Paul Pettit

This article was written by Dan Taylor

Few players have been as coveted by professional clubs as Paul Pettit was in the spring of 1949. During that high school season, the hard-throwing left-handed pitcher drew crowds to the small southern California town of Lomita. They echoed the influx to the region after oil was discovered there in the early 1920s.

Pettit’s powerful arm was the nectar that lured scouts, reporters, fans – and even a few salesmen with investment gimmicks – to Narbonne High School, southwest of Los Angeles. This zealous pursuit cemented Pettit’s baseball legacy: he was the first recipient of a six-figure signing bonus in the game’s history and the first player known to have an agent negotiate his contract.

Alas, Pettit wound up as a “what might have been” story. Burdened with high expectations, he hurt his elbow early in his first pro season and lost the zip on his fastball. He pitched just 12 games in the majors and was merely 21 when his big-league career finished in 1953.

Paul Pettit was born in Los Angeles on November 29, 1931, and raised in government housing, the Harbor Hills Housing Project in Lomita. His parents, George and Valerie (née Steidel) were of modest means. George Pettit had emigrated to the United States from England in 1909 at the age of 19. Repeated bouts of rheumatic fever forced him to seek a better climate. In the 1940s he worked as a pipefitter in a Navy shipyard before becoming a night watchman at the port on Terminal Island (a 1985 story on Paul Pettit in Sports Illustrated mentioned that George also worked as a milkman). His wife worked as a nurse before turning her attentions to raising Paul and his younger sister, Valerie.1

By the eighth grade Paul was taller than his classmates, en route to a 6-foot-2 adult height. He was jut-jawed, with a thick head of dark hair that he combed back, except for a disobedient tuft that liked to flop to the left. Pettit was quick to flash a grin, humble, and with a strong work ethic. During that eighth-grade year, he befriended a classmate, Darrold “Gar” Myers, who was a catcher on the school baseball team. The friendship would have a life-altering effect.

During the spring of 1946, Myers noticed in the local newspaper that a semipro team had formed and was holding tryouts. He answered the ad and made the team. The Signal Oilers were funded by Standard Oil and run by Art Swartz, a scout for the St. Louis Browns. Myers told the scout about his friend, Pettit. “Bring him on by,” Swartz replied.2

A week later Pettit tried out for Swartz’s team. The scout saw a 14-year-old left-handed slinger who threw hard but had a hittable fastball and a flat curve. Swartz instructed Pettit to raise his arm angle from a side-arm slot to a more over-the-top arc. He had Pettit shift his body weight onto his left leg at the height of his windup rather than stay balanced and simply push off the rubber with his left foot. Swartz then instructed Pettit to pause for an instant as he lifted his right knee before beginning his stride. Finally, Pettit was recommended to drive his right elbow toward home plate as his body followed and the pitching arm came through. Results from the change were instantaneous and dramatic—a searing four-seam fastball with backspin that moved away from a right-handed hitter and appeared to rise as it approached home plate.

In the first game Pettit pitched for the Oilers, Swartz himself donned the catcher’s gear. He was eager to evaluate Pettit. Instead he made the 15-year-old pitcher nervous. Pettit shook like a leaf in a breeze. He walked the first three batters that he faced without throwing a single strike. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Swartz called for time. He walked to the pitcher’s mound and told Pettit to concentrate on simply hitting the catcher’s mitt. The teen locked his gaze onto the glove’s dark leather pocket and struck the next three batters out.

At the end of the summer Swartz lost Standard Oil’s sponsorship and was forced to disband his ballclub. Pettit and Myers found a new club – the Hermosa Beach Seals. The Seals were run by a former minor-league catcher and manager, Fred Millican, who was a part-time scout for the Pacific Coast League’s Hollywood Stars. Millican was so impressed with his new pitcher that he contacted a fellow Hollywood scout, Rosey Gilhausen, with news of his discovery.

Pettit and Myers took a liking to Gilhausen. They would ride their bicycles to his home and listen to his baseball stories. The scout took the boys to Gilmore Field to watch the Hollywood Stars. In the executive lounge at the stadium one night, the teens were introduced to movie star George Raft. The brush with celebrity left the boys starstruck and awed at the gorgeous woman on the actor’s arm.

