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In the 19th century it was fairly common for boys to be stuck with girly nicknames. So it was in professional baseball, though some of these nicknames — and our first one is an excellent example — only sounded feminine. It actually was given to the player because of the color of his hair, which was reddish brown, but neither red nor brown.

The players on this page got their names for different reasons, and for a few it's a stretch to call those name feminine, but my various frames of reference have made them so. (Goldie Rapp is here mostly because his nickname made me think of Goldie Hawn; Minnie Minoso because of "Minnie the Moocher.")

Apparently pitcher Charles Baldwin became known as "Lady" because he refused to do "manly" things such as swear, drink and smoke. Also, as the photo on the right indicates, Baldwin had a rather girlish figure. On May 3, 1888, the Rome (NY) Daily Sentinel  — and other newspapers, I'm sure — quoted an anonymous source who said, “The reason, probably, that he is called ‘Lady’ is that no other man in the country outside of Ben Butler looks really less like a lady than Baldwin." (Butler was a former Civil War general who became governor of Massachusetts and made an unsuccessful attempt to become President. Despite a prominent bald spot in front,, his long hair in back did, indeed, give Butler the appearance of a chubby old lady.)

As for Baldwin, he was the first left-hander to attract a lot of attention in the major leagues, but he was successful only in one season (1886) when he won 42 games for the Detroit Wolverines, who finished second that year in the National League. The Wolverines, determined to win the pennant in 1887, scheduled many pre-season games, and these games took a toll on Baldwin's arm. As a result, he took some much-needed rest when the '87 began, and that summer appeared only in 24 games, winning 13 of them.

Detroit did win the pennant, however, as Charles "Pretzels" Getzein took over as the ace of the pitching staff, winning 29 games. (The website baseball-reference.com makes an issue out of the spelling of Getzein, claiming it should be Getzien, but it was almost always spelled with the "i" following the "e" back in the day.)

There was a World Series in 1887, and though he sat on the bench for the first three games, Baldwin would wind up winning four game as Detroit defeated the St. Louis Browns. It was a highly unusual series (see below), but while Baldwin was one of the stars, his pitching days were numbered, even though he was only 29 when the 1888 season began. Oddly, the days of the Detroit Wolverines also were numbered, and the team went out of business only a year after it had won the world championship.

Baldwin didn't pitch in 1889, and his comeback attempt in 1890 was an embarrassing failure. He hit rock bottom on June 26, pitching for Buffalo in the Players League, when he gave up 28 hits and 30 runs against Philadelphia. It didn't help that his teammates made 10 errors, or than 24 of the Philadelphia runs were unearned.

The pitcher attempted two more comebacks, but made only three professional pitching appearances — one in 1892, the other in 1894. They were in the minor leagues, and while Baldwin won two of those games (he didn't get a decision in the third), he retired for god.

A World Series like no other
Lady Baldwin had his last hurrah in the 1887 World Series between his Detroit Wolverines, champions of the National League, and the St. Louis Browns, champion of the America Association.

St. Louis had been in the previous two World Series, both of them best-of-seven series. The opponent both times was the Chicago White Stockings. In 1885, the teams each won three games, the seventh was a tie that was never settled. In 1886, the Browns won the series four games to two,, and that made them favorites in the 1887 series, which was set up quite differently: It was a best of fifteen series, and would continue even if one team clinched the championship in eight games.

Only six of the games were to be played in the home cities of the two competing teams. The others would be played in other major league cities — Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington and Baltimore.

The New York Press, on November 20, 1910, recalled the series:

"In order to tour the country in a manner commensurate with the importance of the event, a special train was engaged for the use of the players, magnates and press. One car was occupied by the Detroits, one by the Browns, one by club officials and their guests, and there was a dining car. The teams practically lived on the train during the series, and found it much more convenient than moving in an out of hotels."

A few things went wrong, however. Fans in other cities had little interest in watching out-of-town teams play each other,, no matter what was at stake. It was an unusually cold October, the weather becoming worse as the series continued. And Detroit clinched the championship in the 11th games. The last four games of the series were meaningless.

Lady Baldwin didn't see action until the fourth game. St. Louis had won the first one, Detroit came back to win games two and three. Baldwin pitched perhaps his best game of the year,, shutting out the Browns on five hits. Losing pitcher was "Silver" King.

