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Pearce Chiles

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Pearce Nuget Chiles
(What's The Use)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 185 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

"He was the oddest of all diamond odd-balls." - George Girsch, writing in 1958 in Baseball Digest about Pearce Chiles

Pearce Chiles was an infielder, outfielder, pinch-hitter and coach in between the many crimes he seems to have committed. He hit well for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1899. After 1903 he disappeared from sight, although since he was wanted for escaping from prison it was possibly intentional on his part.

As a coach (a duty he fulfilled on occasions when he wasn't playing), Chiles was once caught wearing an electric buzzer which relayed information about the opposing team's catcher's signals from one of Chiles' teammates who was using binoculars to read the signals. Chiles would then yell out a pre-arranged word to alert his teammate at the bat.

This site has a biography of Chiles, whose playing career was quite long, and lasted even after he escaped from prison. He also served as player-manager for Lancaster. He was often in trouble for breaking the law in various ways, something which didn't seem to greatly affect most of his playing career since he moved around a lot from team to team.

Baseball Digest of August 1958 has an article about him.

He was sometimes confused with Cupid Childs and his last name was occasionally spelled Childs. His first name was often spelled Pierce, and sometimes he was called Petie.

"He was run out of Kansas and Texas years ago for serious crimes, and now gets the two-year trick for working a flim-flam game." - Sporting Life of May 4, 1901, in an article titled "Chiles Put Away"
"To the best of our knowledge Pierce Chiles is still in jail in Texas." - Sporting Life, June 28, 1902 although Chiles was to escape on August 19 of that year

He played for a team later in 1902. As of February 1903 he was living in Portland, OR and a team there claimed to have signed him, but he got arrested for a different alleged crime. Later in 1903 he played semi-pro ball in California, where his trace was lost for over a century. In 2014, SABR researcher Peter Morris managed to find a marriage record from 1906 where his name is given as "Nuget Chiles"; he is then listed in the 1910 census as "N.B. Chiles" and later as "Newton Barron Chiles", until his death in 1933.

[edit] Further Reading

  • "Pearce Chiles Found", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, May/June 2014, p. 1.

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