Cy Falkenberg
Falkenberg in 1913
Pitcher
Born: (1879-12-17)December 17, 1879
Chicago, Illinois
Died: April 15, 1961(1961-04-15) (aged 81)
San Francisco, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 21, 1903, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
July 4, 1917, for the Philadelphia Athletics
MLB statistics
Win–loss record130–123
Earned run average2.68
Strikeouts1164
Teams

Frederick Peter "Cy" Falkenberg (December 17, 1879 – April 15, 1961) was an American professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1903 to 1917 for the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League, the Washington Senators, Cleveland Naps, and Philadelphia Athletics of the American League and the Indianapolis Hoosiers, Newark Peppers, and Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the Federal League.

Early life

Frederick Peter Falkenberg was born on December 17, 1879, in Chicago, Illinois. He was the first of seven children born to Agnes and Frederick A. Falkenberg, who had both immigrated to the United States from Norway.[1] Falkenberg played baseball in high school[2] and as a semi-professional in Chicago.[3]

Baseball career

Falkenberg attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he played college baseball for the Illinois Fighting Illini, coached by George Huff. His teammates included Jake Stahl and Carl Lundgren.[4] Falkenberg graduated from the university in 1902.[5] That year, the Worcester Hustlers attempted to sign Lundgren, but he signed with the Chicago Cubs of the National League. Worcester signed Falkenberg instead. He won 18 games for Worcester that season.[1]

After the 1902 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League purchased Falkenberg from Worcester.[6][7] He made his major league debut with the Pirates on April 21, 1903. Manager Fred Clarke allowed Falkenberg to make hs first start against the Cubs in Chicago.[8] He was briefly sent back to Worcester,[9] but was recalled at the end of July, when the Pirates released Ed Doheny.[10] Falkenberg struggled in his first year in the majors, losing five of six decisions. He was released by Pittsburgh at the end of August.[11]

Falkenberg was reserved for the 1904 season by the Toronto Maple Leafs of the Eastern League,[12] and though he initially indicated that he would not sign with Toronto,[12] he returned his signed contract[13] and pitched for Toronto in 1904 and 1905.[14][15] When Huff was hospitalized in 1905, Stahl and Falkenberg coached the Fighting Illini baseball team.[16] That year, he began to experiment with different ways to get break on his spitball,[17] which he called the "pinch ball".[18] He signed with the Harrisburg Senators of the Tri-State League, and Harrisburg reserved him for the 1906 season.[19]

In, 1905, the Washington Senators of the American League purchased Falkenberg from Toronto.[20] Stahl was the Senators' manager at the time.[1] In 1906, the Washington newspapers began to refer to Falkenberg as "Cy".[1][21] That year, he walked 108 batters and threw 14 wild pitches, the most in the American League.[22] Stahl was replaced as manager with Joe Cantillon in 1907,[23] and newspapers reported during the season that Cantillon wanted to part with Falkenberg.[24] However, Cantillon opted to keep Falkenberg during the 1907–08 offseason.[25]

In September 1907, the National Commission ruled that Falkenberg owed the Harrisburg club a refund on a $200 signing bonus ($5,555 in current dollar terms) that he received from them because he joined Washington instead.[26][27] When he did not promptly repay the debt, he was suspended by Ban Johnson in May 1908 until he repaid it,[28] which he did a few weeks later.[29] Falkenberg continued to pitch inconsistently for Washington,[30][31] and his name resurfaced in trade rumors later in the season.[32][33]

On July 23, 1908, the Cleveland Naps of the American League purchased Falkenberg and Dave Altizer from the Senators for $10,000 ($288,037 in current dollar terms).[34] He continued to pitch for Cleveland through 1911. He missed time during the 1911 season due to illness[1] and a broken thumb.[35] After the 1911 season, Harry Davis became Cleveland's manager, and he released Falkenberg to the Toledo Mud Hens of the American Association.[36] With Toledo in 1912, Falkenberg played with Earle Gardner, who had learned how to throw the emery ball from Russ Ford. Gardner taught the pitch to Falkenberg.[1] Falkenberg had a 25–8 win–loss record in 1912, leading the American Association with a .758 winning percentage.[37] Cleveland purchased Falkenberg from Toledo before the 1913 season.[1] He won his first 10 games of the season,[38] and finished the year with a 23–10 win-loss record and a 2.22 ERA,[1] the second-most wins and eighth-best ERA in the American League. He led the American League with 13 wild pitches in 1913.[39]

