Sunday Frivolities

Anybody?

Also on today’s date in 1890, Mr. Lewis made his debut and only appearance in a professional baseball game as a member of the Buffalo Bisons. The Bisons were part of the Players League at the time, but they would soon become part of the Western League. The Western League would soon change names and become the American League. Believing they would be part of the new challenge to National League supremacy, Ban Johnson, the leader of the AL, dropped them at the last minute in favor the Boston Americans. Though Johnson repeatedly assured the Bisons that their place was safe, it was later revealed that Johnson had a stake in the Boston team. Without a league, the Bisons settled in the Eastern League, which eventually became the International League.

Anyway, back to Mr. Lewis. I keep calling him that because no one knows his real name. While in a series against the Brooklyn Wonders, the Bisons found and signed Lewis for the July 12th game. At this point in baseball history, players could be signed out of nowhere like this and brought to the team. Why would a team do this? Among the reasons, they might need a pitcher for whatever reason, there might be a shortage of players created by a strike or jumping from one league to another, or the team might just be trying out a player from the area that they have interest in. I think that this is probably what the Bisons were doing because if they just needed roster fodder, he probably would have lasted more than 3 innings regardless of results, but we just don’t know what happened. And because records weren’t kept in the same way as they are today, a player like Lewis could slip through the cracks.

In fact, there are at least 30 players who have played Major League Baseball without a first name being recorded. Not surprisingly, Smith is the only last name that appears twice without a first name, but it only appears twice. Just for giggles and trivia’s sake, there are only 2 Mark Smiths in MLB history, but there are 4 Red Smiths. Weird.

Anyway, back to Mr. Lewis, again. His debut didn’t exactly go well. Getting the start, he lasted only 3 innings, giving up 13 hits, 20 runs, 7 walks, and 3 home runs while only striking out 1. His ERA is the highest for someone with at least 2 innings of work at exactly 60.00. His WHIP is a cool 6.667. His ERA+ is Jeff Francoeur’s old number, 7. Lewis, however, did pick up a hit in 5 tries at the plate. After those 3 horrendous innings, Lewis was moved to the outfield (that’s how he picked up those 5 at-bats). Over the next 6 innings, he didn’t make one play. However, in the first 3 innings, he made 5 plays as the pitcher. I can only imagine that the Wonders took pity on the young man by repeatedly bunting the ball back to him just to move the game along.

The Wonders would go on to win the game, but their pitching wasn’t a whole lot better as the score was 28-16.

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2 Responses to “Sunday Frivolities”

  1. Kevin Says:

    That's obviously Clint Eastwood from his spaghetti western days.

  2. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    Very good. My dad watches those every Saturday morning. The problem is that I know the names of very few of them because I would come in during the middle of the movie. Therefore, I've seen about 1/2 to 3/4 of most Westerns, but I have no idea which ones I've seen. This is one I remember watching.

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