Arky Vaughan

Joseph Floyd "Arky" Vaughan (March 9, 1912 – August 30, 1952) was an American professional baseball player. He played 14 seasons in Major League Baseball between 1932 and 1948 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Dodgers, primarily as a shortstop. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

Arky Vaughan
Born: March 9, 1912
Clifty, Arkansas
Died: August 30, 1952 (aged 40)
Eagleville, California
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 17, 1932, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
September 22, 1948, for the Brooklyn Dodgers
MLB statistics
Batting average.318
Home runs96
Runs batted in926
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Election MethodVeteran's Committee

Minor leagues

Born in Clifty, Arkansas, Vaughan, who got his nickname early in life, despite leaving Arkansas before his first birthday,[1] made his professional debut in 1931 at age 19 for the minor league Wichita Aviators of the Western League, where he hit .338 with 21 home runs.[2] When the Aviators became affiliated with the Chicago Cubs after the season, Vaughan was acquired by the Tulsa Oilers, who were affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates. On April 7, 1932, Vaughan was acquired from the Oilers by the Pirates.[3]

Major league career

Pittsburgh Pirates

Rookie year

Vaughan began the 1932 season as the backup to the Pirates' starting shortstop, Tommy Thevenow. Through the first thirteen games of the season, Vaughan appeared only twice, once as a late-game replacement for Thevenow and once as a pinch-hitter.[4] However, Thevenow was still suffering the effects of a season-ending ankle injury he had suffered in 1931, which opened up the door for Vaughan to take over the job.[5] When Thevenow returned at the end of May after missing a month, he found himself in a reserve role.

Vaughan, who was the youngest player in the National League in 1932,[3] wound up playing 129 games overall that year, all but one at shortstop. He finished with a .318 batting average and 61 RBI in his rookie season. His defense was a bit shaky, though, as he led the league in errors with 46. His year was impressive enough to garner a modicum of support for Most Valuable Player, finishing 23rd in the voting.[3]

Establishing himself

Vaughan solidified his position as the Pirates' starting shortstop in 1933. Improving on almost all of his offensive statistics, Vaughan played in 152 games, batting .314 with 97 RBI, seventh- and fifth-best in the NL respectively. He also led the league with 19 triples. He finished in the league top five in on-base percentage (.388, 3rd), slugging percentage (.478, 5th) and walks (64, 4th). Although he led the league in errors again with an identical 46 to the previous year, due to his increased playing time his fielding percentage improved a bit from .934 to .945. For the second straight year, he finished 23rd in the MVP voting.[3]

Vaughan took his game up another notch in 1934. While finishing fourth in the race for the batting title at .333, he led the league in OBP at .431, helped by his league-leading walk total of 94. Although he dropped from fifth to sixth in slugging, the raw number improved to .511. His performance earned him a spot on the NL All-Star team, the first of what would be nine straight selections. His defense continued to improve as well, as his error total dropped to 41, no longer the most in the league, and his fielding percentage rose again to .951. For the third straight year, he finished 23rd in the MVP voting.[3]


In 1935, Vaughan had what is universally recognized as his best season. Vaughan not only posted career bests in the three Triple Crown categories, he led all of baseball with a .385 average, a .491 on-base percentage, and a 1.098 OPS. His 190 Adjusted OPS as of 2011 still ranks as one of the top 100 single-season scores of all time.[6] His .607 slugging percentage led the NL, as did his 97 walks. His 19 home runs were eighth in the league, his only time in the top ten, and his 99 RBI were sixth. He also earned the first of his six starts in the All-Star Game. Defensively, he finished in the top half of the league in fielding percentage for the first time while finishing second in both putouts and assists.

Although he was third in National League MVP voting behind Gabby Hartnett and Dizzy Dean, he was named Player of the Year by The Sporting News. The season has been called the best ever by a shortstop other than Honus Wagner.[7]

Remaining Pirates career

Over the next six seasons, Vaughan continued to be one of the best-hitting shortstops in the game, batting over .300 in every season, and regularly being at or near the top of the league in most offensive categories. He also continued to improve defensively, as he led the league in total chances in 1938–39 while finishing in the top three in fielding percentage four times. He again finished third in the MVP voting in 1938, when the Pirates finished second and had their best record during his tenure with the team.

