Tilly Walker

Clarence William "Tilly" Walker (September 4, 1887[a] – September 21, 1959) was an American professional baseball player. After growing up in Limestone, Tennessee, and attending college locally at Washington College, he entered Major League Baseball (MLB). He was a left fielder and center fielder for the Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Athletics from 1911 to 1923.

In 1918, he tied Babe Ruth for the home run crown that season. His power output increased for three seasons beginning in 1920. In 1922, he finished second in the league in home runs and he became one of five players to have reached 100 career home runs. He struggled in his final MLB season and was released by Philadelphia. After his MLB career, Walker played for several seasons in the minor leagues. He also managed a minor league team for one season and worked for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Tilly Walker
1916 Tilly Walker.jpeg
Outfielder
Born: September 4, 1887
Telford, Tennessee
Died: September 21, 1959 (aged 72)
Unicoi, Tennessee
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 10, 1911, for the Washington Senators
Last MLB appearance
October 6, 1923, for the Philadelphia Athletics
MLB statistics
Batting average.281
Home runs118
Runs batted in679
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early life and career

Walker was born in Telford, Tennessee.[1][a] His family moved to Limestone, Tennessee, when he was a child.[2] His father, W. N. Walker, was an undertaker and a member of the local county high school board of education.[3][4] Walker later recalled that there was not much to do in Limestone, so he developed his throwing ability by tossing rocks.[2] He pitched and played right field for the baseball team at Washington College in Limestone in the 1908–09 and 1909–10 school years.[5]

Walker's professional baseball career began with the Spartanburg Spartans of the Carolina Association in 1910 and 1911.[6] Hitting for a .390 batting average with Spartanburg in 35 games in 1911, Walker caught the attention of the Washington Senators. The team purchased Walker's contract from Spartanburg and played him in 95 major league games. Walker finished the season with a .278 average, 2 home runs and 12 stolen bases.[1]

Starting the 1912 season with the Senators, he hit .273 through 35 games, but he committed 8 errors.[1] The Senators started that season poorly, so manager Clark Griffith sold his contract to the minor-league Kansas City Blues in an attempt to overhaul his team.[7] Walker said that he had been present when Griffith handed a telegram to a telegraph operator one night. Owing to telegraphy experience from a boyhood job, Walker heard the Morse Code and realized that the telegram was requesting waivers on him. He was sold to the Blues after no major league teams were interested. He considered returning to Limestone as a telegraph operator, but he ultimately went to the Blues.[2]

Walker spent most of 1913 with the Blues, hitting .306 with 6 home runs. He made it back to the major leagues that year with the St. Louis Browns, appearing in 23 games.[1] According to Nellie King, Browns manager Branch Rickey compared Walker to Ty Cobb in terms of ability, saying that they differed only because Cobb displayed more effort.[8]

Middle career

Walker hit .278 with 6 home runs, 78 runs batted in (RBI) and a career-high 29 stolen bases in 151 games during the 1914 season. His offensive totals dropped with the 1915 Browns; he finished with a .269 average, 5 home runs, 49 RBI and 20 steals. Just before the 1916 season, the Boston Red Sox purchased Walker's contract for US$3,500 ($80,586 today).[1]

The purchase of Walker indirectly facilitated the sale of Red Sox star outfielder Tris Speaker to the Cleveland Indians; the Walker deal signaled to Cleveland executives that Boston was looking to trade Speaker, so Cleveland executives began negotiations with the Red Sox that resulted in Speaker's purchase for $55,000.[9] Walker was seen as a good hitter and he had a strong arm, having led the league's outfielders in assists for the two previous seasons. However, he had been criticized for his mood swings and for not being a team player.[10]

Walker earned one of his lowest batting averages (.266) that year, but Boston won the 1916 World Series. In that series, he batted twelve times and earned three hits, including a triple. He played only 106 games in 1917, hitting a career-low .246 for the Red Sox. Before the 1918 season, Walker was sent to the Philadelphia Athletics as the player to be named later in a multiplayer trade for first baseman Stuffy McInnis. He tied Ruth as the league leader in homeruns (11) in 1918.[1] In 1919, Walker and two other American League (AL) players each hit 10 home runs, while Ruth hit 29.[11]

