Larry Twitchell

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Detroit
  • Team: Wolverines
  • League: National League

Lawrence Grant Twitchell (1864-1930) spent the afternoon of August 15, 1889 having himself a grand day out. The box score would read: six for six, plus a walk; a homer, three triples, a double and a single; five runs scored; and 16 total bases. Had he not led off three innings he might have had more than his three RBI. Oh, and the outfielder even relieved in the second inning. The Cleveland Leader said of their home team’s effort: “Twenty-seven hits for a total of forty-eight bases doesn’t grow on every tree and never grew in Cleveland before, that’s for sure.” Remarkably, it took a mere five years for Larry’s total-bases mark to be eclipsed by Bobby Lowe of the Beaneaters. That mid-summer feat was the highlight, but far from the whole story of Twitchell’s career. He was a strong fielder and is purported to have thrown a ball 407′ – the longest throw on record in the 19th century. He played for seven MLB clubs over his nine-year career. Prior to returning to his hometown Spiders, Larry had starred for the Wolverines, his first team, from 1886-88 including the ’87 “world series” title versus the Browns. That championship season saw Twitchell hit .333 while taking the “mound” in 15 games (twelve as a starter) and going 11-1. Ironically, Twitchell’s teammate in Detroit, the renowned slugger Dan Brouthers, had set the NL record for total bases in 1886 with 15. After leaving the Spiders for Cleveland’s Players’ League entry in 1890, Larry migrated to other teams and lesser performance. It must have been satisfying when he was invited to a Cleveland Old Timer’s game in 1921, playing alongside fellow sandlot veterans Cy Young, Chief Zimmer, Nap Lajoie and Elmer Flick.

  • Twitchell’s only blemish as a pitcher in ’87 came in a 14-inning one-hitter loss
  • His five extra-base hit day wasn’t equalled until Josh Hamilton did it in 2012. In 2015, Jackie Bradley, Jr. also tied that mark
  • Inducted into Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame: 1980

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