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10/24/07 This Day in Washington Baseball History...

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(The Continuing Attempt To Educate A Montreal Fan About DC Baseball History)...

     On October 24, 1905, Jack Erwin Russell was born in Paris, Texas. Russell started his Major League career twenty-one years later with the Boston Red Sox, where the right-handed pitcher debuted on May 5, 1926. Russell was 0-5 in 5 starts in his rookie campaign, appearing in 36 games overall, and posting a 3.58 ERA.

     Russell never posted a winning record as a starter, going (46-98) in seven seasons with Boston and Cleveland before joining the Senators in 1933 at twenty-seven years of age. Washington turned Russell into a reliever, and in his first season in DC, he went (12-6) in 50 appearances with 13 saves which led the American League that year.

     The Washington Senators made it to the World Series in 1933, but lost to the New York Giants in five games. Russell was the losing pitcher in Game 5 of the Series, throwing four scoreless innings in relief in a 3-3 tie, before surrendering the winning run in the top of the tenth inning on a home run by Mel Ott.

      Jack Russell would return to the World Series with the Chicago Cubs in 1938, another loss of course, this time to the New York Yankees, who were led by Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, and Lou Gehrig, in Gehrig's last full season in baseball.

     Russell pitched only an inning and two-thirds in the '38 series, allowing a walk and a hit, but no runs. Russell would last two more seasons in the Majors, with Chicago and St. Louis before retiring from the sport at thirty-four years of age.

     According to baseballlibrary.com, Russell moved to Clearwater, Florida after his Major League career, and became City Commisioner, a job which allowed him to help build a Spring Training stadium, which bore his name, and served as the Philadelphia Phillies spring home until 2003.

     Jack Russell Memorial Stadium is still in use today. Jack Russell died on November 9, 1990.