September 5, 1872|
|Died: October 8, 1948
|August 15, 1895 for the Philadelphia Phillies|
Last MLB appearance
|September 20, 1909 for the New York Highlanders|
|Earned run average||3.37|
As a young pitcher with the Lynchburg minor league team in the Virginia League in 1895, Orth won 28 games. He was called up to the Philadelphia Phillies and won his first eight starts for them. Before the 1902 season, Orth and several other Phillies left for the American League; Orth joined the Washington Senators. When Orth was traded to the New York Highlanders in 1904 after struggling the year before, he picked up the spitball from Jack Chesbro and had his best year in 1906, going 27–17 and leading the American League in wins. During that season, Orth threw 36 complete games in 39 starts.
Known as The Curveless Wonder, Orth never relied on the breaking ball. Instead, his pitching success centered on his control and his ability to change pitch speeds. Orth twice finished with the fewest walks in his league. He is one of a handful of pitchers to earn 100 wins in both the National League and the American League. After Orth earned his 199th win in 1907, it took nine attempts to earn number 200; this still represents the greatest difficulty any pitcher has had in reaching the milestone.
Orth was also known for his hitting skills, finishing seventh all-time among pitchers in hits, with 389. Orth would frequently hit above .300. The left-handed hitter was used as a pinch hitter 78 times and even played the field on a few occasions, including fifty-five games as an outfielder and eight at shortstop during his time with the Washington Senators.
Umpiring and coaching days
After knee injuries and a sore arm ended his career, he managed for Lynchburg in the Virginia League. He debuted as a National League umpire in the summer of 1912. He was the umpire on May 2, 1917 when Fred Toney and Hippo Vaughn each pitched 9 innings of no-hit baseball, the only time in regulation when neither team got a hit. After umpiring for several seasons, knee problems forced him to stop. He later coached at Washington and Lee University as well as the Virginia Military Institute.
- List of Major League Baseball umpires
- List of Major League Baseball leaders in career wins
- List of Major League Baseball saves champions
- List of Major League Baseball wins champions
- "Obituary: Albert (Smiling Al) Orth". New York Times. October 9, 1948. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- Zoleck, Todd (August 29, 2009). "Lee shows he's mortal, falls to Braves". MLB.com. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- "Baseball Roundup". The Albany Herald. September 29, 1993. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- "ESPN Recap: Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays, September 7, 2011". Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- "Pirates Won in Nineteenth". Meridien Daily Journal. August 1, 1912. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- The Official Major League Baseball Fact Book 2002. The Sporting News. 2002. p. 496. ISBN 0-89204-670-8.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference