George Abrams

This article was written by Eric Vickrey

George Abrams (BASEBALL-REFERENCE.COM)The major-league baseball career of George Abrams was a drop in the bucket compared to his career and accomplishments in golf. Abrams served as a mop-up reliever in three games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1923, his last season of pro ball. He continued to pitch and manage in semipro leagues in the Pacific Northwest for several years, but it was the game of golf in which Abrams made a living and displayed an undying passion.

George Allen Abrams was born on November 9, 1897, in Seattle, Washington.1 He was the third of four children born to Albin and Anna (Clausen) Abrams. Albin (born Fredrik Albin Abrahamsson) married Anna (born Anna Lovisa Klasdotter) in 1893, and the couple immigrated to Seattle from Sweden in 1896. George had two brothers (Eric and Alfred) and a sister (Marie). Albin worked as a carpenter at a sawmill.

George was involved in many sports during his salad days. By age 11, he was caddying at the Seattle Golf Club. Known at the time as “Shorty,” George carried clubs for five years while learning the game and becoming an excellent player himself.2 He was a boxer, played football, and was a pitcher for Ballard High School. In 1915, he participated in the boxing championship at Seattle Athletic Club, weighing in at 135 pounds.3 As a teenager, George went to work at Duthie shipyard. He pitched for the company’s semipro club and was captain of the golf team. He was reported to have consistently shot below 80 on the links.4 George, with who had brown hair and a medium build, grew to 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds.

In 1920, Abrams, a right-hander, pitched for the Tacoma Tigers of the Class B Pacific International League. He was scouted and signed by the team’s manager, former Yankees infielder Bobby Vaughn.5 The pitching staff’s ace was future big-leaguer Bert Cole. Abrams pitched in 25 games, compiling a record of 8-7 with 83 strikeouts and 48 walks.6

In January 1921, George married fellow Seattleite Jennie Roth. He was employed for an out-of-town manufacturer that year and played for Tacoma on Sundays. He pitched in 10 games and lost all three of his decisions. Toward the end of the season, Abrams signed with the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League. The pennant-winning club did not provide an opportunity for him to show his wares.

On April 5, 1922, it was reported that the Enid (Oklahoma) Harvesters of the Class C Western Association were in negotiations to sign Abrams, whom the Enid Daily News referred to as a “high class ballplayer.”7 The deal was consummated, and Abrams made his debut on May 6 versus Henryetta, picking up a complete game victory while limiting the opposition to one run.8 The righty notched 18 wins versus just 5 losses for the Harvesters while tossing 224 innings in 27 games. He threw six shutouts, including a pair of one-hitters.9 Southpaw Don Songer, who would go on to pitch in four major-league seasons with the Pirates and Giants, won 31 games for Enid.

By August, Abrams had attracted the attention of big-league scouts, including one from the Detroit Tigers who watched him defeat Joplin on August 16.10 Abrams had been in contact with Cincinnati Reds team president Garry Herrmann, not about himself, but Songer, whom Abrams touted for promotion.11 A Reds scout, sent to scope out the talent, found that Songer was on loan from Kansas City but thought Abrams showed enough promise to warrant a closer look with the Reds.12 On August 19, it was announced that Cincinnati Reds purchased Abrams on option from Enid, effective at the close of the Western Association season.13 The Seattle Daily Times reported that the Reds paid $15,000 for the rights to Abrams’ services.14

Abrams joined the Reds in September and accompanied the team on an East Coast road trip but did not appear in a regular season game. He did, however, pitch in an exhibition game on September 24 versus the Reading (Pennsylvania) Aces. Jack Ryder, a sportswriter with the Cincinnati Inquirer, praised Abrams following the outing: “Abrams made a good showing all the way through. He is a cool youngster, not displaying a trace of nervousness and his control of the ball was perfect.”15

Following the season, Abrams returned to his home in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard. He worked on a ranch and then at the Wilson and Kreitle Ford Dealership in Ballard.16 Abrams also spent that winter on the golf course, teaching the game to Jennie. “Eppa] Rixey goes around in the 80s, and a number of the others of the club play pretty good golf, and the wives of several of the players are out on the links daily, so I thought I should get Mrs. Abrams going on the game,” Abrams told the Seattle Daily Times.17

Abrams reported to Reds camp in Orlando, Florida, in the spring of 1923. Coming off a second-place finish, manager Pat Moran expected to compete for the National League pennant. The club returned veterans Rixey, Rube Benton, Pete Donohue, Johnny Couch, Cactus Keck, and Dolf Luque. Abrams was considered a promising newcomer to the staff.

