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Samuel Earl Crawford
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 0", Weight 190 lb.
- Debut September 10, 1899
- Final Game September 16, 1917
- Born April 18, 1880 in Wahoo, NE USA
- Died June 15, 1968 in Hollywood, CA USA
"None of them can hit them quite as hard as Crawford." - Fielder Jones
". . . Christy Mathewson, when asked who was the hardest hitter he ever saw, promptly answered 'Sam Crawford' and Larry Doyle when broached on the same question replied as promptly 'Sam Crawford'. - from Baseball Magazine, 1916
"Sam Crawford was for years considered the heaviest slugger in baseball. His great shoulders and muscular arms and his sure eye made him about the hardest man in the game for a pitcher to face. . ." - Baseball Magazine in 1913
Sam Crawford played 19 seasons in the major leagues and holds the record for most career triples (309). He was a huge star - near the end of his career, when he was sitting on the bench, Baseball Magazine had a photo of Crawford with the caption "Sam Crawford, Baseball's Greatest Slugger, at Present on the Bench". It took the young Harry Heilmann to sit Crawford down, and while Heilmann in 1916 had a slightly higher slugging percentage, Crawford beat him by a few points in batting average.
Nicknamed "Wahoo Sam" after his hometown of Wahoo, Nebraska, Crawford hit well as a 19-year-old rookie on the 1899 Cincinnati Reds, batting .307 on skipper Buck Ewing's club. He had perhaps his best year in the majors in 1901 with the Reds, hitting .330, leading the National League in home runs by a comfortable margin, and posting a 168 OPS+.
Crawford jumped to the Detroit Tigers of the American League in 1903 and remained with the team for the rest of his career. He was a teammate of Ty Cobb in the Detroit outfield from 1905 to 1917. Primarily a rightfielder, he played center from 1907 to 1909 while Cobb manned right; the Tigers reached the World Series all three of those seasons. The pair did not get along off the field, and they only talked to each other when calling for a fly ball in the outfield.
Crawford tied an AL record set by Joe Jackson when he hit 26 triples in 1914. He ended his big league career in 1917, 39 hits shy of 3,000, but played several more seasons with the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League after that. At age 40, he even led the 1920 PCL with 21 triples.
Crawford never led the league in batting, but was second four different times. He also never led the league in slugging, but was second four times and third four other times. He ranks # 9 on the all-time list for the Gray Ink test, which measures how often a player is among league leaders offensively. He also holds the record for most inside-the-park home runs (51).
Crawford was the head coach at the University of Southern California from 1924 to 1929. Showing that art imitates life, he had a role in the 1927 Buster Keaton movie College, where he played a baseball coach. He is listed seventh in the credits.
Crawford was an umpire in the Pacific Coast League in 1935.
- 2-time AL At Bats Leader (1908 & 1913)
- AL Runs Scored Leader (1907)
- 2-time League Total Bases Leader (1902/NL & 1913/AL)
- AL Doubles Leader (1909)
- 6-time League Triples Leader (1902/NL, 1903/AL, 1910/AL & 1913-1915/AL)
- 2-time League Home Runs Leader (1901/NL & 1908/AL)
- 3-time AL RBI Leader (1910, 1914 & 1915)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 6 (1901, 1910-1912, 1914 & 1915)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (1907, 1908 & 1911)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1911)
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1957
- Triples, career, 309
- Triples, left handed batter, career, 309
- Seasons leading the league in triples, 6
- Seasons with 20 or more triples, 5
- Seasons with 10 or more triples, 17 (tied)
- Inside-the-park home runs, career, 51
- Dan D'Addona: In Cobb's Shadow: The Hall of Fame Careers of Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann and Heinie Manush, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2015. ISBN 978-0-7864-9716-4
- Bill Lamberty: "Samuel Earl Crawford", in David Jones, ed.: Deadball Stars of the American League, SABR, Potomac Books, Inc., Dulles, VA, 2006, pp. 537-539.
- Lawrence Ritter: The Glory of Their Times, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1966, pp. 47-69.