Hugh “Losing Pitcher” Mulcahy
If any one player, embodied the face and fate of the Phillies in the wilderness years, it was Hugh Mulcahy. Mulcahy was a big (6’2”, 190 pounds) righthanded ball-tosser who might have been called “Big Hugh” if he had been more successful. He looked like a pitcher, he had an elaborate motion, with a high leg kick, that would most certainly have caused a casual observer to label him “pitcher”, but no student of the game was likely to mistake him for a pitcher. A ball-tosser, certainly; a pitcher, no. In the four years from 1937 to 1940, Mulcahy won 40 and lost 76, earning the nickname that made him famous or more accurately, infamous. Mulcahy had made token appearances in 1935 and 1936, but 1937, at age 23, was the year he became a mound mainstay for the staggering Phillies. In that year, he threw in 215 2/3 innings, winning eight and losing 18 with a 5.13 ERA. One thing you could rely on with Mulcahy – he would walk more batters than he would strikeout. From 1937 to 1940, Hugh Mulcahy averaged per year - 247 innings pitched, 100 bases on balls, and 71 strikeouts. In modern terminology, he was “an innings eater”, but you had to have a strong constitution to watch him.
Typical of a Mulcahy start early in the 1937 season was a Sunday, May 9 game at Baker Bowl against the Cincinnati Reds, the only team to lose more games than the Phillies that year- Cincinnati was 56-98 in 1937, 5 ½ games back of the 7th place Phillies. Cincinnati was a bad team in 1937, but on this day in May, they pummeled the home-standing Phillies 21-10 with starting pitcher Mulcahy off to the showers in an 8-run 4th inning. Cincinnati catcher Ernie Lombardi went six for six in a 24 hit barrage.
A month later, on June 17, at Sportsman’s Park, St. Louis, Mulcahy got his first win, a complete game 13-hitter, beating Dizzy Dean 13-7, despite yielding three homeruns – one to Joe Medwick, and two to Johnny Mize. The Phillies treated the great Dean like bad cheese, mounting a 20-hit attack, four each by Hersh Martin and Chuck Klein.
A week later, June 23 at Crosley Field, Cincinnati, Mulcahy pitched a complete game four-hit shutout, beating Johnny Vander Meere 3-0. It would be a year later when Vander Meere earned his nickname “the Dutch Master”, with his two consecutive no-hit, no-run games.
So there it was – Mulcahy was capable of pitching at the Major League level on certain days, but not, heaven knows, at Baker Bowl
Pinky Whitney, back in his Baker Bowl comfort zone, hit .341 with 79 RBIs, one behind Dolph Camilli’s team-leading 80. Camilli hit .339 with 27 homeruns, signalling he probably would not remain a Philly too much longer. Curiously, Chuck Klein seemed to be slowing down at age 32; he hit .325 with 15 homeruns and 57 RBIs in 115 games.
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