St. Louis won game five, but Detroit reeled off four straight wins, Baldwin getting the victory in game seven. The Wolverines clinched the championship on perhaps the most unusual day in World Series history. After a postponement on October 20, the teams played a double-header the next day — a morning game in Washington, D. C., and an afternoon game in Baltimore. The Brows won the first game, but with Baldwin in the pitcher's box in Baltimore, Detroit won the afternoon game, 13-3.

At that point, the series should have ended. But the teams played four more, with St. Louis winning two, Detroit winning two. Baldwin picked up his fourth series win in Detroit on October 24. (Getzein also won four games, as did Bob Caruthers of St. Louis.)

Game 14 was played in Chicago on October 25. Detroit won, 4-3, in front of just 400 spectators who braved temperatures in the low 30s. Finally, on October 26, the series ended back where it started, in St. Louis, in front of an estimated 800 people on another cold day. The scored was 9-2, and the game was called after six innings.

Unfortunately for Lady Baldwin, he got the starting assignment again, his third game in six cold days. Whether this further damaged an already weak arm, no one knows. But for all practical purposes, his career was over.

His 23-year-old opponent, Bob Caruthers, wasn't yet affected by overwork. He would have three more excellent seasons as a pitcher, but like Lady Baldwin, he, too, was washed up at the age of 28.


Clarence Howeth Beaumont played 12 seasons (1899-1910) in the National League, leading the league in hitting in 1902 with a .357 average.
He was the Pittsburgh Pirate center fielder and the first player to bat when the World Series between National and American League pennant winners began in 1903. The Pirates won the first game, but lost the series to the Boston Red Sox, five games to three.

As a boy, Beaumont's nicknames were Clarry and Beau, but the owner of the Pirates dubbed the player Ginger because of his reddish hair.

He was considered the best lead-off hitter of his time, and despite his deceiving appearance – he carried 190 pounds on his five-foot, nine-inch frame — he was very fast. In his rookie season (1899) he did something that remains a unique achievement in a major league game — he beat out six infield hits and scored six runs.

His career was cut short by knee problems that first surfaced in 1905. After he retired, Beaumont ran a 180-acre farm in Honey Creek, Wisconsin, on land he purchased in 1904 and renamed Centerfield Farm. Some early players, including Beaumont's teammate, Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner, claimed Ginger Beaumont was baseball's best center fielder.

He retired with a .311 lifetime batting average, having led the National League in hits four times. However, his early exit from the game — he played his last game at the age of 34 — prevented him from accumulating an impressive set of statistics to go with that batting average. He had 1,760 hits, 254 stolen bases and scored 958 runs, all modest numbers for a player who had Hall of Fame potential. He scored 555 of those runs in his first five seasons, leading the National League with 137 in 1903, but that was the last time he went over the 100 mark.

In 1902 another played nicknamed "Ginger" made a brief appearance in major leagues. He was born Harvey Clark, and was summoned to Cleveland by a team in desperate need of pitchers. Soon after he arrived, he was put into action against the Baltimore Orioles, with the Bronchos (later to be called a few other names before settling on Indians) trailing, 5-4, after three innings.

Cleveland rallied, Clark finished the game, and got the victory, but was immediately given his release ... because he had allowed 10 hits, walked three, and hit one batter in his six innings of work, giving up six runs (two of them unearned). Cleveland won the game by scoring 13 runs while Clark was in the game. The final score: 17-11. Cleveland manager Bill Armour said Clark didn't throw hard enough to be successful in the majors. He returned to the minors, and for five seasons had did very well for Birmingham of the Southern Association, before retiring in 1911.


Russell Aubrey Blackburne, according to the linked article by Stephen V. Rice, was given his nickname because of Blackburne's build (five-foot-11, 160 pounds). Thus, he was called "Leaner," "Slivers" and "Slats," before he broke in with the Worcester (MA) Busters of the New England League in 1908. Worcester fans preferred "Leaner" to the other two nicknames, but you know those New Englanders — they don't acknowledge the letter R, so "Leaner" became "Leanah," which then became "Lena." Combining two of his nicknames, Blackburne could have been both ends of a vaudeville act, Lena and Slats.

He was an infielder for the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Red, Boston Braves and Philadelphia Phils between 1910 and 1919. Good fielder, poor hitter (.214 lifetime batting average). Managed the White Sox (1928-29), and also a few minor league teams.

