Charlie Hartman was the first “cup of coffee” player – a one-game wonder – for the Boston Red Sox, playing in just one big-league game, on June 24, 1908. Hartman is enough of a mystery that before this author began researching him for Red Sox Threads, most standard sources didn’t indicate whether he batted left or threw left. As it happens, he never batted at all in major-league ball. He did pitch, once, throwing the last two innings in the June 24 game against the Washington Senators. And he threw left-handed, according to both the Boston Journal and the Boston Globe.
Charles Otto Hartman was born in Los Angeles on August 10, 1888, and was purchased by the Red Sox from Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. He had gone to spring training with the Mackmen, but they had a strong enough staff that he was expendable. The May 15 story announcing his signing to the Red Sox indicated that he was a left-hander who had pitched well for the Portland club in the Pacific Coast League, but named him Claude Hartman. A Globe photograph in May was captioned Claude as well, but census records confirm him as Charles O. Hartman. A bit ominously, the story warned, “His arm has bothered him somewhat this season, but manager McGuire thought well enough of him to refuse to waive claim to him, and so the young man will get a trying-out here.”
Hartman’s father, Edward Hartman, was a foreman at a mill in Los Angeles in 1900, where he lived with his wife, Fanny (both had moved to California from Pennsylvania with their eldest two sons, Arthur and William, within a year or three before Charles was born). A fourth son, Paul, was born nearly 12 years after Charlie.
Before coming to Boston, Hartman had put in parts of two seasons in the minors, and some semipro ball, originally playing for the Hamburgers, where he began to win games, and attracted notice as a “southpaw wonder.” The Hamburgers (named for Los Angeles department store owner M.A. Hamburger) were Southern California amateur baseball champions in the summer of 1905, Hartman playing a little right field and also first base, “in which position it is predicted he will make a hit in some big league before he is as old as Hal Chase.” In 1906 Charlie pitched for two teams (but only 12 innings in all), the Fresno Raisin Eaters and the Seattle Siwashes, both in the Pacific Coast League. The game for Fresno came in relief against the Portland Beavers, and he was hammered for five runs in the first inning he threw, capped by a grand slam. However, “he made a fine impression after he got over his stage fright, for he has all the curves any one ever heard of, and shows symptoms of being a fine pitcher.” He was busy with the Hamburgers again, into September.
The 12 innings reflected parts of two games; Hartman’s record was 0-1. In 1907 he pitched for the Portland Beavers and racked up 240 innings, with a 2.62 earned-run average and an 11-14 record. That’s what got him noticed by Mack. “Connie Mack has picked up the best pitcher on the coast in Hartman, a left-hander with a sweet curve,” said veteran Portland teammate Tom Raftery upon his return home to Boston after the Coast League season.
The Red Sox made a move and acquired Hartman from Mack. His first appearance came in a May 17 exhibition game in Providence in which the Red Sox beat the Worcester championship club, 8-0. Hartman started, and Ralph Glaze took over later. He struck out one, and didn’t walk a batter.
His official major-league appearance (the one and only) came in the June 24 game. The Red Sox were losing, 7-1, when he came in. The third pitcher of the afternoon, he “looked good” to the Globe – facing nine batters and giving up just one hit, a single by George McBride that followed a walk and a throwing error to second base by catcher Ed McFarland. Charging Hartman with an earned run doesn’t seem right.
He himself was perfect in the field, with one putout and two assists in three chances. He never did get to step into the batter’s box, because Deacon McGuire sent Bill Carrigan in to pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the ninth. The Boston Post said that Hartman, “although pretty wild, made a fairly decent showing.” The Boston Journal wrote what might seem a bit of a sad commentary on his career, “There was nothing really to commend or criticize in the youngster’s work.”
No doubt Hartman helped out throwing batting practice for the team, as pitchers did in those days, but he also pitched a third time for the Red Sox, appearing in another exhibition game, this time at Worcester’s Boulevard Park on July 6. Prospect Dwight Hazelton started for the Red Sox, but gave up six runs to Worcester in the bottom of the first inning. Hartman finished out the inning, and “had the Worcesters going after his out curves and high balls.” He did get to bat in this game, and hit a double. He reached on an error earlier, and scored twice – and got the win, 7-6, thanks to a late rally by the Red Sox.
In January 1909 Hartman, Doc McMahon (another one-game player, whose one game came on October 6, 1908), and 10 other Red Sox were placed on waivers. McMahon was claimed by Wilkes-Barre, and Hartman was claimed by Portland of the Pacific Coast League.
He appears to have suffered from a bad arm and unable to play baseball throughout almost all of 1909, but went to spring training at San Luis Obispo with the Beavers in 1910. Both of Walter McCredie’s Portland catchers enthused in March 1910 that they “have never caught a left-hander who has more than Hartman and on this statement McCredie figures that he has the star pitcher of the league in this quiet, unassuming Los Angeles lad.” It wasn’t to be. McCredie had an excess of players, and there was some thought of trying him out as a position player. “Charley Hartman…is really a better first baseman and outfielder than a good many players,” noted The Oregonian (though not noting his handedness at bat. In the March 18 game, he was quickly pulled after walking four, allowing a hit, and throwing a wild pitch all in the first inning. That’s the last trace we find of him.
By 1910 Charlie’s father, Edward, had become superintendent at a planing mill in L.A., and brother William worked in the same mill. Charlie himself had perhaps already given up baseball. Though still living with his parents, he was the proprietor of his own machine shop. Within the next several years, he started his own family, living in the city with his wife, Maybelle, and their son, Wilbur. He stayed with the machine company through at least the 1930 census.
By the time Hartman died of a coronary artery thrombosis in Los Angeles on October 22, 1960, he was listed as the purchasing agent for Hartman Bakery Equipment, a company that manufactured (as the name would indicate) bakery equipment.
In addition to the sources noted in this biography, the author also accessed Hartman’s player file from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the online SABR Encyclopedia, the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, Retrosheet.org, and Baseball-Reference.com. Some of this material was originally published in the book Red Sox Threads.
 Boston Globe, May 15, 1908