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PAUL PETTIT - 1951 Bonus baby

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  • PAUL PETTIT - 1951 Bonus baby

    Today, November 29th, Paul Pettit turns 74.

    In 1951 he was a 19 year old pitcher and a "Bonus Baby", as they were called then, for the Pittsburgh Pirates. I remember reading how everyone thought that the Bucs had landed a "big" one.

    He pitched some in 1951, did not pitch at all in 1952 (for the Bucs), and had an 11-8 record in 1953, and then never pitched in the ML again.

    Does anyone know anything about him, and what happened to him?


  • #2
    Paul Pettit 1951 Bonus Baby

    One of the first bonus babes, Paul signed for $100,000. That meant he had to play organized baseball for ten years in order to get the money. He finished his career in the Mexican League as a first baseman after ten years. I've been told his dad invested the money in real estate in California and is living on the coast.


    • #3

      I believe the 10-8 record cited may have been in the minor leagues. He had no record in 1951, and then 1-2 in the majors in 1953. Something like 28 innings pitched in the majors, and 25 earned runs.

      I recall him being assigned to the New Orleans Pelicans of the Southern Association after he was signed, but he had little control of his pitches.


      • #4
        Paul Pettit

        Paul Pettit pitched for Narbonne High School in Lomita,CA. He signed a $85,000 "movie contract" with a Hollywood agent (prior to graduating from high school?), who then sold the contract to Pittsburgh for $100,000. This made him the first $100,000 Bonus Baby. As a Bonus Baby, Pittsburgh was required to retain him on their 25 man roster for two years. Years later I saw him play right field for the Hollywood Stars of the old PCL.

        I believe he was the baseball coach for Long Beach Wilson High School in Long Beach, CA for a while after leaving professional baseball.


        • #5
          After Pettit blew out his arm, he was a reasonably successful outfielder in the Pacific Coast League, 1952-1960. He hit 20 homeruns and had over 100 RBI's in 1957. That same year, he had a game where he drove in ten runs, no idea against who. Was a pitcher from 1952-1955. No idea how long he played in the Mexican League, but it couldn't have been for very long.
          "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
          -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

          Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.


          • #6
            My Mexican baseball encyclopedia shows Pettit playing just one season in Mexico -- 1955, which doesn't fit with the 10-year notion. He hit really well: .382 with 9 HR and 80 RBI in 78 games. He also pitched a little, going 1-2, 4.80 in 5 games.


            • #7
              The contract with the hollywood agent guaranteed Pettit
              100,000 dollars over a ten year period from any source.
              The Pirates gave him a $20,000 bonus to sign.
              If he didn`t make 100k the agent would have to make
              up the difference. Pettit played for Salt Lake City in
              1959. Check 15,000 hits
              on Pettit.


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