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Yankees history: Hank Severeid goes out swinging

Severeid probably would not have guessed his double in Game Seven of the World Series would be his final action in the bigs.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v New York Yankees, Game 1 Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Hank Severeid had a reputation as a pretty good all-around catcher in his 15 years in the majors. While he had some good seasons hitting the ball, his play behind the plate, specifically his ability working with pitchers, was especially noteworthy.

Severed was in his mid-30s in 1926, and going through some hard times with the Washington Senators. Despite those struggles, the Yankees picked him up off waivers in July to be the backup to Pat Collins. It didn’t seem so at the time, but the move turned out to be important.

Collins would get injured later in the season. Luckily, the Yankees now had an experienced backup in Severeid ready to go. The new acquisition appeared in 41 regular season games after Collins’ injury. He didn’t put up the numbers at the plate that Collins did, but Severeid helped the Yankees hang on to their lead in the American League race and clinch a World Series berth.

By the time the World Series rolled around, Collins was back on the roster. Evidently, he wasn’t 100%, as Severeid still got the start in all seven Fall Classic games. He recorded just four hits in the first six games, but was still penciled into the lineup for the final game.

Severeid record a hit in his first at-bat, but the Yankees would find themselves down 3-1 after four innings. In the bottom of the sixth, Joe Dugan kept the inning alive with a single after Lou Gehrig and Tony Lazzeri went down in order. Severeid then stepped to the plate and doubled to left. Dugan came all the way around to score and the Yankees were within one run.

With Collins still on the bench, and the tying run represented by a catcher, Spencer Adams was sent up to pinch run for Severeid. That’s certainly understandable, as Adams would almost certainly be faster. In his career, however, he was caught stealing twice as many times as he successfully stole a base. Just how good of a runner he was is in question.

The move did not end up paying off as Ben Paschal grounded out to end the inning. Collins replaced Adams and took over catching duties.

The game famously ended in the bottom of the ninth when Babe Ruth was caught stealing. To this day, it is still the only time the World Series ended on a failed stolen base attempt. Collins fouled out in his only at-bat. The Cardinals won the game 3-2, and the series in seven games.

Despite recording two of the Yankees’ eight hits in Game Seven, Severeid did not return to the team in 1927. In fact, he did not return to the majors. After 15 seasons, Severeid would not play in the big league again after 1926.

That was not the end of his baseball career, though. Severeid played a further 10 seasons in the minor league. He finally hung it up after 44 games with the Galveston Buccanners of the Texas League as a 46-year old in 1937. He continued catching throughout that time, and he even caught both ends of a doubleheader in that final season.

Hundreds of players in baseball history would have seen the careers end on hits, whether they intended that to be the end of their career or not. Way fewer would have been sent off after a big hit in Game Seven of a World Series.

Sources

https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/5560dce6

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/severha01.shtml

https://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1926_WS.shtml

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA192610100.shtml

https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYY/1926.shtml