Shawkey pitching for the New York Yankees in 1922
|Pitcher / Manager|
|Born: December 4, 1890|
|Died: December 31, 1980 (aged 90)|
Syracuse, New York
|July 16, 1913, for the Philadelphia Athletics|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 29, 1927, for the New York Yankees|
|Earned run average||3.09|
|Career highlights and awards|
James Robert Shawkey (December 4, 1890 – December 31, 1980) was an American baseball pitcher who played fifteen seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He played for the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Yankees from 1915 to 1927. He batted and threw right-handed and served primarily as a starting pitcher.
Shawkey was born to John William Shawkey and Sarah Catherine Anthony, in Sigel, Pennsylvania.
He moved from Slippery Rock State College to an independent league in 1911, then to the American League in 1912 as a pitcher for Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics. In 1915, Mack sold him to the New York Yankees where he remained (except for a brief service with the U.S. Navy during World War I when he served on the battleship Arkansas for eight months) until 1931. While facing his former team in 1919, he struck out 15 A's batters in a game, setting the Yankees team record for most strikeouts in a game; this record lasted for fifty-nine years.
At the start of the 1923 season, Shawkey was chosen to be the Yankees' Opening Day starting pitcher. Because the team's first game was at home, this also meant that he was the first player to pitch at the newly built Yankee Stadium. The Yankees won 4–1 behind Babe Ruth's three-run home run, with Shawkey pitching a complete game to become the first winning pitcher at the stadium.
Shawkey won 195 games in his career, and won 20 or more games in five different seasons (his high was 26). Shawkey is noted as the starting pitcher in the first game played in Yankee Stadium on April 18, 1923, and set the franchise record for 15 strikeouts in a single game, which stood until Whitey Ford broke it in the early 1960s. Bob credited his success to a super fastball and an outstanding curve ball. He later served as the baseball coach for Dartmouth College.
An adept batsman during his 15 year career, Shawkey compiled a .214 batting average (225-for-1049) with 90 runs, 3 home runs and 95 RBI. From 1920-1924, he drove in 59 runs for the New York Yankees. In 8 World Series games, he hit .267 (4-for-15) with 2 RBI.
In 1970, Shawkey was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in Brookville, Pennsylvania. During the 1976 opening day festivities for the renovated Yankee Stadium, Shawkey threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He died at age 90 in Syracuse, New York on New Year's Eve 1980.
- Frommer, Harvey (November 1, 2007). Yankee Century and Beyond: A Celebration of the First Hundred Plus Years of Baseball's Greatest Team. Sourcebooks, Inc. pp. 235–236. ISBN 9781402248740. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- "New York Yankees Opening Day Starters". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
- "April 18, 1923 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Play by Play and Box Score". Baseball-Reference.com. April 18, 1923. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- Bob Shawkey at Find a Grave
- Interview with baseball player Bob Shawkey conducted by Eugene C. Murdock on Apr. 15, 1975, in Syracuse, NY. (1 hr., 45 min. in 3 parts), available on the Cleveland Public Library's Digital Gallery: