Spec Shea

Francis Joseph "Spec" Shea (October 2, 1920 – July 19, 2002) was a Major League Baseball pitcher from 1947–1955. He played for the New York Yankees from 1947–1951 and the Washington Senators from 1952–1955. He was known as "The Naugatuck Nugget" as a result of him being from Naugatuck, Connecticut, and was named as such by Yankees broadcaster Mel Allen, and was nicknamed "Spec" because of his freckles.[1]

Shea originally signed with the Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1940.[2] He spent the 1940 season playing in Amsterdam, winning 11 and losing four while pitching 137 innings.[3] In 1941, he was promoted to Norfolk, where he struck out 154 in 199 innings, and in 1942 he played in Kansas City, where he improved upon his earned run average.[3] He was a member of the United States Military, serving in World War II.[4] He joined in 1943 and served for three years, where he served solely as a soldier and did not play baseball.[3]

He was promoted to the Yankees' major league roster at the start of the 1947 New York Yankees season, and made his debut on April 19, 1947.[2] He made his debut against the Boston Red Sox, which was so looked forward to at Naugatuck High School, his alma mater, that the school suspended operations for the day because most of the student body went to New York to root for Spec.[3] As a rookie, Shea played in his first and only All-Star Game, playing in the 1947 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. In the game, Shea pitched the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings, relieving for Hal Newhouser. He allowed one earned run, and was declared the winning pitcher of the All-Star Game.[5]

The same year, MLB established the Rookie of the Year Award. In the middle of the season, however, Shea was sidelined for seven weeks due to a pulled neck muscle.[1] Shea finished the season with a 14–5 record in 27 appearances, had the lowest hits allowed per nine innings pitched in the majors with 6.4, had the best win-loss record in the American League with .737%, threw 13 complete games, three shutouts, and had an ERA of 3.07.[2] Shea was in the running for the Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award, which went to Jackie Robinson. Shea finished third in voting behind Robinson and Larry Jansen, but would have won the award had the American and National Leagues had separate Rookie of the Year winners.[1][2] In the 1947 World Series, Shea started games one, five and seven, winning the first two en route to the Yankees' World Series victory.[6]

From 1948 to 1951, however, Shea had a combined 15-16 record, continuing to pitch in pain due to a nagging neck injury suffered in 1947.[1] Instead of it being arm trouble as the Yankees believed, it was an issue that was solved by Shea visiting a chiropractor during the winter before the 1951 New York Yankees season.[1] On May 3, 1952, Shea was traded by the Yankees with Jackie Jensen, Jerry Snyder, and Archie Wilson to the Washington Senators for Irv Noren and Tom Upton.[2] In 1952 he had an 11–7 record with a 2.93 ERA, and in 1953 he had a 12–7 record with a 3.94 ERA.[2] He was used in his final two seasons primarily as a relief pitcher, and pitched his final major league game on August 27, 1955.

Robert Redford called Shea during production of the film The Natural for pitching consultation, where he taught Redford how to pitch in an old-time style.[7] Shea died in New Haven, Connecticut, on July 19, 2002 at the age of 81 after having heart valve replacement surgery.[7]

Spec Shea
Spec Shea 1953
Shea in about 1953.
Born: October 2, 1920
Naugatuck, Connecticut
Died: July 19, 2002 (aged 81)
New Haven, Connecticut
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 19, 1947, for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
August 27, 1955, for the Washington Senators
MLB statistics
Win–Loss record56–46
Earned run average3.80
Career highlights and awards


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Ballplayers – Spec Shea". Baseball Library. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Spec Shea Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com". Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  3. ^ a b c d Spink, J. G. Taylor (21 May 1947). "Looping the Loops". The Sporting News. pp. 1–2.
  4. ^ Bedingfield, Gary. "Baseball in Wartime – Those Who Served A to Z". Archived from the original on 2008-04-12. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  5. ^ "July 8, 1947, All-Star Game Play by Play and Box Score". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  6. ^ "1947 World Series - NYY vs. BRO". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  7. ^ a b "Ex-Yankee Frank 'Spec' Shea Dies". Associated Press. 2002-07-20. Archived from the original on November 13, 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-30.

External links

1947 Brooklyn Dodgers season

On April 15, Jackie Robinson was the opening day first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black player in Major League Baseball. Robinson went on to bat .297, score 125 runs, steal 29 bases and be named the very first African-American Rookie of the Year. The Dodgers won the National League title and went on to lose to the New York Yankees in the 1947 World Series. This season was dramatized in the movie 42.

1947 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1947 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 14th playing of the "Midsummer Classic" between Major League Baseball's (MLB) American League (AL) and National League (NL) All-Star teams. The All-Star Game was held on July 8, 1947, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, the home of the NL's Chicago Cubs.