A dirty job, but he was glad to do it
Lena Blackburne's main claim to fame has nothing to do with his name. Blackburne's legacy is mud. Seems in 1938, when Blackburne was a Philadelphia Athletics coach, an umpire complained to him that new baseballs were too slippery. Blackburne thought the solution might be the unusual mud he had noticed along Pennsauken Creek near Palmyra, NJ, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.

Long story short, from 1938 until today and probably forever, Lena Blackburne Rubbing Mud is used to remove the slippery finish from new baseballs. Umpires hand rub the mud on about five dozen baseballs before every major league game. When the umps are finished, the baseballs still look clean, but the surface is easier for pitchers to grip.

William Edward Bransfield was a National League first baseman (1901-11), mostly with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, but with brief stops in Boston and Chicago. His nickname was unusual, but not unique (there was a Kitty Brashear with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1902). Still, Bransfield's nickname would have been different were it not for a hearing-impaired sportswriter. The player was called Kid Bransfield until the sportswriter wrote what he thought he had heard — Kitty Bransfield — and the new name stuck. (It seems unlikely, but it's possible Bransfield's middle initial was mentioned to the sportswriter, as in "Kid E. Bransfield.")

Bransfield was a highly regarded player, an excellent fielder, and a tough hitter in an era dominated by pitchers. After he retired from playing, he managed for several years in the minor leagues.

The 5-foot-6, 140-pound Lewis Pessano Dickerson was an outfielder in early days of professional baseball. He played for eight teams in seven major league seasons, spending time in the American Association and the short-lived Union Association along the way.

Some consider Dickerson the first Italian-American to play big league baseball, but, actually, he may not have been even a tiny part Italian. That's what I discovered on a website operated by jackie@thebaseballbloggess.com. Her theory, partly confirmed by the Dickerson family, is that the player's middle name was given in honor of the doctor who delivered him.

Whatever, Dickerson broke in with Cincinnati in 1878. His best day was June 16, 1881 when was with the Worcester (MA) Ruby Legs (yes) of the National League, and had six hits in six at bats, leading his team to a 15-6 win over the Buffalo Bisons. Billy Taylor, a pitcher-outfielder who briefly played for Worcester in 1881, shared his memories with a reporter in 1896 and claimed that all six of Dickerson's hits that day were doubles, which has to be a mistake. If true, that would be a major league record even today. (Dickerson had only 18 doubles all season.)

The baseball bloggess also discovered perhaps the only mention of Dickerson being nicknamed "Buttercup." It was in a Cincinnati newspaper in 1879, about a year after the opening of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera, "H.M.S. Pinafore." The lyrics to "I'm Called Little Buttercup" include this line, "But still I'm called Buttercup, Poor Little Buttercup, Sweet Little Buttercup, I."

The newspaper said Dickerson was now being called "Sweet Little Buttercup," but doesn't explain why. Every mention of Dickerson I came across called him "Lew" or "Lou." Several also mentioned he was a notorious drinker. Consider the following item from the National Police Gazette on August 16, 1884, soon after Billy Barnie, manager of the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association, signed Dickerson, who'd started the season with the St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association:

"Barnie has shown fine judgment in securing Lou Dickerson to play right field for the Baltimores. All he will need now is a rubber hose to connect Dickerson with a whisky-barrel and he will remain on the field throughout the game, as Dickerson is a 'stayer' as long as the whisky lasts."

Unfortunately, things didn't work out, and when Baltimore released the player after 13 games, a wire service story referred to him as the "ever thirsty Lew Dickerson."

He'd batted just .214 for Baltimore, but found another job, with Louisville, playing eight games and batting .143. However, of his four hits, two were triples, one a home run.

His major league career ended after five games with Buffalo of the National League in 1885 when he managed just one hit in 21 at bats. He dropped down to the minor leagues and continued playing until 1890.

Back to 1884 for a moment. Dickerson had batted .365 for the Maroons, but the Union Association apparently ended its only season in early August, which made the player available to Baltimore. Billy Taylor, mentioned earlier, was the leading pitcher that season for St. Louis, winning 25 games against only four losses. He finished the season with the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association, winning 18 more games, giving him 43 victories for the year

Elias Calvin Funk could blame his first name for being given a nickname that made him sound like a girl. Why he wasn't called "Eli," who knows?

Funk, an outfielder, was one of those guys who was terrific in the minors, so-so in the majors. After batting .384 with Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League in 1929, he got into one game with the New York Yankees in 1929 — probably as a pinch runner.

