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Cy Blanton

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Darrell Elijah Blanton

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[edit] Biographical Information

Cy Blanton broke in with the Western Association Shawnee Robins in 1930. The 22-year-old won 12 and lost 16 in 44 appearances in his first year in the minors. He would wind up pitching for seven more minor league teams and his best year was to be when he won 21 and lost only 7 for the St. Joseph Saints of the Western League. This performance enticed the Pittsburgh Pirates to purchase his contract in 1933.

Cy spent the most of 1934 with the International League's Albany Senators but made his first appearance with the Pirates on September 23rd, starting and pitching eight innings in a 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Back with the Pirates in 1935, Blanton became the outstanding rookie pitcher in the majors, going 18-13 with a 2.58 ERA. In 1939, he tore ligaments in his elbow in throwing a no-hitter during an exhibition game against the Cleveland Indians on Easter Sunday in New Orleans, LA and was never the same afterwards. On May 21, 1940, after six seasons in the "Steel City" and a 58-51 record he was released and became a free agent.

The Philadelphia Phillies immediately signed him to a contract in the hopes that a change of scenery would help him. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Blanton was a mere shadow of himself at this point in his career. Arm injuries and the fast life where taking their toll.

The best he could do with the Phillies] was a 4-3 mark in his first season in 1940, followed by a miserable 6-13 in 1941 after he had been named the team's openind day starter. His 0-4 record in 1942 earned him a pink slip on June 12th. Blanton tried to regain his old form with the Pacific Coast League Hollywood Stars, going 9-9 in 1943 and 4-5 in 1944. But on March 27, 1945 he was suspended by the Hollywood Management for breaking training rules, having failed to get into shape since arriving at spring training.

By this time in life, Blanton's way had begun taking a toll on him. Amazingly, Cy got a letter from Uncle Sam, asking him to report for pre-induction tests. Of course he did not pass, and in fact was recommended by doctors to get more tests and treatment. Cy returned home to Oklahoma, where he was eventually admitted to the Central State Hospital in Norman, OK on August 31st. The painful end came on September 13, 1945, just 13 days after entering the hospital. He was just 37 years old.

Blanton was known for his breaking pitches, one of which he named "Dewdrop" due to its lightning like drop when crossing the plate. Many close to him felt that he could have been a great pitcher if not for his fondness for alcohol.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 2-time NL All-Star (1937 & 1941)
  • NL ERA Leader (1935)
  • 2-time NL Shutouts Leader (1935 & 1936)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1935)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1935-1937)

[edit] Sources

Baseball-Reference.com
Frank Russo and Gene Racz Book
SABR MILB Database:page

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