Cincinnati opened the season at home against the St. Louis Cardinals. After the two teams split the first two contests, the Cardinals took a 7-4 lead into the ninth inning in the third matchup on April 19. The Cardinals plated two more and loaded the bases to start the top of the ninth against Reds reliever Karl Schnell, who failed to record an out. Abrams was called on to make his major-league debut in a precarious situation. The first batter he faced was Eddie Ainsmith, who drew a walk to force in a run and extend the St. Louis lead to 10-4. Abrams induced a groundball double play off the bat of future Hall of Famer Jesse Haines, and another run scored on the play. Abrams retired Ray Blades on a lineout to third to end the frame. Both runs he allowed were charged to Schnell. Abrams was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning, but the Reds came up short, losing 11-8.

Abrams got his next opportunity a week later when the Reds visited St. Louis. After the Cards touched Couch for six runs in the fourth, Abrams came out of the bullpen to start the fifth with Cincinnati trailing, 6-3. The rookie threw three innings of relief, scattering six hits while allowing just one run. A caught stealing and a groundball that struck Rogers Hornsby on the basepaths helped limit the damage. Abrams recorded his first and only career strikeout in the outing when he fanned Cardinals catcher Verne Clemons on the front end of a strikeout — caught stealing double play in the sixth inning. Abrams also got his only career at-bat in the game, making the most of the opportunity with a single off Bill Sherdel. He was left stranded, and the Reds lost the game, 8-4.

Abrams made his third and final big-league appearance on May 4 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He entered the game in the seventh with the Reds trailing 7-5 and retired the first two batters he faced. But then the next five batters went: double, walk, triple, single, single. At that point, three runs had scored, and there were runners on the corners. Abrams was lifted for reliever Bill Harris and charged with a fourth run on a Rabbit Maranville single. In his three games, Abrams pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed five earned runs for an ERA of 9.64.

On June 16, the Reds released Abrams to the Bridgeport (Connecticut) Americans of the Class A Eastern League. The righty struggled early on, including an outing on June 27 versus Waterbury in which he allowed 10 runs on 17 hits.18 According to Baseball-Reference, Abrams compiled a 7-16 record for Bridgeport and had an ERA of 3.67. He was recalled by the Reds following the Eastern League slate but did not appear in another game.19

Abrams participated in a tournament at Seattle’s Metropolitan indoor golf course that winter and took home the trophy cup. In the process, he sank 10 holes-in-one.20

Abrams was released outright by the Reds to the Springfield (Massachusetts) Ponies of the Eastern League for the 1924 season, though he hoped to play for either Seattle or Portland in the Pacific Coast League. Springfield granted him permission to seek a deal with these clubs.21 Instead, Abrams pitched for Mount Vernon, a semipro team in the Northwest Washington League. In 18 games pitched, he threw 125 innings and finished the campaign with a record of 8-3.22 That fall, he played for another semipro club in Everett. That year, George and Jennie welcomed their first daughter, Dorothy.

For one autumn day in 1924, Abrams was teammates with Babe Ruth. The Bambino visited Seattle for the first time for an exhibition game on October 19, playing for a team of Seattle All-Stars. Abrams was reported to have been one of the hurlers slated to throw for the local club against a Timber League squad led by Bob Meusel.23 Though the box score from the contest was not reported, Ruth clubbed three homers into a cabbage patch across the street, aweing the 6,000 spectators in attendance.24

When not using sporting equipment, Abrams was selling it for the Spalding and Brothers company. When it came to golf, the Seattle Daily Times called him the undisputed longest hitter in Puget Sound region. Described as “stockily built,” Abrams’s golf stroke was “a full roundhouse flat swing” with “lots of hips into it.”25

Abrams remained active in semipro baseball and golf leagues around the Puget Sound for several years. In 1925, he was player-manager of Sedro-Woolley, another semipro club in the Northwest Washington League. He also pitched for a Timber League team in Aberdeen. From 1926 to 1929, he was a player-manager for the Everett Seagulls in the Timber League while at times filling in as an infielder and representing the club at league meetings. When the Seattle Commercial Golf League was formed in the winter of 1926, Abrams was named secretary-treasurer, a role he filled for several years. He also served as secretary of the Seattle Open Sweepstakes Association, an organization that held monthly tournaments with a mix of pros and amateurs. In December 1927, Abrams became a father for the second time when Jennie gave birth to another daughter, Betty. By 1931, Abrams had given up baseball and focused his full attention on golf.

