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Ham Iburg
There aren't a whole lot of baseball players whose last names began with the letter I. So pickings are slim. Admittedly, Ham is not an inspired nickname for Herman Edward Iburg.

Iburg was a right-handed pitcher who, in 1901, posted a 37-27 record with his hometown San Francisco team in the California League. In 1902 he was a 29-year-old rookie for the seventh-place Philadelphia Phillies of the National League. He had 11 wins and 17 losses. After that he returned to California.

For many years Iburg, on the strength of just one season – and a losing season at that – had the most wins of any major league pitcher whose last name began with the letter I. That honor now belongs to Jason Isringhausen, who has 48 wins.

As for Iburg, his 11-17 record with the seventh place Philadelphia Phillies in 1902 doesn't seem bad enough to get him permanently banished to the minors.

One suspects it was Iburg's choice to go back home to San Francisco to continue his baseball career. It's not like there were any benefits at that time to being in the so-called major leagues. Iburg may have has feelings similar to those of another pitcher, Henry Schmidt, who won 21 games as a rookie in 1903, pitching for Brooklyn. According to "The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract," Schmidt was a Texan who hated living in the East, so he refused to report to Brooklyn in 1904. He wound up as a teammate of Iburg on the 1905 Oakland team. Many baseball players at the time actually preferred playing and living in California.

 

Bald Eagle Isbell
His hairless head earned William Frank Isbell the nickname. "Bald Eagle," but he was better known by his middle name. He played in the National League in 1898 with the Chicago Orphans (later renamed the Cubs). In 1900 he joined the Chicago White Stockings, then a member of the minor league Western Association which a year later morphed into the American League. Isbell remained with the White Stockings (renamed the White Sox in 1904) for the rest of his major league career.

His 52 stolen bases led the American League in its first season. That would be remain the league record until 1909 when Ty Cobb stole 76 bases.

Isbell retired from playing in 1910 and became a minor league manager, later owning some minor league teams.

 

Spook Jacobs
He was born Forrest Vandergrift Jacobs, which itself is a memorable name. Why was Jacobs called Spook? One source said the nickname was pinned on him by a sportswriter while Jacobs was in the minor leagues; another says it had something to do with his speed on the basepaths. I suspect the real reason has something to do with Jacobs' skeleton-like appearance.

Rookies don't start out any better than Spook Jacobs, who in 1954 became the first player to have four hits in his first major league game. By the end of the season, the Philadelphia Athletics' rookie second baseman had come down to earth – with a batting average of .258.

He'd play only 56 games the next two seasons before his big league stay ended.

He was a charter member of the Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society. In 1991 he was inducted into the Delaware Hall of Fame. Jacobs died in 2011.

 

Baby Doll Jacobson
He was born William Chester Jacoboson and for the first 22 years of his life was called Bill. According to baseball lore, his life was changed forever in 1912 when he hit a home run that won an opening day game for Mobile (Alabama) of the Southern League. As Jacobson circled the bases, the band that had been hired for the occasion serenaded the crowd with 'Oh, You Beautiful Doll.' A day later, a newspaper photograph of Jacobson was captioned 'Baby Doll!'

Like it or not, the outfielder had a new nickname that stuck. That nickname may be one reason Jacobson doesn't get the respect he deserves for his fine 11-year major league career, most of it with the St. Louis Browns.

Despite his size (six-foot-three), Jacobson was not a power hitter, though he did have a career-high 19 home runs in 1924, third best in the American League, but far behind Babe Ruth's 46. His lifetime batting average was .311; three times he hit over .340. He also was a remarkable defensive player, at one time holding 13 American League fielding records.

 

Sig Jakucki
In 1936 pitcher Sigmund Jakucki was 0-3 with the St. Louis Browns and dropped out of baseball a couple of years later. But World War II created an incredible player shortage, so Jakucki came out of a five-year retirement in 1944 and won 13 games for the Browns, helping them to their only American League pennant. He was the losing pitcher in his only World Series start.