In 1940, Vaughan was appointed team captain by new manager Frankie Frisch. Although he led the league in runs scored and triples again, he slumped to a career-low .300 batting average. This prompted Frisch to replace Vaughan as starting shortstop with Alf Anderson to start the 1941 season. However, Anderson didn't hit, and Vaughan was quickly back in the starting lineup. In the 1941 All-Star Game, Vaughan hit two home runs, but was upstaged by a ninth-inning, three-run homer by American Leaguer Ted Williams.[8] Vaughan finished the year batting .316 in 106 games. That would be his last year with the Pirates who wouldn't see a star as bright as Vaughan for almost two decades. The fans were outraged at his trade to Brooklyn and his mysterious death years later helped coin the phrase "The Ghost of Arky" when times got tough.

Brooklyn Dodgers

A new position

On December 12, 1941, after a decade as the Pirates' starting shortstop, Vaughan was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers for four players.[3][8] It is believed that this trade was in part prompted due to bad feelings between Vaughan and Frisch.[9] Since Pee Wee Reese was already at shortstop for the Dodgers, the plan was to move Vaughan to third base.

Vaughan's tenure with the Dodgers got off to a rough start, as he failed to hit .300 for the first time in his career, finishing at .277 with just two home runs. He also established new lows in several other categories, including a career-worst .348 OBP.[3] He still managed to make the All-Star team as the starter at third base, and actually finished third in the league in fielding percentage, but the season was a disappointment overall.

Clash of personalities

With Reese drafted into World War II, Vaughan was moved back to shortstop in 1943. He rebounded on offense, raising his average over .300 once again at .305 and leading the league in runs scored and, for the first and only time, stolen bases with 20.

However, the season was marred by an incident that would nearly lead to the end of Vaughan's career. During the season, temperamental manager Leo Durocher got into a confrontation with pitcher Bobo Newsom after Newsom complained about catcher Bobby Bragan dropping a third strike.[10] On July 10, after Newsom had been suspended for three games,[11] Vaughan threatened to leave the team, handing his uniform to Durocher for disposal. After Vaughan's display, only two players were willing to play for Durocher that day, but upper management intervened. After the season, he left the team, retiring to his ranch.[12] He went on to sit out the next three years.


After Durocher was suspended before the 1947 season, Vaughan decided to try a comeback. Serving as something of a utility player, Vaughan played in 64 games and batted .325. He played in his only World Series that season, which the Dodgers lost to the New York Yankees. Vaughan appeared in three games in the 1947 World Series, all as a pinch hitter, reaching base twice on a walk and a double.

Even with Durocher's suspension over, Vaughan returned to the Dodgers in a similar capacity in 1948. However, after batting a career-low .244 in 65 games, he was released at the end of the season.[3] He played the 1949 season with Pacific Coast League's San Francisco Seals before retiring for good.[2]


Vaughan retired with 1,173 runs scored, 96 home runs, 926 RBI, 118 steals, a .318 batting average and a .406 on-base percentage. As of 2011, his .385 batting average, .491 OBP, and 1.098 OPS in 1935 are all Pittsburgh team records,[13] and the batting average is a 20th-century record for National League shortstops.[14] Vaughan is the 26th greatest non-pitcher in major league history, according to win shares. He hit for the cycle twice in his career as a member of the Pirates. In 14 seasons, he hit .300 or better 12 times, missing that mark only twice in 1942 and 1948.

Vaughan was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985, following which Vaughan's daughter Patricia received this brief, handwritten congratulatory letter:

I was a substitute tackle on the Fullerton High School championship 130-pound team and remember Arky as our star halfback--fast, hard-nosed and even then a real professional.

Richard Nixon [12]

As early as July 1972, then President Nixon had named Vaughan the starting shortstop on his "All-Time" National League All-Star Team's pre-war component (i.e. 1925 through 1945), citing as his "sentimental reason" their high school connection while stating his belief that "most experts would include Arky on a team if he were rated on hitting ability alone".[15] In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included Vaughan in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. In his New Historical Baseball Abstract, published in 2001, Bill James rated Vaughan as the second-best shortstop in major league history, behind fellow Pirate and mentor Honus Wagner.[7] The connection to Wagner makes Vaughan a below the radar name in memorabilia circles.

