- P, OF
- May 13, 1889
- 195 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 6-07-1911 with PIT
Claude Hendrix was a fine pitcher in his 10 year run in the majors, but unfortunately for the Kansas native, he was as gifted in finding trouble as he was finding the strike zone.
Hendrix came up to the Bucs in 1911 under a cloud of controversy as a team from Salina, Kansas still claimed to have him under contract. Pittsburgh got to keep him and the pitcher who went 4-6 splitting time between the bullpen and starting rotation his rookie season.
The hurler who was known for throwing a nasty spitball, came into his own the following season as he was third in the NL in wins with a 24-9 record, good for a senior league high .727 winning percentage. Hendrix, a good friend of the legendary Honus Wagner, held out in spring training the next season before reporting to the club, where he fell back a little to 14-15, before jumping ship and joining the Chicago Whales of the Federal League.
The Federal League
In his two year stay in the rogue league Hendrix became its number 1 pitcher, winning an all time Federal League high 45 games in two seasons, including his career best campaign of 29-10 in 1914 with a sparkling 1.69 ERA. He was also 4th in two-year history of the last alternative major league with a 2.27 mark.
The Cubs purchased him after the 1915 season along with the great Three Finger Brown, Joe Tinker and eight other players. He spent his final 5 seasons in baseball there, including his last 20 win season of 20-7 in 1918, helping lead the Cubbies into the World Series. Hendrix had the distinction of being the winning pitcher in the first game in the ballpark later renamed Wrigley Field.
Black Sox scandal
As was stated before Hendrix liked to find trouble, and he found it in a big way in 1920, the year after the Black Sox scandal. There was a rumor circulating that Gamblers had paid off several Cubs in a game against Philadelphia on August 31st, 1920. It was thought that Hendrix, who was supposed to start, took $5,000 for his part. At the last minute, after Cub manger Fred Mitchell got wind of the potential fix and replaced Hendrix with Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander.
The league and Cub owner William Veeck, Sr eventually investigated Claude, and while nothing was ever officially found out, Veeck still thought Hendrix was on the take and cut him in February of 1921. Even though nothing ever came out of it, Hendrix was unofficially blackballed from the game and never played again.
After being bounced unceremoniously by the national pastime, he went to Allentown, PA where he owned a café for most of the rest of his life. He died 23 years later in 1944 of Tuberculosis
Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1911
1918 World Series
Career highlights and awards
* Federal League pennant: 1915
* National League pennant: 1918
* Federal League ERA champion: 1914
* Federal League wins champion: 1914
* 3 20-win seasons
* Pittsburgh Pirates (1911-1913)
* Chicago Chi-Feds/Whales (1914-1915)
* Chicago Cubs (1916-1920)
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- Chicago Chi-Feds, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Whales, Claude Hendrix, Federal League, Pittsburgh Pirates, The Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia