Friday, August 26, 2005

August 26th, 1899

Pea Ridge Day Born

The nickname comes from Clyde Day's place of birth, Pea Ridge, Arkansas. (Civil war buffs among you may recognize Pea Ridge as site of the crucial 1862 battle which all but ensured would be Missouri under Union control for the duration of the war.) Day was an eccentric who threw a screwball and was also known as the "hog calling pitcher" for his habit of making what one newspaper described as "piercing yells" while on the mound.

Day was mediocre in trials with the Cardinals, Reds and Robins (that is, Dodgers) in the twenties and thirties, accumulating a 5.30 ERA in just under one hundred twenty five innings. His story ends sadly, Day blew out his arm in the early 30s and lost the capacity to pitch. He had an operation--Day claimed it cost nearly ten thousand dollars, a sum equal to nearly $150,000 in 2005 dollars--which he believed would fix the arm but had no such luck. Depressed and feeling he was ruined, despite the birth of a son just three weeks earlier, Day slashed his throat with a hunting knife, despite the efforts of a one-time teammate who tried but failed to stop him.

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