Tag Archives: Hugh Daily

“I Never Felt More Sorry for a Fellow Player”

30 Nov

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle said Hugh Daily, the pitcher who lost his left hand—the result of an accident with a gun—used a “mask” that protected his right hand when he batted.  The paper said he began the practice which was “a case of locking the door after the horse had been stolen” as a result of an incident that involved George “Stump” Weidman.

Daily and Weidman had been teammates with the Rochester Hop Bitters in the National Association in 1880.

hughdaily

Hugh Daily

According to the paper, Weidman told the story to a some fans “gathered around a table in his little sanctum at his place of business down State Street way,” in Rochester:

“I never felt more sorry for a fellow player than I did that day,  I was pitching for Detroit and Daily was in the box for Cleveland.  It was a tight game and when the ninth inning opened we were one run to the good.

“In the ninth though, Cleveland had a man on third and another on second, with two out.  Daily was at the bat.  I had two strikes on him .  I couldn’t afford to take a chance on even a one-armed batter…So I pitched as hard to Daily as I would have the heaviest sticker on the team.

“The next ball I gave him was aimed for the outside corner.  It was a fast ball with a sharp twist.  Daily evidently expected that kind of ball, for he reached forward a little.  It couldn’t be helped—I couldn’t warn him of what was almost sure to happen.  The ball struck him fairly on the fingers which were tightly grasped about the bat.  The bones of two fingers were broken.”

stump

Stump Weidman

Weidman said he and his teammates felt so bad they “took up a collection” and gave Daily $207.

Despite Daily’s reputation for having a volatile temper, Weidman said when he “told Daily I was sorry for the accident, he said that he knew it couldn’t be helped.”

Despite the injury, Daily appeared in 45 games and was 23-19 with a 2.42 ERA for the Cleveland Blues.

Before Pete Gray

6 Aug

Pitcher Hugh Daily in the 1890s and outfielder Pete Gray in the 1940s are the only two men to play major league baseball with one arm, but they are not the only two to play professionally.

Hugh Daily

Hugh Daily

Twenty-five years before Pete Gray made his debut with Trois-Rivers in the Canadian-American League another outfielder who lost an arm to a childhood accident played professional baseball.

William P. “Bill” White was born in 1891 in Grantville, Georgia, and lost his right arm to a gun accident at age 13.  White played baseball and football at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

After college, White played for the 1917 Anniston Moulders in the Georgia-Alabama League.  While Baseball-Reference does not note White’s time at Anniston, showing only 2 players on the roster (Guy Lacy and Johnny Morrison), White’s time with the team is detailed in contemporary newspapers.

William P. “Bill” White

There are no official statistics available for White’s performance.  Some newspaper accounts labeled him “A fair hitter,” while other, much later accounts said, “His batting average was well above the .300 mark.”

After his year at Anniston, White played semi-pro ball and umpired until being named head coach at the University of Georgia in 1921.  White managed the Bulldogs until 1933 compiling a 224-100-7 record and was named conference coach of the year in 1933.  White also managed the ColumbusFoxes in the Southeastern League from 1928-1930.

White went to work for the Georgia Secretary of State and ran unsuccessfully for office in 1940, but maintained his interest in baseball.

In 1937 White put together a “One-armed baseball team” which played about 100 games with semi-pro teams around the south.  With the exception of the catcher, third baseman, and first baseman, White’s team was made up of players with one arm.  The pitcher, Orville Paul was said by Branch Rickey to be good enough to win in any Class A league.

White died in Rome, Georgia on January 22, 1947.

While neither played pro ball, two other players with one arm made headlines playing college baseball between 1910 and 1920.  Outfielders Dick Hooper of Texas and Eddie Ash of Wabash were both highly touted players, but neither made the jump to pro ball.

Eddie Ash

Dick Hooper