He returned in 1945 and won 12 more games, but then the war ended and – finally – so did Sigmund Jakucki's big league career, this time for good.

He had nicknames off both his first and last names. "Sig" was the more popular nickname, but he also was called "Jack."

According to Wikipedia, Jakucki was not a pleasant character, especially when he was drinking, which apparently was much of the time. Says the Wikipedia article: Jakucki "derived pleasure in tormenting teammate Pete Gray, who had only one arm. One day, the two got into an argument and settled it with a fight, with Sig holding one arm behind his back."

The two men were teammates in 1945 when the shortage of players was most acute, at least at the beginning of the season. Jakucki's behavior got him kicked off the team by manager Luke Sewell late in the season. The pitcher's last appearance in a major league game was August 29, 1945. He pitched in the minor leagues for the next two seasons. (The Browns also let Gray go at the end of the 1945 season, but the one-armed outfielder continued to play in the minor leagues, retiring after a stint with Dallas of the Texas League in 1949.)

Jakucki died in Galveston, Texas, in 1979. He was 69 and reportedly destitute.

 

Alamazoo Jennings
Jennings' nickname is unique and so far I haven't found an explanation of why, just a story about when. Sounds like Kalamazoo, but Jennings wasn't from Michigan. He was born near Cincinnati, across the Ohio River in Newport, Kentucky.

His real name was Alfred Gorden Jennings and he was a catcher who played just one major league game, in 1878, with the Milwaukee Cream Citys of the National League. Based on that game it's easy to see why Jennings didn't stick around. He made four errors, which was bad even by the standards of 1878 when the worst fielders averaged one error per game. But four? Alamazoo! However, he had a good excuse.Truth be told, he really wasn't a professional ballplayer.

Jennings was a Cincinnati sports promoter who also did some umpiring. During the 1878 National League season injuries temporarily left Milwaukee without a catcher for a game in Cincinnati. A catcher was summoned from Milwaukee by telegram, but didn't arrive in time. Jennings volunteered to play and was pressed into action. Milwaukee lost, 13-2.

Jennings offered to play the next day, but the Milwaukee manager was very relieved when his substitute catcher finally arrived.

Jennings was well known in Cincinnati. He was such a celebrity that when legendary baseball star King Kelly made a vaudeville appearance in Cincinnati, he got a big response when he introduced himself to the audience as Alamazoo Jennings.

 

Smead Jolley
Baseball revisionists could have a field day with Smead Powell ("Smudge") Jolley. Imagine, if you will, that the dreaded designated hitter rule was put in effect, say, in 1920. Would we then have statistics to indicate Jolley was the greatest hitter who ever lived?

Unlike many other minor league wonders, Jolley proved he could hit major league pitching. He posted a .305 average in 473 games with the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox (1930-33). That average probably would have been much higher if Jolley had been freed from his greatest worry: playing the outfield. He is regarded by many as the worst fielder who ever played big league baseball.

Research Smead Jolley and you'll find frequent mention of a time he committed three errors on one play. First, a ball rolled through his legs on the way to the fence, then back through his legs again when it bounced off the fence. Finally, Jolley made a poor throw after he finally picked up the ball.

It makes for a good story. Trouble is, no one can document the play, but it's significant that in Jolley's case, people believe such a play was possible.

Like Babe Ruth and Lefty O'Doul, two other terrific hitters, Jolley started his career as a pitcher. Jolley led his league in hitting six times. Didn't matter where he played. In 1928, with San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League, Jolley hit .404 in 191 games, getting an incredible 309 hits. The year before he hit .397, a year later he had 315 hits. In 1925, playing just 38 games with San Francisco, he batted .447. He had started that season as a pitcher-outfielder with Corsicana of the Texas Association. He won 18 games, batted .352 and hit a league high 26 home runs.

