This Day in Baseball History: April 7th, 1925

I still can’t figure out why no one wanted a guy with 63 HR in one season.

On April 7, 1925:

Joe Hauser’s knee cap spontaneously shatters.

Joe Hauser was a first baseman for the Philadelphia Athletics in the mid-to-late 1920’s. His major-league career, however, was undistinguished. Hauser debuted in 1923 as a rookie, and he hit .323/.378/.481, which was good enough for a 120 OPS+. Over the next two seasons, Houser was catching on and ripping the ball. His home run totals went from 9 to 17 to 27. His OPS+ stayed in the 120’s. In 1924, he came in fifth in the MVP voting. Hauser was becoming a legitimate baseball player.

Until 1925. A year removed from an excellent season, Hauser’s career was looking up. Then on April 7, his life changed. His knee cap suddenly, and for no apparent reason, shattered. Hauser would miss the entire 1925 season and most of the 1926 season. When he came back, he was not the same hitter. Hauser was sent down to the minors the following season to rebuild his swing. In 1928, he seemed to find his swing again, but it vanished again a year later. Although he dealt with numerous injuries, Houser blamed Ty Cobb, his manager, for trying to tweak his swing. Unable to get comfortable, he was sent down to the minors where he played for the Baltimore Orioles.

That’s where Hauser’s real legend comes. Joe Hauser was a legit hitter and dominated minor-league pitching. When he came to the Orioles in 1930, he crushed the league’s pitching to the tune of a record 63 home runs and an outstanding .718 SLG. Still, Hauser didn’t receive a call from a major-league team. Hauser regressed slightly the next season, only hitting 31 HR. He went to Minneapolis the next season and hit 49 HR, and just to top it all off, he added a new record 69 HR the following season in 1933. Incredibly, Hauser did not make another major-league team. He would continue to smash home runs for the next three seasons before giving up at age 37. He would try again from 1940 to 1942, but he never made it back.

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