Later career

After the introduction of a new type of ball in 1920, Walker slugged 17 home runs. He registered home run totals of 23 the next year and 37 in 1922.[12] He finished second in the AL in home runs in 1922, ahead of Ruth and trailing Ken Williams by two home runs.[13] Walker passed 100 career home runs that year, becoming one of the first five major league players to reach that milestone.[14] After the 1922 season, Athletics manager Connie Mack opted to prioritize pitching and defense over hitting, so he moved the fences 30 to 40 feet deeper in Philadelphia. Walker struggled under the new conditions and played only 52 games in 1923.[12]

Walker was given an unconditional release from the Athletics in December 1923.[15] He returned to the minor leagues for the 1924 season.[6] Walker spent six years with the Minneapolis Millers, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Maple Leafs and Greenville Spinners. He hit for double-digit home run totals five times as a minor league player, including a 1928 season in which he hit 33 home runs. The 1929 season was his last; he appeared in only 12 games that year.[6] He spent a year as an umpire in the Piedmont League in 1934.[16] In 1940, he was the manager of the Erwin Mountaineers in the Appalachian League.[6]

Later life

Beginning in 1940, Walker worked as a patrolman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol, stationed in Bristol.[17][18] He made his home in Limestone.[3] In 1959, he died of natural causes at his brother's home in Unicoi, Tennessee.[19] He is buried at Urbana Cemetery in Limestone.[3]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Walker sometimes gave his birthplace as Denver, Colorado, and his date of birth as October 8, 1880.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Tillie Walker Statistics and History. Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Sheridan, J. B. (June 29, 1914). "Walker's pride made him great; he resented release by Griffith". Evening Independent. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Brooks, James (2006). Limestone. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 38–39. ISBN 0738543004. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  4. ^ Biennial Report of the State Superintendent of Instruction of Tennessee. Nashville: Press of Brandon Printing Company. 1915. p. 30. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  5. ^ Brooks, James (2006). Limestone. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 98–99. ISBN 0738543004. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d "Tillie Walker Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  7. ^ "Walker's failure Shanks' chance". The Daily Times. December 26, 1923. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  8. ^ King, Nelson J. (September 2009). Happiness Is Like a Cur Dog: The Thirty-Year Journey of a Major League Baseball Pitcher and Broadcaster. AuthorHouse. pp. 105–108. ISBN 978-1-4490-2548-9. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  9. ^ Brown, Norman (June 29, 1925). "Tillie never played there". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  10. ^ Whalen, Thomas J. (April 16, 2011). When the Red Sox Ruled: Baseball's First Dynasty, 1912–1918. Government Institutes. pp. 111–112. ISBN 978-1-56663-902-6. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  11. ^ "1919 American League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  12. ^ a b McNeil, William (1997). The King of Swat: An Analysis of Baseball's Home Run Hitters from the Major, Minor, Negro, and Japanese Leagues. McFarland & Company. pp. 39–41. ISBN 0786403624. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  13. ^ "1922 American League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  14. ^ "Walker of Philadelphia Athletics hit over one hundred home runs". Quebec Daily Telegraph. July 26, 1922. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  15. ^ "Tillie Walker is dropped by Mack". Evening Independent. December 22, 1923. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  16. ^ "TSN Umpire Card: Tilly Walker". Retrosheet. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  17. ^ Hayes, Tim (July 20, 2008). "Local legends in the pros: Bristol resident remembers Tilly Walker". Bristol Herald Courier. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  18. ^ Batesel, Paul (February 14, 2007). Major League Baseball Players of 1916: A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-7864-2782-6. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  19. ^ "Tilly Walker, ex-player, dies". The Pittsburgh Press. September 22, 1959. Retrieved June 6, 2015.

