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League Park - Carl Mays

Carl Mays

 

* Carl William Mays (November 12, 1891 - April 4, 1971) was one of the better right-handed pitchers in Major League Baseball from 1916-1926, but he is best remembered for throwing the pitch that struck Ray Chapman in the head on August 16, 1920, making Chapman the only major leaguer in history to die as a direct result of an on-field incident (he died the next day at a NYC hospital).

Born in Liberty, Kentucky, Mays threw with a submarine motion (he was nicknamed "Sub"), although it would be more accurate to say that he threw straight underhand. Mays was also a notorious spitball pitcher, even though this pitch was legal at the time (Chapman's beaning led directly to its being outlawed). In a 15-year career with the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Giants, he compiled a 207-126 record with 29 shutouts, 862 strikeouts and a 2.92 earned run average when the league average was 3.48. He was also noted for his skills with a bat, hitting five home runs, 110 runs batted in, and a lifetime .268 batting average—an unusually high mark for a pitcher.

Mays enjoyed his best season in 1921, when he led the American League in wins (27), innings pitched (336.2), games pitched (49), and winning percentage (.750). However that same season Mays, pitching then for the Yankees, played in a World Series that others later would accuse him of helping to throw, bringing back still-lingering memories of the Black Sox scandal from just two years prior. These rumors were never proven, but they persisted long enough that, combined with an already negative reputation among other players both from the Chapman incident and from having a personality that few found agreeable, he was never elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame despite having lifetime statistics comparable to some other pitchers who were.

* Bio from Wikipedia .