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Dutch Leonard (leonadu01)

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Hubert Benjamin Leonard

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[edit] Biographical Information

Dutch Leonard pitched 16 seasons from 1910 to 1925, two in college (1910-1911), 11 in the Major Leagues (1913-1921; 1924-1925), one in the minors (1912) and four in semipro leagues (1918-1919; 1922-1923), losing part of 1918 to the War effort. He served in the United States Armed Forces during World War I as well as working part of the year for the Fore River Shipyards.

He had a trial with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1911 although he never got into a game for the team.

In 1912 with the Denver Grizzlies of the Western League, he was 22-9 with 326 strikeouts in 241 innings and an ERA of 2.50. He led the American League in ERA in 1914 with 0.96. He pitched no-hitters against the St. Louis Browns on August 30, 1916 and the Detroit Tigers on June 3, 1918. He won Game 3 of the 1915 World Series, outduelling the Phillies' Grover Cleveland Alexander 2-1. He also won Game 4 of the 1916 World Series against the Brooklyn Robins.

While embroiled in two salary disputes, with the New York Yankees in 1919 and with Detroit Tigers owner Frank Navin in 1922, he played with Fresno in the semipro San Joaquin League (1919; 1922-1923) and was 51-20 in the minors/semipro overall. As a result, he was suspended from Organized Baseball, then was reinstated late in the 1924 season when he rejoined the Tigers. He then feuded with manager Ty Cobb in 1925, which culminated in a game against Philadelphia on July 14 when he was left on the mound for the entire game in spite of allowing 12 runs on 20 hits. He was placed on waivers a short while later. As no team claimed him, he was sold to Vernon of the Pacific Coast League but refused to report, bringing his career to an end.

After the 1926 season, Leonard then tried to exact revenge on Cobb and Cleveland Indians manager Tris Speaker, whom he considered to have been responsible for running him out of baseball, by stating that they had conspired to throw a game on September 24, 1919. Speaker's Cleveland team had second place locked at that point, and the Tigers were trying to win third place money (there was no fourth place money). A fixed game could give the Tigers third. Joe Wood, Speaker's long-time teammate and roommate, was also supposedly involved in the fix. Leonard came forward with letters regarding the issue, which contained non-specific references to bets having been placed on a game. American League President Ban Johnson took the allegations very seriously, and immediately informed the two managers that they should resign their positions. However, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis decided to investigate the allegations further, and when Leonard refused to come to his office in Chicago, IL to back up his allegations, Landis cleared both Cobb and Speaker. As they had been released by that point, both signed with new teams for the 1927 season, Cobb with the Philadelphia Athletics and Speaker with the Washington Senators. The confrontation between Johnson and Landis would mark the beginning of the end for Johnson; he would be stripped of his powers by American League owners in July of 1927.

Leonard did extremely well for himself after baseball. He became a very successful California vineyardist, vintner and wine packer. He was also an expert left-handed golfer. Leonard died at age 60 from complications of a stroke suffered three days earlier and is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Fresno, CA. His estate at the time of his death was worth $ 2.1 million.

[edit] Highlights

  • 1920: The spitball is declared illegal but 17 pitchers, including Leonard, are grandfathered in and allowed to use the pitch until they retire.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • AL ERA Leader (1914)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 4 (1914-1917)
  • 200 Wins Seasons: 6 (1913, 1914, 1916, 1917, 1919 & 1921)
  • Won two World Series with the Boston Red Sox (1915 & 1916)

[edit] Sources

Principal sources for Dutch Leonard (leonadu01) include newspaper obituaries (OB), government records (VA,CM,CW), Sporting Life (SL), Baseball Digest, The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs (1916-1922) (WW), old Baseball Registers (none) (BR), TSN's Daguerreotypes (1958;1961) (DAG), The Historical Register, The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase(PD), The Baseball Library (BL); various Encyclopediae including The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball by Turkin & Thompson (T&T), MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia (Mac), Total Baseball (TB), The Bill James Historical Abstract (BJ) and The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (LJ); Retrosheet (RS), The Baseball Chronology (BC), Baseball Page (BP), The Baseball Almanac (BA), Baseball Cube (B3) and obituaries at deadballera.com (DBE) as well as research by Reed Howard (RH), Pat Doyle (PD) and Frank Hamilton (FH).

[edit] Records Held

  • Lowest ERA, season (since 1893), 0.96, 1914
  • Lowest ERA, left-handed pitcher, season (since 1893), 0.96, 1914
  • Fewest hits per 9 innings, left-hander, season, 5.57, 1914
  • Most wins in a season with ERA under 1.00, 19, 1914

[edit] Further Reading

  • David Jones: "Hubert Benjamin 'Dutch' Leonard", in David Jones, ed.: Deadball Stars of the American League, SABR, Potomac Books, Inc., Dulles, VA, 2006, pp. 453-456.

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