May 19, 1889|
West Bridgewater, Massachusetts
|Died: July 23, 1980
Providence, Rhode Island
|August 1, 1913, for the Boston Red Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1913, for the Boston Red Sox|
|Runs batted in||0|
Walter Henry "Doc" Snell (May 19, 1889 – July 23, 1980) was a pinch-hitter/catcher in Major League Baseball who played briefly for the Boston Red Sox during the 1913 season. Following this brief baseball career he became a successful mycologist who worked primarily at Brown University for the next 60 years.
Snell was a college three-sport athlete turned scientist. Besides baseball, he played football and basketball at Brockton High School, graduating in 1907. He then attended Phillips Andover Academy for two years, graduating in 1909, before enrolling at Brown University.
At Brown, Snell was both a scholar and an athlete, as a Phi Beta Kappa in academics and a catcher for four years on the varsity baseball team under coach Harry Pattee. In 1913, he was signed by the Philadelphia Athletics owner Connie Mack, but broke his hand in a game at Brown and was dealt to the Red Sox.
In a six-game career, Snell was a .250 hitter (3-for-12) with one run and one stolen base without RBI or home runs. In two catching appearances, he committed one error in 13 chances accepted for a .923 fielding percentage. Snell hit a single in his first major league at bat off Cleveland Naps pitcher Nick Cullop on August 1, 1913. He was one of five catchers the Red Sox used during the 1913 season.
Following his majors career, Snell continued to play some minor league baseball while studying for his master's degree, playing in 1914 and 1915 in the International League with the Toronto Maple Leafs (1914) and Rochester Hustlers (1915), and for the Manchester team of the New England League (1915), becoming a first baseman in his last baseball season.
After receiving his master's degree from Brown in 1915, Snell began to pursue his doctoral studies in 1916 at the University of Wisconsin. He earned a Ph.D. degree in botany and went on to a distinguished career as a college professor and athletic coach both in baseball and football at Brown University for 39 years. After retiring as a professor in 1959, he had written numerous professional papers on research in his field, published in scientific journals such as Mycologia and Phytopathology. His research delved in areas as diverse as forest tree diseases, decay in building timbers, toxicity of creosotes to wood-destroying fungi, language of mycology, and taxonomy of boletes and hydnums (types of mushrooms and fungi).
Snell died at the age of 91 in Providence, Rhode Island.