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Harry Ables

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Harry Terrell Ables (Hans)

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[edit] Biographical Information

Harry Ables was a farm boy, born in 1884 and raised near the small town of Terrell, TX. He was recruited late in the season off the campus of Southwestern University and finished his first year in professional baseball in 1904, with the Southern Association Memphis Egyptians, helping them win the league title with a 3-2 record and a 4.58 ERA.

He was back in the Texas League with the Dallas Giants in 1905 where he put together a 17-13 record with a 1.93 ERA. This got him acquired by the American League's St. Louis Browns for the late season, where he was unable to get a win in, going 0-3 in six games with a 3.82 ERA.

Harry's 1905 major league performance was indicitive of what the future held for him in the big leagues. He got another chance with the 1909 Cleveland Naps, being acquired after a fine season with the San Antonio Bronchos (19-12, 1.97 ERA), but produced only a 1-1 record in five games for the Naps.

The New York Highlanders grabbed him in 1911, after he had turned in as good a year as a pitcher could wish for, going 22-11 with a 1.75 ERA with the Pacific Coast League Oakland Oaks. For the Yankees, he was 0-1 in 3 games with a 9.82 ERA.

I guess you could say that the left-hander was among that group of young men who just did not perform well in brief try outs in the major leagues.

You cannot close the story on Harry until you take a look at his 1910 "Season in the Sun". At 6' 3" and 215 lbs. he was a giant among men in that era. His fingers were so long he could wrap them completely around a baseball. As a pitcher he was capable of going on streaks where he was all but unhittable. He struck out men by the score, including 310 in 1910 for the San Antonio Bronchos....the oldest single season record in Texas League history (as of 2008).

On April 27, Ables struck out 15 in a 1-0 win over Oklahoma City. He fanned the first 7 he faced and allowed just 4 hits. The final out was the Mets manager, Jay Andrews, who inserted hinself into the game as a pinch hitter. Ables fanned him on 3 pitches.

On June 13, Harry was even better. Pitching against the league leading Dallas Giants he did not allow a hit through the first 10 innings. The Giants' Jewel Ens broke up the no-hitter in the eleventh but was thrown out trying to steal to end the inning. In the 14th, the Bronchos' George Stinson homered and the Bronchos won 1-0. "Lefty" struck out 19 of the Giants in 14 innings.

On July 5, the Bronchos had a doubleheader scheduled with the Waco Navigators with Ables starting the first game. The Navigators scored a run in the first and the Bronchos tied it up in the sixth. They played without scoring for 23 innings. Ables pitched all 23 innings, giving up 16 hits and striking out 17. The game still stands as the longest tie in Texas League history and was the longest of any kind by time (4 hours, 15 minutes) until 1960. As of this date Ables still holds the record of 22 consecutive shutouts innings in one game.

But "Lefty" was still not done. On August 8, he struck out the first 10 batters in a game at Dallas, also a league record that still stands as of 2008. Ables struck out 16 in a 4-2 win, allowing but four hits.

On September 4, his last start of the season, Harry threw a no-hitter against the Waco team, winning 1-0. In 1910 Ables won 19 games, lost 12, pitched 340 innings and had a 1.85 ERA.

Harry spent 13 seasons in the minors. He appeared in 344 games, winning 158 and losing 129, striking out 1,901 batters in 2,669 innings and only allowing a 2.26 ERA.

Ables was later president of the San Antonio Bears from 1926 to 1928.

[edit] Sources

The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball: Third Edition
SABR Minor League Database
baseball-reference.com
San Antonio at Bat by Dave King

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