Dec 9, 2009

non-HOF Profile Derby #4: Urban Shocker

Next, a fairly obscure Yankees and Browns pitcher, Urban Shocker, (1916-1928)

Place on the WAR chart: Below Waite Hoyt and above Lefty Gomez, both of whom were fairly close contemporaries of Shocker

Career Overview and Some Numbers: A starting pitcher with great control who some great years in the 1920s with the Browns and Yankees. He started his career late at the age of 25 with the Yankees, traded to the Browns in 1918, became a full-time starter for the Browns (1919-1924) and Yankees (1925-1927). Unfortunately, his life ended prematurely in 1928 when he fell grievously ill with pneumonia and died that September. His most similar comparisons were Lon Warneke and Art Nehf, the most similar modern comparisons were Jimmy Key and Dave McNally. Led the league in wins once, strikeouts once, BB/9 twice, and K/BB twice. Had 4 consecutive 20 win seasons at his peak (1920-1923).

The Final Numbers: He pitched to a .615 winning percentage (187-117 record) with a career 3.17 ERA (124 ERA+). Had 989 K in an extremely low K environment (greater than 3.5 K/9 was usually enough for top 10 in the league). Also pitched 28 shutouts. Best seasons were probably 1920 and 1922 when he had a greater than 140 ERA+.

Why He Should be Remembered: A key performer on the incredible 1922 St. Louis Browns who finished 2nd (1 game behind the Yankees). That team featured George Sisler who hit .420, Ken Williams with the first ever 30-30 season, and Urban Shocker who led that way with 24-7 record and 2.97 ERA (140 ERA+). He won a World Series ring with the 1927 Yankees, though he only appeared in the 1926 Fall Classic, in which the Cardinals beat the Yankees. One of the last pitchers to be able to legally throw a spitball.

HOF Balloting Performance: 1 vote in 1938, 1 vote in 1939, 2 votes in 1949, 4 votes in 1958.

Known Card: 1922 American Caramel. Others??

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