Samuel Earl “Sam” Crawford
Born: April 18, 1880 - Wahoo, NE
Died: June 15, 1968 - Hollywood, CA
Career BA: .309
Cincinnati Reds NL (April 18, 1880 - June 15, 1968)
Detroit Tigers AL (1903–1917)
One of the founding fathers of our National Pastime, Sam “Wahoo” Crawford was a major contributor as a player and coach, and was instrumental in developing baseball at the collegiate level. Crawford still holds the MLB record for triples in a career with 309, and was considered a major power hitter during the Deadball Era. He hit 16 round trippers in 1901, which was a major feat at the time, and was the first player to lead the American League and National League in home runs.
While with the Tigers, Crawford hit .300 or better eight times, and was highly regarded for his skillful play. An excellent outfielder, Crawford was always among the league leaders in most offensive categories. An unschooled, natural hitter, Crawford enjoyed the limelight as the Tigers best player until a rookie named Cobb started to produce in 1906. Crawford was a big part of the hazing Cobb endured as a rookie, and unfortunately this colored their relationship both on and off the field for years. Some say that once the young Cobb began to upstage the veteran Crawford, things got a bit dicey. In any event, they respected each other on the field and, in later years, Cobb lobbied hard for Crawford to get into the Hall, which did come to fruition in 1957.
After his days with the Tigers, Crawford played for Los Angeles in the Pacific Coast League, leading them to two league championships. He coached at USC, helping them to develop into a first-rate college program, and later was an umpire in the Pacific Coast League. Crawford retired to his walnut farm in California, and was immortalized by Lawrence Ritter in The Glory of Their Times.
– 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