Flynn: A pitcher that saved Peoria baseball

From SABR member T.S. Flynn at the Peoria Journal Star on April 4, 2013:

When Tom Sheehan suited up for the Distillers on April 29, 1915, one of the longest professional baseball careers of the 20th century began.

But perhaps the most remarkable thing about Sheehan’s career is that it could easily have ended in Peoria in 1915 and, if it had, the Distillers might have folded as a result.

One year earlier, during a three-week span in spring 1914, a 20-year-old Sheehan was cut by the Des Moines Boosters, Dubuque Dubs and Marshalltown Ansons before earning a spot on the 1914 roster of the semipro club in Albert Lea, Minn. He spent the offseason in Peoria, living with his brother and sister-in-law, and in April 1915 he was granted a tryout with the local team.

Distillers manager Izzy Hoffman, himself a new arrival to Peoria who had previously served as coach and scout under Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics, saw something in the kid he liked. He kept him around for a few weeks before finally sending him into a game.

An undated Peoria Journal clipping in Sheehan’s personal scrapbook picks up the story from there.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: April 4, 2013. Last Updated: April 4, 2013.