Biff Maloy was a “new find from the wilds of Michigan” who joined the reigning world champion Boston Red Sox in mid-1913 and pitched the bottom of the eighth inning on July 11 in St. Louis with Boston down 5-1 to the Browns. The right-hander hit the first batter, but retired the next three, each one on a groundball with the batter thrown out at first. Longtime Boston Globe sportswriter Tim Murnane, who’d played eight years himself and managed the Boston Reds in 1884, allowed as how “after good coaching (Maloy) may prove of American League timber.” Maloy had been tapped by manager Jake Stahl, but the team that had so excelled in 1912 was sputtering in 1913. The loss brought the team to 37-38 and they fell below .500 on the 14th, mustering only a third-inning single by Harry Hooper as the sum total of their offense. After dropping three in a row and four of five to the White Sox, Stahl left the team and was replaced by catcher Bill Carrigan as manager. Stahl lived in Chicago and returned to the job he had left just before 1912, as a bank executive.
Eleven days later after his debut, with Cleveland leading 6-4 after six innings, Maloy took the mound again and found rough going. He walked the first man, hit the second, threw the ball away on the third batter, and then gave up a double and a triple. He finally got out of the frame, but Murnane’s judgment now pegged him a “toy pitcher.” On the first of August, or possibly the day before, he was sold to Worcester.
Biff Maloy, formally Paul Augustus Maloy, hadn’t been an inexpensive acquisition. He was initially recommended by “a Boston newspaper man, Peter Kelly,” and the club sent scout (and former Red Sox manager) Patsy Donovan to look him over. “Patsy was suitably impressed and he was bought at once.”i His contract was purchased from Kalamazoo for $5,000 in a June 25 deal between Donovan and manager Charles Wagner of the Kalamazoo Kazoos, who were going nowhere in the Southern Michigan Association. Maloy had just turned 21 three weeks earlier; he was born on a farm in Bascom, Ohio, on June 4, 1892. By the time of the 1900 census, the family lived in Tiffin, six or seven miles east of Bascom, the seat of Seneca County with a population of around 12,000.
Maloy’s parents raised four children in Tiffin. His father was Augusta Maloy, a broom maker for over a decade who may have run his own small business; he was listed in the 1910 census as a manufacturer of brooms. (In the spring of 1913, before Maloy’s major-league stint, a devastating flood of the Sandusky River had swept away 46 houses and two factories in Tiffin. Nineteen people lost their lives and six city bridges were lost, with many other structures damaged. How Augusta fared in the flood is unknown.) Paul was already working in 1910, at the age of 17, as a laborer in a factory. His younger brother Robert was 15 and working as a baker. Paul had left school after the eighth grade, though he gave contradictory answers on two player questionnaires he completed for the Hall of Fame in 1960 and 1973 as to which school he’d attended. On the latter submission, he said it was St. Mary’s Elementary. He cited his ancestry as Irish-American, which reflected his father’s side of the family, though Augusta Maloy himself was a native Ohioan with parents born in Ohio and Pennsylvania. His mother, Ella (Kuhn) Maloy, had been born in Ohio as well, but to immigrant parents, her father from Germany and her mother from Belgium.
Despite the flood, there was still baseball to be played and Maloy pitched in the Ohio Trolley League, where he enjoyed enough success to be given a contract by Kalamazoo. In the first part of 1913, his first season of professional ball, Maloy was 6-3 with Wagner’s Kazoos. The Boston Globe report of his signing said he’d faced 315 batters and been touched for 60 hits and 27 runs, third best in the league to [Lynn] McDonald of Battle Creek and [Ed] Scott of Flint. He was described as “a big powerful right hander with plenty of speed and a good assortment of stuff. He is close to 6 feet tall and weighs 190 pounds.”ii Upon his arrival in Boston, Sporting Life described him as a “husky young fellow.”iii
So he was relatively untried and untested, but Boston was in the need of something or someone to try to get out of the doldrums in which the team found itself. There was competition to sign him; the Globe said that “many a scout had looked him over and recommended that he be picked up, but it took the quick action of Scout Donovan to land the player.”
