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The Curious Case of Urban Shocker

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  • The Curious Case of Urban Shocker

    Like Red Faber and Burleigh Grimes, Urban Shocker used a legal spitball past 1920. He had a solid career, but never enough to get him inducted.

    I always found his omission strange to begin with, because he pitched well in a hitter's era. I just could never shake the fact that similar quality (if not lesser) pitchers like Herb Pennock, Eppa Rixey, Waite Hoyt, Red Faber, and Burleigh Grimes had gotten in no problem via VC. Perhaps his lesser team and lack of 200 wins was the cause? At the same time, during his 1920-1924 run, he won more games than any other.

    Then I found a tidbit on Shocker that surprised me (fine I'll do it: it shocked me). Though Shocker was of the legal spitball batch, the Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers found in some sources that Shocker would go many games throwing less than ten spitballs. Furthermore, spitballing legend Ed Walsh once umpired one of Shocker's games. According to him, Shocker's spitball wasn't very effective. By his count, he'd only thrown four that game anyway.

    Now, this is from one source that is citing another source (though described as "the most authoritative) from 1924. If, however, this was true, would you reopen Shocker's file? Whether or not you agree with his omission, do you find it odd that he was never inducted?
    "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

  • #2
    Urban Shocker had a couple of terrific years while pitching for the St. Louis Browns but not enough to get him in the Hall of Fame.


    • #3
      Shocker would certainly have passed 200 wins if it weren't for the heart condition. 18-6, 2.84 ERA (3d best in the AL), in his final season, and although the team had a .714 winning percentage overall, Shocker's W% was .750. He was at least as good a pitcher as Hoyt or Pennock.


      • #4
        Bob Shawkey and Carl Mays are close in level too. Like the dratted Leever/Phillipe/Chesbro tangle: same basic guys all the way round. I think Mays is a Hof, but he 's got no shot.


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