1910: The Slugging Hurler

Ed Summers

On this date in 1910, the Detroit Tigers pitcher Ed Summers hit two home runs in the same game. It was unusual because in his entire career, Summers hit exactly two home runs, these two. The Tigers defeated the Philadelphia Athletics that day 10-3, Summers picking up the win. It didn’t help a lot, the A’s still won the pennant, but for one day it slowed them down. 

Oran Edgar Summers was born in 1884 in Indiana. He was another college man, attending Wabash College before joining the Tigers in 1908. He went 24-12 with an ERA of 1.64 in 40 games (32 starts). He pitched 301 innings (a career high), gave up 271 hits, walked 55 and struck out 103. On 25 September 1908, he pitched both ends of a double-header recording two wins. The Tigers made the World Series, Summers relieving in game one and starting game four. He took the loss in both games, giving up 18 hits in 14.2 innings. Wikipedia says he and Justin Verlander are the only two Tigers rookies to start a World Series game. 

In 1909 he was 19-9 in 282 innings, posting a career high in strikeouts with 107. The Tigers got back to the World series, and again Summers got into two games (both starts) and lost both. He gave up 13 hits in 7.1 innings and had a huge 8.60 ERA. 

By 1910 he was showing signs of arm trouble (he ended up with rheumatism) and began slowing down. He was 13-12 in 1910 (including his big day 100 years ago today) and 11-11 in 1911. He  was finished in 1912 managing to go 1-1 in three games. For his career he ended up 68-45 with 999 innings pitched over 138 games. He struck out 362 and walked 221 with nine shutouts. In World series play he was 0-4.  He died at age in 1953 at age 68. 

Summers is one of those Stone Age players you never hear about. He’s strictly background noise for the big names. On his own team that means Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford. He’s another one of those pitchers who arrive with a great season, then flame out early. A couple of weeks ago I did a post of Jack Coombs, a better pitcher, but one whose career follows the same trajectory of success followed by rapid collapse (Coombs, did however, have a long period of toiling before he made it big in the American League) Baseball history is littered with players like Summers and Coombs. For all that, for one day, Summers at least was a fearsome slugger.

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One Response to “1910: The Slugging Hurler”

  1. William Miller Says:

    I guess all kids who play baseball long for that one big day on the field. Only a lucky few, like Summers, ever get to realized their dreams.
    Great to read about these kinds of forgotten players. Another nice job, Bill

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