After his brief stay with the Red Sox, Maloy went to Worcester and never returned. His major-league record remained intact, with a 9.00 ERA. He faced 10 batters, and hit two of them and walked one. He gave up the two hits on the 22nd. He holds a rare distinction– a fielding percentage of .000, not because he simply never fielded a ball, but because the one chance he did have, in the July 22 game, he muffed. One chance, one error – .000.
Each of Maloy’s two games was for a different manager. Red Sox owner Jimmy McAleer had soured on Jake Stahl. Even though Stahl had led the squad to a world championship the previous October, and owned a 5 percent stake in the team, Red Sox Century says that McAleer feared that Stahl was planning to take over from him as club president, so he pre-emptively fired Stahl on July 14 and brought in Bill Carrigan.
Maloy pitched for Jesse Burkett’s Worcester Busters in the New England League and threw a five-hit shutout against New Bedford on August 7, then beat them again on the 27th, 7-2, giving up seven hits.
In 1914 he played for Worcester again, and then was 4-3 for Wilmington in the Tri-State League. He began playing in the South Michigan Association for Charles Wagner’s Battle Creek Crickets, but the league folded at the beginning of July. It appears that he left baseball until 1919, when he again played for Battle Creek, now in the Michigan-Ontario League. When Maloy completed his player questionnaire, he said he had played pro ball through 1922. There was a Maloy who pitched that year in Kalamazoo, a good bet that it was the same man. He was 11-10 with a 3.92 ERA. He played and managed an independent ballclub in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1920 and played for the Baltimore Dry Docks, a fast semipro team, in 1921.iv
Maloy married Clara Kiessling on February 16, 1915. They had a daughter, Mary. Clara died at some point and Paul married again, to Alma Osterwalder. They had two daughters, Betty and Carol.
The matter of Maloy’s middle name and his father’s name is confusing. Most baseball databases give his middle name as Augustus, but his father’s name was given as Augusta both in the 1900 census and again in 1910. And when Paul himself registered for the draft in the World War, he provided his middle name as Agusta. He was working as a trimmer at Studebaker in South Bend, Indiana – perhaps a war job, performing essential work. In 1920 Paul was listed as a machinist, with Clara working as a bookkeeper in a bank. When he registered again at the time of World War II, his middle name was recorded as Augustina. He worked for a company named Forrest Miller. When Paul completed his player questionnaire for the Hall of Fame, he gave his father’s name as Timothy with the middle initial of “A.”
Later in life, around 1960 – though we’re not sure for how long – Maloy worked in manufacturing at a brass foundry and tool and die company that may have borne his name.
Asked what was his outstanding achievement in baseball, it was, he wrote, “when I was sold to Boston Red Socks – who were world champions.”v It meant a lot to him that he had played with the reigning world champions, even though they finished fourth the year he was with them. In a December 7, 1972, letter to the Hall of Fame, he wrote, “Could you possibly send me another letter … confirming the fact that I did in fact play with the world champions of 1913 and that my name is listed in the baseball hall of fame.” He added, “I receive requests for my signature from people all over the country and quite a few from boys in the service.” He had five grandsons and three granddaughters at the time. Cliff Kachline at the Hall of Fame wrote him a kind letter in response acknowledging that Maloy had played with the team defending its 1912 world championship, but also noted its fourth-place finish in 1913.
Maloy died in Sandusky, Ohio, on March 18, 1976. He is buried in a cemetery associated with his grammar school: St. Mary’s, in Tiffin.
In addition to the sources noted in this biography, the author also accessed Maloy’s player file from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and consulted Retrosheet.org and Baseball-Reference.com.
i Sporting Life, July 12, 1913
ii Boston Globe, June 26, 1913
iii Sporting Life, July 12, 1913
iv Maloy confirmed this history in his December 1972 letter to the Hall of Fame.
v Player questionnaire at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.