Harry Coveleski

Harry Coveleski

The Giant Killer
April 23, 1886
180 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-10-1907 with PHI

Thrust into the midst of a furious pennant race when he was called up by the Phillies in late September 1908, Coveleski defeated the contending Giants three times in five days, enabling the Cubs to win the flag. Coveleski earned a $50 bonus and the nickname "The Giant Killer." He slumped in 1909, was traded, and returned to the minors. Resurfacing with the Tigers in 1914, he put together three straight 20-win seasons while losing no more than 13.

Coveleski and three brothers (including Hall of Famer Stanley) came out of the Pennsylvania coal fields to play pro ball.

Harry Frank Coveleski (April 23, 1886 – August 4, 1950) was a Major League Baseball pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, and Detroit Tigers. Born in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, he began his career with the Phillies in 1907. Over a span of five days at the end of the 1908 season, Coveleski beat the New York Giants three times, which enabled the Chicago Cubs to catch the first-place Giants in the NL standings and force a replay of the "Merkle Game". Thereafter, Coveleski was called "The Giant Killer". Traded to the Reds after the 1909 season, Coveleski had a disappointing 1910 season, including a game in which he walked sixteen batters, and was out of the Major Leagues for three seasons.

That year A. H. "Rick" Woodward, owner of the Southern Association's Birmingham Barons, bought Coveleski's contract from the Reds for $1,000, putting him on the team that be showcased in his brand-new steel-and-concrete Rickwood Field stadium. Coveleski got the start on the park's August 18, 1910 opening day, earning a no-decision in a 3-2 victory against the Montgomey Climbers in front of 10,000 fans. He ended up pitching two no-hitters for the Barons (though he lost one in extra innings), and won 21 games, including eleven straight decisions, to end the season with a 1.55 ERA. His final appearance for Birmingham was a 1-0 shutout against the league-champion New Orleans Pelicans in which he held their star slugger Shoeless Joe Jackson hitless in four appearances.

Following an arm injury, Woodward traded Coveleski to the Chattanooga Lookouts, where he struggled for two seasons, going 25-37, before regaining his composure. In their 1913 campaign he led the Southern Association with 28 wins and attracted the notice of the Detroit Tigers' scouts.

Coveleski joined the Tigers for the 1914 season, and pitched over 300 innings, completed 23 of his 36 games, and won 22 games, second in the American League only to Walter Johnson. In four of his five seasons with the Tigers, Coveleski's ERA was under three, and his 2.34 ERA with the Tigers is still the franchise's all-time career record.
Harry Coveleski baseball card

Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Coveleski is the younger brother of Harry Coveleski.

In a 1976 Esquire magazine article, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter," consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Harry Coveleski was the left-handed pitcher on Stein's Polish team.

In the 2008-2009 comic I Kill Giants, the protagonist calls her warhammer "Coveleski," later explaining it is named after Harry Coveleski.

Harry Coveleski
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