In 1930 he had a chance to play regularly, with the Detroit Tigers, batting .275, which wasn't bad, but the next season found him back in the minors, with Louisville of the American Association. He batted .282, and in 1932 returned to the American League, this time with Chicago. He batted .259, and the next season Chicago let him go after ten games.

He played with San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League, and began to sink lower and lower in the minor leagues until 1941 when he finished his career with Pueblo of the Class D Western League.

George Frederick Graham was a catcher who occasionally played every other position in a seven-season career spread over 11 years (1902-1912). He also was the father of Jack Graham, an outfielder-first baseman who played for Brooklyn and the New York Giants in 1946, the St. Louis Browns in 1949.

With the Chicago Cubs in 1903 and again in 1911 Graham shared catching duties with Johnny Kling, who was nicknamed "Noisy," but could have been called "Peaches" because of his last name. (Yes, I know. The cling peach is spelled with a C.)

So why was George Graham called Peaches? Perhaps he had a thing for the fruit (remember Kramer in "Seinfeld"). Perhaps he had a peachy complexion. One thing's for sure. He wasn't from Georgia. Graham was born in Aledo, Illinois. With this nickname, Graham could have been a member of those all-food teams people assemble from baseball players.

As for "Peaches" being a feminine name, well, among other things, that was the nickname of the Rockford (Illinois) team in a woman's professional league.

For the first 22 years of his life, William Jacobson 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-feet-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.

Harry Arthur Lavagetto played third and second base with the Pittsburgh Pirates and (mostly) the Brooklyn Dodgers in a 10-season major league career that spanned 1934-47, with four years lost to World War Two. He is best remembered for breaking up what seemed certain to be the first World Series no-hitter when, in 1947, he hit a double with two outs in the ninth inning against New York Yankee pitcher Bill Bevens.

Lavagetto was born and raised in Oakland, California, and was a baseball star at Oakland Technical High School. After graduation he played with a local minor league team, the Oakland Oaks, earning the nickname "Cookie's Boy" because he'd been signed by the team's president, Victor "Cookie" Devincenzi.

In 1948 Lavagetto returned to Oakland and played third base. When he retired from playing in 1950, he became a coach for Chuck Dressen, his Oakland manager who took over the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1955, Dressen left the Dodgers to manage the Washington Senators, taking Lavagetto with him. When Dressen was fired by the Senators in 1957, Lavagetto replaced him, and in 1960 moved with the team to Minnesota where they became the Twins. In 1961, he was fired and went on to coach with the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants.

How and why James Stephen O'Rourke, the son of Hall of Fame outfielder "Orator Jim" O'Rourke, was given the nickname, "Queenie," no one knows for sure, though the most popular theory holds that it came about because the was the only son among the family's eight children, and all seven daughters were older. The young man didn't have a chance.

Also, he didn't have much choice about his first career. When Jimmy O'Rourke, as he was identified in every story I found from his playing days, broke into professional baseball, he did it in the Connecticut League with his hometown Bridgeport Orators, in 1903, playing for his father, who was the manager. The 19-year-old batted only .230, but he hung in their, and in 1907, still playing for Bridgeport (and his father), Jimmy O'Rourke raised his batting average to 303. In 1908, he hit .318 for the Orators, and earned a shot with the New York Highlanders (later the Yankees). He got into 34 games and batted .231, with only three runs batted in.

He spent the next four seasons with Columbus of the American Association, and kept playing in the minors until 1915. Then, after a seven-year absence, during which he played in semi-professional leagues, he returned to organized ball in 1922, at the age of 38. In 1923 he managed the Ottawa Canadiens in the Eastern Canada League, and a year later played his final season, doing it with a team called the Ottawa-Hull Senators of the Class B Quebec-Ontario-Vermon League. The team and the league lasted one season.

What O'Rourke did afterward, I don't know. Like his father, he attended Yale University, and finished his schooling at Holy Cross while he was playing minor league baseball. (The elder O'Rourke was called "Orator Jim" because of his incredibly large vocabulary and the way he used it. While he was playing for the New York Giants he enrolled at Yale and graduated from its law school. While managing later in Bridgeport, where he was born, O'Rourke also practiced law.)