Personal life

Vaughan married his wife, Margaret, in 1931, and they had four children.[16]

After leaving the Seals, Vaughan bought a ranch in Eagleville, California, where he retired to fish, hunt and tend cattle. On August 30, 1952, Vaughan was fishing in nearby Lost Lake, with his friend Bill Wimer. According to a witness, Wimer stood up in the boat, causing it to capsize, and both men drowned. Their bodies were recovered the next day. Vaughan was 40.[12]

Vaughan's nephew Glenn Vaughan had a brief major league career with the Houston Colt .45s in 1963.

See also


  1. ^ "Arky Vaughan at the Hall of Fame". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 2013-01-22.
  2. ^ a b Arky Vaughan at Baseball-Reference Minors
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Arky Vaughan at Baseball-Reference
  4. ^ Arky Vaughan 1932 game log
  5. ^ David Finoli, Bill Rainer (2003). The Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 70. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  6. ^ Single-Season Leaders & Records for Adjusted OPS+
  7. ^ a b James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, 2001.
  8. ^ a b Riederman, Lester (December 13, 1941). "Dodgers Give Hamlin, Coscarart, Phelps And Wasdell for Star Shortstop". Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  9. ^ The Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia, p. 94
  10. ^ Vass, George (September 2007). "Baseball's in-house fights: teammate antagonisms create turmoil: clubhouse scraps have long been a part of the game's history". Baseball Digest.
  11. ^ Chronology: 1943 Archived December 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Baseball Library
  12. ^ a b c McCurdie, Jim (August 31, 1985). "ARKY : Life of Vaughan Recalled on 33rd Anniversary of Death of Baseball Hall of Famer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  13. ^ Pittsburgh Pirates Top 10 Batting Leaders
  14. ^ Arky Vaughan Hall of Fame page
  15. ^ Nixon, Richard; Seppy, Tom (July 2, 1972). "Nixon, with an assist, picks his 'All-Time baseball team". Boston Globe. Retrieved March 16, 2019, via Proquest.
  16. ^ Moses, Ralph. "Arky Vaughan". Retrieved August 27, 2015.

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Chuck Klein
Charlie Gehringer
Hitting for the cycle
June 24, 1933
July 19, 1939
Succeeded by
Mickey Cochrane
Harry Craft
1935 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1935 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the third playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 8, 1935, at Cleveland Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, hosted by the Cleveland Indians of the American League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 4–1.

1935 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1935 Pittsburgh Pirates season was a season in American baseball which involved the Pirates finishing fourth in the National League.

The roster featured five future Hall of Famers: player-manager Pie Traynor, pitcher Waite Hoyt, shortstop Arky Vaughan, center fielder Lloyd Waner, and right fielder Paul Waner.

1936 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1936 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 55th season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 50th in the National League. The Pirates finished fourth in the league standings with a record of 84–70.

1937 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1937 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the fifth playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 7, 1937, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., the home of the Washington Senators of the American League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 8–3.

The game, watched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is remembered because of a play in which Earl Averill of the Indians hit a ball that struck pitcher Dizzy Dean on the toe, breaking it. Complications of this injury shortened the career of the future Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher.

1939 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1939 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the seventh playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 11, 1939, at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York City, the home of the New York Yankees of the American League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 3–1.

1940 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1940 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the eighth playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 9, 1940, at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, Missouri, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns. The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 4–0.

1941 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1941 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the ninth playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 8, 1941, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan, the home of the Detroit Tigers of the American League.

1942 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers team won 104 games in the season, but fell two games short of the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League pennant race.

1943 Brooklyn Dodgers season

With the roster depleted by players leaving for service in World War II, the 1943 Brooklyn Dodgers finished the season in third place.

The team featured five future Hall of Famers: second baseman Billy Herman, shortstop Arky Vaughan, outfielders Paul Waner, and Joe Medwick, and manager Leo Durocher.

Herman finished fourth in MVP voting, after hitting .330 with 100 runs batted in. Vaughan led the league in runs scored and stolen bases.

1968 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1968 followed rules revised in June 1967, which returned the BBWAA to annual elections without any provision for runoff.

In the event, the Baseball Writers' Association of America voted once by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected Joe Medwick.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It selected two players, Kiki Cuyler and Goose Goslin.

1985 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1985 followed the system in place since 1978.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected two, Lou Brock and Hoyt Wilhelm.

