Talk about 15-Minutes of Baseball Fame!

Talk about 15-Minutes of Baseball Fame!

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1945 World Series Photo Gallery
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 Talk about 15-Minutes of Baseball Fame!

In the featured photo below, we see the Cubs’ backup catcher from their 1945 pennant-winning team. His name is Paul Gillespie. And no, I’ve never heard of him either.

Why, you might ask, am I featuring him today? Good question. Because Paul Gillespie did something that only two ball players in the long history of the game have ever done. And since I love uncovering little bits of baseball trivia, I thought this would make for an interesting post (well, at least I thought it would!). So do you want to hazard a guess as to just what Paul Gillespie did that was so special?

Give up? OK, I guess I’ll have tell you.

First of all, Paul Gillespie hit a home run in his first major league at bat, 75 years ago today, September 11, 1942. He hit it in the second inning of the Cubs’ 4-3 loss to the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds. It was a solo shot off the Giants’ Harry Feldman (Ok…I’ve never heard of him either). In so doing, Gillespie became the first Chicago Cub to homer in his first at-bat.

That’s nice, but nothing real special, right? Many others have homered in their first at-bat, too. Well, read on, the story gets better…

In 1945, Gillespie’s three-year major league career came to an end. In his last at-bat, he also hit a home run. He became the first Chicago Cub to homer in his last at-bat. That’s nice too, but now here’s where the “15-minutes of fame” thing comes in…

Paul Gillespie is one of only two players in major league history to hit home runs in his first and last at-bats! You read that correctly! The other is John Miller, who played briefly from 1966-1969 for the Yankees and Dodgers (and those were the only two homers he hit in his career).

And now you know this bit of baseball trivia. Aren’t you glad you took a minute to read about this Cub back-up catcher? I thought so!

In case you’re interested – and I know you are – Paul Gillespie’s major league career consisted of a grand total of 205 at-bats over 89 games. He hit .283 with six home runs (and you already know about two of them!), and 31 RBIs.

And just to add a little spice to this post, here’s a link to my earlier post and my photo tribute to the 1945 World Series, in which Paul Gillespie was the hitting star: http://wp.me/p7a04E-2F4

Well, maybe he didn’t “star”. Would you believe he had a good series? Would you believe he got into some games? Would you believe he was on the team? Actually, Paul Gillespie played in three games in the 1945 World Series, and, well, Paul didn’t do too well. He went hitless in six at bats.

Anyway…I’ve said many times we think anyone who made it to the major leagues is special. We don’t care if he’s a star or a reserve, and backup catcher Paul Gillespie is no exception; and so we’re glad to shine the spotlight on him for a brief moment or two.

“Hats off” to Paul Gillespie for accomplishing something that only two players in major league baseball history have ever done!

Gary Livacari

Photo Credit: From Google Search

Information: From This Day in Baseball History:http://nationalpastime.com/

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

2 Comments

  1. Larry Rockensuess · September 13, 2017 Reply

    Hi Gary!

    If Billy Pierce is dead, then the last member of 1945 World Series died this year – Ed Mierkowicz. Both were members of the 1945 Tigers.

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