James Leslie “Hippo” Vaughn
Born: April 9, 1888 - Weatherford, TX
Died: May 29, 1966 - Chicago, IL
MLB Pitching Record: 178–137
New York Highlanders AL (1908, 1910–1912)
Washington Senators AL (1912)
Chicago Cubs NL (1913–1921)
File Hippo Vaughn under the category of late bloomer. The first four years of his big-league career were largely unremarkable. Vaughn had his moments, 13 wins and an ERA of 1.83 with the 1910 Highlanders, but it was not until 1913 that he began to emerge as a top southpaw in the National League. In 1914, Vaughn began a seven-year run in Chicago with at least 17 victories, including five seasons of 20 or more wins. In 1917, he dueled Fred Toney of the Reds in a double no-hitter through nine innings. He would lose the no-no and the game in the 10th, but it was an historic feat.
Vaughn’s watershed season was 1918, when he led the National League in wins, ERA, games started, shutouts, innings pitched, and strikeouts. His brilliance catapulted the Cubs to the World Series against the Red Sox. Vaughn was 1–2 in the Series, but had an ERA of 1.00. He pitched three complete games, struck out 17, and walked just five in 27 innings, but Boston beat the Cubs in six games.
The nickname Hippo was appropriate for a man who stood 6-foot, 4-inches and weighed 215 pounds, but Vaughn was more of a workhorse. In 1919, he logged over 306 innings pitched to again lead the league. The next season, he added another 301 innings. Vaughn flamed out with the Cubs in 1921, going 3–11 and mysteriously bolting from the team. His final record was 178–137, but at his best, Hippo Vaughn was as good as any lefty who ever picked up a rosin bag.
– 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