Friday, December 16, 2016

MAJOR LEAGUE FOUNDERS: JIM DEVLIN 1876-1976

Here’s a card for a sad figure in early baseball history, pitching (and hitting) star Jim Devlin, who was banned for life along with early slugger George Hall for throwing games:


Devlin was originally a first basemen during his playing days in the National Association before becoming a pitcher playing for the Louisville club of the newly formed National League in 1876.
An iron horse of a pitcher, he would go on to pitch virtually every inning of the teams games in both 1876 and 1877 while collecting 30 and 35 wins respectively.
Oddly, he also led the league in losses both years with 35 and 25, yet his 1876 season was indicative of those early years of pro ball, as he would post a 30-35 record with a tiny 1.56 earned run average over 68 starts and 622 innings of work!

Sadly for him, after going 35-25 for Louisville in 1877, with a 2.25 ERA in 61 starts (all completed of course), there was growing suspicion that he and some teammates were throwing games.
After some investigation these truths came out and Devlin confessed begging for forgiveness to no avail, as league president William Hulbert banned all players involved for life.
Devlin’s career was over by the age of 28, and he asked for a pardon every year until his death in 1883 after serving as a police officer in Philadelphia at the young age of 34.

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