Harry Heitman Deserves Respect

This article was written by Al Kermisch

This article was published in the 1989 Baseball Research Journal


Harry Heitman pitched in one major league game in 1918, and although he died in 1959, his name is still the subject of ridicule each year on the anniversary of his debut. Last year the entry on Heitman in “The Date: in Baseball” read:

“July 27, 1918 Brooklyn Dodger rookie Henry Heitman completed the shortest career in major league history. He faced four Cardinals and gave up four hits, he never played pro ball again.”

It is true that Harry gave up hits to the first four batters he faced and never pitched again in the majors However, the statement that he never played pro ball again is erroneous. Heitman was a fine minor-league player before and after his, one game in the majors. A Brooklyn lad, he was taken south by the Dodgers in 1918. Sent to Rochester in the International League for seasoning, he won 17 games and lost only six, with a league leading ERA of 1.32, and was hitting .336 in 47 games before he left the club in July to join the Navy. He was stationed in Brooklyn and played that one game with the Dodgers while on leave from his Navy duties. After his discharge in 1919, Heitman returned to Rochester. He spent many years in the International League with both Rochester and Buffalo, playing the outfield and pitching, and later played first base and the outfield in both the Eastern and New England leagues.

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