Erskine Mayer

Erskine Mayer

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Jacob Erskine Mayer was an American baseball player who played for three different Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 teams during the 1910s. In his eight-year career, Mayer played for the Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. The Phillies are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

, the Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a Major League Baseball club based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They play in the Central Division of the National League, and are five-time World Series Champions...

, and the Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are a Major League Baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois.The White Sox play in the American League's Central Division. Since , the White Sox have played in U.S. Cellular Field, which was originally called New Comiskey Park and nicknamed The Cell by local fans...

.

A right-handed pitcher
Pitcher
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throwsthe baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the...

, Mayer's repertoire of pitches included a curve ball which he threw from a sidearm
Sidearm
In baseball, sidearm describes balls thrown along a low, approximately horizontal axis rather than a high, mostly vertical axis ....

 angle. As a result of his curve ball, then Brooklyn Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a professional baseball team based in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers are members of Major League Baseball's National League West Division. Established in 1883, the team originated in Brooklyn, New York, where it was known by a number of nicknames before becoming...

 manager
Manager (baseball)
In baseball, the field manager is an individual who is responsible for matters of team strategy on the field and team leadership. Managers are typically assisted by between one and six assistant coaches, whose responsibilities are specialized...

 Wilbert Robinson
Wilbert Robinson
Wilbert Robinson , nicknamed "Uncle Robbie", was an American catcher, coach and manager in Major League Baseball...

 called Mayer "Eelskine" because the pitch was "so slippery."

Mayer won
Win (baseball)
In professional baseball, there are two types of decisions: a win and a loss . In each game, one pitcher on the winning team is awarded a win and one pitcher on the losing team is given a loss in their respective statistics. These pitchers are collectively known as the pitchers of record. Only...

 20 games in a single season in both and . He appeared in the 1915 World Series
1915 World Series
In the 1915 World Series, the Boston Red Sox beat the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one.In their only World Series before , the Phillies won Game 1 before being swept the rest of the way. It was 65 years before the Phillies won their next Series game...

 as a member of the Phillies and in the 1919 World Series
1919 World Series
The 1919 World Series matched the American League champion Chicago White Sox against the National League champion Cincinnati Reds. Although most World Series have been of the best-of-seven format, the 1919 World Series was a best-of-nine series...

 as a member of the White Sox, a series noted for the Black Sox Scandal
Black Sox Scandal
The Black Sox Scandal took place around and during the play of the American baseball 1919 World Series. Eight members of the Chicago White Sox were banned for life from baseball for intentionally losing games, which allowed the Cincinnati Reds to win the World Series...

.

He was 91–70 in his career, with a 2.96 ERA. He was one of the all-time best Jewish pitchers in major league history through 2010, 3rd career-wise in ERA (behind only Barney Pelty
Barney Pelty
Barney Pelty , was a major league baseball pitcher known as "the Yiddish Curver" because he was one of the first Jewish baseball players in the American League. His career ERA is 2.63, 60th-best of all pitchers in major league baseball...

 and Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax
Sanford "Sandy" Koufax is a former left-handed baseball pitcher who played his entire 12-year Major League Baseball career for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers...

), 7th in wins, and 10th in strikeouts (482).

Early life


Born in Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

, Mayer attended the Georgia Military Academy
Woodward Academy
Woodward Academy is an independent, co-educational college-preparatory school for grades Pre-Kindergarten to 12 located in College Park, Georgia, within the Atlanta metropolitan area...

. Mayer then enrolled at the Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology is a public research university in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States...

 in order to study engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

. During his years at Georgia Tech, Mayer pitched on the Yellow Jackets baseball team. In , after three years of school, Mayer left Georgia Tech to pursue a career in professional baseball
Professional baseball
Baseball is a team sport which is played by several professional leagues throughout the world. In these leagues, and associated farm teams, players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system....

. He was not the only one in his family to pursue a career in baseball. Sam Mayer
Sam Mayer
Samuel Frankel Mayer was an outfielder in Major League Baseball. He played for the Washington Senators.-External links:...

, Erskine Mayer's older brother, appeared in 11 games for the Washington Senators.

