View Full Version : Davey Dunkle
08-03-2006, 11:47 PM
This hurler had a five-year career in the majors without distinction. What did he do in his professional career that he became famous for?
08-06-2006, 03:44 PM
He was the first baseball player to throw a potato instead of a baseball. He is also my great great uncle.
08-06-2006, 04:25 PM
How did you hear about the story if I may ask?
Your great great uncle Davey Dunkle did in fact bring a potato out to the pitcher's box back in 1895 for his Sunbury team in PA. I believe the opponent was Williamsport, but my notes are at home. Davey threw the ball over to first to hold the runner on. Then, he took out the potato and threw it over the first baseman's head. The baserunner did what anyone would do and took off for 2B. Davey met him at the base and tagged him out with the baseball. Local papers never forgot what he did and his team and him were always linked with the potato.
Back in the 1880's, an Indian named Legg supposedly tried the potato trick as a catcher, but his 3B dropped the throw as he was not expecting a second "ball". Pitcher Bill Setley also used the potato trick twice in minor league games, the second time making a double play at home plate when two Williamsport runners raced in on the overthrow. He was a teammate of Davey's back in 1895 so that was how he learned the trick.
Some of you may recall Dave Bresnahan's potato trick while catching for Williamsport back in the 1980's. He read about the trick and told his teammates he was going to do it. With a runner at 3B, Dave asked for time to replace his catcher's mitt. He came back with the potato stuffed in the pocket. His teammates stifled their laughter knowing what was about to happen.
After the next pitch, Dave threw down to 3B and the "ball" sailed into LF. Dave met the runner from 3B at home plate and tagged him out with the baseball. His escapade got him thrown out of the game, and the out didn't count, plus his team suspended him. He soon was on ESPN and the talk shows, and the club had a "Dave Bresnahan Day" the next season with admission $1 and one potato. That one play got him a lot of publicity.
08-06-2006, 04:37 PM
My grandmother use to tell us stories about him. We actually have him playing for the senators through 1912. We have some original team pictures of him on the 1903 Chicago White Stockings and the 1904 Senators. We have his Bible and uniform and some other newspaper clippings from PA. I'm trying to track down some other pictures and items over the internet. If you could be of any help that would be great.
08-06-2006, 05:53 PM
I will see if I can get his full professional career stats and information for you. That way you can see if Historical Societies have any information about his team...photos, scrap books, etc. I believe umpire John Kelley recommended Davey to the Washington-NL team in 1897.
This was before scouting was popular so you had to be in the right place at the right time, and also pitch a good game that day.
08-06-2006, 10:29 PM
Davey pulled the potato trick while on the 1895 Lock Haven PA team.
08-08-2006, 02:52 PM
fryguy. I've always thought that I might be related to Davey Dunkle. I am going to send you a private post with some info. Thanks.