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Earl Webb

Earl Webb

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Earl Webb when he was with Chicago White Sox

Position(s):
OF, 1B
Born:
September 17, 1897
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Right
Height:
6' 1"
Weight:
185 lbs
Major League Debut:
8-13-1925 with

Notable Achievements

  • AL Doubles Leader (1931)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1931)

 Records Held

  • Doubles, season, 67, 1931
  • Doubles, left handed batter, season, 67, 1931

Quotes About

"The reason he hits so many doubles is that he hits a long, hard ball, and he's too darned slow on the bases to get to third." — manager Shano Collins

Quotes From

"I was born to the coal mines and escaped only because of my ability to play baseball. Bonair, a little coal mining community in central Tennessee, is where I was born, September 17, 1899, and my father, William Webb, was a coal digger. We moved to a nearby town, Ravenscroft, when I was quite small and I roamed the mountains, haunted the mines and attended school. In those days I could think of no work as thrilling as laboring in the coal mines, and during my school days I idled away my time, waiting until I should be big enough to go down in the ground."

Minor Leages

As a youngster pitching for mining teams in Tennessee, Webb battled Walter Stewart, who later went on to pitch for the St. Louis Browns. The mine doctor suggested that Webb play baseball to fill his lungs with fresh air after breathing coal dust all day. At the age of 17, Webb was offered a contract by Memphis of the Southern Association, but refused to report at the given time because he was frightened of the big city. He admitted one other reason for his refusal to leave for Memphis as a teenager - he was in love with his girlfriend, whom he later married. After a few seasons starring for mining teams, Webb was finally convinced by his father to go to Memphis to try to find a batter life. He pitched well for Memphis and was bought by the Giants, but refused to travel to New York to tryout for John McGraw. Only after a scout agreed to accompany him to the train station, did Webb make the trip. Subsequently, according to legend, he got lost in New York and ran into Babe Ruth, who gave him a ride to the Polo Grounds. McGraw liked Webb, and sent him to Pittsfield, MA, in the Eastern League. In Pittsfield, Webb pitched and played the outfield between starts. Within a year, Webb was an everyday outfielder. After bouncing between Pittsfield, Toledo, New York (for four brief games with McGraw's club in '25) and Louisville, Webb was sold to the Chicago Cubs in 1926. He played with the Cubs in '27 and '28, before being shipped to Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League. Webb played for LA in 1929 before his rights were purchased by the Reds. But he failed to make Cincinnati's regular season roster and was bought by Clark Griffith of the Senators. Once again, Webb was the odd man out in a crowded outfield, and found himself unemployed. In 1930, he was purchased by the Red Sox, where he found a home. "I found myself at last," Webb said. "Because I am working for a man who understands me, sympathizes with me, and does his best to make me a batter ballplayer." Webb was talking about Shano Colins, the Red Sox' manager in 1930. "Other managers had little, if any, interest in me," Webb said. "Until I went to work for Collins, I was never inspired."

Best Season

Webb set the single-season record for doubles, with 67. He also batted .333 with 14 homers, 103 RBI, and 196 hits. He slumped in the second half, hitting .270 after July 30th. He was batting .371 through July. At some point in August, Webb accidentally put iodine in one of his eyes, an incident that must have had at least a little to do with his second-half difficulties.

Fact

In 1931, Earl Webb of the Red Sox smashed the single-season record for doubles when he hit 67. However, he did not benefit from Fenway Park's famed Green Monster,as the wall was not erected in left field until 1934.

Transition

August 8, 1925: Traded by the Toledo (American Association) to the New York Giants for a player to be named later and Hack Wilson. The New York Giants sent Pip Koehler (February 15, 1926) to the Toledo (American Association) to complete the trade.

December 12, 1925: Sent by the New York Giants to the Louisville (American Association) to complete an earlier deal made on September 3, 1925. The New York Giants sent a player to be named later to the Louisville (American Association) for Ty Tyson. The New York Giants sent Earl Webb (December 12, 1925) to the Louisville (American Association) to complete the trade.

October, 1929: Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds from the Chicago Cubs in the 1929 rule V draft.

April 4, 1930: Selected off waivers by the Washington Senators from the Cincinnati Reds.

April 26, 1930: Traded by the Washington Senators to the Boston Red Sox for Bill Barrett. Webb never appeared in a regular season game for either the Reds or Senators.

June 12, 1932: Traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Detroit Tigers for Dale Alexander and Roy Johnson. May 14, 1933: Selected off waivers by the Chicago White Sox from the Detroit Tigers.

Description

Webb was a shy kid from a Tennessee coal-mining community when he signed as a pitcher for his first professional contract. His shyness never left him, even after he was a slugging outfielder with the Red Sox in the 1930s, he would often shuffle into a restaurant in downtown Boston to escape the crowded streets of the city. One story has it that when Webb first went to New York for a tryout with McGraw's Giants in 1922, he got lost and ran into Babe Ruth, who drove the country boy to the Polo Grounds.

Notes

On his 32nd birthday, September 17, 1931, Webb doubled twice in a doubleheader against Cleveland in Fenway Park to set the single-season record for doubles, with 65. He added two more to finish the season at 67.

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Tagged:
Boston Red Sox, Earl Webb, The Sporting News Baseball Guide

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