- OF, 3B, 2B, SS
- June 26, 1907
- 5' 8"
- 165 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 8-10-1932 with SLA
Although he had a decent if unspectacular 12-year career in the majors, Debs Garms nevertheless held a very important distinction in the annuls of Pirate baseball as being only the fifth player ever win a batting title for the black and gold.
After college at Howard Payne University in Texas from 1926-28, he made his minor league debut in 1928 with Abilene, hitting .317. Through 1932 he always hit near or over .300, and in 1932 he hit .344 in the Texas League, getting him his major league debut in August 1932.
Garms spent 1932-35 with the St. Louis Browns, but didn't last long in 1935 under manager Rogers Hornsby. Garms spent most of 1935-36 back in the minors with San Antonio, and after his 1936 season was drafted away from the Browns organization.
He spent 1937-39 with the Boston Bees (managed in 1938 and 1939 by Casey Stengel) and was then sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
After playing for 5 unspectacular years for the St Louis Browns and the Boston Braves between 1932 and 1937, Garms broke lose hitting .315 in 1938 for Boston, including having the distinction of breaking up Johnny VanderMeer’s record 21 1/3 inning hitless streak. He would hit .298 the following campaign before being sold to the Pirates in March of 1940.
Despite the fact he only came up 358 times, Garms erupted for the Bucs hitting .355 for the season, winning the batting title. If Garms had played in today’s game, he would not have had enough bats to qualify, as today’s standards are 3.1 plate appearances per team game or 502 total. Back then, Garms did in fact qualify and became the fifth Pirate, after Honus Wagner, Ginger Beaumont, Paul Waner and Arky Vaughan.
The 33-year old Garms slipped to .264 the next season and was released. Being too old to be drafted into the military, he resurfaced again with the Cardinals in 1943 during the war. During his three years there he got an opportunity to play in his only two World Series where he was hitless in seven at bats.
Although Garms only played two short years here, he made his mark on the history of the club where he will always be known for his batting crown.
In 1941 he set a then-major league record for consecutive pinch hits with seven, which stood until Dave Philley broke it in 1958.
Career highlights and awards
* World Series Champion: 1944
* National League pennant: 1943
* National League batting champion: 1940
* St. Louis Browns (1932-1935)
* Boston Braves (1937-1939)
* Pittsburgh Pirates (1940-1941)
* St. Louis Cardinals (1942-1945)
Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia
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