Soon after Pettit suited up for the varsity baseball team at Narbonne High, word of his talent became legend. He pitched the team to the LA City title game in three straight years and was named to the All-City Team each year. It was during Pettit’s senior season, however, that the attention mushroomed to unheard-of proportions. School administrators had to move bleachers from the football field to the baseball diamond to accommodate large crowds. Pettit was sought out by reporters for interviews. Fans persisted for autographs. Scouts helped Pettit’s father chop wood and dried dishes for the boy’s mother. All hoped it would lure the pitcher to their team once it came to decision time. Paul Pettit was simply the best amateur pitcher in America.

By the spring of 1949, Pettit had developed a slow, looping curve and had perfected a window-shade changeup to complement a wicked fastball. “There hasn’t been a schoolboy pitcher around like this for a long, long time,” Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey crowed. He called Pettit “right out of this world.”3

Pettit breezed through his high school competition. He threw six no-hitters and struck out 390 batters over 140 innings – 27 in one 12-inning game and 19 in a seven-inning game. Scouts arranged games with colleges and semipro teams to size up Pettit against tougher competition. Some weeks he pitched three and even four games.

As the tall southpaw warmed up for a game one afternoon, Pittsburgh Pirates scout Babe Herman stood by quietly. After several throws, Herman broke the silence. “Son, you’re getting a lot of attention. If you don’t get a bonus offer of $90,000, something’s wrong.” Pettit was momentarily taken aback. “It was the first time anybody had given me an idea of how much I might be worth,” he said.

During the final week of the 1949 high school season, Pettit was given a break from pitching. His coach started him in center field. Early in the game a batter cracked a sinking line drive toward right center field. Pettit sprinted after the ball. He lunged and made the catch inches above the grass before landing hard on his left shoulder. Pettit quickly rose to his knees and unleashed a powerful throw toward third base that nailed a runner who had tagged up from second.

Three days later Pettit took the mound to pitch Narbonne’s final regular-season game. It wasn’t long before his catcher, Gar Myers, knew that something was wrong. The velocity of Pettit’s fastball was off. The ball didn’t have its usual late rise and Pettit couldn’t keep his pitches down in the strike zone either. In the dugout between innings, the catcher prodded his pitcher about it. Pettit shrugged it off. Myers wondered quietly, however, if the catch and throw three days earlier had injured Pettit’s arm.

One of Pettit’s future pro managers, George Genovese, was there that day too and thought the same as Myers. He was also concerned that Pettit’s prior workload had taken a toll.

Once high school graduation ceremonies around Southern California commenced that June, scouts snapped up the region’s top prospects. The pursuit of Pettit would take longer, for he was not slated to graduate until January.

In the fall of 1949, the quest of Pettit’s pitching talents would take a never-before-seen twist. George Pettit received a telegram inviting him to a meeting at a Sunset Boulevard office in Hollywood. When the senior Pettit, his wife, son, and Paul’s girlfriend, Shirley Jennings, arrived, they were introduced to Frederick Stephani, a film producer whose credits included the 1936 hit serial, Flash Gordon. Stephani wanted to produce sports films and offered Pettit a $60,000 contract for the rights to his story. “I don’t know anything about acting,” an astonished Pettit blurted.4 Remembering Babe Herman’s advice, the teen turned the offer down. A few days later Stephani increased his offer, which was again rejected.

By early October, Stephani’s offer rose to $85,000 spread over 10 years. This time Pettit accepted. The agreement fell under the laws and policies of the motion picture industry, specifically the Coogan child labor law. Moneys were to go into a court-sanctioned trust account. Pettit’s father was appointed conservator, and it was arranged for the ballplayer to receive $200 per month until his 21st birthday. On October 17, 1949, a personal management contract between Paul Pettit and Frederick Stephani was filed at City Hall in Los Angeles. Any club that wanted to sign Paul Pettit would have to negotiate with Stephani for his signature.

Almost every team in baseball had Friday, January 27, 1950, circled on their calendar. That was the day Paul Pettit would receive his high school diploma. Under baseball rules it was the first day teams could extend offers and try to sign the pitching sensation. Stephani received six offers before the weekend; several were above the reported $75,000 bonus record held by Johnny Antonelli and Frank House. The press speculated that the New York Yankees and the Dodgers were the frontrunners.