As for Jimmy O'Rourke — aka "Queenie" — his career almost ended on July 20, 1910 while playing for Columbus. He was hit by a pitch thrown by "Vinegar" Bill Essick of Kansas City,, and taken to a hospital. According to the story in the Rome (NY) Daily Sentinel, he was temporarily left speechless because the blow paralyzed his vocal cords.

He died in 1955 at the age of 71.

Primarily a second baseman, Octavio Victor Rojas managed to play every position in at least one game during his 16-year career. He played mostly for the Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals, but put in brief stints with Cincinnati and the St. Louis Cardinals. He managed for awhile after he retired.

His major league career covered 16 season. When he retired from playing in 1977, he'd accumulated 1,660 hits. His lifetime batting average was .263, but he had two seasons where he hit .300.

Chris Berman dubbed him thusly: Cookie Days of Wine and Rojas.

Elsewhere: Cookie Cuccurullo.

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.)

Before Lawson, there was a late-starting player from Marion, South Carolina, who was called "Roxy." That was Wyatt Eure Snipes, whose professional baseball career didn't start until 1923 when he was 26 years old. He'd spent two years in the Navy during World War One, then went to the University of South Carolina, where he starred on the baseball and football teams. He was also called "Rock," which easily could have morphed into "Rocky," then "Roxy."

After batting a lackluster .260 with a couple of teams in the Class B South Atlantic League, Snipes had one pinch-hitting appearance with the Chicago White Sox. That was it. He played some minor league baseball afterward, and reportedly played football, either on a professional or semi-pro level. Later he was a state senator, but died at the early age of 44. (I just took another look at his photo ... reminds me of a young, better-looking Babe Ruth.)

Wilbur Charles Roach was a versatile player, primarily an infielder, who played parts of four season in the major leagues, with most of his games coming in 1915 when he was a member of the Buffalo Blues of the Federal League. Roach was an unusually interesting man, from an unusually interesting family. For more . . .

Outfielder Maldonado played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in the 1980s, putting up unimpressive stats. His full name: Candido Maldonado y Guadarrama.

My fondness for his name is strictly due to memories of a voice-changing musician-comedian named Candy Candido who was featured on Jimmy Durante's radio show and several others, as he popularized the line, "I'm feeling mighty low," delivered in a deep voice after talking for several seconds in a girlish falsetto. Hey, it was the 1940s.

Frank Bernard McGowan was a good-looking guy, with great-looking hair. He also looked terrific chasing fly balls in center field. All these things played a part in McGowan being named "Beauty," though a couple of sources drag in the movie "Black Beauty," and I assume they mean the 1921, silent version, which would have been released about the time McGowan was 20 years old.

Whatever the reason for the nickname, McGowan wore it well. Like many now obscure players, he was a star in the minor leagues, but had limited experience in the majors, though he put on a good show for the St. Louis Browns of the American League in 1927 when he batted .363 in 47 games, only to be sent back to the minors a year later after his average dipped to .254. This was his second visit to the American League. He had played with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1922 and '23, but batted .242, and was demoted to the minors.

After the Browns let him go, McGowan found a home in the International League. In 1930, with the Baltimore Orioles, he hit .336 with 222 hits and 21 home runs. (His teammate, Joe Hauser, hit 63 home runs that season.) Two years later, McGowan batted .317 with a career high 37 home runs, which was not entirely unexpected, considering the short fences in Baltimore. (Teammate Buzz Arlett, a former pitcher, hit 54 home runs for the Orioles that summer.)

McGowan did some managing for Buffalo and Baltimore in 1933 and 34, also playing, but not as effectively as before. He was bothered by injuries in 1935, but in 1936, at the age of 34, McGowan had a truly beautiful year, batting .356, hitting 23 home runs for Buffalo, and being named the league's most valuable player.

He was back in the major leagues, briefly, in 1937, but the Boston Braves let him go after only nine games in which he had only one hit. He played three more years in the International League, but each season was interrupted by injuries. After he retired, he became a scout, and had a long association with the Baltimore Orioles when the team replaced the St. Louis Browns in the American League.

Why John Joseph McMahon was nicknamed, "Sadie," no one seems to know. The five-foot-nine-inch pitcher apparently took the nickname in stride. I suspect "Sadie" meant something that has been lost over the years.

McMahon enjoyed four seasons of at least 23 wins, twice winning more than 30. His 25-8 record in 1894 led the Baltimore Orioles to the first of three National League pennants in a row.

