Doc Crandall in uniform for the St. Louis Terriers, 1914.
October 8, 1887|
|Died: August 17, 1951
|April 24, 1908 for the New York Giants|
Last MLB appearance
|August 31, 1918 for the Boston Braves|
|Earned run average||2.92|
James Otis Crandall (October 8, 1887 – August 17, 1951) was a right-handed pitcher and second baseman. He was the first player to be consistently used as a relief pitcher. Consequently, he was given the nickname Doc by Damon Runyon who said Crandall was "the physician of the pitching emergency". He played from 1908 to 1918, debuting with the New York Giants. He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1913, but played just two games with them before being sold back to the Giants. He also played for the St. Louis Terriers in the Federal League in 1914 and 1915, the St. Louis Browns in 1916, and for the Boston Braves in 1918. That same year he flirted with a no-hitter in the morning game of a double-header in Los Angeles against Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League. He carried the no-hitter into the 9th inning when, with two out, his outing was spoiled by Karl Crandall, his brother.
While Crandall frequently started, he led the league in number of relief appearances for five consecutive seasons while with the Giants. In the period from 1910 to 1912, he also led in relief victories going 45–16 overall in that time period. The Giants won three consecutive pennants from 1911 to 1913 with Crandall's help. Even with his bulky frame, Crandall was a quick fielder and thus played infield positions.
With his .285 lifetime hitting average, he was often a pinch hitter and in 1910 he led with a .342 batting average. When the Giants sent him to the Cardinals in 1913 public outcry in New York was so big that the Giants bought him back after only two games. However, he ended up in St. Louis again a year later in the Federal league where he played more at second base than as pitcher. In 1915 he led the Federal League winning six times as relief pitcher out of his total 21 wins in that league. After sitting out the 1917 season, he made an abbreviated comeback in 1918 with the Braves.
- McNeil, William The evolution of pitching in major league baseball McFarland 2006, p. 53 citing Thorn's Relief Pitcher.
- The Baseball Biography