Yesterday, we learned about three of the seven Yankees from history to throw an inning or less for their entire career. Today, it’s time for the other four. In this crop is a pitcher with three fingers, a dentist, and others.
Although not as famous as Mordecai Brown, Floyd Selkirk was also nicknamed “Three Finger.” The pitcher lost two fingers on his pitching hand after a childhood accident, but was still good enough to throw a no-hitter in the minors and make it to the major leagues with the Yankees in 1934.
Selkirk was brought in for the ninth on August 21st, with the Yankees down 8-3 against the St. Louis Browns. He allowed a lead-off double and walked another batter. However, thanks in part to a bunt, Selkirk got a ground out to end the inning without allowing a run. The Yankees actually mounted a rally in the bottom of the ninth and got the score to 8-6. Selkirk’s spot in the order was just two batters away when Tony Lazzeri grounded out to end the game.
Although he wouldn’t play again, Selkirk is listed as having worn two different numbers as a Yankee. He has to be one of few, if not the only, players to have more uniform numbers than in-game appearances.
Walter Bernhardt got a shot at the major leagues almost immediately out of college. He played for Penn’s baseball team in 1918, and then made his major league debut for the Yankees on July 16th of that same year.
Dazzy Vance had allowed three runs in the ninth, and the Yankees were already down 12-1, so they gave the ball to Bernhardt to try to get through the inning. The rookie retired both batters he faced, striking out Tigers’ catcher Oscar Stanage.
As for why Bernhardt didn’t play more than that, he had also served in World War I. By the time 1919 rolled around, he opened a dental practice in Rochester, New York. He played semi-professionally in the area, but his major league career consisted of just one game.
The only player selected in the 24th round of the 1984 MLB Draft to make the majors was Bob Davidson. His career there lasted all of five batters.
In the midst of a good season in Triple-A in 1989, Davidson was called up in July. He made his debut on July 15th against the Royals, on Old-Timers Day. With the Yankees down 5-1, he was brought in for the ninth. After getting a ground out and walking a batter, George Brett welcomed him to the major leagues with a two-run home run. Davidson retired the next two batters, but that would be the extent of his major league career.
Davidson played another year in the Yankees system, but ended up with the Cardinals after that. After one year with them, he stopped playing organized baseball.
Thankfully, he is not the umpire of the same name.
Hal Stowe nearly made the Opening Day roster in 1960, but Casey Stengel apparently wasn’t a fan of the 22-year old’s work ethic.
Nevertheless, Stowe was called up at some point, and made his major league debut on September 30th. With the Yankees down two against the Red Sox, Stowe was brought in for the eighth. Things started poorly as he walked and balked in his first two batters faced. A run eventually scored on a sac fly, but Stowe kept the damage there.
He was removed after the inning, before the Yankees came back to win in the ninth. Had the Yankees taken the lead in the eighth and held on for the win, Stowe’s career win total and innings total would have been the same.
Appel, Martin. Casey Stengel: the Greatest Character in Baseball. Doubleday, 2017.