December 23, 1897|
|Died: January 26, 1979
|June 26, 1921, for the Washington Senators|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 16, 1921, for the Washington Senators|
|Earned run average||0.00|
Willard Roland "Nemo" Gaines (December 23, 1897 – January 26, 1979) was an American military officer and baseball player. He served as an officer in the United States Navy and played as a Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher for the Washington Senators.
Gaines was born on December 23, 1897 in Alexandria, Virginia. He attended the United States Naval Academy. He pitched for the Navy Midshipmen baseball team, lettering from 1919 through 1921. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1921.
After graduating, he received a special leave from the Navy to pitch for the Washington Senators of Major League Baseball (MLB). In his MLB debut, he relieved George Mogridge in a game against the New York Yankees, facing Bob Meusel, Wally Pipp, Aaron Ward and Wally Schang. On July 2, he pitched 1 2⁄3 innings against the Philadelphia Athletics. He pitched another inning against the Athletics the next day. His final appearance came on July 16 against the Cleveland Indians. In total, Gaines appeared in four games for the Senators between June 26 and July 16, 1921, pitching 4 2⁄3 innings while giving up five hits, two walks and no runs. The Senators lost all four games he appeared in. Gaines would remain the only Navy Midshipman to play in MLB for another 94 years, until Mitch Harris made his big league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015.
Gaines returned to the Navy after his brief stint in MLB. He served as an officer, reaching the rank of captain. During World War II, Gaines served as U.S. naval attaché, stationed in Peru. He retired in 1946 to Virginia, where he raised Hereford cattle and opened a hardware store with his brother.
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- Sparrow, C. Edward (May 29, 1920). "ARMY AND NAVY NINES READY FOR BIG GAME: Uncle Sam's Wards Will Stage Their Seventeenth Baseball Battle Today At Annapolis WILHIDE WITH THE CADETS Rivals As Fit As Expert Hands Can Make Them For Important Diamond Classic--Veterans Will Perform For Both". The Sun. p. 9. Retrieved December 17, 2011. (subscription required)
- "June 26, 1921 Washington Senators at New York Yankees Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. 1921-06-26. Retrieved 2011-12-18.
- "July 2, 1921 Philadelphia Athletics at Washington Senators Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. 1921-07-02. Retrieved 2011-12-18.
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- "July 16, 1921 Washington Senators at Cleveland Indians Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. 1921-07-16. Retrieved 2011-12-18.
- "Nemo Gaines 1921 Pitching Gamelogs". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2011-12-18.