Friday, June 30, 2006

June 30th, 1974

Mule Haas Dies

When I see a nickname like "Mule" I expect one of two things: the man in question (born George Haas, incidentally) is a pitcher who throws huge numbers of innings every year, a "mule" carrying the team's inning load. Failing that, "Mule" would be a big lumbering slugger, wad of tobacco in his cheek, swinging for the fences every time out.

As it turns out, Mule Haas did once rank in the top ten in home runs (10th, with sixteen in 1929) but his game was neither about pitching huge numbers of innings or hitting huge numbers of home runs. He did, however, lead the league in a certain category six times, but not the kind of category that his nickname would suggest: sacrifice hits. Haas led the league in sacrifices 1930-1934, and again in 1936. For his career he had 227 sacrifice hits, currently fifty-fourth all time.

So I guess that Mule Haas was the beast of burden for his squad, carrying them in a statistic. Not quite the statistic I had in mind for his nickname, but there you go.

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