This image is from the Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society
- November 12, 1891
- 5' 11"
- 195 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-15-1915 with BOS
Already tagged with a much-deserved reputation as a pitcher willing to knock anyone down, submarine hurler Carl Mays threw the fateful pitch that killed Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman on August 16, 1920. Though the pitch certainly wasn't intentional, many demanded he be banned from the game. Despite the initial outrage, Mays followed up his 26-victory season in 1920, by winning 27 games to lead both leagues in 1921. He later won 20 and 19 for Cincinnati, on his way to a shining 207-126 career record.
"Carl Mays wasn't very popular, but when nobody else could win, he could. He was a great stopper." teammate Duffy Lewis "Whatever criticism you may make about Mays, he has more guts than any pitcher I ever saw." Everett Scott "No pitcher in the American League resorted to trickery more than Carl Mays in attempting to rough a ball, in order to get a break on it which would make it difficult to hit." umpires Billy Evans and Bill Dinneen in a written statement after the beaning and death of Ray Chapman
"It's not on my conscious. "It wasn't my fault." Carl Mays, on the pitch he threw that resulted in the death of Ray Chapman "I think I belong. I know I earned it. They took in [Rube] Marquard this year and that's fine with me. But I deserve it too. I won seven more games than him. What's wrong with me?" Carl Mays on his Hall of Fame chances, 1970
After Ray Chapman died when he was hit in the head by a pitch from Carl Mays, the major leagues ruled that clean baseballs needed to be rotated into the game more frequently.
Carl Mays talks about hitting Ray Chapman
"I've had to live with this thing, with hitting Chatman [sic]," wrote Carl Mays in a letter to a friend years after the fatal pitch left his hands. "The papers said I was guilty and the general public believes everything they see in the paper. Chatman was hit because when he shifted his back foot we all knew he was going to push the ball down the first base line. If he did, no one could throw him out, he was so fast. So we would bring the ball up, try to make him pop it up. So he ran into a high pitch, over the plate. Please make a mental picture of this for me." In the letter, which was published in Every Pitcher Tells a Story by author Seth Swirsky, Mays underlines the phrase "over the plate" to emphasize his contention that the pitch was a strike. Famously, just a few months after Chapman's tragic death, Mays expressed cold adviceto young pitchers in spring training. "If you got to knock somebody down to win a ball game, do it. It's your bread and butter," Mays growled.
- Carl Mays