George Bostic “Possum” Whitted
Born: February 4, 1890 - Durham, NC
Died: October 15, 1962 - Wilmington, NC
Career BA: .269
St. Louis Cardinals NL (February 4, 1890 - October 16, 1962)
Boston Braves NL (1914)
Philadelphia Phillies NL (1915–1919)
Pittsburgh Pirates NL (1919–1921)
Brooklyn Robins NL (1922)
George “Possum” Whitted was one of those players that anyone would want on their team. Steady and dependable is how one could describe the play of old Possum. How did he get the nickname? Evidently Whitted had many of the characteristics of a possum: casual, retiring, solitary, a strong swimmer, docile unless disturbed, and nocturnal (he loved to stay up late at night). He is also credited with saving a man from drowning in a Louisiana river in 1915.
Whitted came up for a short stint with the Cards in 1912 and stayed with them into the 1913 season. After he was traded to Boston in 1914, Whitted settled in to really begin a nice tidy run. That year, he contributed to the Braves “Last to First” finish and their subsequent wipeout of Connie Mack’s Athletics in four straight games to take the Series. The following year, Whitted was traded again, this time to the Phillies for Sherry Magee, and he wound up batting a sparkling .281, helping the Phillies to the pennant. Although they lost to the Red Sox, Possum got to play in yet another World Series. Offensively, his best season was 1917 when he batted .280 with 155 hits. From a defensive perspective, he was an above-average outfielder who would not embarrass any team.
Whitted joined the war effort in 1918 to serve Uncle Sam and returned to the Bigs in 1919. In August of that year he was traded to the Pirates for a young player named Casey Stengel. Whitted’s playing days ended in 1922 with one at-bat with Brooklyn. He went on to play and manage in the minors until 1931, and continued on as a Minor League manager until 1937. When all is said and done, Whitted was one of those guys who would affectionately be referred to as a “Dirt Dog.” Baseball needs more like Possum Whitted.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html