 

Puddin' Head Jones
How do your turn Willie Edward Jones into a memorable baseball name? You give him a nickname inspired by a catchy song, one recorded by Rudy Vallee many years ago, called "Puddin' Head Jones" about a class clown. Jones played third base for the Philadelphia Phillies Whiz Kids in 1950.

 

Bubber Jonnard
Clarence James Jonnard was a catcher whose six-season major league career was stretched over 16 years (1920-35). He played with the Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals.

He had a twin brother, Claude Jonnard, a relief pitcher who had a similar major league experience – six seasons over nine years with three teams – the New York Giants, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Browns.

The Jonnard brothers played together for parts of the 1920 and '21 seasons in Nashville, attracting attention because, being twins, they formed a unique battery.

I found no explanation for the nickname. My guess – and it is only a guess – is that Bubber is the sound a very young Jonnard made when he referred to his brother.

In 1944 Bubber Jonnard managed the Minneapolis Millerettes of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

 

Cactus Keck
Frank Joseph Keck was a sidearm pitcher from St. Louis, who got his nickname in the West Texas League after World War I. Primarily a reliever, Keck played two major league seasons, 1922-23, with the Cincinnati Reds.

In 1927 he was buried deep in the minor leagues, pitching for the Class D Monroe (LA) Drillers of the Cotton States League. He won 22 games. The following year he jumped up to the Class A Texas League, but retired after 10 appearances for Beaumont and Forth Worth, giving up 26 runs in only 28 innings.

 

Wagon Tongue Keister
Like Smead Jolley, William Hoffman Keister could hit a ton, but his fielding was so bad he never stuck with any team two years in a row.

But it's his nickname that makes him stand out. Apparently it involved a wagon tongue bat (a bat made from what is deemed the strongest wood). Such wood was used for wagon tongues (I'd call them handles) for horse-drawn wagons. Maybe Keister made a big thing out of his wagon tongue bat. He should have paid more attention to his glove.

 

Thornton Kipper
His name conjures up an image of a character in a Frank Capra movie, perhaps one of those naive Everyman fellows played by Gary Cooper.

Pitcher Thornton John Kipper was born in Bagley, Wisconsin, and spent one year at the University of Wisconsin before joining the Navy in 1946. Discharged two years later, Kipper returned to college and was an outstanding pitcher in the Big Ten Conference, helping Wisconsin reach the 1950 College World Series

He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies and made his major league debut in 1953, winning three games, losing three. He made 35 relief appearances for the Phillies over the next two seasons.

Released by Philadelphia, Kipper signed with the Kansas City Athletics, but was sent to the minor leagues and never returned. Later he worked in a Lewiston (Idaho) paper mill and was a pitching coach at Lewis & Clarke College. Eventually he moved to Arizona where he died at age 77.

 

Elmer Klumpp
The catcher paid two brief visits to the majors, appearing in 12 games with the Washington Senators in 1934 and five games with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1937. St. Louis-born Elmer Edward Klumpp needed no nickname to stand out. For all I know (and I'm making this up) he could have been the inspiration for the cartoon character Elmer Fudd.

Klumpp had only three hits in 26 major league at bats (.115), but was a lifetime .318 hitter in 14 minor league seasons. He died in 1996 at the age of 90.

 

Clyde Kluttz
Clyde Franklin Kluttz was a catcher who made several stops (Boston Braves, New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Browns, Washington Senators), playing nine major league seasons in 11 years (1942-52). He never had more than 303 at bats in a season, but twice hit over .300 as a backup, though his lifetime average was a modest .268 (in 1,903 at bats).

Still he had a Hall of Fame name, getting the edge over Mickey Klutts (nee Gene Ellis Klutts), an infielder whose 199 big league games were spread over eight seasons (1976-83) with the New York Yankees, Oakland and Toronto.

Kluttz, like many other major leaguers, remained part of baseball long after he retired as a player. He became a major league scout, then director of player development for Baltimore. As a scout for the Kansas City Athletics in the 1960s, he signed Jim "Catfish" Hunter.