The BBWAA petitioned the Hall of Fame Board of Directors to reconsider the eligibility of Ken Boyer, Curt Flood and Ron Santo with the intention of restoring their names to the 1985 ballot. Each had failed to achieve 5% in their first years on the ballot (Boyer, 1975–79, Flood, 1977–79 and Santo, 1980). The Board approved and Boyer, Flood and Santo returned to the ballot.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.

It also selected two players, Enos Slaughter and Arky Vaughan.


Arky may refer to:

Arky Michael, an Australian actor

Arky Vaughan, member of the Baseball Hall of Fame

Arky, a robot in the Manhunter comic book series

A nickname for a person named Archibald

A nickname for a person from the US state of Arkansas

Cecil Travis

Cecil Howell Travis (August 8, 1913 – December 16, 2006) was an American shortstop and third baseman in Major League Baseball from 1933 to 1947 who spent his entire career with the Washington Senators. He led the American League in hits in 1941 before missing nearly the next four seasons due to military service in World War II. His career batting average of .314 is a record for AL shortstops, and ranks third among all shortstops behind Honus Wagner (.327) and Arky Vaughan (.318).

Eddie Smith (baseball)

Edgar Smith (December 14, 1913 – January 2, 1994) was a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Philadelphia Athletics (1936–1939), Chicago White Sox (1939–1943, 1946–1947) and Boston Red Sox (1947). Smith was a switch-hitter and threw left-handed. He was born in Mansfield Township, Burlington County, New Jersey.

In a 10-season career, Smith posted a 73–113 record with 694 strikeouts and a 3.82 ERA in 1,595​2⁄3 innings pitched.

Joe DiMaggio started his 56-game hitting streak on May 15, 1941 by getting one hit in four at bats against Smith. Later that year, Smith was selected to represent the White Sox on the American League's All-Star team. He entered 1941 Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 8 at Briggs Stadium as a relief pitcher in the eighth inning and allowed a two-run home run to left-handed-hitting shortstop Arky Vaughan, putting the AL at a 5–3 disadvantage. But he set down the National League squad in order in the ninth, and came away with the victory when Ted Williams hit a three-run, walk-off home run in the ninth, capping the Junior Circuit's rally.Smith died in Willingboro Township, New Jersey, at the age of 80.

Glenn Vaughan

Glenn Edward Vaughan (February 16, 1944 – December 18, 2004), nicknamed "Sparky", was an American professional baseball player for three seasons, 1962–1964. A shortstop, he was the nephew of Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Arky Vaughan. He was a switch hitter who threw right-handed, stood 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and weighed 170 pounds (77 kg).

Born in Compton, California, Glenn Vaughan graduated from Lamar High School (Houston, Texas) and attended the University of Houston. In 1962 he signed with the local Major League Baseball team, the Houston Colt .45s, and played three seasons in its farm system. In 1963, he was recalled by the Colt .45s in September after splitting the campaign between the Double-A San Antonio Bullets and the Triple-A Oklahoma City 89ers. He started nine MLB games — eight as a shortstop, and one, on September 27, as a third baseman on a day when Houston started an all-rookie lineup (Sonny Jackson was the shortstop). Vaughan batted 30 times and collected five hits, all singles.

After retiring from baseball, Vaughan entered the insurance and real estate businesses in Houston. He died from natural causes at the age of 60.

Howdy Groskloss

Howard Hoffman "Howdy" Groskloss (April 10, 1906 – July 15, 2006) was an American professional baseball player. He played all or part of three seasons in Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1930–32), primarily as a second baseman. Groskloss batted and threw right-handed.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of an opera singer, Groskloss graduated from Amherst College in 1930 and later attended Yale University while playing for the Pirates. In 1937, he became a doctor and practiced as a gynecologist in Miami, Florida for more than 25 years. He also was a flight surgeon in the Navy during World War II.

Groskloss was 24 years old when he broke into the big leagues with Pittsburgh. Among his teammates were Pie Traynor, Arky Vaughan, Gus Suhr, and the brothers Lloyd and Paul Waner. In a three-season career, Groskloss posted a .261 batting average with 21 RBI and 14 runs in 72 games.

Groskloss died in Vero Beach, Florida, at the age of 100. At the time of his death, he was recognized as the oldest living former major league player. He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Miami, Florida.

