wasn’t the most productive hitter for the team. In fact, while only three other starters had higher averages, every other starter drove in more runs. Oakes was sold to the Cardinals the next season where he started in center until being lured to the Federal League in 1914. He had his best season with St. Louis in 1913, hitting .293 and exceeded that with the Pittsburgh Federals who even took his name: The Rebels. In their minor league incarnation, the franchise had been called the Filipinos after manager Deacon Phillippe, so the team was inclined toward the identity of whomever was at the helm. The “major league” status of the Federal League is certainly open to debate, however a number of Oakes’ teammates had MLB experience before and after their stint with the “outlaw” Federals. He served well as player-manager, hitting a career best .312 in 1914.

  • Rebel left MLB when the Federal League folded after the 1915 season, but he went out to Denver to manage the Western League’s Bears where he led the circuit with 205 hits

Auction History

Roger Peckinpaugh

Shortstop
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: New York
  • Team: Yankees
  • League: American League

Roger Thorpe Peckinpaugh (1891-1977) caught the eye of Nap Lajoie who signed the 19-year old to a pro contract in 1911 with Cleveland. The Naps quickly regretted sending the budding star to the Yankees in 1913, where Roger immediately impressed with his defensive skills at short (best arm of his era) and leadership qualities. Frank Chance made him captain the following year and, upon Chance’s resignation late in the season, Peckinpaugh became the youngest manager in MLB history. NY hired another to manage in ‘15, but Roger would remain captain his entire tenure with the Yankees, which culminated in a World Series appearance in 1921. That proved a fateful Fall Classic for the veteran shortstop. He set a record with nine assists in one game, but his failure to corral a first-inning grounder in the deciding game allowed the only run to score. Peckinpaugh would be traded to Boston that offseason. Far from through, Roger would win a Series with the Senators in ‘24 and then play the goat once more as Washington dropped the 1925 Series. He was honored that year as the first SS named MVP. The League Awards had replaced the Chalmers Award in 1922.

  • Became Cleveland’s manager in 1927, returned in ‘41 and later stepped up to GM

Auction History

Herb Pennock

Pitcher
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Athletics (AL)
  • League: American League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Herbert Jefferis Pennock (1894-1948) was one of the premier left-handers in baseball history, winning 240 games and helping the Yankees to four pennants from 1923-32. Connie Mack rued the day he let Pennock go to Boston in 1915, giving up on a talent that would result in a plaque at Cooperstown. The Sox, too, gave up on Herb, sending him as the last of the out-migration (11 starters) from Boston to New York in 1923. An immediate hit in the new stadium in the Bronx, Pennock’s easy-going manner and slow curves kept his team relaxed. He rarely faced the aces of his era but was used in tough spots and key match-ups. Pennock excelled under the pressure of World Series in the Big Apple. In perhaps his finest moment, Herb clinched NY’s first title in ‘23 on one day’s rest; an effort renowned umpire Billy Evans called “the greatest pitching performance I have ever seen.” More October glory would follow including decisive saves in his finale against the Cubs in ‘32.

  • Pennock went on to a front-office career, ending with the Phillies in ‘47. He closed his tenure in infamy as he fought Branch Rickey bitterly to keep Jackie Robinson out of Philadelphia
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1948

Auction History

Eddie Plank

Pitcher
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Athletics (AL)
  • League: American League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Edward Stewart Plank (1875-1926) hurled more shutouts and complete games than any other lefthander in his 17-season career. He ranks behind only Warren Spahn and Steve Carlton among southpaws in wins. Signed by Connie Mack straight out of college, Plank never played a day in the minors. Playing in 4 Series for Philadelphia, Plank had an ERA of 1.32 but got no run support, going 2-5 but finishing all six of his starts.

  • His 326 wins ranks 13th on the all time list. He had eight 20-win seasons
  • At the end of his career, played for St. Louis in the Federal League’s final year in 1915 and then with the Browns for two more
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1946

Auction History

Spot Poles

Outfield
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: New York
  • Team: Lincoln Giants
  • League: Independent

Spottswood Poles (1889-1962) was ranked by renowned athlete and singer Paul Robeson as one of the four most talented black athletes of the first half of the 20th century, along with Jesse Owens, Joe Louis and Jack Johnson. Fast company for a fleet-footed outfielder who was once timed in a sub-ten-second 100 yard dash. Spot was raised in Harrisburg, PA and came up with the sports clubs for colored kids. His talent led him to debut with Sol White's Philadelphia Giants in 1909. He was a hit. And could he hit: averaging well over .400 for four seasons. He followed his mentor to New York's Lincoln Giants and remained with various NY clubs until returning to Philly and Ed Bolden's Hilldale Club. Some highlights of his time with the Lincolns included defeating Rube Foster's powerhouse Chicago American Giants and proving his mettle against all competition, including getting three straight hits off Grover Cleveland Alexander in one of the exhibition games played against major league teams. Spot enlisted with the 369th Infantry Regiment, dubbed by their German foes the Hellfighter Regiment for their implacable defense (never giving up a trench or a yard of battlefield), and earned five battle stars and a Purple Heart. The 369th was the first African American unit in WWI and was assigned to the French forces who knew them as “The Men of Bronze”. They called themselves the Harlem Hellfighters. After the war, Poles knocked around before settling back with Hilldale.

