Monday, July 22, 2013

Are You Sure You’re a Ballplayer? (‘70s Version, Youth Division)

On June 10, 1944, at the age of 15 years, 316 days, Joe Nuxhall set a record for being the youngest ballplayer in the history of the major leagues.  It wasn’t a high-pressure situation by any means – his team (the Reds) were down 13-0 in the ninth inning.

Nuxhall actually got out the first batter he faced.  He then went on to give up five walks, two hits, one wild pitch, and five runs before getting the hook.  A mere eight years later, however (and at age 23), he was back with the big club.

It’s kind of hard to believe, but the guys in this post were actually older than Joe on his debut.  In fact, I understand some of them could even drive a car legally.  Forget that voting and drinking stuff though.

Mike looks like he should be collecting baseball cards, not appearing on them.

Mike Cubbage played in the majors for eight seasons, half of those as a regular.  A long-time coach after hanging up the bat and glove, “Cubby” stepped in as an interim manager for the Mets in ‘91, finishing with a 3-4 record (that’s just one game under .500!).  He’s currently a scout for the Rays.  He probably still gets carded though.

Age at debut: 21

Are you sure you’re not the batboy?

Leo Foster may arguably have had the worst debut in major league history.  After booting the first ball hit to him, he went on to hit into a double- and a triple-play.

Overall, he got 262 at bats over five seasons, finishing with an average below the Mendoza Line (.198).

And, yes, his nickname was “Bananas.”

Age at debut: 20

Are you sure you’re old enough to drive?

Dave Cash was actually one of my favorite players as a young teen.  (Clarification: I was the young teen.  Cash was in his early twenties.)

Cash was part of the great Pirate teams of the ‘70s, taking over second base from Bill Mazeroski.  He also put up some pretty good numbers, with the Bucs and then later with the Phils and Expos.

Career highlights include:

  • Being a three-time All Star
  • Appearing in 21 post-season games
  • Leading the NL in hits and triples
  • Setting a then-record for most at-bats in a season
  • Retiring with the highest career fielding average for a second baseman
  • Being able to buy a beer

Age at debut: 21

Ah man, they snuck in the batboy again.

Butch Wynegar hit the majors with a splash, making the All Star team in his rookie season.  In fact, he was the youngest player ever to do that.  And there was no sophomore slump for Butch – he made it again in his second year.

Unfortunately, all that success ended up with his being traded to the Yankees.  He put up with them for a couple of years, then demanded to be traded.  Hey, who can blame him?

Did you notice the signature?  Yup, Harold.  Good thing he didn’t sign his middle name.  Psst, it’s Delano.

Age at debut: 20

Joe Nuxhall

Age at debut: 15


  1. Butch Wynegar? Are you sure that's not Butch from the "Our Gang" comedies?

  2. OMG! I had to look it up, but you are right on the money. Maybe I should put those two in Separated at Birth:

  3. Another terrible debut was Ron Wright’s lone Major League game, for the Seattle Mariners against the Texas Rangers on the 14th of April 2002. Playing as a designated hitter, Wright went 0-3, which consisted of a strikeout, and hitting into a double play AND triple play.

  4. We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried, could we?