Stephani set a deadline of Monday afternoon, January 30, 1950, to submit bids. When Pettit and his father entered a downtown Los Angeles law office to learn the outcome, they were surprised to find reporters and photographers waiting in the outer lobby. Once inside the lawyer’s office, Stephani introduced Roy Hamey, general manager of the Pirates. “Hamey said, ‘Paul, we’ve bought your contract from Mr. Stephani.’ My father said, “Not so fast. We want $100,000!’ Mr. Stephani and Hamey went into another room. When they came back a few moments later Hamey said ‘You have a deal,’” Pettit recalled of the momentous day.5

Headlines, newsreels, and radio reports jolted readers, viewers, and listeners with the bulletin of the first six-figure signing bonus in baseball history. Hamey told reporters, “Our scouts have watched him closely for a long time, rate him very highly, and believe he has a chance to become an outstanding pitcher in the majors.”6

No sooner was the deal announced when astonishment and outrage erupted. “Why, that’s more than I got in my 20 years in the big leagues,” said Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander.7 Stephani was accused of acting as a front to help the Pirates circumvent signing rules. “I have no connection to baseball,” Stephani, a German immigrant, protested. “The transaction is an outrageous evasion!” thundered the St. Louis Cardinals owner, Fred Saigh.8 “If a major-league club was behind this, something drastic must be done,” said Yankees general manager, George Weiss.9 Accusatory fingers pointed to popular crooner-actor Bing Crosby, a part-owner of the Pirates. “Definitely not,” Roy Hamey snapped.10

Almost immediately, investigations began – official and unofficial. The commissioner, Happy Chandler, launched one probe. The New York Herald Tribune began another. Chandler’s cleared the Pirates. Herald Tribune sports editor Bob Cooke claimed to have uncovered irrefutable proof of a scheme between the Pirates and Stephani to get around signing rules and land Pettit. “Most ridiculous,” Stephani barked at the charge.11 At the annual New York Baseball Writers Dinner, Chandler declared the deal legal and the case closed.

Two weeks after his signing, Paul Pettit was in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform for the first time. When he stepped out onto the field for a rookie orientation camp at Perris Park in San Bernardino, California, the event had all the trappings of a Hollywood premiere. Reporters and photographers milled about. Perhaps the biggest Pirates fan of all, Bing Crosby, came to see the prized pitcher for himself. Photographers brought the pair together and had Pettit lean behind Crosby’s shoulder, mouth agape, as if singing a chord. “He’s much more handsome than Bob Hope,” Crosby wisecracked. “Maybe he’ll turn out to be quite an actor at that!”12

Early in spring training Pettit took the mound during an intrasquad game and was impressive. “I struck out the side. When I got back to the dugout the manager, Billy Meyer was excited. He said ‘You did that on 14 pitches. That’s great! Keep it up!’ A few days later he pitched me in an exhibition game against the Yankees. I was pretty nervous but I retired the side in order. When I came back to the dugout Meyer kept saying, ‘Great, just great!’” Pettit recalled.13

Pitching in Pittsburgh, however, was not part of the plans for Pettit’s first season in professional baseball. To skirt the bonus rule, the Pirates had the sensation sign a contract with their New Orleans farm club, and there he would spend the 1950 season pitching for the Pelicans. George Genovese later observed that the Southern Association, a Double-A circuit, was a very tough first assignment for a boy right out of high school. The league had quite a few former big-leaguers, and some of the parks were bandboxes.

New Orleans was abuzz over Pettit’s impending arrival. “The Finest the Pelicans Have Had in Years!” read one newspaper headline. “His Fast One Can Take Care of Itself!” blared another. On arriving, Pettit was an instant celebrity. No sooner had his plane landed when he was whisked to the famous Antoine’s Restaurant for dinner with the local sportswriters. In the days that followed, Pettit’s picture appeared in almost every one of the city’s six newspapers on a daily basis.

In one of the Pelicans’ final exhibition games, Pettit heightened the anticipation by teaming with Bob Purkey to no-hit the league’s defending champs, the Nashville Vols. In the aftermath of postgame celebrating, Ben Tincup, the Pirates’ minor-league pitching consultant, said that Pettit “can’t help but become a major-league pitching star!”14

While still in spring training, Pirates coaches had tinkered with Pettit’s delivery. Once in New Orleans, the Pelicans’ manager, Hal Luby, went farther. He ordered the prospect to adopt a “windmill” delivery and junk his brief mid-delivery hesitation. The results would be disastrous. “That really made me wild. So, I began straining,” Pettit would later explain to Al Wolf of the Los Angeles Times.15

On April 23, 1950, Pettit made his professional debut, starting against Chattanooga. More than 11,000 fans squeezed into 9,000-seat Pelicans Park. Pettit was opposed by four-time major-league All-Star Bobo Newsom, who cracked, “You know, most of this crowd has turned out to see me! I sincerely hope the kid wins ’em all, except when he’s pitching against us.” 16

