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Elmer Singleton

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Bert Elmer Singleton (Smoky)

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Right-hander Elmer Singleton was signed as an amateur free agent by the New York Yankees before the 1940 season and very doubtfully had any idea of what the next 24 years had in store for his pitching arm. Elmer's first stop would be with the Wenatchee Chiefs of the Western International League where the 22 year old would go 5-10 while pitching 165 innings in his first season in pro baseball. Elmer would spend the next five years (1941-1945) before he had a winning season, going 7-6 for the Kansas City Blues of the American Association with a 2.43 ERA. This effort got Elmer traded to the Boston Braves on August 9, 1945 where he finished out the season with the major league Braves going 1-4 with a 4.82 ERA in five starts.

Singleton would be with the Braves in 1946 going 0-1 in 15 appearances with a 3.74 ERA, and spend the rest of the season with the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association, where he went 1-2 in six outings and was involved in a six player trade on September 30, 1946 that sent him to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would hang with the Pittsburgh club in 1947 and 1948, winning six and losing eight before being sold to the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League on March 28, 1949 where he would go 8-14 in 1949 and 5-10 in 1950 before the Seals would trade him to the Washington Senators on June 25, for Steve Nagy.

Elmer finished 1950 with the Senators, going 1-2 in 21 appearances and on October 11, 1950 the Senators sold him to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the Pacific Coast League where he would be with four diferent teams until 1955. He wound up with the Seattle Rainiers in 1955 and had his best season to date, going 19-12 with a 2.20 ERA while pitching 249 innings and helping his team to the league pennant. With Seattle again in 1956 he got better, winning 18 times but losing only 8 with a league leading 2.55 ERA in 226 innings, plus making the PCL All-Star team.

This put Elmer on the free market again and this time on October 14, 1956 he was purchased by Cincinnati who in turn, one month later, traded him along with Ray Jablonski to the Chicago Cubs for Warren Hacker, Don Hoak and Pete Whisenant. Singleton would be with the Chicago Cubs the last three years (1957-1959) of his eight year major league career, closing out with a 11-17 record with a 4.83 ERA while appearing in 145 games. The much traveled right-hander wasn't quite eady to quit just yet and went back to the Pacific Coast League where he spent the next four seasons with Spokane, Sacramento, Vancouver and finished out with Seattle in 1963 at 45 years of age. His minor league stats showed 184 wins with 186 losses with a 3.50 ERA while pitching 3,151 innings.

Singleton accomplished the feat of pitching in three different decades, the 1940s, 1950s and the 1960s, 24 seasons. That shows a great love for the game. After baseball he became an automobile salesman in Seattle, WA, he then retired to his birthplace of Ogden, UT, where he died on January 5, 1996, at age 77.


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Baseball Players of the 1950s


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