Abrams moved to the Chicago suburbs in the early 1940s and then to Miami, Florida before eventually settling in Clearwater. He spent 28 years working as a district manager and consultant for the Acushnet Company, a manufacturer of golf equipment and accessories. The company’s best-known brand is Titleist. In retirement, he played 18 holes of golf five days a week and played in each of the continental United States.26

For many years, he played in the annual National Baseball Players Golf Tournament, which included current and former players. Abrams scored back-to-back tournament victories in 1955-56. He also won several senior tournaments, including the Belleair Invitational in 1960 and the Clearwater Country Club Senior Golf Tournament in 1970-71. He once estimated that he played 10,000 rounds at the Clearwater Country Club.27 Abrams was even an honorary member of the PGA.

Jennie and George were married for 65 years until her death in July 1986. On October 24, 1986, Abrams fell at his Clearwater residence and fractured his hip. He had continued golfing up until that point. Abrams died on December 5, 1986, in Clearwater. He is buried at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park Mausoleum in Clearwater.



This biography was reviewed by Gregory H. Wolf and Rory Costello and checked for accuracy by SABR’s fact-checking team.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author relied on



1 Many sources have listed his birth year as 1899, but his birth certificate indicates a birth year of 1897., accessed October 6, 2021.

2 “First, Golf; Then, Baseball So, George Should Do Well,” Seattle Daily Times, February 18, 1923: 36.

3 “Clever Amateur Boxers and Wrestlers Ready for Gong,” Seattle Daily Times, December 26, 1915: 28.

4 “First, Golf; Then, Baseball So, George Should Do Well.”

5 “Tacoma Tigers Grab Five Men,” Spokane Chronicle, April 2, 1920: 23.

6 “P.I. League Hurlers’ Standing,” Seattle Daily Times, September 26, 1920: 41.

7 “Harvesters Work Again,” Enid Daily News, April 5, 1922: 2.

8 “Henryetta Fails to Find Abram Slants,” Enid Daily News, May 7, 1922: 5.

9 Ernest J. Lanigan, “New Major Leaguers,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 16, 1923: 22.

10 “Break Helps Harvesters to Take Initial,” Enid Daily News, August 17, 1922: 5.

11 Sandy McDonald, “Sandy’s Slants,” Seattle Daily Times, February 17, 1946: 24. (This article states that the left-handed pitcher Abrams touted was “Sontag,” but it seems clear that the player referred to was Songer).

12 “Abrams Soon to Cincinnati,” Enid Daily News, September 3, 1922: 5.

13 “George Abrams to Cincinnati Reds,” Enid Daily News, August 20, 1922: 12.

14 “First, Golf; Then, Baseball So, George Should Do Well.”

15 “Abrams Victor in First Try,” Enid Daily News, October 1, 1922: 9.

16 “First, Golf; Then, Baseball So, George Should Do Well.”

17 “First, Golf; Then, Baseball So, George Should Do Well.”

18 “George Abrams is Touched for 17 Safeties and Brasscos Finally Win,” Bridgeport Telegram (Bridgeport, Connecticut), June 28, 1923: 18.

19 “Abrams is Recalled by Cincinnati Club,” Bridgeport Telegram, September 14, 1923: 27.

20 “Piper & Taft’s Win Golf Title,” Seattle Daily Times, January 27, 1924: 20.

21 “Coast League Sets Record in Releasing Vets,” Seattle Daily Times, January 13, 1924: 17.

22 “Northwest Moundsmen Led by George Abrams and Dug Muscutt,” Seattle Daily Times, September 20, 1924: 8.

23 “Make Way for Big Babe Ruth,” Seattle Daily Times, October 19, 1924: 36.

24 “Bambino Babe Poles Homers for Seattle Fans Over Park Fences,” Seattle Daily Times, October 20, 1924: 19.

25 “George Abrams is Swat King,” Seattle Daily Times, December 14, 1924: 38.

26 Romaine Kosharsky, “George Abrams, Avid Golfer, Dies at Age 89,” Tampa Bay Times, December 8, 1986: 53

27 Kosharsky.

Full Name

George Allen Abrams


November 9, 1897 at Seattle, WA (USA)


December 5, 1986 at Clearwater, FL (USA)

If you can help us improve this player’s biography, contact us.