Ten years later Kluttz changed jobs and in 1974 convinced free agent Hunter to sign with his new team, the New York Yankees. Hunter said he had a lot of respect for Kluttz. Apparently, so did a lot of others.

 

Joe Kuhel
A major leaguer for 18 seasons (1930-47) bouncing from the Washington Senators to the Chicago White Sox, back to Washington and back again to the White Sox. He needed no nickname. You can't get any cooler than ... Joe Kuhel.

First baseman Kuhel was a member of the American Society of Magicians and occasionally displayed his talent during games by pulling flowers out of a coach's ear or stealing an umpire's cap and making it disappear. I came across an item online by someone who said he asked Kuhel for an autograph and handed the player a program and a stub of a pencil. Kuhel put the pencil in his mouth, pretending to swallow it, then pulled it out of one of his ears and signed his name on the program.

 

Apples Lapihuska
Andrew Lapihuska, usually called Andy, was an outstanding pitcher and outfielder for Millville (New Jersey) High School. Upon graduation he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies who determined Lapihuska should concentrate on pitching.

He was just 19 when he made his major league debut in 1942, appearing in three games. He started two of them and was charged with a loss each time. He pitched in only one game the next season and that was the extent of his big league career, thanks to World War II.

Lapihuska joined the Army and was with the 103rd Infantry Division which had its own baseball team in 1945. Lapihuska was one of the pitchers.

After the war Lapihuska played just one more season – winning five games, losing 14 for Utica (New York) of the Eastern League – before retiring.

 

Tacks Latimer
Sounds like a Damon Runyon character. Unfortunately, life for Clifford Wesley Latimer was more like a James Cagney movie. After the catcher left baseball (which included just 27 major league games in five seasons, 1898-1902), he became a policeman with the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1924, he shot and killed a superior, Lt. Charles Mackrodt. Latimer was sent to prison, but proved a model inmate; he was pardoned in 1930.

 

Roxie Lawson
Alfred Voyle Lawson was an American League pitcher who spent all or parts of nine seasons in the major leagues, with Cleveland, Detroit and the St. Louis Browns.

His best season was 1937 when he won 18 games for Detroit.

How or why he got his interesting nickname I do not know. Like Tacks Latimer, Roxie Lawson puts me in mind of writer Damon Runyon, especially the musical, "Guys and Dolls," which was based on Runyon's works.

Sing along with me:

"What's playing at the Roxy?
I'll tell you what's playing at the Roxy.
A picture about a Minnesota man falls in love with a Mississippi girl
That he sacrifices everything and moves all the way to Biloxi.
That's what's playing at the Roxy."

(From the title song, "Guys and Dolls," by Frank Loesser.)

 

Ivoria Hillis Layne
Third baseman Ivoria Hillis Layne would be more memorable if he'd been known by his first name. It's not every day you hear of a baseball player named Ivoria. He was often called Hillis, but also had two nicknames – Hilly, which is obvious, and Tony for ... well, I'm still looking. Layne played 13 games for the Washington Senators in 1941, then returned for a two-year stint (1944-45) during World War II. In 107 games he batted .264.

Not surprisingly, Layne fared much better in the minor leagues where players remained active well into their 30s, often their early 40s. Layne played 1,796 minor league games, compiling a lifetime batting average of .335. In 1947 he led the Pacific Coast League when he batted .367 for Seattle.

 

Bevo LeBourveau
DeWitt Wiley LeBourveau's last name probably inspired Bevo as a nickname. He played outfield for the Philadelphia Phillies for four seasons (1919-1922), and briefly with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1929. In 280 major league games, he hit a modest .275. However, in 1,341 minor league games his batting average was .348.

