March 2nd, 1912
Ace Adams Born
That's not a nickname, he was born that way. Ace Townsend Adams of Willows, California. Adams, like Dizzy Trout had his best years during the war, but unlike Trout, found that success unsustainable. Adams was a reliever in the Jeff Montgomery mold, featuring an assortment of pitches. Besides his fastball, Adams says his main pitch was a slider taught to him by a minor league teammate. The slider was a relatively rare pitch in those days; it would not gain true prominence until Bob Feller returned from the war and won twenty six games in 1946 throwing it.
Adams and his collection of pitches, which also included a change-up and curveballs of varying speed, were good enough to serve as the closer--as much as anyone did in that period--for the wartime Giants (whose hitting star was Mel Ott, also born today) and Adams finished second in saves in 1942 and 1943 and first in 1944 and 1945. Adams averaged just twelve saves in those four years, which is of course a fortnight's work for some closers these days. The game does change. When the players returned from the war Adams barely pitched (just two and two-thirds innings in 1946) and got rocked when he did (an ERA of 16.88) and jumped to the then "outlaw" Mexican League, and would never pitch in the Majors again.