Thursday, February 03, 2005


February 3rd, 1885

Slim Sallee Born

Slim Sallee (no relation to Tubby Spencer) was indeed slim, standing 6'3" but weighing in at just 180 pounds, thus earning the nickname. He was a good pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals during their truly awful period in the late aughts and early teens going 106-107 for a team that was over .500 just once during his time there. In 1916 he was sold to the Giants in midseason. In 1917, after going 18-7, 2.17, Sallee started Game One of the World Series for John McGraw and pitched a gem but lost to Eddie Cicotte 2-1. With the series tied 2-2, McGraw again called on Sallee. He started Game Five and was again out pitched by Cicotte (who came on in relief in the first inning despite having started Game 3 just two days prior) while allowing eight runs in a 8-5 Giants loss. The Giants would lose the series the next game leaving Sallee without a chance at redemption in a potential Game Seven. Sallee's final line was a mediocre 0-2, 5.28 for the series. Despite another solid season for the Giants in 1918, the Giants placed Sallee on waivers where he was claimed by the Cincinnati Reds.

Despite being thirty-four and in his twelfth Major League season, Sallee posted his best season going 21-7 while delivering a career low 2.06 ERA. The Reds in 1919 went to the World Series where they met Sallee's old nemesis Eddie Cicotte and the Chicago White Sox. Sallee started Game Two and won 4-2, although like all records from that year, it must be viewed through the lens of the White Sox efforts to throw the Series. Sallee started Game Seven (the series was best of nine that year) with a chance to clinch but with the Sox and their gambler backers feuding, he was again out pitched by his nemesis Cicotte, and lost the game 4-1. The Reds clinched the next day, leaving Sallee with a more dignified 1-1, 1.35 record for his second attempt at postseason play.

After an ineffective stretch with the Reds in 1920, they placed him on waivers, and the Giants claimed him, reuniting Sallee with many of his former teammates. Evidently happy to be back in New York
, Sallee finished strong allowing just 3 earned runs in his seventeen innings with the Giants. In 1921 Sallee became McGraw's primary reliever, not starting a single game but finishing 19, earning a 6-4 record, along with two saves and a 3.64 ERA. He retired thereafter and returned home to Higginsport Ohio, the place of his birth, where he ran a restaurant. Sallee died in Higginsport in 1950.

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