Willie plays First Base. Lefty in Brooklyn. Piersall & HR #100. Claxton in Oakland. Sam Hairston.
May 2nd, 1964. Who is that playing First Base? Oh no big deal, it’s just Willie Mays making his big league debut at First Base in a game against the Dodgers. In addition, that is long time Dodger Willie Davis getting back to the bag while The Say Hey Kid tries to apply the tag on him. I’m not sure of the circumstances which lead to Mays playing First Base but I assume it was to rest his legs while potentially dealing with an injury.
1932. Lefty O’Doul during his time with the Brooklyn Dodgers. I love this photo as something about it is so awesome to me…but then again all old photos of both O’Doul and the Brooklyn Dodgers are awesome to me. Oh yeah, O’Doul lead the league in batting average in 1932 while batting .368 and accumulating 219 hits.
Just imagine if he had spent his entire career as a position player in the big leagues; I wonder what type of numbers he would have put up? One thing I can almost guarantee is that he would most certainly be in Cooperstown.
June 23rd, 1963. Jim Piersall of the New York Mets rounds the base paths in the opposite direction after hitting his 100th career home run off of Dallas Green of the Philadelphia Phillies. The story goes is that after teammate Duke Snider hit his 400th career home run on June 14th, Piersall proclaimed that he would receive more publicity for his 100th career home run which was sure to be hit in the near future. I think it’s safe to say that Piersall’s prediction was correct.
I never knew about Jimmy Claxton until watching the Ken Burns Baseball Documentary back in the 90’s and even after that I still did not know much about him until researching him online in the last few years. Everyone should know about Claxton because he temporarily broke the Baseball color line for 2 games in 1916 as a member of the Oakland Oaks. Click HERE for his biography, it really is some interesting stuff.
It’s kind of unreal that after Claxton it took almost 30 years until Jackie Robinson broke the color line for good. It makes me wonder what if the Pacific Coast League had decided to break the gentlemen’s agreement and let non-white players in their league before the Majors did in October of 1945? I would like to think that the PCL’s legacy would be MUCH different and that they actually could have became the “3rd Major League” in which they always strived for.
Sam Hairston as a member of the Indianapolis Clowns in 1945. I have always heard that Scott & Jerry Jr. looked a lot like their Grandfather but WOW, that is an understatement as they look EXACTLY like him. Much more so than their father (Jerry Hairston Sr.) or uncle (Johnny Hairston) which is kind of odd as they are half Mexican. Anyways, this photo is absolutely incredible.
Oh yeah, 3 little neat pieces of info which are relevant to this photo: 1) Sam Hairston won the Negro League Triple Crown in 1950 during his time with the Clowns. 2) Sam Hairston played with the Chicago White Sox in 1951. 3) The Hairston family are the largest family in Major League Baseball history with 5 members spreading over 3 generations of ball players.