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Jake Levy

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Jacob L. Levy

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8 1/2", Weight 175 lb.

Jake Levy had a career in professional baseball that spanned a 26-year period, with several breaks. What has made his case even harder for baseball historians is the fact that he played under several different names (including Jack LeRoy). Overall, Levy won at least 200 games and lost 146 in the minor leagues. One source maintains that he was on a major league roster, but never played a MLB game; this is disputed, but has not been disproved.

Levy debuted in 1921 with the Tri-City Triplets and Greeneville Burley Cubs, then was with the 1922 Danville Veterans. In 1923, he moved on to the Charlotte Hornets, where he went 12-3 with a 4.69 ERA and hit .286 with 7 HR and 56 RBI. He did not play in Organized Baseball in 1924. Jake had a 5-5, 2.65 record for Charlotte in 1925 and batted .318 with four home runs and drove in 34. In 1926, Levy was 13-10 with a 3.66 ERA for the Hornets and batted .298 with 2 HR and 45 RBI. In 1927, Jake had his best year in Charlotte with a 22-12, 2.73 mark and a .305 average with 4 HR and 24 RBI. He finished third in the South Atlantic League in ERA and tied for fourth in wins. The Lancaster Daily Eagle that September reported that Levy was signed by the New York Giants; he did not play for New York; Horvitz and Horvitz in The Big Book of Jewish Baseball lists Jake's stint on the Giants bench as coming with the 1932 Giants.

In 1928, Jake swung a mean stick for the Hartford Senators, producing at a .375/.491/.534 clip; he was one of the top hitters in the Eastern League but only had 88 AB. He was 7-4 on the mound with a 3.66 ERA. As he played in 58 games and only pitched in 13 of them without playing the field as many as 10 times at any other position, he presumably was Hartford's main pinch-hitter.

Levy hit .280/~.343/.355 in 1929 for the Bridgeport Bears (primarily) and Allentown Dukes; on the mound, he was 12-9 with a 4.07 ERA for the two clubs.

Returning to Allentown in 1930, Levy had a 15-16, 4.21 record and hit .283 with one homer and 18 RBI. In 1931, Jake struggled with Allentown and the Richmond Byrds, going 5-9 with a 4.47 ERA and hitting only .214 with 2 HR and 14 RBI. It appears to be the last year he batted regularly when not pitching.

In 1932, The Big Book of Jewish Baseball lists him with the Knoxville Smokies and on the bench of the New York Giants but Pat Doyle's database has him out of baseball until 1936 and the Minor League Register]] concurs.

Levy joined the Savannah Indians in 1936 and went 17-14 with a 2.95 ERA. He tied for sixth in the South Atlantic League in wins and was in the top 10 in ERA. In 1937, Jake had a 20-8, 3.72 line for Savannah. He finished second to Art Evans in the SAL in victories. In his third year with Savannah, the minor league veteran had a record of 10-9, 4.82 for the pennant winners. Jake hit .231/~.355/.288.

Vanishing for another couple of years, Jake resurfaced in 1941 with the Gadsden Pilots and going 10-14 with a 4.48 ERA. In 1942, Levy was 20 years away from the start of his career but posted his lowest ERA yet when he was 16-8 with a 1.85 ERA for the Macon Peaches. He tied for 6th in the SALLY league in wins and possibly led in ERA.

In 1943, Levy began his last run, with the Portsmouth Cubs. He topped his 1942 ERA mark by going 13-4 with a 1.49 ERA and hit .304/~.371/.411. In a pitching-rich season, Jake trailed both Garland Braxton (0.74) and Al Gettel (1.47) in ERA. Jake walked 26 in 163 innings only. His 7 shutouts were the all-time Piedmont League record. In 1944, Jake had a 14-12, 2.27 record for Portsmouth and batted .279/~.430/.294 as the old-timer showed he could still swing a bat. He walked 47 in 210 innings pitched.

Jake faded to 7-7, 3.27 for Portsmouth in 1945 and then concluded his long career by going 2-2 with a 6.75 RA for the 1946 edition of the team.

Sources: 1929-1930 and 1939 Spalding Guides, 1945 and 1947 Baseball Guides, Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database and e-mail from Doyle re: Levy's record, The Big Book of Jewish Baseball by Peter Horvitz and Joachim Horvitz, The Minor League Register ed. by W. Lloyd Johnson

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