External links

$100,000 infield

The $100,000 infield was the infield of the Philadelphia Athletics in the early 1910s. The $100,000 infield consisted of first baseman Stuffy McInnis, second baseman Eddie Collins, shortstop Jack Barry and third baseman Frank Baker. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the nickname reflects "the purported combined market value of the foursome," which is equivalent to about $2.7 million in 2018.

Baseball historian Bill James rated the 1914 edition of the $100,000 infield the greatest infield of all time, and also ranked the 1912 and 1913 editions in the top five all time. The $100,000 infield helped the Athletics win four American League championships in five years—1910, 1911, 1913 and 1914—and win the World Series in 1910, 1911 and 1913. The group was broken up after losing the 1914 World Series as a result of the financial pressures resulting from the emergence of the Federal League. Two members—Collins and Baker—have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1911 Washington Senators season

The 1911 Washington Senators won 64 games, lost 90, and finished in seventh place in the American League. They were managed by Jimmy McAleer and played home games at National Park.

1912 Washington Senators season

The 1912 Washington Senators won 91 games, lost 61, and finished in second place in the American League. They were managed by Clark Griffith and played their home games at National Park.

1913 St. Louis Browns season

The 1913 St. Louis Browns season involved the Browns finishing 8th in the American League with a record of 57 wins and 96 losses.

1914 St. Louis Browns season

The 1914 St. Louis Browns season involved the Browns finishing 5th in the American League with a record of 71 wins and 82 losses.

1915 St. Louis Browns season

The 1915 St. Louis Browns season involved the Browns finishing 6th in the American League with a record of 63 wins and 91 losses.

1916 Boston Red Sox season

The 1916 Boston Red Sox season was the sixteenth season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished first in the American League (AL) with a record of 91 wins and 63 losses. The team then faced the National League (NL) champion Brooklyn Robins in the 1916 World Series, which the Red Sox won in five games to capture the franchise's second consecutive and fourth overall World Series.

1917 Boston Red Sox season

The 1917 Boston Red Sox season was the seventeenth season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League (AL) with a record of 90 wins and 62 losses.

1918 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1918 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing 8th in the American League with a record of 52 wins and 76 losses.

1919 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1919 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing last in the American League with a record of 36 wins and 104 losses. It was their fifth consecutive season in the cellar after owner-manager Connie Mack sold off his star players.

Philadelphia led the AL in fewest runs scored and most runs allowed, and they did so by wide margins. Their team ERA was 4.26, nearly a full run higher than the second worst team in the league that year. The A's team batting average of .244 was the lowest in both leagues. The pitching staff pitched only one shutout in the entire season.In July 1919, a newspaper reported, "Veteran Harry Davis has been coaxed out of his retirement and has been made assistant manager of the Athletics." Although Connie Mack was the team's manager, the report said, "Mack hereafter will devote most of his time to business affairs of the club" and that the understanding was that Davis "really is in full charge of the team."

1920 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1920 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing 8th in the American League with a record of 48 wins and 106 losses.

1921 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1921 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing 8th in the American League for the seventh time in a row with a record of 53 wins and 100 losses.

1922 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1922 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing 7th in the American League with a record of 65 wins and 89 losses. It was the first season since they won the 1914 pennant that the Athletics did not finish in last place.

1923 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1923 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing 6th in the American League with a record of 69 wins and 83 losses.

Limestone, Tennessee

Limestone is an unincorporated community on the western border of Washington County and the eastern border of Greene County in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Tennessee. Its zip code is 37681. Limestone is part of the Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region.

