Saturday, August 30, 2008

August 30 - This Date in Browns Baseball

1912 - Earl Hamilton of the St. Louis Browns pitched a 5-1 no-hitter against the Tigers at Detroit.

1916 - Dutch Leonard of the Boston Red Sox pitched a no-hitter against the St. Louis Browns for a 4-0 victory.

August 31 - This Date in Browns Baseball

1924 - Urban Shocker of the St. Louis Browns pitched two complete games against the Chicago White Sox and won both, 6-2.

1930 - Wes Ferrell of Cleveland beat the St. Louis Browns 9-5 for his 13th straight victory.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Brownie, Vern Stephens, Nominated for Hall of Fame

Former Most Valuable Player Award winners Bucky Walters and Joe Gordon were among the 10 players announced Monday as qualifying for the Veterans Committee ballot of candidates from the pre-1943 era for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.

A 12-member committee comprised of Hall of Famers, historians and media members will meet Dec. 7 during the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas with the election results to be revealed Dec. 8. Voters may choose up to four players. As in the other Hall of Fame elections, a 75 percent plurality is required for election. Any candidate who receives nine or more votes will be inducted at the 2009 ceremonies July 26 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y. (Click on photo to enlarge)

In addition to Walters, a pitcher, and Gordon, a second baseman, the other nominees are pitchers Wes Ferrell, Carl Mays and Allie Reynolds; catcher-third baseman Deacon White; first baseman Mickey Vernon; shortstop Bill Dahlen; outfielder-first baseman Sherry Magee and shortstop-third baseman Vern Stephens.

Stephens was the shortstop on the only St. Louis Browns club to win a pennant, in 1944, and also played for the Red Sox, White Sox and Orioles over 15 seasons (1941-55). The right-handed slugger led the AL in RBIs three times with a high of 159 with Boston in 1949, the middle year of a three-year stretch in which Stephens drove in 440 runs. The eight-time All-Star had a .286 career batting average with 1,859 hits, including 247 home runs.

Dottie Collins, 84, Star Pitcher of Women’s Baseball League, Dies

Dottie Collins, who was a star pitcher in women’s professional baseball in the 1940s and later played a major role in preserving the history of the women’s game, died Tuesday in Fort Wayne, Ind. She was 84. The cause was a stroke, said her son-in-law, Michael Tyler.

Pitching for six seasons in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, created in 1943 to provide home front entertainment while many major leaguers were off to war, Collins dazzled opposing batters. (Click on photos to enlarge)

She pitched underhand, sidearm and overhand; she threw curveballs, fastballs and changeups; and in the summer of 1948, she pitched until she was four months pregnant. She won more than 20 games in each of her first four seasons. She threw 17 shutouts and had a league-leading 293 strikeouts in 1945 for the Fort Wayne Daisies, when the women’s game resembled fast-pitch softball.

But Collins’s greatest contribution to women’s baseball may have come when its ball clubs had long been forgotten.

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., had been considering an exhibition on women and baseball during the mid-1980s, but, as Ted Spencer, its chief curator, recalled in an interview, it had little material to display until Collins approached him.

“When I connected with Dottie, the ball started to roll,” Spencer said. “If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know where it would have gone.”

In 1987, Collins helped form an association of former players in the All-American league. She drew on her contacts to provide the Hall of Fame with memorabilia from the league, spurring creation of its Women in Baseball exhibit in 1988. Now an enlarged, permanent collection, the exhibit inspired the 1992 Hollywood movie “A League of Their Own,” a reprise of women’s pro baseball during World War II.