Urban Shocker Returns to the Yankees!

Urban Shocker Returns to the Yankees!

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Urban Shocker Returns to the Yankees!

Eighty-three years ago this week, December 17, 1924, the Yankees tried to rectify one of the worst deals in the franchise’s history.

Seven years earlier, on January 22, 1918 they had traded a young right-handed pitcher named Urban Shocker to the St. Louis Browns for a washed up Eddie Plank and infielder Del Pratt. The deal was engineered by Miller Huggins, and was one that he surely came to regret. Although they did get three decent years out of Pratt, Eddie Plank never pitched a game for the Yankees.

Over his seven seasons with the Browns, all Shocker did was go 126-80 (.612) with a 3.19 ERA. During this time, he was one of the most dominant pitchers in the League. To make matters worse, from 1920 to 1923, he posted four straight years with 20 or more wins: 20-10 in 1920, 27-12 in 1921, 24-17 in 1922, and 20-12 in 1923. His 27 wins in 1921 led the American League, as did his 149 strike outs in 1922. Shocker was one of the last pitchers to legally throw the spitball. He and a handful of other pitchers were grandfathered out after it was banned in 1920.

So on December 17, 1924, the Yankees tried to atone for the terrible trade: Shocker returned to the Yankees in exchange for Bullet Joe Bush and two other pitchers. While not as dominant as he was with the Browns, he still had some good years left, going 19-11 in 1926, and 18-6 in 1927. Overall, in his six seasons with the Yankees he went 61-37 (.622) with a 3.14 ERA. 

Unfortunately, Shocker developed a heart condition early in life. Due to its severity, some reports said he had to sleep either sitting or standing up. By the early fall of 1927, he was too ill to maintain his spot in the Yankee rotation. After his release in 1928, he contracted pneumonia and passed away shortly after onSeptember 9, 1928, aged 37 as athe result of heart failure exacerbated by the disease. 

Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from the Urban Shocker Wikipedia page.

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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.

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