Walker Cress

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Walker James Cress (Foots)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Virginia native Walker Cress spent ten active seasons in professional baseball from 1939 to 1951. He was signed out of Louisiana State University by the Boston Red Sox before the 1939 season. He spent his first three seasons in the minors with six different clubs, having a good season in 1940, with three different teams, building a 15-6 record in 28 games in the split-season year.

Cress jumped up to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League in 1942 and appeared in five games. He was then drafted into the United States Military Services, where he spent the next four years (1942-1945) during World War II. On his return, he spent the 1946 season with the Lynn Red Sox of the class B New England League and his 19 wins and 1.98 ERA along with 174 strike-outs led the league for a pitching Triple Crown, helped his team to the league championship and put him on the All-Star team.

Walker was still heated up in 1947, and while pitching for the New Orleans Pelicans of the Southern Association, he won 15 and lost 5 in 25 games and made the All-Star team again. The Cincinnati Reds procured Cress from the Boston Red Sox in an unknown transaction after the 1947 season and he spent the 1948 year at Crosley Field with the Reds.

It was rumored around the Reds organization that Cress was "Snake Bit". To prove it, he went the entire 1948 season plus three games into the 1949 season before appearing in a winning major league baseball game. The streak covered 32 pitching appearances. In his 33rd game, May 1, 1949 the Reds won, and Cress never appeared in another major league game after the Reds finally won with him in the game. Cress’s major league lifetime record was 0-1 with a 4.35 ERA.

There must have been something to the "Snake Bit in Cincinnati" word as immediately after leaving the Reds, Cress finished out the year with the Tulsa Oilers of the AA Texas League with a 15-7 record in 33 games, helping his club to the league playoff title. Walker was with the Oilers again in 1950 and went 18-11 with a 3.48 ERA. Cress gave the game one more try in 1951 at the age of 34, went 2-5 in 16 games and called it a career. He left with a minor league record of 99-60 while appearing in 228 games and pitching 1,308 innings.

After baseball, Cress resided in Baton Rouge, LA. He worked as an electrician and scouted for the Giants, Cardinals and Astros. Before his retirement, he also was the Director of Recreation for BREC, a recreational development in East Baton Rouge Parish. Walker James Cress died at the age of 79 on April 21, 1996 in Baton Rouge, LA.

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