Monday, November 14, 2005

November 14th, 1975

Garland Buckeye Dies

Nicknamed Gob (but no relation to GOB of the recently and tragically cancelled Arrested Development), Buckeye was a pitcher in the twenties. A rather amply man, Buckeye stood six foot but weighed in at two hundred and sixty pounds. He debuted in baseball in 1918 but was out of the game until 1925, with most of the years (1921-24) spent as a different occupation: as a guard for the St. Louis football Cardinals. In 1925 Buckeye returned to the Majors and posted some decent numbers as a pitcher for Cleveland, as well as the dubious honor of what was labeled at the time as “baseball's biggest battery,” in 1928 when he was paired with the two hundred and fifty pound Shanty Hogan. The year of his weightiest triumph also marked the last of his career however, as Buckeye was out of the majors after that season.

Buckeye's story can nonetheless tell us two things. For one, it tells us that if even if Buckeye never did it simultaneously, it does tell us that athletes like Deion Sanders and Drew Henson weren't the first to play baseball and football professionally. The second is more about football than baseball, but still worth noting. Buckeye was a big guy for the time, and while it is true the population has been getting bigger, athletes especially have. The Indians battery of C.C. Sabathia and back-up catcher weighs in at four hundred ninety pounds, just a score fewer than “baseball’s biggest battery” but it draws no special attention in that regard. Of course, compared to football players today, the enlargening of baseball players is relatively minor. If Buckeye were to try out as a guard for the (now
Arizona) Cardinals today, he would be four inches and one hundred and thirty pounds short of average. Just as baseball players of Buckeye’s size are no longer as notable, in football he’d have a lot more in common size-wise with the average NFL quarterback than the average NFL guard.

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