Minor league career


When Mayer left Georgia Tech in , he signed
Contract
A contract is an agreement entered into by two parties or more with the intention of creating a legal obligation, which may have elements in writing. Contracts can be made orally. The remedy for breach of contract can be "damages" or compensation of money. In equity, the remedy can be specific...

 with the D Class Fayetteville Highlanders of the Eastern Carolina League
Eastern Carolina League
The Eastern Carolina League was a minor league baseball affiliation which operated in the Eastern part of North Carolina. The league had two distinct periods of operation: 1908-1910 and a revival of the league in 1928-1929. It was classified as a "D" league....

. Mayer led the league with an .882 winning percentage
Winning percentage
In sports, a winning percentage is the fraction of games or matches a team or individual has won. It is defined as wins divided by wins plus losses . Ties count as a ½ loss and a ½ win...

 (15–2), and the Highlanders won the league championship
Championship
Championship is a term used in sport to refer to various forms of competition in which the aim is to decide which individual or team is the champion.- Title match system :...

.

In , Mayer played for the Albany Babies of the South Atlantic League
Southern League (baseball)
The Southern League is a minor league baseball league which operates in the Southern United States. It is classified a Double-A league. The original league was formed in , and shut down in . A new league, the Southern Association, was formed in , consisting of twelve teams...

 where he won 14 games and lost 13. In , Mayer joined the Portsmouth Pirates of the Virginia League
Virginia League
The Virginia League was a minor league baseball affiliation which operated in Virginia and North Carolina from 1906 to 1928. It was classified as a "C" league from 1906 to 1919 and as a "B" league from 1920 to 1928....

. While with Portsmouth
Portsmouth, Virginia
Portsmouth is located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2010, the city had a total population of 95,535.The Norfolk Naval Shipyard, often called the Norfolk Navy Yard, is a historic and active U.S...

, Mayer won 26 games and lost just 9.

Major league career



On September 4, 1912, Mayer made his major league debut as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies in their game against the New York Giants. Mayer appeared in seven games that season, starting one and losing his only decision of the year.

Mayer spent his first full season in the major leagues in . Unfortunately, Mayer's pitching was marked by a dubious moment. In the ninth inning
Innings
An inning, or innings, is a fixed-length segment of a game in any of a variety of sports – most notably cricket and baseball during which one team attempts to score while the other team attempts to prevent the first from scoring. In cricket, the term innings is both singular and plural and is...

 of the Phillies August 18 game against the Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago . The Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National...

, Mayer set the Major League Baseball record for consecutive hits allowed (9). It was a record that remained unmatched for less than 24 hours as teammate Grover Cleveland Alexander
Grover Cleveland Alexander
Grover Cleveland Alexander , nicknamed "Old Pete", was an American Major League Baseball pitcher. He played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, and St. Louis Cardinals and was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1938.-Career:Alexander was born in Elba, Nebraska, one of thirteen...

 repeated the feat the very next day.

1914 was the first of Mayer's back-to-back 20 win seasons. That year, Honus Wagner
Honus Wagner
-Louisville Colonels:Recognizing his talent, Barrow recommended Wagner to the Louisville Colonels. After some hesitation about his awkward figure, Wagner was signed by the Colonels, where he hit .338 in 61 games....

 became the second member of the 3000 hit club
3000 hit club
In Major League Baseball , the 3,000 hit club is a term applied to the group of batters who have collected 3,000 or more regular-season hits in their careers. Cap Anson was the first to join the club on July 18, 1897, although his precise career hit total is unclear. Two players—Nap Lajoie and...

 when he hit a double
Double (baseball)
In baseball, a double is the act of a batter striking the pitched ball and safely reaching second base without being called out by the umpire, without the benefit of a fielder's misplay or another runner being put out on a fielder's choice....

 off Mayer. Wagner is the only person to get his 3,000th career hit off a pitcher who won 20 games that same season.

In 1915 was a successful year both for Mayer and for the Phillies. Mayer recorded 21 wins, 20 complete game
Complete game
In baseball, a complete game is the act of a pitcher pitching an entire game without the benefit of a relief pitcher.As demonstrated by the charts below, in the early 20th century, it was common for most good Major League Baseball pitchers to pitch a complete game almost every start. Pitchers were...

s and a 2.36 earned run average
Earned run average
In baseball statistics, earned run average is the mean of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched. It is determined by dividing the number of earned runs allowed by the number of innings pitched and multiplying by nine...

