Leslie Grant “Les” Nunamaker
Born: January 25, 1889 - Malcolm, NE
Died: November 14, 1938 - Hastings, NE
Career BA: .268
Boston Red Sox AL (January 25, 1889 - November 14, 1938)
New York Yankees AL (1914–1917)
St. Louis Browns AL (1918)
Cleveland Indians AL (1919–1922)
Born and raised in Nebraska, Les Nunamaker was the son of pioneers who helped settle Hamilton County. He came up to the big leagues by way of the Haskel Indians, Dubuque Dubs and the Lincoln Railsplitters. Nunamaker caught for Grover Cleveland Alexander when they both played for a town team in St. Paul, Minnesota, and it was through Alexander that he got a chance to catch in the big leagues.
The best years of his career were with the Yankees. On August 3, 1914, during his first season in New York, Nunamaker threw out three Detroit Tigers at second base in the same inning. He got Hugh High, Sam Crawford, and Bobby Veach in succession; a notable feat that set a Major League record he still holds today. In 1916, Nunamaker batted .296 for the pinstripes. Although he was considered a durable, steady backstop and above average defensively, Nunamaker split catching duties with various other teammates for most of his career. He had the good fortune of playing on two World Series Championship teams. While with the Red Sox in 1912 he did not see any Series action, but with Cleveland in 1920, Nunamaker got some playing time and delivered one hit in his two at-bats.
After a Major League career that spanned 12 years and four teams, Les Nunamaker became player-manager for several Minor League teams, finishing up with the Lincoln Links back in his home state of Nebraska through the 1931 season. He finally retired to Hastings, Nebraska, where he worked with his brother in the family business, the Pioneer Cash Market. He died in 1938, at age 49, after being ill for several months.
– 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