Jim Bluejacket

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Jim Bluejacket
Jim Bluejacket.jpg
Pitcher
Born: (1887-07-08)July 8, 1887
Adair, Mayes County, Oklahoma
Died: March 26, 1947(1947-03-26) (aged 59)
Pekin, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 6, 1914, for the Brooklyn Tip-Tops
Last MLB appearance
July 16, 1916, for the Cincinnati Reds
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 14–17
Earned run average 3.46
Strikeouts 78
Teams

Jim Bluejacket (born William Lincoln Smith July 8, 1887 – March 26, 1947) was a Major League Baseball pitcher in the early 20th century. Bluejacket played for the Brooklyn Tip-Tops (1914-1915) and Cincinnati Reds (1916).

When he started playing professional baseball in 1905 for the Sedalia Goldbugs in the American Association, he went by the name of Jim Bluejacket. After his playing days were over he continued to use his professional name as his legal name. In the 1900 U.S. Census records of Adair, Oklahoma his name was William L. Smith, son of William and Lucy (Dougherty) Smith. While playing for the Pekin Celestials of the Illinois–Missouri League in 1911 and 1912, he met and married Jennie Piro of Pekin, Illinois. They were married on December 31, 1912 in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri and the wedding license reads that he was William L. Smith of Adair, Mayes County, Oklahoma. As late as June 5, 1917 he registered as William Lincoln Smith on his U.S. World War I draft registration card and stated that he was employed with the Bloomington ball team in Bloomington, Illinois. He played for the Bloomington Bloomers for parts of the 1912, 1913, 1914, and 1916 seasons. While pitching for Bloomington at the age of 27 in 1914 he got the attention of the major league scouts by winning twelve games in a row and was signed by the New York Giants. But before he was to report to the Giants the Brooklyn Tip-Tops offered to pay him more and he signed with them. This caused quite a stir in New York with threats of injunctions between the two teams. He played his first game for the Tip-Tops on August 6, 1914 and compiled a 4-4 record the rest of the season. Brooklyn was a member of the Federal League and also played games against the National Teams. They played their home games in the old Washington Park which had been the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers up to 1912 when they moved to Ebbets Field.

While playing for the Brooklyn Tip-Tops, Jim Bluejacket became the only Major League pitcher to win a game without throwing a pitch. He came into the game against the Pittsburgh Rebels in the top of the ninth with two outs and a runner on first. Before he throws a pitch, he picked off the runner at first base for the third out and was credited with the victory after his team scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

A member of the Cherokee nation,[1] Bluejacket was one of the first Native Americans to play Major League Baseball.

Bluejacket's great-grandson is Bill Wilkinson, a relief pitcher for the Seattle Mariners in the 1980s. Bluejacket and Wilkinson are the only great-grandfather/great-grandson combo ever to play in the major leagues.

Jim made quite a contribution to the baseball scene on the island of Aruba. He was employed there for 15 years and devoted countless hours to the youth of Aruba and was instrumental in the founding of the Lago Sports Park there.

Jim may have influenced other families besides his own to love the game of baseball. While Jim was playing for the Keokuk Indians of the Central Association in 1909 and 1910 his parents had a hired hand living with them in Adair by the name of Charles Edwin Mantle. Mantle later became the grandfather of the great Mickey Mantle. Charley most likely acquired a love of the game while living with the Smith family and sharing the news of their son, Jim Bluejacket.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mallozzi, Vincent M. "The American Indians of America’s Pastime", The New York Times, published June 8, 2008, accessed June 10, 2008.

External links[edit]