August 14 – Happy Birthday Babe Borton

bortonWell what do you know? There is yet another Yankee nicknamed Babe on the team’s all-time roster. This one’s real name was William Borton, a native of Marion, IL who made his big league debut as a 23-year-old first baseman with the 1912 Chicago White Sox. He only appeared in 31 games that season but he caused quite a stir in the Windy City by averaging .371 in his rookie year. That earned him a spot on the team’s 1913 roster, but thanks to the unsavory behavior of one of the most notorious players in Yankee team history, he would not finish his second season as a White Sox.

Hal Chase had been the Yankee’s best player and a fan favorite during the franchise’s first decade in New York. Unfortunately, he was also a gambler and a con man. Chase would do anything for money including throwing baseball games and by 1913, he had worn out his welcome in New York. The Yankees traded him to Chicago for today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant and a White Sox infielder named Rollie Zeider on June 1, 1913. While Chase hit .286 for the White Sox during the second half of that season, Babe Borton floundered badly in New York, averaging just .130. As a result, he was not invited back by the Yankees the following year.

Instead, Borton played minor league ball in 1914 and then signed on with the St Louis Terriers of the upstart Federal League in 1915. He became a star for the Terriers, averaging a robust .286 and leading the new league in both runs and walks. When the Federal League went belly up at the end of that 1915 season, Borton signed on with the St. Louis Browns. He again struggled against American League pitching, averaging just .224 for the Browns in 1916 and would never again play in a big league ball game. He spent the next four years putting up some very decent numbers in the Pacific Coast League. Ironically, the guy the Yanks got for Hal Chase ended up getting suspended from that league when he admitted to accepting money to throw games.

Borton shares his birthday with this former Yankee shortstop and this onetime Yankee infielder.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1913 NYY 33 131 108 8 14 2 0 0 11 1 18 19 .130 .260 .148 .408
4 Yrs 317 1141 940 139 254 31 17 4 136 21 160 110 .270 .381 .352 .734
CHW (2 yrs) 59 224 185 24 61 8 1 0 30 2 31 14 .330 .429 .384 .812
SLM (1 yr) 159 668 549 97 157 20 14 3 83 17 92 64 .286 .395 .390 .785
NYY (1 yr) 33 131 108 8 14 2 0 0 11 1 18 19 .130 .260 .148 .408
SLB (1 yr) 66 118 98 10 22 1 2 1 12 1 19 13 .224 .350 .306 .657
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/14/2013.

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