 

Hod Lisenbee
Horace Milton "Hod" Lisenbee was the son of a Tennessee farmer and got off to a slow start in life because he was kept busy working at home. He told an interviewer his schooling was delayed so long that he didn't start high school until he was 21. He said that's when he held a baseball in his hand for the first time.

He wasted little time developing his skills, though he couldn't have done it without his fierce determination to prove himself. He was a pitcher who had only one good major league season before arm problems set in. He also was a real-life Forrest Gump. Google him and you'll meet an interesting character.

 

Lucky Lohrke
Jack Wayne Lohrke was a National League infielder in the late 1940s, early '50s. may not have liked the nickname "Lucky," but there was no way he could have avoided it, thanks to the incredible story that goes with it. During the war Lohrke participated in both the landing at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. Four times a soldier next to him in action was killed, while Lohrke wasn't wounded.

After he returned to the United States, Lohrke was to fly from Camp Kilmer (NJ) to California, but a colonel bumped him from the flight. That plane crashed, killing everyone aboard.

Lohrke started the 1946 season with the Spokane Indians of the Western International League. The team was enroute by bus from Spokane to Bremerton (Washington), a 300-mile trip. Halfway there, the team made a scheduled dinner stop in Ellensburg, where a message was waiting for Lohrke. He was to get back to Spokane any way he could because he had been called up to the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League.

While Lohrke was hitchhiking to Spokane, the team bus headed for Bremerton, but missed a curve and went off the road. Eight Spokane players were killed, along with the driver. It was the worst such disaster in minor league history.

After he retired the nickname retired with him. "Now everyone calls me Jack," he said. Lohrke died in April 2009.

 

Charlie Loudenslager
Charles Edward Loudenslager played a few innings at second base on April 15, 1904 for the Brooklyn Superbas, as the Dodgers were then nicknamed. Loudenslager handled one chance in the field and went hitless in two at bats. After his day in Brooklyn, he reported to his hometown Baltimore Orioles of the Eastern League, and later played for such minor league teams as the Rochester Bronchos, Jersey City Skeeters and Utica Utes.

As a Baltimore native, it seems likely he was a member of the family for whom Loudenslager Hill was named. American defenses set up along the top of that hill helped deter the British in the famous 1814 Battle of Baltimore that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem, 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' that later became our national anthem.

Loudenslager died in 1933 and is buried at Louden Park National Cemetery in Baltimore. I've also seen it spelled Loudon, but my hunch is that it is either on property that at one time belonged to the Loudenslager family or was named in their honor. Again, just a hunch.

 

Con Lucid
Cornelius Cecil Lucid was born in Dublin, Ireland. After his family moved to the United States the boy discovered baseball and at age 19 he was pitching for the Louisville Colonels of the National League. A year later he was with the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, then the Philadelphia Phillies and finally the St. Louis Browns where Lucid pitched his last National League game in 1897.

For his career he had 23 wins, 23 losses. His best season was 1895 which he split between Brooklyn and Philadelphia. His record that year was 16-10. Eventually Lucid moved to Texas. His name shows up as an umpire in a major league exhibition game in Fort Worth in the early 1900s.

Things did not end ell for him. Lucid commited suicide in Houston in 1931. He was 57.

 

Memo Luna
In the 1950s Guillermo Romero Luna of Tacubaya, Mexico, was considered a brilliant pitching prospect, but pitched only one inning in the majors. Luna blames St. Louis Cardinals manager Eddie Stanky, who told the pitcher, “I don’t want @#$&% Mexicans!” Luna soon returned home to pitcher and now is enshrined in Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame; he was similarly honored by the San Diego Padres Minor League Hall of Fame.

 

Duster Mails
Sometimes called Duster the Great, pitcher John Walter Mails won but 32 games in seven big league seasons.
He broke in with Brooklyn in 1915, losing his only decision. Same thing in 1916.

He was out of the majors until 1920 when he joined pennant-bound Cleveland in time to win seven games with no losses. He faced his old team, the Dodgers, in the World Series, pitched 6-2/3 innings of scoreless ball in relief in a losing cause in Game Two, then pitched a shutout in Game Six.