. Meanwhile, the Phillies won their first ever National League pennant with a 90-win season. Unfortunately for Mayer, the Phillies lost the 1915 World Series to the Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

. Mayer started two games in that Series, and lost in his only decision. Mayer's first start came in Game 2. Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

, then President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, attended the game. It was the first time a United States President attended a World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 game.

Mayer won seven games, but lost seven as well. was a better year for him. Mayer won 11 games against only six loses and had a 2.76 earned run average. In , Mayer won seven games in 13 appearances for the Phillies. However, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Elmer Jacobs
Elmer Jacobs
William Elmer Jacobs was a pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1914 to 1927. He played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, and Chicago White Sox. Jacobs' key pitch was the curveball...

 in July, 1918. In fifteen appearances for the Pirates, Mayer went 9–3 with a 2.26 earned run average. He finished with a combined record of 16–7 with a 2.65 earned run average and 18 complete games.

Mayer started the 1919 season with the Pirates; however, in August of that year, the Chicago White Sox selected him off waivers. In exchange, the Pirates received $2,500 ($ today).

In August 1919 he was selected off waivers by the Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are a Major League Baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois.The White Sox play in the American League's Central Division. Since , the White Sox have played in U.S. Cellular Field, which was originally called New Comiskey Park and nicknamed The Cell by local fans...

 from the Pittsburgh Pirates for $2,500. Mayer appeared in six regular season games for the White Sox and also pitched one inning in game 5 of the 1919 World Series. It was the final appearance of his major league career. When he retired after the season, he had won 91 games with a 2.96 earned run average.

In , played in one game for the minor league Atlanta Crackers
Atlanta Crackers
The Atlanta Crackers were minor league baseball teams based in Atlanta, Georgia, between 1901 and 1965. The Crackers were Atlanta's home team until the Atlanta Braves moved from Milwaukee in 1966....

 of the Southern Association
Southern Association
The Southern Association was a higher-level minor league in American organized baseball from 1901 through 1961. For most of its existence, the Southern Association was two steps below the Major Leagues; it was graded Class A , Class A1 and Class AA...

. He retired shortly thereafter. Three years later, in , he briefly served as an umpire
Umpire (baseball)
In baseball, the umpire is the person charged with officiating the game, including beginning and ending the game, enforcing the rules of the game and the grounds, making judgment calls on plays, and handling the disciplinary actions. The term is often shortened to the colloquial form ump...

 in the South Georgia League.

He was one of the all-time best Jewish pitchers in major league history through 2010, 3rd in career ERA (behind only Barney Pelty
Barney Pelty
Barney Pelty , was a major league baseball pitcher known as "the Yiddish Curver" because he was one of the first Jewish baseball players in the American League. His career ERA is 2.63, 60th-best of all pitchers in major league baseball...

 and Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax
Sanford "Sandy" Koufax is a former left-handed baseball pitcher who played his entire 12-year Major League Baseball career for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers...

), 7th in wins (91; directly behind Barney Pelty
Barney Pelty
Barney Pelty , was a major league baseball pitcher known as "the Yiddish Curver" because he was one of the first Jewish baseball players in the American League. His career ERA is 2.63, 60th-best of all pitchers in major league baseball...

), and 10th in strikeouts (482; directly behind Scott Schoeneweis
Scott Schoeneweis
Scott David Schoeneweis is an American Major League Baseball left-handed relief pitcher who is currently a free agent.In the five seasons from 2003–07, Schoeneweis allowed only one home run to left-handed batters...

).

Post-professional life


After retiring from professional sports, Mayer moved to Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

. While there, he opened a cigar
Cigar
A cigar is a tightly-rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco that is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the mouth. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Philippines, and the Eastern...

 store. On March 10, 1957, he died of a heart attack. He was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in nearby Glendale, California
Glendale, California
Glendale is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the city population is 191,719, down from 194,973 at the 2000 census. making it the third largest city in Los Angeles County and the 22nd largest city in the state of California...

.

External links