Bob Shawkey

James Robert Shawkey (December 4, 1890 – December 31, 1980) was an American baseball pitcher who played fifteen seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He played for the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Yankees from 1915 to 1927. He batted and threw right-handed and served primarily as a starting pitcher.

Bob Shawkey
Shawkey pitching for the New York Yankees in 1922
Pitcher / Manager
Born: (1890-12-04)December 4, 1890
Sigel, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died: December 31, 1980(1980-12-31) (aged 90)
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 16, 1913, for the Philadelphia Athletics
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1927, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Win–loss record195–150
Earned run average3.09
Managerial record86–68
Winning %.558
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Early life

Shawkey was born to John William Shawkey (descended from German immigrants named Schaake) and Sarah Catherine Anthony, in Sigel, Pennsylvania.[1]

Professional career

He moved from Slippery Rock State College to an independent league in 1911, then to the American League in 1912 as a pitcher for Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics. In 1915, Mack sold him to the New York Yankees where he remained (except for a brief service with the U.S. Navy during World War I when he served on the battleship Arkansas for eight months) until 1931. While facing his former team in 1919, he struck out 15 A's batters in a game, setting the Yankees team record for most strikeouts in a game; this record lasted for fifty-nine years.[2]

Shawkey as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics.

At the start of the 1923 season, Shawkey was chosen to be the Yankees' Opening Day starting pitcher.[3] Because the team's first game was at home, this also meant that he was the first player to pitch at the newly built Yankee Stadium.[2] The Yankees won 4–1 behind Babe Ruth's three-run home run, with Shawkey pitching a complete game to become the first winning pitcher at the stadium.[4]

Shawkey also served as the Yankees' manager in the 1930 season—following the sudden death of Miller Huggins—and guided the Yankees to a third-place finish.[2]

Shawkey won 195 games in his career, and won 20 or more games in four of his seasons (his high was 24). Shawkey is noted as the starting pitcher in the first game played in Yankee Stadium on April 18, 1923, and set the franchise record for 15 strikeouts in a single game, which stood until Ron Guidry broke it in 1978.[5] Bob credited his success to a super fastball and an outstanding curve ball. He later served as the baseball coach for Dartmouth College.

An adept batsman during his 15 year career, Shawkey compiled a .214 batting average (225-for-1049) with 90 runs, 3 home runs and 95 RBI. From 1920-1924, he drove in 59 runs for the New York Yankees. In 8 World Series games, he hit .267 (4-for-15) with 2 RBI.[6]

In 1970, Shawkey was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in Brookville, Pennsylvania. During the 1976 opening day festivities for the renovated Yankee Stadium, Shawkey threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He died at age 90 in Syracuse, New York, on New Year's Eve 1980.

Managerial record

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
GamesWonLostWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
NYY1930 1548668.5583rd in AL

See also


  1. Society for Baseball Research / SABR"James Robert “Bob” Shawkey was born on December 4, 1890, in Sigel, Pennsylvania. He was descended from German immigrants named Schaake."
  2. Frommer, Harvey (November 1, 2007). Yankee Century and Beyond: A Celebration of the First Hundred Plus Years of Baseball's Greatest Team. Sourcebooks, Inc. pp. 235–236. ISBN 9781402248740. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  3. "New York Yankees Opening Day Starters". Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  4. "April 18, 1923 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Play by Play and Box Score". April 18, 1923. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  5. "June 17, 1978: Ron Guidry strikes out 18, sets new Yankee record – Society for American Baseball Research".
  6. "Bob Shawkey Statistics and History". Baseball Retrieved December 25, 2021.
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