He burned out early, winding up at age 29 with Brooklyn of the National League in 1897, losing all six of his decisions, but for his career he had a fine 173-127 record.

He came out of retirement to pitch one game, in 1903 with Baltimore, then in the Eastern League. As he almost always did in his prime, the 35-year-old McMahon went the distance, beating Newark. It was the only minor league game he ever pitched.

In 1943, at the age of 75, McMahon was interviewed in his hometown, Wilmington, Delaware, and delivered the usual old ballplayer's tirade that today's pitchers were wimps compared to him and other pitchers of his era. He claimed he pitched every other day, had only one sore arm in his life, and added, "In my entire career I was never knocked out or taken out of a game. Every game I started, I finished."

That wasn't quite true, but he did finish 91 percent of his 305 starts.

His full name: Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso y Arrieta, but to baseball fans he was always Minnie.

Outfielder, sometimes third baseman Minoso played most of his games with the Chicago White Sox, though he came up with Indians and later spent two seasons in Cleveland (1958-59) before returning to Chicago. He led the American League in stolen bases three times and had a .298 lifetime batting average.

He attracted much attention when he went to bat in two games for the White Sox in 1980 when he was 57 years old. He did it to establish that he had played major league baseball in five different decades. He'd come up in 1949, retired in 1964, then played three games with White Sox in 1976.

Elisha Mott was called "Bitsy" for his size– or lack thereof. The infielder stood five-foot-eight.

Mott played for the Philadelphia Blue Jays in 1945, hit .221. (The Blue Jays? Yes, that's what the Phillies were called for two seasons during World War II.) He returned to the minor leagues, and played his last professional game in 1957. He would have much better luck outside baseball:

For Mott, life was never dull
For infielder Bitsy 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.

According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (February 4, 1921), pitcher George Louis Pennington was first nicknamed "Smiling George" while he was an outstanding high school pitcher for a Brooklyn High School. After high school, he put enough weight on his five-feet-eight frame that he was described as "rotund." The Daily Eagle article says that's when Pennington's nickname became "Kewpie." (The photo, right, was taken in 1916 when Pennington, then 19, pitched for the Lawrence, Massachusetts, Barristers during his first tour of the Eastern League. His smile is missing, but there's evidence of some bulk under his uniform.)

The Daily Eagle article was written when Pennington was 24 years old, coming off a season in which he won 16 game and lost 10 for Hartford of the Eastern League. His earned run average was a terrific 1.60, and the newspaper was sure the young man was headed back to the major leagues.

He'd visited the majors four years earlier, pitching one inning on April 14, 1917 for the St. Louis Browns. He gave up one hit, and allowed no runs during his relief appearance. Meanwhile, the opposing pitcher, Eddie Cicotte of the Chicago White Sox, has tossing a no-hitter. Pennington finished the season with Newark of the International League, winning 11 games, losing 10.

He made only 12 pitching appearances in 1918 and 1919, for Mobile of the Southern Association and Portland of the Pacific Coast League. I assume most of those two years found him either involved in the military service or a defense-related job, because that's what players were strongly encouraged to do during World War One.

After his fine season with Hartford in 1920, said the Daily Eagle, several major league teams were interested in Pennington, but no offer was made, and "Kewpie" was again in a Hartford uniform in 1921. He posted an 18-12 won-lost record, and his earned run average (1.84) was second best in the league. Again, no major league team was interested enough to make him an offer he couldn't refuse.

In 1922, the 25-year-old Pennington, perhaps discouraged, perhaps growing more rotund, won only 10 games, losing 19. His earned run average jumped to 3.12, which seems low today, but at the time it was one of the highest in the league.

He remained in the Eastern League in 1923, but this time with the Springfield Ponies. He began the season with six straight losses, and retired. He was only 26 at the time. He took a job with an insurance company, and apparently settled in Newark, New Jersey, where he died in 1953 at the age of 56.

William Aloysius Purcell was an outfielder and sometime pitcher with various teams in the early days of professional baseball (1879-1890). His lifetime pitching record was 15-43, which was bad, but not as bad as his 1883 managerial record with the Philadelphia Quakers of the National League – 13 wins, 68 losses. Needless to say, Philadelphia finished in last place. Purcell fared much better as an outfielder, at least in 1889, when he hit .316. However, his lifetime batting average was just .267.