Before the 1914 season, Falkenberg jumped from Cleveland to the Indianapolis Hoosiers of the outlaw Federal League. He signed a three-year contract worth $10,000 per season ($258,372 in current dollar terms).[40] In 1914, using the emery ball, Falkenberg led the Federal League with 43 games started, 377+13 innings pitched, and 236 strikeouts. He also had the third-most wins (25) and the fourth-best ERA (2.22).[41] The Hoosiers moved to Newark, New Jersey, before the 1915 season, becoming the Newark Peppers. The emery ball was discovered during the 1914 season, and was outlawed. Without the emery ball, Falkenberg struggled in 1915, pitching to a 9–11 win-loss record for Newark.[42] The Peppers traded him to the Brooklyn Tip-Tops for Tom Seaton in August.[43] Frank LaPorte was also included in the trade, but he was not to report to Brooklyn until after the 1915 season.[44] Falkenberg had a 3–3 win-loss record for Brooklyn after the trade.[45]

The Federal League collapsed after the 1915 season, and major league teams did not want to purchase Falkenberg's sizeable contract.[46][47] He signed with the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association for the 1916 season[48] and re-signed with them for the 1917 season. After pitching well in an exhibition game against the Philadelphia Athletics of the American League,[49] the Athletics acquired Falkenberg for Jack Nabors on April 29.[50] However, Falkenberg struggled with Philadelphia, pitching to a 2–6 win-loss record,[51] and was sold back to Indianapolis on July 5.[52]

Falkenberg returned to Indianapolis in 1918, but announced that he would not return to the American Association in 1919.[53] Indianapolis sold his contract to the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League (PCL).[54] During the season, Seattle traded Falkenberg to the Oakland Oaks of the PCL for Lynn Brenton.[55] On August 19, Falkenberg threw a no-hitter against Seattle.[56] After the 1919 season, Falkenberg announced that he was retiring from professional baseball.[57]

Personal life

Falkenberg married Edna Russell, a telephone operator who he met in Washington, D.C., after the 1908 season.[58] They had two children.[1]

Falkenberg enjoyed ten-pin bowling. He competed in tournaments hosted by the American Bowling Congress[59] and managed bowling alleys.[60] He averaged about 200 pins per game.[1] After playing baseball in the PCL, Falkenberg moved his family to San Francisco, California,[1] and managed bowling alleys in the San Francisco Bay Area.[61] During World War II, Falkenberg worked in the tool room for the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation.[62]

