Steinberg: Who was ‘Grunting’ Jim Shaw, Shohei Ohtani’s predecessor?

From Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post on April 9, 2018:

News item, via the Los Angeles Times, about new baseball sensation Shohei Ohtani:

Ohtani became the first player in 99 years to win two games and hit three home runs within the first 10 games of a season. The last: Jim Shaw, he of the “Grunting Jim” nickname, for the 1919 Washington Senators.

Shaw seems noted by the history books primarily as someone with a good nickname, because “Grunting” Jim is definitely a good nickname. See, for example, the 1993 Sporting News compendium of great baseball nicknames, which also unearthed Vernon “Goofy” Gomez, “Voiceless” Tim O’Rourke, Frank “Pig” House, “Bucketfoot” Al Simmons, George “Foghorn” Miller, Bill “Goober” Zuber, “Grasshopper” Jim Whitney, Benny “Earache” Meyer and “Bloody” Jake Evans. Wikipedia informs that Shaw’s nickname resulted from “the distinct grunting noise he made every time he threw a pitch off the mound,” although contemporaneous Washington Post coverage neglected to provide further insight into the exact nature of said noise.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: April 9, 2018. Last Updated: April 9, 2018.