Womack: When Jimmie Foxx was a pitcher

From SABR member Graham Womack at The National Pastime Museum on September 13, 2016:

Days after the most unlikely triumph of his playing career, Jimmie Foxx and his Philadelphia Phillies teammates visited Valley Forge General Hospital.

It was late August 1945. Months after the United States had celebrated V-E Day and mere weeks after V-J Day for World War II, the number of patients at the Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, army hospital had swelled from roughly 2,800 in May to more than 3,600. Thousands more wounded veterans were expected shortly from the Pacific theater.

For the Phillies, it was a chance to do some civic good in the midst of yet another losing season. The Phillies would go on to finish 46­–108, half of their 1945 roster, never to play again in the Majors, as men like Hugh Mulcahy returned from military service to reclaim starting roles held by an assortment of teenagers, career minor leaguers, and geriatric former stars.

With the hospital dedicating a baseball field, the Phillies beat the Valley Forge General Hospital team 4–1 in a seven-inning exhibition on August 22.

The Phillies also visited the blind ward of the hospital. It’s unclear from an account written by J. G. Taylor Spink for the August 30 edition of The Sporting News whether the hospital visit occurred on the same day as the exhibition game. Whatever the case, the patients swarmed Foxx.

“Hey Jim, how does it feel to be a pitcher?” one person asked. “We heard the game you pitched over the radio. We were sure pulling for you. When are you going to pitch again?”

Foxx, who’d carried a one-hitter into the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds on August 19, shook his head instinctively and then thought differently. One of the most inspiring stories of the 1945 season was already almost finished.


Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/when-jimmie-foxx-was-pitcher

Originally published: September 13, 2016. Last Updated: September 13, 2016.