Results tagged ‘ king cole ’

April 15 – Happy Birthday Old King Cole

King_Cole.jpgThis merry old right-hander went 10-9 for the 1914 Highlanders. Too bad he wasn’t still around and pitching for Washington because then we could have called him “The Nat, King Cole.”

Joking aside, Cole’s real first name was Leonard. He had become “King” in 1910 when, as a rookie with the Chicago Cubs he went 20-4 with a league-leading ERA of just 1.80. How special was that performance? Only 17 other Major League first-year pitchers have been able to win 20 games (Bob Grim, who went 20-6 in 1954, was the only Yankee rookie to do it) and only nine have compiled an ERA of less than two runs per game. He pitched the Cubs into the 1910 World Series and even though his team lost, Cole had gained national attention. This “Royal” rookie then went on to trash baseball’s sophomore jinx superstition by going 18-7 in his second season with the Cubbies.

Everything began to change for Cole during the 1912 season. He won just one of his first eight starts that season and he was getting shelled by every opposing lineup. The Cubs traded the former phee-nom to the Pirates but the change of scenery did not help and Cole found himself pitching in the minor leagues the following year. That seemed to be an elixir for the young right-hander’s career as he won 23 games for a team in Columbus and that effort attracted attention from a bunch of big league clubs, including the Yankees. New York ended up outbidding all other teams for Cole and he was headed to the Big Apple.

Cole appeared in 33 games for New York in 1914, including 15 starts and won ten of his nineteen decisions, including two shutouts. But Cole’s performance plummeted again in 1915 and the reason turned out to be a medical one. The pitcher was suffering from tuberculosis and then a cancerous tumor was found in his groin. The end came quick for the native of Toledo, IA. He died in January of 1916 at the age of 29.

This former Yankee reliever was also born on IRS tax deadline day.

Year Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO WHIP
1914 NYY AL 10 9 .526 3.30 33 15 12 8 2 0 141.2 151 63 52 3 51 43 1.426
1915 NYY AL 2 3 .400 3.18 10 6 4 2 0 1 51.0 41 27 18 2 22 19 1.235
6 Yrs 54 27 .667 3.12 129 86 32 47 9 2 730.2 657 309 253 13 331 298 1.352
CHC (4 yrs) 40 13 .755 2.72 74 60 10 35 7 1 489.0 404 177 148 7 240 225 1.317
NYY (2 yrs) 12 12 .500 3.27 43 21 16 10 2 1 192.2 192 90 70 5 73 62 1.375
PIT (1 yr) 2 2 .500 6.43 12 5 6 2 0 0 49.0 61 42 35 1 18 11 1.612
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/15/2013.