Dec 21, 2009
non-HOF Profile Derby #6: Tony Mullane
Next, a 19th century pitcher by the name of Tony Mullane, (1881-1894) who pitched without a glove
Place on the WAR chart: Below Bob Feller and Don Drysdale and above Carl Hubbell and Juan Marichal.
Career Overview:: It was a different time when Mr. Mullane played. He played before the era of the 60 foot 6 inch mound distance and plied his trade predominantly in a league which did not exist after 1890 (American Association). He was suspended from the league for the entire 1885 season because he tried to jump to the rival (yes, a 3rd major league) Union Association and did not re-sign with his original team (the St. Louis Browns). This would have been his 5th team in 5 years. Instead he signed with the Cincinnati Red Stockings after his suspension for the highest contract at the time ($5000). If not for this suspension, he would be a 300 game winner. His career ended after the pitching mound was moved back and he lost his control.
The Numbers: Just look at these W-L records/IP totals for these five years: 30-24/460, 35-15/460, 36-26/567, 33-27/529, 31-17/416. He led the league in Ks once, ERA+ once,shutouts twice, and wild pitches twice. He finished top 10 in the league in ERA 8 times. He had 189 BB in 1893 when the mound was adjusted back (2nd in the league to Amos Rusie and his 218 BB). Most similar statistically to HOFs Burleigh Grimes, Mickey Welch, and Red Ruffing.
Best Season: 1883 (age 24): He went 35-15 with a 2.19 ERA (160 ERA+) and 191 K (3rd in the league) in 460 IP.
The Final Numbers: Finished with a 284-220 W-L record with a 3.05 ERA (116 ERA+) along with 1803 K and 1408 BB. He also had 661 hits, tops among pitchers (he played everyday in the field when he wasn't pitching every other game)
Why He Should be Remembered: : Besides the aforementioned 4 consecutive 30 win seasons, he had two distinctive traits. He had the nickname "Apollo of the Box"(because he was handsome) and he was an ambidextrous pitcher and would often pitch with both hands in the same game. Now that's a way to stay durable! On a more negative note...his catcher was Fleetwood Walker when he played for Toledo in 1884 and he refused to take signals from him, helping to calcify the fact that black players were not welcome in the major leagues.
HOF Balloting Performance:Never went past screening on the new Veteran's Committee ballot