Baseball history is rife with stories of superstitions, “hoodoo” and all manner of irrational beliefs meant to improve performance and win games.
George Mullin who won more than 200 games in the first two decades of the 20th century, primarily with the Detroit Tigers, was well known to seek things to bring him luck and avoid “hoodoo.”
It’s a fairly well-known story that Mullin was one of the Tiger players who believed that team mascot Ulysses Harrison, an orphaned African-American child taken in by Ty Cobb and called “Lil Rastus,” brought him luck. After Harrison was dismissed as Tiger mascot Mullin was one of the players instrumental in bringing the youth back for the 1909 season, and on at least one occasion “kidnapped” Harrison from Cobb’s room and had him stay in his in order bring him luck on the mound the following day.
Surely Mullin’s 29-8 record in 1909 helped to cement his belief in “luck.”
Another of Mullin’s superstitions is less well known.
According to the Fort Wayne News Mullin was convinced that “For a pitcher to have his mug taken after twirling a winner means a defeat sure in the next game.”
Mullin had very particular rules for having his photo taken:
“If one day is allowed to pass by after the victory the hoodoo is powerless. By the same token it is safe to have the picture taken just before he starts to pitch.”
After retiring in 1915, Mullin became a police officer in Wabash, Indiana and died there in 1944.