He went 14-8 in 1921 ... and suddenly didn't have it anymore. He had one last shot, with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1925, when he split 14 decisions. He made just one more appearance in the majors, with the Cardinals in 1926.

He was called Duster for his tendency to brush back hitters. And he was Duster the Great in the minor leagues, winning 226 games in 17 seasons.

 

Cuddles Marshall
Clarence Westly Marshall was dubbed Cuddles while he was a 21-year-old rookie with the 1946 New York Yankees. He got stuck with the name because people said he looked like a movie star (he was often compared to Tyrone Power) and because he was the youngest player on the team. Hey, what was he going to do ... complain? Marshall certainly didn't look like a Cuddles because he stood six-foot-three and weighed 200 pounds.

His looks were impressive, but his pitching wasn't. He posted a 3-4 record with a 5.33 earned run average. The highlight came May 28 when he started th first night game ever played at Yankee Stadium.

He went back to the minors in 1947 and remained there most of the next season. He won all three of his decisions in 1949, but walked 48 batters in 49 innings, and indication of the control problems that plagued him throughout his short major league career which ended with the St. Louis Browns in 1950. His lifetime won-lost record was 7-7.

He didn't pitch in the 1949 World Series, but his team membership earned him a World Series championship ring. The ring was later stolen by workers in his home, but 20 years later one of his two daughters had it recast.

 

Stoney McGlynn
He was born Ulysses Simpson Grant McGlynn in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His major league career consisted of three seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals (1906-08).

He pitched a no-hitter in 1906, but it was not officially recognized as such since the game was called after seven innings. In 1907 he won 14 games, lost 25.

McGlynn returned to the minor leagues and in 1909 worked overtime for the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association. He won 27 games, lost 21, appeared in 64 games and pitched 446 innings. He also threw 14 shutouts, which remains the single season AA record for shutouts.

As I look at the photo of Stoney McGlynn I'm thinking that if his biography were turned into a movie I'd get Kyle MacLachlan to play the title role.

 

Stuffy McInnis
John Phalen McInnis
played first base in what was dubbed "The $100,000 Infield" (1911-1914) that helped make the Philadelphia Athletics the American League pennant winners three times during that period. The other members were Eddie Collins at second base, Jack Barry at shortstop and Frank "Home Run" Baker at third base. McInnis, from Gloucester, Massachusetts, got his nickname because people said he had "the stuff."

 

Heinie Meine
A classic, no matter how you pronounce the pitcher's last name. Henry William Meine made a big mistake early in his career by building his hopes around the spitball, his best pitch, which, unfortunately for him, was outlawed soon after he turned pro.

He adjusted, finally worked his way up to the major leagues and in 1922 made a four-inning relief appearance for the St. Louis Browns. He walked two batters, gave up five hits and two runs, which got him a a return trip to the minor leagues. He pitched one season for San Antonio-Wichita Falls of the Texas League, two with the Syracuse Stars of the International League, and one season for the Kansas City Blues of the American Association. Then, at age 30, Henry William Meine retired to run a tavern.

But retirement didn't last. In 1928 he returned to the Kansas City Blues and pitched well enough to attract the interest of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Meine was considered strictly a junkball pitcher when he entered the National League in 1929 as a 33-year-old rookie, but he stayed with the Pirates for six seasons, best of which was 1931 when he won 19 games, tying Wild Bill Hallahan of St. Louis and Jumbo Elliott of Philadelphia for most victories. His 2.98 earned run average was fourth best in the league.

Meine had a 12-9 record in 1932 and was 15-8 in 1933. He won only seven games in 1934, his final season. Afterward he ran a tavern and liquor store in LeMay, Missouri, near St. Louis.

Besides Heinie, Meine also was known as The Count of Luxemburg after his Missouri hometown, which later had its name changed to LeMay. Now Luxemburg is considered one of Missouri's forgotten cities.

