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Doc Ayers
Born: May 21, 1891
Snake Creek, Virginia
Died: May 26, 1968(1968-05-26) (aged 77)
Pulaski, Virginia
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 9, 1913, for the Washington Senators
Last MLB appearance
May 21, 1921, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record64–78
Earned run average2.84

Yancey Wyatt "Doc" Ayers (May 21, 1891 – May 26, 1968) was an American pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB). He was known for throwing the spitball, and was one of the 17 pitchers allowed to continue throwing the pitch after it was outlawed in 1920. Ayers played nine seasons in the American League with the Washington Senators (1913–19) and Detroit Tigers (1919–21). He batted and threw right-handed.

Doc Ayers was born in Carroll County, Virginia on May 20, 1890. He attended Woodlawn High School (Woodlawn, Virginia) where he tried out for the school's baseball team. He gained the nickname "Doc" after he enrolled in the Medical College of Virginia, now the medical campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond. While at MCV, he bought a book on pitching. He was a catcher at WHS but when the call came for college baseball tryouts he reported as a pitcher.[1]

Ayers was the opposing pitcher for the Senators on June 23, 1917, against the Boston Red Sox. Ernie Shore relieved starting pitcher Babe Ruth after the first batter walked and Ruth was ejected for arguing with the umpire. The runner was caught stealing, and Shore retired the next 26 batters for a no-hitter. Manager Clark Griffith removed Ayers for a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning.

Ayers was a noted spitball pitcher who was allowed to throw the pitch after it had been banned in the major leagues after the 1919 season, having received special permission to do so. In 1920, he struck out 103 batters and led the American League in strikeouts per nine innings (4.44). In 299 career games, Ayers posted a 65–79 win–loss record with a 2.84 earned run average and 109 games finished.

According to the 11 Jan 1953 issue of the local newspaper, The Southwest Times, Doc held the record for the most strikeouts in organized baseball in 1913, while pitching for Richmond in the Virginia League. He struck out 390 batters in 342 innings and 47 games.[2]

After getting married in 1914, Ayers moved to a farm near Draper, Virginia. He was the son of Jefferson Davis Ayers[3] and Mary Frances Gardner.[4] Doc married Mary Elizabeth Dunlap[5] in Pulaski County, VA October 9, 1914. They had two children, Yancy Wyatt Ayers, Jr, (14 Apr 1916-13 Jan 1992),[6] and Nancy Frances Ayers, (7 Sep 1922-25 May 2007).[7] After he left baseball, Doc returned to his farm in the Draper Community of Pulaski County, and sold cars for the Wysor Motor Company to supplement his farming income. According to his WWII Draft Card, he was 6'1" tall, 272 pounds, with a ruddy complexion, gray eyes and grey hair, and wore glasses.[8] Doc died of a heart attack in the Pulaski Community Hospital, and was buried in the Grantham Family Cemetery in Pulaski County. His wife died in Jefferson County, KY only seven months after his death, and is buried next to him.


  1. ^ Society for American Baseball Research, Doc Ayers. Retrieved from
  2. ^ Flint. "The Southwest Times Sport Sparks". The Southwest Times.
  3. ^ "Findagrave Memorial".
  4. ^ "Findagrave Memorial".
  5. ^ "Findagrave Memorial".
  6. ^ "Findagrave Memorial".
  7. ^ "Findagrave Memorial".
  8. ^ "WWII Draft Card".