Mysterious Walker

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Frederick Mitchell Walker

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Biographical Information[edit]

"Fred Walker, cured of the belief that the over-use of his uncontrollable spitter is essential, ought to make a great pitcher. . . Walker and his speed ought to serve him a lot better than his constant and unlimited use of the spitter which often gets him in trouble. We make this 'plaint on the authority of the great veteran, Captain Anson, who declares that the one puzzle of his life is that Fred Walker is not up among the world's great pitchers." - Sporting Life of February 6, 1915

"Fred Walker, who pitched for the Rebels last season, played football for the All-College eleven here on Saturday, against an All-Indian team. The All-College men won by a single touchdown, and it was husky Fred's terrific line plunging that enabled the college men to score the lone touchdown. If Fred could only play baseball the way he plays football . . ." - from the Sporting Life issue of December 12, 1914

Mysterious Walker, who had attended the University of Chicago from 1904-1907, pitched for five years in the major leagues, jumping in 1914 to the Federal League. He is the only major league ballplayer with the nickname "Mysterious", although the name would have seemed a natural for Moe Berg, who was called mysterious by Elden Auker.

He pitched in the minors for the San Francisco Seals in 1910 using the surname Mitchell, where his nickname first emerged as "Mysterious Mitchell" because he seemed to come out of nowhere to be a success. He threatened to break the cameras of photographers who took his photo and even refused to take the field until umpires banished photographers. Finally after photographs ran in newspapers, he was identified as Fred Walker, who had played multiple sports at the University of Chicago, pitched for the Cincinnati Reds earlier in the 1910 season and jumped from the New York Giants after accusations of assaulting a woman in his residence hotel. After initial success and emerging as a fan favorite, Mitchell faltered and other players bristled at his perceived arrogance. After an arrest for a drunken drive on a beach and issues with teammates and club staff, Mitchell was released from the Seals in October.

In the spring of 1911 he was baseball coach for Oregon State University. A photo of him while at Oregon State shows the same solemn face with folded arms as his photo above.

Another story about the origin of his nickname is that he would supposedly disappear for days without telling people where he had gone.

A genealogical site says that he played football at the University of Chicago. Later he coached college football and sold bonds.

It was reported in 1912 that Connie Mack signed a pitcher named "Fred Walker", identified as a "local amateur" who pitched well against Cornell. It is not clear if this is the same or a different Fred Walker, since Mysterious Walker in 1912 was said to be pitching semi-pro ball in Washington, DC at one point and coaching a San Francisco basketball team at another point in time.

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