The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League by a score of 2–1 in 2 hours and 19 minutes.

1947 New York Yankees season

The 1947 New York Yankees season was the team's 45th season in New York, and its 47th season overall. The team finished with a record of 97–57, winning their 15th pennant, finishing 12 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers. New York was managed by Bucky Harris. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in 7 games. It was the first ever season of the Yankees to be broadcast live on television with WABD providing the television broadcast feed to viewers in the city.

1947 World Series

The 1947 World Series matched the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Yankees won the Series in seven games for their first title since 1943, and their eleventh World Series championship in team history. Yankees manager Bucky Harris won the Series for the first time since managing the Washington Senators to their only title in 1924.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson, a Brooklyn Dodger, desegregated major league baseball. For the first time in World Series history, a racially integrated team played.

1948 New York Yankees season

The 1948 New York Yankees season was the team's 46th season in New York and its 48th overall. The team finished with a record of 94–60, finishing 2.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians and 1.5 games behind the second-place Boston Red Sox. New York was managed by Bucky Harris. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium.

The fractional games-behind came about due to the frenzied pennant race, which saw the Yankees, Red Sox and Indians all battling it out to the end. The Yankees fell just a little short, and the Red Sox and Indians finished in a tie for first at 96–58. They held a one-game playoff, which counted as part of the regular season, so the Indians' victory raised their record to 97–58, and dropped the Red Sox to 96–59.

The Yankees did not renew Bucky Harris' contract after the season, opting instead to hire Casey Stengel starting in 1949. This move raised some eyebrows, but Stengel had just led the Oakland Oaks to the Pacific Coast League pennant in 1948, demonstrating that with good talent, he had a good chance to succeed. The Yankees were about to begin the most dominating stretch of their long dynasty.

1949 New York Yankees season

The 1949 New York Yankees season was the team's 47th season in New York, and its 49th season overall. The team finished with a record of 97–57, winning their 16th pennant, finishing 1 game ahead of the Boston Red Sox. New York was managed by Casey Stengel in his first year. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in 5 games.

1951 New York Yankees season

The 1951 New York Yankees season was the 49th season for the team in New York, and its 51st season overall. The team finished with a record of 98–56, winning their 18th pennant, finishing five games ahead of the Cleveland Indians. New York was managed by Casey Stengel. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they defeated the New York Giants in 6 games.

This year was noted for a "changing of the guard" for the Yankees, as it was Joe DiMaggio's final season and Mickey Mantle's first. The 1951 season also marked the first year of Bob Sheppard's long tenure as Yankee Stadium's public address announcer.

1952 Washington Senators season

The 1952 Washington Senators won 78 games, lost 76, and finished in fifth place in the American League. They were managed by Bucky Harris and played home games at Griffith Stadium.

1953 Washington Senators season

The 1953 Washington Senators won 76 games, lost 76, and finished in fifth place in the American League. They were managed by Bucky Harris and played home games at Griffith Stadium. This was their last winning season until 1962.

Al Richter

Allen Gordon Richter (February 7, 1927 – October 29, 2017) was an American professional baseball player. A shortstop, he was listed at 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and 165 pounds (75 kg). He batted and threw right-handed.

Richter played ten seasons (1945; 1947–55) in minor league baseball and appeared in six Major League games for the Boston Red Sox in the 1951 and 1953 seasons, hitting a single in 11 at bats for a .091 batting average while scoring one run. In four fielding appearances, he made clean plays on his 20 chances and posted a 1.000 fielding percentage. His lone hit came off Spec Shea at Yankee Stadium on September 30, 1951. Richter's best minor league season came in 1951, when he batted .321 with 164 hits in 129 games played at the Triple-A level. Richter died in October 2017, aged 90.

Archie Wilson (baseball)

Archibald Clifton Wilson (November 25, 1923 – April 28, 2007) was a professional baseball player. He played parts of two seasons in Major League Baseball for three teams from 1951 to 1952, primarily as an outfielder. Listed at 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), 175 lb (79 kg), Wilson batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Los Angeles.

In 1951, Wilson was elected the International League MVP while playing for the Buffalo Bisons. He later would be inducted in the International League Hall of Fame.

Wilson entered the majors late in the year with the New York Yankees, playing for them in part of two seasons before being traded along with Jackie Jensen and Spec Shea to the Washington Senators in the same transaction that brought Irv Noren to the Yankees. His stay in Washington was brief because he was sent to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Ken Wood.

In a 51-game Major League career, Wilson was a .221 hitter (31-for-140) with nine runs, five doubles, three triples, and 17 RBI without home runs. After his Major League career, he returned to the minor leagues, where he played until 1962, including seven seasons for Triple-A Toronto Maple Leafs.

Wilson died in Decatur, Alabama, at the age of 83.

