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1930s & Earlier / Aloysius Travers - Emergency Pitcher
One of the most interesting pitching lines in MLB history belongs to Aloysius (Al) Travers, a 20-year old seminary student, who pitched once for the Detroit Tigers in 1912--a complete-game 24-2 loss to the defending World Series champion Philadelphia A's. Of course there has to be an explanation: Travers wasn't really a pitcher! He was hastily recruited among a group of local Philadelphia amateur ballplayers to replace the striking Detroit Tigers. The Tigers' regulars walked off the field shortly before game time at Philadelphia's Shibe Park on Saturday, May 18, 1912 to protest the suspension of center fielder Ty Cobb. (Cobb had jumped into the stands during a game in New York three days earlier to fight a heckler.) Faced with a potential forfeit and a huge fine, the Tigers' management recruited Travers and other amateur players as emergency replacements. Travers was the ersatz Tigers' only pitcher--and he wasn't even good enough to make the baseball team at St. Joseph's College. Be that as it may, Travers was forced to face some of the most vaunted hitters in the majors in front of 20,000 fans. In eight innings, he allowed 24 runs (14 earned), and 26 hits. Travers also walked seven A's and struck out one. He was paid $25 for his efforts. Travers, shown here in a photograph taken late in his life, eventually became a priest. To date, Travers is the only priest known to have pitched in an MLB game.