Pettit struggled. When he was removed in the eighth inning, he had walked 11 and given up seven runs. During his next start, in Little Rock, Arkansas, Pettit failed to protect a five-run lead. Luby elected to sit the prospect for the next two weeks. Around New Orleans, enthusiasm turned to nastiness. “Pettit, you stink!” a man shouted at the 18-year-old in the French Quarter one morning. “Another time a guy was showing me his new car and some guy nearby hollered, “Pettit, you’ll never make it!”17

Luby gave Pettit a start on May 13 against Birmingham. A large crowd streamed into Pelicans Park for the event. In the top of the first inning, as Pettit brought his arm around to snap off a curveball, he “felt something give in my elbow.”18 The pitcher battled through the inning, but when he returned to the mound to start the second, “My stuff was gone.”19 He summoned Luby, who instructed the pitcher to “throw a couple more.” Pettit flung a curveball then said, “It hurts more.”

Within days the phenom was examined by the Pelicans’ team doctor, who found nothing wrong. The Pirates sent Pettit to Baltimore to be seen by Dr. George Bennett at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who proclaimed, “Nothing permanently wrong with Pettit’s pitching arm.”20 Four weeks after he suffered the injury, Pettit was given a start against Memphis. He retired just four batters. The Pirates responded by firing Luby. He was replaced by the organization’s pitching guru, Bill Burwell.

Initially, Burwell used Pettit in relief, then returned the left-hander to the starting rotation for the final six weeks of the season. “My control was swell, but I didn’t have my speed,” Pettit said.21 He finished the year with a 2-7 won-lost record, an earned-run average of 5.17, and 76 walks allowed in 94 innings pitched.

Changes came to the Pittsburgh Pirates during the winter of 1950-51. Branch Rickey was made general manager. In January Pettit married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Jennings. Three weeks after the wedding, Pettit joined the Pirates for spring training in San Bernardino. Rickey had promised Pittsburgh (which had finished last in the NL in 1950) a youth movement, and Pettit was part of those plans. “Pettit will remain with us,” Rickey declared. “He needs his self-confidence built up. He’s a better pitcher than he thinks.”22 It was three weeks, however, before he saw action in a game. His major-league debut came on a Friday night, May 4, in the Polo Grounds in New York. The Pirates were losing, 5-1, to the Giants. Meyer sent Pettit in to pitch the eighth inning. Rickey moved from his customary seat behind first base to one behind the plate to get a better look at the pitcher. He watched as Pettit induced Bobby Thomson to ground out to shortstop, Hank Thompson to ground out to second base, and Ray Noble to fly out to left field. While the sportswriters noted that Pettit was the only Pirates’ hurler to escape the game unscathed, Rickey groused, “Doesn’t throw hard enough to suit me.”23

In a column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, sports editor Al Abrams related a story from a ride on the Pirates’ team bus. Pettit was seated next to another rookie, Bill Koski. A veteran player seated a few rows back turned to a sportswriter and said, “There’s a $100,000 pitcher sitting next to a boy who cost this club practically a bag of peanuts. I’ll bet you the boy who’s worth a bag of peanuts will outlast the $100,000 bonus pitcher. He has shown me more stuff.”24 As it turned out, Koski (who was also just 19 then) pitched 13 games in the majors – but none after 1951.

On May 14 Rickey shipped Pettit to the minor leagues. After four games with Indianapolis, Pettit was demoted to New Orleans. Then after just one game for the Pelicans, he was shipped to Class A ball in Charleston, South Carolina. Soon after arriving in Charleston, Pettit injured his knee; he didn’t pitch again until the final two weeks of the season. His final won-lost record for 1951 was just 2–2.

The publicity-savvy Hollywood Stars jumped at the chance to add Pettit to their ballclub for the 1952 season. The Hollywood manager, Fred Haney, knew the pitcher well. He had watched Pettit pitch in high school and held him in high regard. On the first day of spring training Haney told Pettit that he would be fined if he listened to pointers or took instruction from anyone but his manager.

The Stars were among the first clubs to seize upon the potential of the new medium of television. All of their home games were carried live. When Haney announced the date of Pettit’s first scheduled pitching start, the Hollywood front office unleashed a zealous campaign to promote the event. Glum looks covered the faces of ownership and management as they scanned the stands and saw just 2,248 fans for Pettit’s debut. It was only later that they learned a record 500,000 Southern California TV sets were tuned to the broadcast of Pettit’s 5–3 win over Seattle.