List of Major League Baseball annual home run leaders

In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit so far that the batter is able to circle all the bases ending at home plate, scoring himself plus any runners already on base, with no errors by the defensive team on the play. An automatic home run is achieved by hitting the ball on the fly over the outfield fence in fair territory. More rarely, an inside-the-park home run occurs when the hitter reaches home plate while the baseball remains in play on the field. In Major League Baseball (MLB), a player in each league wins the home run title each season by hitting the most home runs that year. Only home runs hit in a particular league count towards that league's seasonal lead. Mark McGwire, for example, hit 58 home runs in 1997, more than any other player that year. However, McGwire was traded from the American League's (AL) Oakland Athletics to the National League's (NL) St. Louis Cardinals midway through the season and his individual AL and NL home run totals (34 and 24, respectively) did not qualify to lead either league.The first home run champion in the National League was George Hall. In the league's inaugural 1876 season, Hall hit five home runs for the short-lived National League Philadelphia Athletics. In 1901, the American League was established and Hall of Fame second baseman Nap Lajoie led it with 14 home runs for the American League Philadelphia Athletics. Over the course of his 22-season career, Babe Ruth led the American League in home runs 12 times. Mike Schmidt and Ralph Kiner have the second and third most home run titles respectively, Schmidt with eight and Kiner with seven, all won in the National League. Kiner's seven consecutive titles from 1946 to 1952 are also the most consecutive home run titles by any player.

Ruth set the Major League Baseball single-season home run record four times, first at 29 (1919), then 54 (1920), 59 (1921), and finally 60 (1927). Ruth's 1920 and 1921 seasons are tied for the widest margin of victory for a home run champion as he topped the next highest total by 35 home runs in each season. The single season mark of 60 stood for 34 years until Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961. Maris' mark was broken 37 years later by both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during the 1998 home run record chase, with McGwire ultimately setting the mark at 70. Barry Bonds, who also has the most career home runs, set the current single season record of 73 in 2001. The 1998 and 2001 seasons each had 4 players hit 50 or more home runs – Greg Vaughn, Ken Griffey, Jr., Sosa, and McGwire in 1998 and Alex Rodriguez, Luis Gonzalez, Sosa, and Bonds in 2001. A player has hit 50 or more home runs 42 times, 25 times since 1990. The lowest home run total to lead a major league was four, recorded in the NL by Lip Pike in 1877 and Paul Hines in 1878.

List of Major League Baseball career fielding errors as a center fielder leaders

In baseball statistics, an error is an act, in the judgment of the official scorer, of a fielder misplaying a ball in a manner that allows a batter or baserunner to advance one or more bases or allows an at bat to continue after the batter should have been put out.

A center fielder, abbreviated CF, is the outfielder in baseball who plays defense in center field – the baseball fielding position between left field and right field. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the center fielder is assigned the number 8.

Tris Speaker is the all-time leader in errors committed as a center fielder with 226 career. Ty Cobb (202) is second all-time and the only other center fielder to commit over 200 career errors.

List of Major League Baseball career fielding errors as an outfielder leaders

In baseball statistics, an error is an act, in the judgment of the official scorer, of a fielder misplaying a ball in a manner that allows a batter or baserunner to advance one or more bases or allows an at bat to continue after the batter should have been put out.

An outfielder is a person playing in one of the three defensive positions in baseball, farthest from the batter. These defenders are the left fielder, the center fielder, and the right fielder. An outfielder's duty is to try to catch long fly balls before they hit the ground or to quickly catch or retrieve and return to the infield any other balls entering the outfield. Outfielders normally play behind the six other members of the defense who play in or near the infield. By convention, each of the nine defensive positions in baseball is numbered. The outfield positions are 7 (left field), 8 (center field) and 9 (right field). These numbers are shorthand designations useful in baseball scorekeeping and are not necessarily the same as the squad numbers worn on player uniforms.

Tom Brown is the all-time leader in errors committed by an outfielder with 492 career. Brown is the only outfielder to commit more than 400 career errors. Dummy Hoy (394), Paul Hines (385), Jesse Burkett (383), George Gore (368), Jimmy Ryan (366), George Van Haltren (358), and Ned Hanlon (350) are the only other outfielders to commit more than 300 career errors.

Telford, Tennessee

Telford is a census-designated place and unincorporated community in Washington County, Tennessee, United States, located between Jonesborough and Limestone. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 921. The community is part of the Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the "Tri-Cities" region. It has one school, Grandview Elementary.

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