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Allan Travers

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Allan Travers From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aloysius Joseph "Allan" Travers, aka Rev. Aloysius Stanislaus Travers (May 7, 1892April 19, 1968) was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Detroit Tigers in one of the most unusual games in baseball history. On May 18, 1912, Travers gave up 24 runs as a replacement player for the striking Detroit Tigers team.

Three days earlier, Ty Cobb went into the stands and attacked a handicapped fan who had been taunting Cobb with racial epithets. The heckler, Claude Lueker, had lost one complete hand and three fingers from the other hand in an industrial accident. When fans yelled at Cobb that the man had no hands, Cobb reportedly shouted back, "I don't care if he has no feet!" American League president Ban Johnson responded by suspending Cobb indefinitely. Cobb's teammants voted to strike in support of Cobb, refusing to play until Cobb was reinstated. When Ban Johnson threatened Tigers owner Frank Navin with a $5,000 fine for every game in which they failed to field a team, Navin ordered manager Hughie Jennings to find replacement players. As the Tigers were on the road in Philadelphia, Jennings recruited eight "Tigers" from a neighborhood in North Philadelphia. Each man was paid $25. Allan Travers was one of those recruits. All of the players for Detroit in that game played in either their last or next-to-last major league games, including previously retired major league players Hughie Jennings (manager and later Hall of Famer), Deacon McGuire (his 26th season playing one or more games), and Joe Sugden.

Travers was a 20-year-old junior at Philadelphia's St. Joseph's College, where he played violin in the student orchestra. Unable to make the school's varsity baseball team, Travers served as the team's assistant manager, preparing game summaries for the school annual.

But on May 18, 1912, Travers became a starting pitcher in a major league baseball game. In front of 20,000 Philadelphia fans in Shibe Park, Travers found himself pitching to some of the best players in baseball history, including Frank "Home Run" Baker, Eddie Collins, and Stuffy McInnis.

Under the strained circumstances, Travers pitched an unlikely complete game, allowing 26 hits, 24 runs, 14 earned runs, 7 walks and 1 strikeout. (The Cleveland Blues' Dave Rowe, who was primarily an outfielder, gave up 35 runs on 29 hits in a game played on July 24, 1882.) Travers faced 50 batters through 8 innings and was tagged with the loss in the 24-2 decision.

Travers later confessed he had never pitched a game in his life.

After the embarrassing display, Ban Johnson met personally with the striking Tigers and told them they would be banned for life if the strike continued. Ty Cobb urged his teammates to end the strike, and the Tigers complied. Accordingly, the major league career of Allan Travers and the other replacement Tigers was cut short at one game.

Travers (0-1) did not play again in the major leagues, preserving his career ERA at 15.75 and career WHIP at 4.13.

For years, Travers was reluctant to speak about his day as a major league ball player. But many years later, he told his story in an interview with sportswriter Red Smith. He recalled being asked to round up "as many fellows as I could find" to play for the Tigers. Travers claims to have gone to the corner of 23rd and Columbia in Philadelphia where "a bunch of fellows were standing around the corner." [1] That "bunch of fellows" became the Detroit Tigers for a day.

When asked about his performance on the mound, Travers told Red Smith that he threw "slow curves" that day, because the A's were not used to them, and because "Hughie Jennings told me not to throw fastballs as he was afraid I might get killed." [2]

Travers later entered the Society of Jesus (the "Jesuits") and was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1926. He taught at St. Francis Xavier High School in Manhattan and was later named Dean of Men at St. Joseph College. From 1943-1968, the former big league pitcher taught Spanish and religion at Saint Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia.

Travers was born and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was 75 years old when he died at Misericordia Hospital in Philadelphia.


ReferencesEdit

Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference New York Times Obituary for Father Travers SABR Biography of Allan Travers Allan Travers at BaseballLibrary.com Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Travers"

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