Pitching for Hollywood, Pettit managed to harness his wildness. He won 15 games and helped Hollywood win the PCL pennant. Many who had watched him pitch in high school noted, however, that his fastball was hardly the bullet that had excited scouts three years before. “He isn’t throwing anything like the way he did when I saw him in high school,” said a member of the Pirates.25

Pettit’s performance with Hollywood brought another opportunity to pitch in Pittsburgh in 1953. Fred Haney had become the Pirates’ skipper. On May 1, Pettit made his first major-league start. He pitched into the seventh inning against Cincinnati before a heel blister drove him from the game. Pettit pitched well and earned the win – the only one he would earn in the majors. In his next start, Pettit was unable to retire a single Giants batter. His inconsistency made Haney remove him from the starting rotation. Finally, on June 6 Pettit was demoted to the minor leagues.

By 1954 it was clear that Paul Pettit had fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh. He began the season with the Hollywood Stars but played sparingly. Six weeks into the season, as the team was preparing to board a bus for the airport and a road trip, Pettit was pulled aside by Bobby Bragan. “He told me that they were sending me to Salinas (of the Class C California League) because they wanted to make an everyday player out of me.” Pettit said.26

Branch Rickey had taken note of Pettit’s hitting exploits at Charleston and Hollywood. Several of his scouts had seconded the idea to move Pettit from the mound. Rickey assigned George Genovese, by then a manager in the Pirates farm system, to Salinas. He was told his task was “to salvage Paul Pettit.”27 Pettit thrived, hitting .324 with 20 home runs and 103 runs batted in in 108 games.

The following season Pettit was assigned to a new Pirates farm club, the Mexico City Tigers. He was again a sensation with the bat. For three months, he flirted with a .400 average; he was in a fight for the league batting title down to the final week of the season. He finished third with a .383 mark. Pettit also hit 10 home runs and had 80 runs batted in. His manager, Genovese, praised Pettit’s play in conversations with Branch Rickey and his son Branch Jr., who ran the farm system. “Every time we talked I told them the switch was going to work,” Genovese recalled. “Paul was really hitting the ball. I said I felt he should get a look with Pittsburgh. He would be the ideal 25th man. He can play the outfield, he can play first base, he can even pitch in an emergency.”28

Such an opportunity never came. Though he continued to hit well in the minor leagues, it never generated another invitation to spring training with the Pirates. For tax purposes, Pettit had arranged for his $100,000 signing bonus to be paid out in equal installments over ten years. Once the final installment was made (on May 2, 1959), Pittsburgh let the onetime wonder go. He was traded from their Salt Lake City farm club to Seattle, also of the PCL, a Cincinnati Reds affiliate.

Reality had, by this point, changed Pettit’s goals and priorities. In the off-season he was working toward a college degree at Cal State Long Beach. After appearing in 93 games for Seattle in 1960, he chose to skip the 1961 season and concentrate on school. Pettit attended classes in the evening, did his student teaching by day, then worked nights in a bakery before dashing home to catch what little shut-eye he could. He graduated with a degree in secondary education and was soon hired for a teaching job to begin in September 1962.

Before plunging into his teaching career, Pettit decided to give baseball one last shot. Seattle offered him a contract, but since he had last played for the Rainiers, they had become a Boston Red Sox farm club and were under orders to play the parent club’s prospects. There was little playing time available for Pettit: merely two pinch-hitting appearances. The pain in his throwing arm that had persisted since the injury in 1950 continued. He saw no chance of a return to the big leagues. The receipt of baseball paychecks was about to end. Paul Pettit saw the writing on the wall and retired from the game.

In the years that followed his time in baseball, Pettit enjoyed a successful career in education. He taught business, physical education, and even typing at Jordan High School in Long Beach, Lawndale High School, and Leuzinger High School in Palmdale. At each school, Pettit also coached baseball, which he also did in the summer for the American Legion.

Pettit also managed to keep a hand in the professional game. When his former manager, George Genovese, became a scout for the San Francisco Giants, Pettit helped as an associate scout. In June 1968 Pettit was engaged in conversation with Syd Thrift, then a Kansas City Royals scout. He told Thrift he would be interested if a coaching or managing job were to open in the new organization. One week later Pettit received an urgent call from the Royals’ farm director, Lou Gorman. Max Lanier, manager of their Class A club in Dubuque, Iowa, had suffered a heart attack. Gorman asked Pettit if he was willing to take over the club. While Pettit enjoyed his return to the professional game, he had grown accustomed to being around his family. At the end of the season he opted to return to teaching and coaching at the high school level.

