Tuesday, June 21, 2005


June 21th, 1982/1895

Arnie Munoz Born/Frank Bowes Dies

Unless someone has sprung up lately Arnie Munoz is the latest (which is to say, youngest) player born on June 21st to ever have played in the Major Leagues. And, unless new records have been discovered, Frank Bowes was the first man to have played Major League caliber baseball to have died on June 21st. Munoz, born in the Dominican Republic town of Mao was a reliever for the White Sox last season who pitched fourteen innings with a rather gruesome 10.49 ERA. Frank Bowes, born in the New York state town of Bath was a utility man who played one season for the 1890 Brooklyn Gladiators--now there's a team name--of the American Association. Bowes hit .220/.246/.259, a line which stunk, even in 1890.

However, it is possible to connect them beyond the date of one's birth and another's death. This is done thanks to BaseballReference.com's amazing Oracle of Baseball. The Oracle takes any two players, like say, Arnie Munoz and Frank Bowes, finds common teammates, and gives you a chain. It can also tell you how "connected" a player is to others in the baseball universe. Someone like Jesse Orosco is, unsurprisingly, quite connected, having shared a clubhouse with more than six hundred and fifty people and having common teammates with nearly six thousand. Frank Bowes, in contrast, is barely connected at all. The link from him to Munoz then, is an interesting one, and I'll list it below, along with a brief note on each player:

(1) Frank Bowes played with John Peltz
Peltz was a mediocre hitting outfielder for the Gladiators and a handful of other clubs in the 1800s

John Peltz played with Frank Scheibeck
Scheibeck was a light hitting shortstop who actually had ten at-bats with the Tigers in 1906 at age 41

Frank Scheibeck played with Charley O' Leary
O'Leary was a starter and later reserve infielder for the Tigers for many years on some decent teams

Charley O'Leary played with Rollie Hemsley
Hemsley was a catcher who had a nineteen year career for many teams and made five All-Star teams

(5) Rollie Hemsley played with Curt Simmons
Simmons was a pretty good lefty for Philly and St. Louis for many years, winning as many as 18 games

(6) Curt Simmons played with Steve Carlton
You have, of course, heard of Carlton, who is one of the greatest lefties ever

(7) Steve Carlton played with Mike Jackson

No relation to the recently acquitted singer, Jackson has bounced around seemingly forever as reliever on the strength of his slider

(8) Mike Jackson played with Arnie Munoz
And the chain at last complete, having gone through the eminently forgettable to Hall of Famers and All Stars and back to Arnie Munoz.

One can accurately put the distance between the careers of Bowes then, eight players and one hundred fifteen years. It is amazing the game has as much history as it does but I am eternally grateful.

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