List of Major League Baseball career on-base percentage leaders

In baseball statistics, on-base percentage (OBP) is a measure of how often a batter reaches base for any reason other than a fielding error, fielder's choice, dropped or uncaught third strike, fielder's obstruction, or catcher's interference. OBP is calculated in Major League Baseball (MLB) by dividing the sum of hits, walks, and times hit by a pitch by the sum of at-bats, walks, times hit by pitch and sacrifice flies. A hitter with a .400 on-base percentage is considered to be great and rare; only 55 players in MLB history with at least 3,000 career plate appearances (PA) have maintained such an OBP. Left fielder Ted Williams, who played 19 seasons for the Boston Red Sox, has the highest career on-base percentage, .4817, in MLB history. Williams led the American League (AL) in on-base percentage in twelve seasons, the most such seasons for any player in the major leagues. Barry Bonds led the National League (NL) in ten seasons, a NL record. Williams also posted the then-highest single-season on-base percentage of .5528 in 1941, a record that stood for 61 years until Bonds broke it with a .5817 OBP in 2002. Bonds broke his own record in 2004, setting the current single-season mark of .6094.Mickey Cochrane is the only catcher and Arky Vaughan is the only shortstop with a career mark of at least .400. Of the 43 players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame with a career on-base percentage of .400 or higher, 27 have been elected. Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame if they have played at least 10 major league seasons, have been either retired for five seasons or deceased for six months, and have not been banned from MLB. These requirements leave 6 living players ineligible who have played in the past 5 seasons; 5 players (Bill Joyce, Ferris Fain, Jake Stenzel, Bill Lange, and George Selkirk) who did not play 10 seasons in MLB; and Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was banned for his role in the Black Sox Scandal.

List of Pittsburgh Pirates team records

The Pittsburgh Pirates are a professional baseball team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They compete in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's (MLB) National League (NL). Founded in 1882 as Allegheny, the club played in the American Association before moving to the National League in 1887. The list below documents players and teams that hold particular club records.

In 134 seasons from 1882 through 2015, the team has won over 10,000 games and five World Series championships. The team has appeared in 18 postseasons and has won nine league pennants. Roberto Clemente owns the most career batting records with five. Ralph Kiner, Arky Vaughan and Paul Waner each own three single-season batting records. Bob Friend owns the most career pitching records and Ed Morris the most single-season pitching records, both with six.

In their history, the Pittsburgh Pirates have set three Major League Baseball records. In 1912, Chief Wilson hit an MLB-record 36 triples and, on May 30, 1925, the team collectively hit a major league-record eight triples in a single game. In addition, six no-hitters have been thrown in the history of the franchise, with the most recent on July 12, 1997. The Pirates also hold the MLB—and North American professional sports—record for most consecutive losing seasons with 20. The stretch began with the 1993 season and concluded with the 2012 season, at which point the Pirates recorded a winning record and a playoff berth in the 2013 season.

Maurice Van Robays

Maurice Rene Van Robays (November 15, 1914 – March 1, 1965), nicknamed "Bomber," was a Major League Baseball player who was born and died in Detroit, Michigan. Primarily an outfielder, Van Robays spent six seasons in the majors, all with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was 6'0" tall and weighed 190 lbs, and he wore glasses, unusual for a ballplayer of the time.

Originally signed by his hometown Detroit Tigers, Van Robays replaced Hall of Famer Lloyd Waner as the Pirates' starting right fielder late in 1939. The next season, he finished third in the National League in RBI with 116, benefitting from the on-base efforts of teammates such as Arky Vaughan and Vince DiMaggio. At the end of the year, Van Robays drew eight points in league MVP voting, finishing twenty-fourth despite a .316 OBP and .402 slugging percentage. He returned as a starter the next season, but subsequently moved into a bench role, and he never played in the majors again after hitting .212 in 59 games during the 1946 season, though he helped lead the Oakland Oaks to a Pacific Coast League championship in 1948.

Van Robays is credited with naming the "eephus pitch", developed by teammate Rip Sewell. In a 1942 exhibition game, Sewell threw a high, arching lob to the plate, and when the pitch finally arrived, Dick Wakefield swung and missed. After the game, manager Frankie Frisch asked Sewell what he called the pitch, and Van Robays replied "that's an eephus pitch." When Sewell asked him what an eephus was, Van Robays said, "Eephus ain't nuthin'." From then on, Sewell called it the eephus pitch. [1]

He was buried in Detroit's Mount Olivet Cemetery.

Veterans Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Ford C. Frick Award
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Designated hitters
Executives /

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