 

Moxie Meixell
Here's a guy who retired with a major league batting average of .500. It helps that he had only two at bats, in 1912, as a Cleveland pinch hitter. The left-handed hitter singled once, made an out the other time. Cleveland brought him to the majors after Meixell had batted .322 that season with two minor league teams. He had hit over .300 the year before, also with two minor league teams.

In 1913 he was back in the minors, but his days of hitting .300 or better were over.

Merton Merrill Meixell went on to live a full, long life, dying at the age of 95. Had he come along in the 1960s, he probably would have beenn nicknamed 3M.

 

Vinegar Bend Mizell
Wilmer David Mizell was born in Leakesville, Mississippi, but grew up in Vinegar Bend, Alabama, which accounts for his nickname. He was a pitcher who broke into the majors in 1952 with the St. Louis Cardinals, showing a lot of promise. However, he never won more than 14 games in any of his nine big league seasons. He also pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets before reitiring in 1962.

He went on to become a United States Congressman from North Carolina for six years (1968-74), by which time he was better known by his real first name, Wilmer.

 

Fenton Mole
Fenton LeRoy Mole was a first baseman who played just 10 games for the New York Yankees, all in 1949. His name makes him sound like an undercover agent. Whatever, it isn't a name you forget.

The reason I noticed him at all, however, was his stint with the Syracuse Chiefs in the International League. Mole sometimes went by the nickname Muscles, which certainly was appropriate. He looked strong enough to knock the cover off the ball, but that batting stance of his drove me nuts – his feet seemed a mile apart, his right foot in a bucket, pointed toward first base. It didn't surprise me that he never returned to the majors.

 

Carlton Molesworth
In 1895, at the age of 19, this left-handed pitcher made four appearances with Washington of the National League. He pitched 16 innings, gave up 33 hits and had an 0-2 record. Not much of a major league career, but he had a Hall of Fame name. And that's where he now resides. Oh, not the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but in the Birmingham (Alabama) Barons Hall of Fame.

Carlton Molesworth had turned outfielder by 1906, the year he joined the Barons. He led the team in hits three times and became player-manager in 1908. He remained the Barons manager until 1922. Among his players were two future major league Hall of Famers, Pie Traynor and Burleigh Grimes.

For awhile he was a scout for the Pittsbugh Pirates. Molesworth went on to live 85 years and die where he was born – in Frederick, Maryland.

 

Bitsy Mott
Elisha Matthew Mott had his size – or lack thereof – to blame for his nickname. The 5-foot-8 infielder played for the Philadlephia Blue Jays in 1945, hit .221. (The Blue Jays? Yes, that's what the Phillies were called for two seasons during World War II.)

For Mott, playing in the major leagues was a mere footnote to the career that followed, a career he owed to his sister, who married a guy named Parker who called himself Colonel (as in Col. Tom Parker), the fellow who managed Elvis (as in Presley).

His baseball days over, Bitsy Mott became a security guard for Presley, appeared in five Presley movies, starting with "G.I. Blues," in which he has a small part as a sergeant who chews out Presley's character. Mott later worked and hung around Graceland.

After Presley's death, Mott became a clown. Believe me, if I were making this up, I'd admit it right about now. But I won't ... because I'm not.

 

Van Lingle Mungo
A promising pitcher with a blazing fastball when he broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1931, Van Lingle Mungo was a free spirit whose lifestyle drove Dodger executives crazy. Once, while in Cuba for exhibition games, he had a one-night stand with a woman only to be discovered by her gun-toting husband who chased Mungo from the premises.

He ended his career with the New York Giants, retiring the first time in 1943. He returned in 1945 to help the Giants, whose pitching staff was depleted by World War II. Mungo responded with one of his best seasons and a 14-7 record.

 

Candidates from current of recent players: Hisashi Iwakuma and Corey Kluber.

 
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