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— Google illustration


Or the taking of Pelham One-Two-Three ... three being how many major league games third baseman Pelham Ballenger played for the Washington Senators in 1928 – at age 34, making him one of the oldest rookies ever. He had a single in nine at bats. He had started the season with Birmingham of the Southern Association and batted .346 in 51 games. He went back to the Southern Association in 1929, with Chattanooga, hitting .279 in 46 games. Then his playing days were over.
He'd spent 12 seasons in the minor leagues, half of them with Louisville of the American Association.

Rivington Bisland was a shortstop whose three-year major league stint (1912-14) included only 31 games. His best year was 1913 when he batted .301 with the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association before being called to the majors by the St. Louis Browns. He went back to Atlanta where he finished his playing career in 1915, at the age of 25.

How do you pronounce his last name? I hope it's BY-land (as in Rivington Bisland or by sea), but it's probably BIS-land. His daunting first name made him sound like a kid who played because his father owned the stadium.

Best known as the hero of the 2014 World Series, Madison Kyle Bumgarner is a throwback to an era that produced such names as Rivington Bisland, Pembroke Finlayson, and Spencer Pumpelly. The left-handed pitcher's name would be even better were it followed by a number, say, Madison K. Bumgarner III.

Bumgarner was just 25 in 2014, when he posted an 18-10 record for the San Francisco Giants. By my reckoning he won three games in the World Series against Kansas City, but from what I've read, he was credited with a save in Game Seven, which contradicts what I was told years ago — that no pitcher is credited with a win if he leaves the game before the fifth inning. That Bumgarner pitched the final five innings of that game, after two earlier complete game victories, says he was entitled to a third win.

Bumgarner, who stands six-feet-five-inches, was out for much of the 2017 season because of injuries suffered in a dirt bike accident, and wound up with a record of four wins, nine losses. Injuries were a problem in 2018, as well, limiting him to six wins in 13 decisions.

The man with the prep school name was a pitcher who made just two appearances with Brooklyn, one each in 1908 and 1909. He died at age 24 from what was ruled "peritonitis of the heart brought on by an injury he suffered while pitching."

Pembroke Finlayson had shown promise in the New England League, winning 19 games for the Brockton (Mass.) Tigers in 1909 and 21 games the next season with the Lawrence (Mass.) Colts. He advanced to Memphis of the Southern Association in 1911 and had an 11-7 record. He died March 6, 1912.

It was 1942, World War Two was underway, and 19-year-old Hildreth "Hilly" Flitcraft, a 6-feet-2-inch pitcher, was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies and pressed into action. He appeared in three games and his major league career was over. His name seems a throwback to the first World War, Hilly Flitcraft suggesting a type of biplane. ("Ah, yes, Reggie Smythe-Jones. Splendid chap. Pip-pip, and all that. Flew a Hilly Flitcraft. But he was no match for the Red Baron, poor fellow.")

After his brief fling with the Phillies, Flitcraft entered the service. He was a civilian again in time for the 1945 season which he played for the Wilmington (Del.) Blue Rocks of the Interstate League, posting a fine 15-4 record.

He didn't play in 1946 — I suspect he may have injured his pitching arm — but in 1947 spent spring training with the Phillies' Utica (NY) farm team, which had on its roster such future Philadelphia stars as Richie Ashburn, Granny Hamner and Stan Lopata, along with the memorable Putsy Caballero.

However, Flitcraft was re-assigned to the Carbondale Pioneers of the North Atlantic League, where he won 10 games, lost five. Again, I suspect Flitcraft had arm trouble because in 1948, his last season in professional baseball, he no longer was pitching. He played first base for Portsmouth of the Ohio-Indiana League and batted .327 in 45 games.

His real name is catchier than his obvious nickname – Thorny. Hawkes was a second baseman with Troy (New York) of the National League in 1879 and Washington of the American Association in 1884. He played professional baseball until 1887 when he briefly was a teammate of future Hall of Famer Hugh Duffy on the Salem Fairies of the New England League. Hawkes batted .250 in eight games; Duffy was on his way up, and played just 27 games for Salem, batting .461.

Thornton John Kipper pitched briefly for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1950s. 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.

Kippper 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.

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 Carlton Molesworth 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. 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.

Stanwood Wendell Partenheimer, a left-handed pitcher, made two brief World War II visits to the major leagues.

