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Fred Odwell

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  • Fred Odwell

    He's my baseball fascination of the day. Here's what I said on another forum:

    I just stumbled upon this page: Fred Odwell (he was born to be odd!)

    He broke into the bigs at age 31, hitting one homer in 1904. He led the league in home runs in 1905 (with 9), then he never again hit a home run. He was out of baseball after 1907.

    Oh, and another thing: In his famous 1905 season, he didn't hit his first home run until June 19th!

    Plus, Reds teammate Cy Seymour led the league in homers and RBIs in the NL in 1905. Him and Odwell were close in their home run totals for the entire season. On the second-to-last day of the season, with both players tied at eight homers, Odwell struck a towering fly ball for an inside-the-park home run to take the lead for good, and take away the Triple Crown from Seymour*. It was Maris and Mantle before Maris and Mantle!

    *Seymour still owns the modified Triple Crown of 1905 (inside the park homers, RBI, AVG). After all, seven of his eight homers were IPHRs, eclipsing Odwell by four. However, Odwell was the only one of the duo to hit a bounce home run that year.
    This is why I love baseball. I can dig up random crap all the time.

  • #2
    Not to be pedantic, but he was out of MLB after 1907. He still played in the minors through 1912. Overall, he strung together a 16 year professional baseball career. Not bad at all.


    • #3
      Fred Odwell may have played for either a semipro team or a town team before his professional career began in 1897. In 1898, he played the OF, and also pitched for the Class C Rome Romans team in the NY State League. His won-loss record as a pitcher was only 5-6 so I assume he later switched to the outfield full-time.

      The 1899 Rome Romans were a formidable minor league team and had a 76-32 record. Their ballpark was nicknamed "The Horse Restaurant," due to a large horse shed located in short right field. The diamond was on the county fairgrounds, and when the windows of the horse shed were open the horses became unpaid spectators at Romans games. Batters were said to have deliberately aimed to hit to right field as a hit over the shed was a ground-rule double. The shed was also used as a backstop behind first base with high throws bouncing off of it and back to the first baseman.

      Leftfielders playing at the Horse Restaurant also had to contend with different problems. Long fly balls sent them running back to the horserace track. As they sped across the racetrack in pursuit of the fly ball, they had to leap off of the track otherwise fall down a small cliff and disappear from sight!

      19th Century baseball is filled with colorful tales like this one.
      "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
      "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."


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