- Specs, Bunker
- October 1, 1895
- 6' 1"
- 180 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 8-24-1915 with PIT
"Yes, Dorothy, the man gave your daddy a low curve on the inside this time." - Babe Ruth speaking to his daughter, after he had hit a home run off of Carmen Hill in the 1927 World Series
Despite the fact he only won 49 major league contests, Carmen Hill nevertheless did have his season in the sun as he won 22 games for the National League Champion Pittsburgh Pirates in 1927 as he had the distinction of being only the second pitcher in major league history to wear glasses.
Hill’s career started impressively enough as he tossed a 5-0 shutout against the Giants in September of 1915 as he was 2-1 with a 1.15 ERA in his first campaign. Carmen, who wore glasses and was appropriately given the name “Specs” became only the second major league pitcher in history, Lee Meadows being the first, to where spectacles while pitching in a ball game.
He would pitch in only parts of the 1916, 1918 and 1919 seasons for the Bucks amassing only 55 total innings between the three years before spending a season with the Giants in 1922. Specs, who was never much of a flamethrower, could never just get over the hump to crack a major league starting rotation, and spent most of his time in the minors. After pitching in New York in ’22, he would spend the next 3 ½ seasons in the bush leagues where he would play for a manager by the name of Donie Bush and win over 20 games for him one year.
It became fortuitous for Hill to have stumbled across Bush, especially when he was named the Pirate manager after Bill McKechnie was unceremoniously dumped in the infamous ABC episode. Bush was a believer in Hill, and Carmen would prove his new manager was correct for having the faith, by rewarding Donie with a 22-11 mark his first season in the rotation to help lead the club to the NL pennant and a spot in the World Series against arguably the greatest team of all time, the 1927 New York Yankees. Hill got his shot to face the famed team in Game 4 and except for a Babe Ruth two run homer, held them in check giving up only 3 runs in 6 innings. Unfortunately, reliever Johnny Miljus would uncork a wild pitch with two strikes on Tony Lazzeri and two outs as the bases were loaded giving the Bronx Bombers a 4-3 win and a sweep of the Bucs 4-0.
Specs followed up his career year with a solid 16-10 campaign before slipping in 1929 where he was picked up on waivers by the Cardinals in August of that season. In a class act the players would vote Specs a full share of the money they got for finishing in second, but the czar of Baseball, Judge Landis would overrule the gesture denying Hill his full share.
Even though Carmen was out of the show after the following season in 1930, he certainly did have a year to remember as the man with the glasses, helped give this city a rare championship.
Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1915
Baby Doll Jacobson
1927 World Series
Career highlights and awards
* National League pennant: 1927
* Pittsburgh Pirates (1915-1916, 1918-1919, 1926-1929)
* New York Giants (1922)
* St. Louis Cardinals (1929-1930)
Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia
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