Jan 02, 1918: Spitter traded
Submitted by BTGrimes on Wed, 01/02/2013 - 10:00am
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - The Brooklyn Robins (today's Los Angeles Dodgers) traded for a pitcher who became known for openly throwing an outlawed pitch. Burleigh Grimes came to the Robins by way of a 5 player deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates on this date in 1918.
Grimes' best pitch was the spitball, which was not illegal when he broke in, but was banned by Major League Baseball in 1920 when he was just 26-years old. "Old Stubblebeard," as he was called, became one of 17 pitchers already in the majors who were exempt from the ban. They could continue throwing the spitter as long as they played. Grimes ended up throwing it the longest, becoming the last pitcher to "legally" throw a spitball.
He made good use of the spitter, winning more than 20 games five times. He was 25-14 in 1928. Twice he won 19. Grimes won 270 games in his career, appeared in four World Series, and ended up in the Hall of Fame.
Though he wore 7 different uniforms in a 19-year career, Grimes spent most of his career with Brooklyn. When his playing days were over, he managed the Dodgers for two unremarkable years. He stayed in baseball for many years, but mostly as a scout and minor league coach.
Burleigh Grimes was born August 18, 1883 in the small farming community of Emerald, Wisconsin. He died in nearby Clear Lake in 1985 at the age of 92.
Here are the 17 pitchers allowed to throw the spitter after 1920:
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