Friday, October 07, 2005

October 7th, 1932

Bud Daley Born

Most people, I think, know the story of Jim Abbott. Abbott was born with only one-hand but overcame that to go straight from pitching at the University of Michigan to pitching for the Angels and would go on to pitch a no-hitter for the Yankees. Bud Daley, born today, was the Jim Abbott of his generation. Daley contracted polio as a child, and while he retained most of his physical capabilities, Daley's natural throwing arm--the right--ended up growing distinctly shorter than his left.

Undeterred, Daley taught himself to throw left handed. He made his Major League Debut in 1955 for the Indians, and put on a generally unimpressive show, posting ERAs over six his two first years. He was traded to the
Kansas City A's before the 1958 season and had another unimpressive year before becoming the A's de-facto ace in 1959 and 1960. Both years he led the team in victories, with sixteen, and made the All-Star team.

In the midst of the 1961 season, Daley was traded to the New York Yankees and would finally have his moment. Although he was largely forgettable for
New York the rest of the season (8-9, 3.96) Daley and his roundhouse curve put on a show in the World Series. He appeared in just two games, but pitched a total of seven innings, allowing only five hits and no runs. Daley also won the victory in the Yankees' clinching game, coming in for ineffective starter Ralph Terry and going the rest of the way.

Daley was again mediocre for the Yankees in 1962, and appeared in just one World Series game that year, although he did pitch a scoreless inning. Daley pitched again for the Yankees in '63 and '64 but never again found the form that had treated him so well in the World Series.

Despite that, it should take nothing away from Daley, a man who overcame a seemingly crippling--in so far as a baseball career is concerned--injury to succeed on baseball's biggest stage for its most famous team. We should all be so lucky.

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