Rogan: Sports’ Forgotten Heroes: Lefty O’Doul

From SABR member Warren Rogan at Sports’ Forgotten Heroes on August 15, 2018, with SABR member Dennis Snelling:

Lefty O’Doul first tried to make as a pitcher with the New York Yankees and then then Boston Red Sox. But he languished on the bench for both teams and was sent to the minors. But O’Doul could hit and the Salt Lake City Bees convinced O’Doul to give up pitching and concentrate solely on hitting. Wow! If only O’Doul heeded this advice earlier in his career.


As phenomenal a hitter as he was, because of his persistence to make it as a pitcher, O’Doul just didn’t play long enough to merit serious consideration for enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame despite finishing his career with baseball’s fourth highest batting average of all time – .349. However, he is in Japan’s Baseball Hall of Fame, and for good reason. O’Doul played a pivotal role in helping Japan establish a professional baseball league AND, more importantly, helped ease tensions between the U.S. and Japan after World War II had ended. In fact, General Douglas MacArthur said what O’Doul did was one of the greatest acts of diplomacy in the history of the U.S.

Author Dennis Snelling who wrote the book, “Lefty O’Doul: Baseball’s Forgotten Ambassador” joins the podcast for a terrific look back on one of Sports’ Forgotten Heroes.

Listen to the full podcast here (scroll down to Episode 36):

Originally published: August 15, 2018. Last Updated: August 15, 2018.