Falkenberg died in San Francisco on April 15, 1961. He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, California.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Enders, Eric. "Cy Falkenberg". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  2. ^ "When Huff Found Fred Falkenberg". Quad-City Times. March 20, 1911. p. 8. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Smith and Block". Austin American-Statesman. August 23, 1907. p. 3. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "George Huff No Longer Illini Basket Coach". Quad-City Times. January 5, 1920. p. 7. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "List of the Graduates". The Champaign Daily News. June 11, 1902. p. 2. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Falkenberg Signed to Play With Pittsburg Team". The Champaign Daily News. September 27, 1902. p. 1. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Base Ball Notes". Evening Star. October 1, 1902. p. 9. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Western Trip For Pirates". The Pittsburgh Press. April 26, 1903. p. 19. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Familiar Figure". The Urbana Daily Courier. July 31, 1903. p. 2. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Base Ball Briefs". Altoona Tribune. July 31, 1903. p. 2. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "Lets Falkenberg Go". The Boston Globe. August 30, 1903. p. 4. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ a b "Fred Falkenberg's Plan". The Champaign County News. November 28, 1903. p. 2. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "Falkenberg Is Quite A Joker". The Buffalo Enquirer. February 3, 1904. p. 8. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Falkenberg A Winner". The Champaign Daily News. August 14, 2020. p. 7. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "Eastern League Reserve List". Buffalo Evening News. September 28, 1904. p. 8. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "Huff Sick: Stahl In Saddle". The Daily Times. February 13, 1905. p. 10. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ "Falkenberg's New Curve". The Gazette. April 15, 1905. p. 2. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Pitchers Invent New Curves". Bisbee Daily Review. May 31, 1905. p. 3. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ "Tri-State Players". The Lancaster Examiner. November 8, 1905. p. 3. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ "Players Purchased". The Washington Post. September 2, 1905. p. 8. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ "Nationals Revenged". The Washington Post. May 16, 1906. p. 9. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ "1906 American League Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  23. ^ Rice, Thomas S. (March 15, 1907). "Cy Falkenberg Is Cantillon's One Best Bet". The Washington Times. p. 13. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ "To Dispose Of Four Players". The Pittsburgh Press. August 12, 1907. p. 10. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  25. ^ "Glints From The Diamond". The Morning Post. January 31, 1908. p. 6. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ "Falkenberg Owes Harrisburg $200". The Washington Times. September 20, 1907. p. 13. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ "Wilmington Club Is Ordered To Pay McLane". Altoona Times. October 16, 1907. p. 12. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ "Must Pay Or Quit". Harrisburg Telegraph. May 1, 1908. p. 6. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ "Sporting Notes". Fall River Globe. May 18, 1908. p. 7. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ "Falkenberg Unsteady". The Washington Herald. April 20, 1908. p. 6. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  31. ^ "25 Apr 1908". The Washington Post. April 25, 1908. p. 8. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  32. ^ "Detroit Is After Fred Falkenberg". The Pittsburgh Press. June 22, 1908. p. 10. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  33. ^ "The University". The Champaign Daily News. June 23, 1908. p. 3. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  34. ^ "Cleveland Pays $10,000 For 2 Players". The Dayton Herald. United Press. July 23, 1908. p. 10. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  35. ^ "Fred Falkenberg Is Out With a Broken Thumb". Evening Star. July 22, 1911. p. 9. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  36. ^ "Falkenberg Is Sent To Toledo". The Indianapolis Star. December 11, 1911. p. 8. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  37. ^ "Cy Falkenberg Best Among The American Association Hurlers". Democrat and Chronicle. December 19, 1912. p. 23. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  38. ^ "Fred Falkenberg Has Not Lost Yet". The Atlanta Constitution. June 9, 1913. p. 8. Retrieved April 27, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  39. ^ "1913 American League Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  40. ^ "28 Jan 1914". The Indianapolis Star. January 28, 1914. p. 8. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  41. ^ "1914 Federal League Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  42. ^ "1915 Newark Pepper Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  43. ^ "Cy Falkenberg Is Now A Brookfed". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 20, 1915. p. 16. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  44. ^ "Baseball Briefs For Fireside Fans". Hartford Courant. December 9, 1915. p. 18. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  45. ^ "1915 Brooklyn Tip-Tops Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  46. ^ "Falkenberg Unsold; Sinclair Must Pay". The Washington Post. February 29, 1916. p. 9. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  47. ^ "Falkenberg Not Wanted By Anyone". Lexington Herald-Leader. March 2, 1916. p. 13. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  48. ^ "Cy Falkenberg To Pitch For Indians". The Indianapolis News. April 17, 1916. p. 12. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  49. ^ "Connie Is Angling For Cy Falkenberg". The Washington Times. April 24, 1917. p. 9. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  50. ^ "Slim Cy Back In Major". Evening Star. April 30, 1917. p. 15. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  51. ^ "1917 Philadelphia Athletics Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  52. ^ "Old Cy Falkenberg Unable To Make Good". The Lima Times-Democrat. July 6, 1917. p. 8. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  53. ^ "The Indians Slow To Sign". The Kansas City Times. March 17, 1919. p. 9. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  54. ^ "Pitcher Falkenberg Sold". The Evening Herald. March 19, 1919. p. 1. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  55. ^ "New Rainier Flinger". The Seattle Star. June 10, 1919. p. 10. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  56. ^ "No-Hit Game". The San Bernardino County Sun. August 20, 1919. p. 5. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  57. ^ "Sport Jottings". The Lemoore Advance. December 4, 1919. p. 7. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  58. ^ "Fred Falkenberg To Wed". The Washington Post. September 24, 1908. p. 8. Retrieved April 26, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  59. ^ "Baseball Pitcher Leads Bowlers". Nashville Banner. Associated Press. March 11, 1912. p. 16. Retrieved April 27, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  60. ^ "Falkenberg To Manage". The Washington Post. December 18, 1909. p. 9. Retrieved April 27, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  61. ^ "Bowling Center to Be Opened Under Veteran Manager". The Press Democrat. November 19, 1938. p. 5. Retrieved April 27, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  62. ^ Newland, Russ (June 13, 1946). "Cy Falkenberg, Former Big Loop Hurler, Now Navy Tool Room". The La Crosse Tribune. Associated Press. p. 14. Retrieved April 27, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.