Deaths in July 2002

The following is a list of notable deaths in July 2002.

Entries for each day are listed alphabetically by surname. A typical entry lists information in the following sequence:

Name, age, country of citizenship at birth, subsequent country of citizenship (if applicable), reason for notability, cause of death (if known), and reference.

Dellin Betances

Dellin Betances (; born March 23, 1988) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut with the Yankees in 2011, and was named an MLB All-Star in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

George McQuinn

George Hartley McQuinn (May 29, 1910 – December 24, 1978) was an American former professional baseball player who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a first baseman for four teams, from 1936 through 1948. He was an All-Star for six seasons. He threw and batted left-handed.

Harley Hisner

Harley Parnell Hisner (November 6, 1926 – March 20, 2015) was an American starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played in one game for the Boston Red Sox during the 1951 season. Listed at 6 ft (1.8 m), 185 lb (84 kg), he batted and threw right-handed.

In his only game appearance, Hisner started the final game of the 1951 season for Boston against the New York Yankees. In six innings pitched, he gave up three earned runs, four bases on balls and seven hits, with three strikeouts — two of them being against Mickey Mantle, then a rookie. He was the losing pitcher (the Yanks' Spec Shea hurled a 3–0 shutout for the BoSox' ninth consecutive defeat) and Hisner never again appeared in a Major League game. In that same game, Hisner gave up Joe DiMaggio's last regular season hit.

On April 20, 2012 Hisner was one of nearly 200 former Red Sox players and coaches who returned to Fenway Park as part of Fenway's 100th Anniversary celebration. He died of cancer in 2015.

Jerry Snyder

Gerald George Snyder (born July 21, 1929 in Jenks, Oklahoma) is an American former infielder in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the Washington Senators from 1952 to 1958. Listed at 6 feet (1.8 m), 170 pounds (77 kg), he batted and threw right-handed.

Snyder started his career in 1946 with the Niagara Falls Frontiers of the Class C Middle Atlantic League. Obtained by the New York Yankees in 1947, he played for their farm teams during five minor league seasons. He was still a member of the Triple-A Kansas City Blues when he was traded to Washington on May 3, 1952, along with Jackie Jensen, Spec Shea and Archie Wilson in the same transaction that brought Irv Noren and Tom Upton to the Yankees.

While in Washington, Snyder provided a solid infield support for Pete Runnels, Herb Plews and Eddie Yost, playing mainly at shortstop. His most productive season came in 1954, when he posted career-numbers in games (64), runs (17) and RBI (17), while hitting .234 (36-for-154). In 1956 he batted a career-high .270 with two home runs and 14 RBI.

On July 18, 1955, Snyder participated in five double plays at second base to tie a then major league record. He also played in the Venezuelan league and appeared in the 1959 Caribbean Series.

In a seven-season career, Snyder was a .230 hitter (145-for-630) with three home runs and 47 RBI in 266 games, including 60 runs, 18 doubles, two triples and seven stolen bases. He played 15 professional seasons, through 1961, and spent part of his final campaign as player-manager of the Macon Peaches of the Double-A Southern Association.

Snyder's 1957 Topps card actually featured former catcher and coach Ed Fitz Gerald. In 2006, Snyder would sign reprints of the card inserted in commemorative packs with his name and the phrase, "This isn't me".

Myers Field

Myers Field was a ballpark located off of Church Street in Norfolk, Virginia, United States. It served as the home of the Norfolk Tars, a New York Yankees minor league affiliate, from 1940 to 1955. Originally known as High Rock Park, it was renamed Myers Fields in honor of local dentist Eddie Myers.Notable major leaguers like Yogi Berra, Lew Burdette, Whitey Ford, Bob Grim, Mickey Owen, Bob Porterfield, Vic Raschi, Bobby Richardson, Spec Shea, Moose Skowron, Snuffy Stirnweiss and Gus Triandos all played for the Tars and therefore called Myers Field home.

Naugatuck, Connecticut

Naugatuck is a consolidated borough and town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States. The town spans both sides of the Naugatuck River just south of Waterbury, and includes the communities of Union City on the east side of the river, which has its own post office, Straitsville on the southeast (along Route 63), and Millville on the west (along Rubber Avenue). As of the 2010 census, Naugatuck had a population of 31,862.


Shea may refer to:

Shea Stadium, a demolished sports stadium in Queens, New York; former home of the New York Mets and New York Jets

shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa, formerly Butyrospermum parkii), a tree indigenous to Africa

shea butter or shea nut butter, a slightly greenish or ivory-colored natural fat extracted from fruit of the shea tree

USS Shea (DM-30), a Robert H. Smith–class destroyer minelayer in the United States Navy; named for Lieutenant Commander John Joseph Shea

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