Purcell first attracted attention as a teenager in his hometown, Paterson, NJ, where he organized an amateur baseball team that took on all comers and soon was recognized as one of the best in the country. One of his players was King Kelly, recruited by Purcell when Kelly was just 15.

He may have abandoned the practice as an adult, but the story is Purcell was called Blondie as a teenager because he used peroxide on his hair.

James Harold "Hal" Quick, an infielder who played 12 games at shortstop for the Washington Senators in 1939 (batting .244), also was nicknamed "Blondie." The Rome (Georgia) native entered the Army Air Force during World War Two, and resumed playing baseball afterward, but in the minor leagues

Like Ted Williams, Quick returned to the service during the Korean War, and decided to make the Air Force his career, serving 25 years, and retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He received Bronze Stars in both World War Two and the Vietnam War. He died from emphysema and a heart ailment in 1974. He was 56.

Infielder Joseph Aloysius Rapp was called "Goldie" because of his light blonde hair, most of which had disappeared by the time he reached the major leagues in 1921. Rapp was acquired by the New York Giants after he led the American Association in hitting with a .335 average in 1920. But Rapp hit just .215 for the Giants, and after 58 games the team dealt him to the Philadelphia where he batted .277 in 52 games for the Phillies.

In 1922, he hit .253 for the Phillies in 110 games, but his major league days ended in 1923 when he played just 47 games. Back in the minors, he batted .325 for Toledo in 1924, and .318 for Rochester of the Intentional League in 1925. His last year as a player was 1929, when he hit .343 with Allentown of the Eastern League, and had a career high eight home runs.

Highlight of his baseball-playing days had to be the 1920 season with the Saint Paul Saints, regarded as one of the best minor league teams ever. They won 115 games, lost just 49, and took the league pennant by 28-1/2 games over second place Louisville. Rapp just barely edged teammate Bubbles Hargrave for the batting title, .3351 to .3347. (Both figures were rounded off, and it usually appears as though they had the same average — .335.) Another teammate, outfielder Elmer Miller, batted .333.

The amazing website, baseball-reference.com says Rapp was a Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy, but doesn't specify when. He did not play baseball in 1918, so I assume that's when he enlisted in the Navy, for World War One. Perhaps he returned to the Navy after he left baseball at the age of 35, or perhaps he was a member of the Naval Reserve.

On September 18, 1933, pitcher Leslie Tietje beat the New York Yankees in his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox. When the season ended, Tietje had two wins, no losses. It would be his only winning record in six years of major league pitching. The next season he posted a 5-14 record and in 1935 went 9-15. A year later he was traded to the St. Louis Browns and hung around until 1938, but saw little action. His lifetime won-lost record was 22-41. He returned to the minors and kept pitching until 1942.

"Toots" was an obvious nickname, particularly because of the alliteration, but he usually was called Les. When I created this page years ago, I came across nothing that indicated for sure how his last name was pronounced (though inside my head I heard the voice of Vic Morrow in "Blackboard Jungle" taunting Glenn Ford by calling him "Teach").

Then I received an email message from Beth Connelly, Tietje's granddaughter:

My grandfather (my mother’s father) was Leslie Tietje and I wanted to clarify how the last name was pronounced (or at least how he pronounced it). It is pronounced TEE-gee or TG. He was a wonderful man. Thank you for researching him.

I've seen no explanation why Clarence Walker became known as "Tilly," or why some baseball websites spell his nickname two different ways ("Tillie" is the other version), sometimes on the same page.

Walker was an outfielder who stood five-feet-eleven and weighed just 165 pounds and had only 18 home runs in his first seven seasons in the American League with Washington, St. Louis and Boston. Traded to the Philadelphia Athletics in 1918, a new Tilly Walker emerged. He hit 11 home runs, tying him for league leadership with Babe Ruth. By 1922, baseballs were all cranked up and so was Walker. He hit 37 home runs. Unfortunately for Walker, his manager, Connie Mack, wasn't impressed, because he was not a fan of the home run, and went so far as to move Shibe Park fences back at least 30 feet.

That signaled the end of Walker's major league career. He played only 52 games with the Athletics in 1923, then spent the next six years in the minor leagues.

Retired as a player, he was an umpire in the Appalachian League for two seasons. In 1940, he managed a team in Erwin, Tennessee, for part of the season. Walker also worked as a highway patrolman. He died of a heart attack in 1959. He was 72 years old.

 
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