James Robert “Bob” Shawkey (1890-1980) spent 15 seasons in the Major Leagues and earned a spot in the records books as the starting pitcher in the first game played in Yankee Stadium on April 18, 1923. For decades, he also held the New York Yankees’ franchise record for most strikeouts (15) in a single game. Shawkey made his first appearance during the Dead Ball Era in the American League as a pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics (1913-1915), going 27-19 for the team. Team owner Connie Mack sold the right-handed hurler’s contract to the Yankees (1915-1927), where he won 20 or more games four times (1916, 1919, 1920, 1922) and was revered for both his fastball and his curveball. He led the American League with the lowest ERA (2.45) during the 1920 season and was a member of two World Series champion squads (1923, 1927). He retired as a pitcher with a 196-150 overall record, a 3.09 ERA, and 1,360 strikeouts. Following the death of Yankees manager Miller Huggins, Shawkey took charge of the team for a year (1930), taking the team to an 86-68 record and a third-place finish in the American League.
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