  • Playing in Cuban and Negro ball, Poles is cited in some sources as averaging over .400 lifetime, a stat not corroborated by Baseball Encyclopedia. Suffice to say, he was one of the best hitters of his or any era
  • John McGraw pegged Spot as one of four black players he'd have put in the majors, with Pop Lloyd, Smokey Joe Williams and Cannonball Dick Redding
  • The decorated war hero is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with his wife Bertha

Auction History

Cum Posey

Outfield
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Homestead
  • Team: Grays (IND)
  • League: Independent
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Cumberland Willis Posey Jr, (1890-1946) was a brilliant, gifted and driven man, on the basketball court, the boxing ring, the diamond and the front office. He starred as Penn State’s first black hoops player, played at Pitt and Duquesne before founding his Black Five entry where the team won four straight Colored Basketball World Championships. He was an owner and columnist for the Pittsburgh Courier, managed a boxing team and, by the way, built the Homestead Grays into one of the dominant franchises in Negro League history. Posey wasn’t big (5’9” and 145 lbs) but he excelled at every sport he tried. Yet, it was as player/manager/executive of the Grays from 1911 to 1946 that Cum made an indelible mark on American sports. Eleven of the 18 Negro League-era players in the Hall of Fame when Posey was inducted had played for him at some point. He had an unerring eye for talent and recruited the best, even in the face of fierce competition.

  • Posey’s Grays had been a force in Negro ball through the ‘20s and 30’s but never more so than during their unparalleled surge to nine straight league championships, a string that ended with this remarkable man’s untimely death from lung cancer on the very eve of Jackie Robinson’s matriculation
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 2006

Auction History

Del Pratt

Second Base
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: St. Louis
  • Team: Browns (AL)
  • League: American League

Derrill Burnham Pratt (1888-1977) played for the Browns, Yankees, Red Sox and Tigers over a 13-year career in the majors. The scion of a cotton-mill dynasty, Pratt studied the family business at the University of Alabama while pursuing his first love, baseball. He excelled with ‘Bama in both football and baseball to the extent he was inducted into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame. Del entered minor-league ball in 1910 and showed himself to be an outstanding hitter. St. Louis signed him and held on against John McGraw’s efforts to lure him to the Giants. He rewarded the Browns with five great years where Pratt was the everyday second-baseman consistently batting near .300. Perhaps befitting one who was to the manor born, Pratt was a fighter. He became a union leader in the tumult of the Federal League era, had some fistfights with rowdy opponents, and generally stood his ground. Branch Rickey admired his feisty infielder but lost his managerial job when the Browns were sold in 1916. Del ran afoul of the new owner and was traded to NY where Miller Huggins would say Pratt “put the ball club on its feet.”

  • Long before the vaunted ‘27 club, sportswriters dubbed the infield Pratt joined as “Murderers’ Row,” the “greatest collection of pitcher thumpers in baseball today.”
  • During Pratt’s career, from 1912-1924, Pratt was 12th in all of baseball in WAR (between Max Carey and Home Run Baker)

Auction History

Branch Rickey

Manager
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: St. Louis
  • Team: Browns (AL)
  • League: American League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Wesley Branch Rickey (1881-1965) didn’t live to see his 1967 entrance into the Hall of Fame as one of the legends in baseball’s executive ranks, but he did see the legacy of his pioneering efforts to end decades of shameful discrimination in the sport he loved. In the year of his death, one in five MLB players was African American. In his half-century in the front office, Rickey invented the farm system and had one of the keenest eyes for talent.

  • In WWI Rickey commanded a chemical warfare unit that included Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson
  • Hired Allan Roth as the first team statistician in 1947, thus becoming an early progenitor of sabermetrics
  • Jackie Robinson eulogized Rickey as having done more for African Americans than anyone but Abraham Lincoln
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1967

Auction History

Eppa Rixey

Pitcher
  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Phillies
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Eppa Rixey, Jr. (1891-1963) was one of the most durable left-handers of all-time. Until 1959 he was the NL’s winningest southpaw. That year, Warren Spahn surpassed Rixey and for the first 60 years of the century, only Walter Johnson and Pete Alexander started more games. The pitcher never played a day in the minors thanks to his University of Virginia coach’s rave reviews. Cy Rigler was a well-regarded umpire when not mentoring college players so his scouting report counted and the Phillies responded, signing him for the 1912 season. The club won a pennant in 1915 but Rixey labored for a mostly sub-par team until traded to the Reds in 1921. Rixey’s debut season with Cincy was stunning, allowing only one HR in 301 innings en route to a league-leading 25 wins. Staying with the Reds through 1933, Rixey’s labors for two lower division franchises meant the losses added up, too. So much so that he owns the dubious record of most losses in a career for a lefty: 251.

  • The hard-working, likable southerner lived just long enough to learn of his selection to Cooperstown, exclaiming to his family “I finally made it!”
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1963

Auction History