- P, OF, 1B, SS, 2B
- Smiling Al, The Curveless Wonder
- September 5, 1872
- 200 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 8-15-1895 with PHI
Little Al Orth was a one-pitch wonder until 1906, when teammate Jack Chesbro taught him to throw the spitter. That season, Orth led the American League with 27 wins, but it was the last time the right-hander would post a winning record. Orth was one of the first pitchers to win 100 games in both leagues, logging an even 100 in the National League and 104 in the AL.
In his first season throwing a spitball, Orth led the American League in wins (27), innings pitched (338+), and complete games (36). He and Jack Chesbro (23 wins), helped lead the Highlanders to a strong second place finish. Orth also hit well, as he usually did, batting .274 with five extra-base hits and 17 RBI.
During World War I, Al Orth worked with the YMCA in France, training soldiers and civilians in athletic competition.
Before 1902 Season: Jumped from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Washington Senators; July 13, 1904: Traded by the Washington Senators to the New York Highlanders for Tom Hughes and Barney Wolfe.
Control. Orth walked just 661 batters in more than 3354 innings (1.77 per nine IP).
Velocity. He had to rely on his underhand fastball for several years, and with little speed on it, batters teed off and got lots of hits. Orth allowed more than 9.5 hits per nine innings.
On July 18, 1907, in the second game of a doubleheader at Chicago, Orth defeated Ed Walsh and the White Sox, 4-0, to win his 200th career game. The victory evened Orth's season record at 12-12, but he would lose nine of his last 11 decisions to finish at 14-21.