Earl Andrew Hamilton
Born: July 19, 1891 - Gibson, IL
Died: November 17, 1968 - Anaheim, CA
MLB Pitching Record: 115–147
St. Louis Browns AL (1911–1916, 1917)
Detroit Tigers AL (1916)
Pittsburgh Pirates NL (1918–1923)
Philadelphia Phillies NL (1924)
A durable yet inconsistent pitcher, lefty Earl Hamilton played 14 seasons in the majors, with one pocket of brilliance and plenty of mediocrity over that span. Coming out of the gate for the St. Louis Browns in 1911, the 19-year-old rookie found himself in the rotation and lost 12 games with only five victories. Over the next four seasons, Hamilton gave the underperforming Browns over 200 innings per season with sub-.500 results. He won 16 games in 1914, but unfortunately lost 18 games that year. One of the highlights of Hamilton’s career took place on August 30, 1912, when he tossed a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers, winning 5–1. The Tigers managed to score on a walk to Ty Cobb followed by an error.
The pocket of brilliance we referred to occurred in 1918, the first year Hamilton pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates. That season, he started six games for the Pirates, recorded a 6–0 record with an astounding .083 earned-run average, and gave up only five earned runs. The patriotic Hamilton left the team in the middle of the season to join the U.S. Navy and fight overseas in World War I, thus ending his incredible streak. In 1919, he returned to Pittsburgh only to resume his pre-1918 mediocre pitching. Hamilton had one more decent season in 1922 when he went 11–7 for the Pirates, and finished out his career with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1924.
With his career wins falling 32 games below .500, Earl Hamilton could say that the six-game streak in 1918 made it all worthwhile. He continued to pitch in the minors until 1933 and transitioned to the front office as owner of the Ponca City Angels/St. Joseph Angels in the Western Association through 1939 and the Stockton Fliers in the California League in 1941.
– 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