He began his professional career in 1942 with the Boston Red Sox organization and had a 15-5 record with Class C teams in Canton and Oneonta. He was in the Army in 1943, but soon discharged because of a leg injury suffered in a football game years earlier. He was back playing baseball in 1944, winning 16 games in the American Association. He made one pitching appearance with the Red Sox, but was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals, who brought him up to the National League in 1945. He made eight appearances, but had no wins or losses. His major league statistics included 18 bases on balls in only 14-1/3 innings.

He went back to the minors, pitched two more seasons, then retired. He went on to become coach and athletic director at Sewickley Academy near Pittsburgh. The school's Hall of Fame is now located in the Stanwood Partenheimer Room.

Partenheimer's father, Steve, was an infielder who reached the major leagues long enough to play one game at third base for Detroit in 1913.

All four of Stan Partenheimer's children were athletes, though their sport of choice seemed to be soccer.

Chester Jennings Poindexter was also known by the nickname "Jinx." He was a left-handed pitcher who made three starts for the Boston Red Sox in 1936, getting two decisions, both of them losses. Earlier that season he had pitched for Little Rock of the Southern Association, enjoying a career day on June 11 when he struck out 17 batters in a game against Nashville.

In 1937, Poindexter returned to the minor leagues. He received a second chance to pitch in the majors in 1939, this time in the National League with the Philadelphia Phillies. He appeared in 11 games with the Phils, 10 of them in relief. He was involved in no decisions. After his stay in Philadelphia he returned to the minor leagues.

The former Yale University pitcher resurfaced in 1925 for a one-inning appearance with the Washington Senators. He was 32 at the time and had no minor league experience.

Ordinarily he'd be quickly forgotten, but with a name like Spencer Pumpelly ... even better, Spencer Armstrong Pumpelly, I couldn't resist listing him. How he was able to wrangle a major league tryout at such an advanced age, no one knows, though the guess is Pumpelly had connections with the Washington front office.

His name lives in today in an American race car driver. Apparently the two Pumpellys are not related.

The pitching Pumpelly wasn't the only man who came out of nowhere to toil just an inning or two for the Senators. A fellow named William "Shady Bill" Leith lasted two innings in relief in 1899, against first place Brooklyn. Newspaper reports the next day had no first name for the 26-year-old Leith, referring to him as an amateur being given a chance by Washington.

Leith entered the game in the third inning, in relief of Roy Evans. He sailed through the fourth inning, but in the fifth he walked a batter, hit the next one, gave up a triple to Willie Keeler, then two batters bunted their way on, and after a balk and a wild pitch, Brooklyn had scored five runs. Thus ended Leith's major league visit.

But unlike Pumpelly, "Shady Bill" spent four summers afterward pitching in the minor leagues. Oddly, they were not four consecutive summers. but stretched over eight years, until he finally retired for good in 1907, at the age of 34.

Better known as Archie, Stimmel had a nickname that, if he were in my James Bond film, and not this cricket list, would serve as his secret agent codename: Lumbago. Heaven knows how he got it. (Judging from his photo, in the movie version of his life, he'd be played by Anthony Edwards.)

Stimmel was born in Maryland in 1873, and pitched several years in the minors before being summoned by the Cincinnati Reds in 1900. He arrived late in the season, made it through the summer of 1901, but was released early in 1902, and sent back to the minors. His lifetime record at Cincinnati was five wins, 19 losses.

As you might expect, he fared better in the minors, and kept pitching until 1906 when he retired after going 13-20 for the Pueblo Indians of the Western League.

Burgess Whitehead played nine seasons in the major leagues, starting with the St. Louis Cardinals (1933-35), then with the New York Giants (1936-37, 1939-41), and, finally, with Pittsburgh (1946). He was primarily a second baseman, but played some at third base and shortstop. He was a National League all-star in 1935 and 1937, and played in three World Series (1934, 1936, and 1937). His lifetime batting average was .266; his best season was 1937 when he hit .286.

However, he missed all of the 1938 season because of complications after an appendectomy. The former University of North Carolina student returned to the Giants in 1939. but did not perform as well as he had before his year off. He remained with the Giants until 1941, then dropped down to the International League in 1942, with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He was inducted into the Army in December, 1942, and didn't return to baseball until 1946. After his season with Pittsburgh, he closed out his playing career with the Jersey City Giants of the International League in 1947 and '48.

Whitehead had a nickname, but it was the obvious and forgettable "Whitey." Well, it could have been worse. They could have called him "Acne."

Whitehead holds one of those arcane records that baseball holds so dear: No power hitter, he had 17 home runs in his major league career, all of them at the Polo Grounds. That's the most home runs by any major leaguer who hit all of them at one stadium.

 
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