Monday, December 21, 2009

#14 Fred Fitzsimmons

Fred Fitzsimmons was born the son of a police chief in Mishawaka, Indiana, in 1901. A semi-pro player in his on right, Pop Fitzsimmons passed his love for the game onto young Freddie. Fred learned the knuckleball at age 15, and quickly mastered the pitch. He signed with Muskegon in 1920, and from there went to Indianapolis for four years. He signed with the New York Giants in 1925, and along with Carl Hubbell formed a formidable 1-2 pitching punch for John McGraw. He won 20 games in 1928 and 19 in 1930. During the 1937 season, Fitzsimmons was dealt to Brooklyn, and stayed with the Dodgers through 1943, finally retiring at 41. In 1940, at 38 years of age, he went 16-2 in 18 starts. He finished his career with 217 wins and a .598 winning percentage.

After leaving the Brooklyn Dodgers, the baseball team, he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, the football team, as general manager. He returned to baseball in 1948 as a coach for the Braves, then bouncing around the league as a coach before quitting the major leagues for good in 1966. He helped out coaching a local high school team for a few years after that.

Fitzsimmons died in 1979 of a heart attack at his home in Yucca Valley, California.

The Autograph: I had to buy this one. He died the year after the set came out, and I wasn't involved in collecting then.

Fitzsimmons rasslin' with Pee Wee Reese in Cuba, 1942

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