In a marriage that lasted more than 65 years, Paul and Shirley Pettit raised six children: Paul Jr., Mark, Cindy, Tim, Mike, and Stefanie. Two sons played briefly in the minor leagues. Mark spent two seasons as an infielder in the Baltimore Orioles farm system; Tim Pettit pitched one season in the California Angels organization. In April 2016, Shirley Pettit passed away. As of 2018, Paul Pettit resides in Hemet, California.

Reflecting on his career, Pettit said, “I think I tried too hard, and I overextended myself, and that’s why I came up with a bad arm. I should’ve started…with guys my same age or within two or three years. I wouldn’t have felt intimidated and so pressured to do the job.”29 Yet previously, he had said, “I’m not one of those bitter guys. Baseball was real good to me everywhere I played.”30

Last revised: November 1, 2018

 

Acknowledgements

Information for this biography came from telephone conversations with Paul Pettit on February 10, 2016; February 13, 2016; and October 25, 2018; plus an in-person conversation on July 13, 2016. Additional information was gathered through telephone interviews with Darrold “Gar” Myers on February 2, 2015 and June 23, 2016 and from a number of conversations with George Genovese in March 2009.

This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and fact-checked by Kevin Larkin.

 

Sources

Information and interviews from the book Fate’s Take-out Slide, by George Genovese with Dan Taylor, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co. (2017).

 

Notes

1 From telephone and in-person conversations with Paul Pettit in February 2016, July 2016, and October 2018. See also Ed Burns, “Update: Ex-Bonus Baby Paul Pettit Doesn’t Dwell on His Lost Baseball Career,” Sports Illustrated, April 1, 1985.

2 Conversation with Darrold “Gar” Myers, February 26, 2016.

3 Jim McCulley, “Rickey Heaps Praise on Pettit,” New York News, February 5, 1950.

4 Al Wolf, “Lefty Pettit’s Contract Has Ball Scouts Stymied,” Los Angeles Times, January 23, 1950.

5 Conversation with Paul Pettit, February 2016.

6 Al Wolf, “$100,000 Paid Pettit by Bucs,” Los Angeles Times, February 1, 1950.

7 Frank Finch, “Ol’ Pete Got Less in 20 Years than Pettit Before Pitching,” The Sporting News, April 25, 1951.

8 “Card Prexy Blasts Signing of Pettit,” Los Angeles Times, February 2, 1950.

9 Ibid.

10 Al Wolf, “Sportraits,” Los Angeles Times, February 2, 1950.

11 “Deal for Pettit Illegal, Charge.” Associated Press, March 4, 1950.

12 Al Wolf “Pettit’s Size, Poise Tickle Pirates Boss,” Los Angeles Times, February 13, 1950.

13 From a conversation with Paul Pettit, February 2016.

14 Marshall Grundman, “Purkey, Pettit Share in No-Hitter,” New Orleans Times Picayune, April 3, 1950.

15 Al Wolf, “Sportraits,” Los Angeles Times, March 27, 1952.

16 Marshall Grundman, “Pettit Wild in First Start,” New Orleans Times Picayune, April 23, 1950.

17 From a conversation with Paul Pettit, February 2016.

18 Wolf, “Sportraits,” March 27, 1952.

19 Ibid.

20 William McG. Keefe, “Pettit Sent to Johns Hopkins,” New Orleans Times Picayune, May 27, 1950.

21 Wolf, “Sportraits.” March 27, 1952.

22 Les Biederman, “Bucs of 51 to Be Adventurous Bunch,” The Sporting News, April 4, 1951.

23 Jack Hernon “Pirates Riddled by Flies,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 4, 1951.

24 Al Abrams “Sidelights on Sports,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 14, 1951.

25 F. Haraway “Bucs’ Farm Base Sees ‘Only Chance for Pettit as Hitter,” The Sporting News, April 7, 1954.

26 From a conversation with Paul Pettit in February 2016.

27 George Genovese conversation in March 2009.

28 Ibid.

29 Brent Kelley, Baseball’s Biggest Blunder: The Bonus Rule of 1953-57, Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press (1997): 11.

30 Dwight Chapin, “$100,000 Bonus Baby Paul Pettit Survives Fall from Cloud 9.” Los Angeles Times, August 21, 1971