Hagerty: Edit the record books: a 9-year-old played minor-league ball in 1904

From SABR member Tim Hagerty at The Sporting News on December 21, 2014:

Fourteen-year-old Jorge Lebron played two games for the Auburn Phillies in 1974 and gained national publicity in the process, including a feature in People Magazine. Lebron is a staple of today in baseball history calendars and trivia books for being the youngest professional player ever.

It isn’t true.

A 9-year-old appeared in a Class B game on June 25, 1904. Concord traveled to Lowell with only 10 active players that day. Its second baseman fell ill and its center fielder was ejected. Concord was left with eight players and desperation.

The manager brought in 9-year-old “team mascot” George Diggins to play right field. No balls were hit his way. The overmatched kid struck out in his only at bat. 

The next day’s Concord Evening Standard was unimpressed by the stunt.

“George is a right clever kid and some day will be a great ball player, but, of course, it made a farce of the game for him to play,” the newspaper opined in its game story.

Diggins’ unplanned debut earned him a baseball-reference page and a childish piece of baseball history. It’s time to update the trivia books.

Read the full article here: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2014-12-21/nine-year-old-player-professional-baseball-concord-lowell-record-youngest

Originally published: January 14, 2015. Last Updated: January 14, 2015.