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Cleveland Spiders Newsbeat

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The forgotten tale of Harry Colliflower, baseball’s worst ever pitcher

The most remarkable thing about Colliflower’s ascent to the major is that there’s no romantic story of overcoming adversity. No heralded beginning of the next “great one.” In fact, there’s literally no justification for how anyone would want to sign Harry Colliflower, or why he joined the 1899 Cleveland Spiders.

An on-and-off five year career in the minors of no consequence, it’s unquestioned that Colliflower loved the game of baseball, but it didn’t love him back. He was not an especially gifted batter, or fielder, or anything really. Colliflower battled to have a minor league batting average barely over .200, he was a poor fielder, and on the rare occasion someone decided to put him on the mound, he rewarded them by giving up more hits than innings pitched.

The only thing that caused Colliflower to land on the Spiders was circumstance. Starting the season at 8-30, and recently firing their player-manager Lave Cross, the team was looking to shake things up. In dire need of pitching help during a trip to Washington to face the Senators, new manager Joe Quinn heard rumors of a decent semi-pro pitcher in town. Sight unseen he found and signed Harry Colliflower, immediately putting him on the mound. Colliflower was, against all odds, decent in his first outing in the majors. The Washington Post fell in love with the local player, framing him as a future star following the Spiders’ 5-3 win in town.

“Colliflower possesses every quality that is required in a major league twirler. He has fine control of the ball, good speed, and, the requisite amount of nerve.”

This would not last.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 26, 2021 at 10:18 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cleveland spiders



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