Joe Beggs
Joe Beggs Reds.jpg
Born: (1910-11-04)November 4, 1910
Rankin, Pennsylvania
Died: July 19, 1983(1983-07-19) (aged 72)
Indianapolis, Indiana
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 19, 1938, for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
April 24, 1948, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Win–loss record48–35
Earned run average2.96
Career highlights and awards

Joseph Stanley Beggs (November 4, 1910 – July 19, 1983), nicknamed "Fireman", was an American professional baseball pitcher. He played for the New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Giants of Major League Baseball. With the Reds, he was a member of the 1940 World Series champions. After his retirement from baseball, Beggs became the superintendent of prisons for Kentucky, and the director of urban renewal for Newport, Kentucky.

Early life

Beggs was born on November 4, 1910, in Rankin, Pennsylvania. His family moved to Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, when he was young. He attended Aliquippa High School, where he lettered in football, baseball, and track and field.[1] He played as a catcher for the baseball team into his junior year, until the team needed him to fill in as a pitcher. He threw a no-hitter in his first game as a pitcher and continued to pitch thereafter.[2][3] He also won the Pennsylvania state championship in the javelin throw in 1929.[4]

Beggs earned a track scholarship to Geneva College. He also played football at Geneva.[1] At Geneva, he competed in the Penn Relays, finishing in second place in the javelin throw in consecutive years. He set a school record in the javelin throw at 206 feet (63 m).[4][5] There was no baseball team at Geneva, so Beggs played sandlot baseball under an assumed name in Youngstown and then under his own name in Aliquippa. He graduated from Geneva in 1934[1] with a Bachelor of Arts.[4]

Professional career

After he graduated from Geneva, Beggs signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who gave him a brief trial with the Scranton Miners of the Class A New York–Pennsylvania League. After four days with Scranton, Beggs requested and received his release from the Pirates organization. A few weeks later, Gene Martin, a scout for the New York Yankees, signed Beggs.[4][6] He went to Washington Generals of the Class D Pennsylvania State Association under Benny Bengough. In 1935, Beggs played for the Akron Yankees of the Class C Middle Atlantic League,[7] and had a 15–14 win–loss record in 41 games pitched.[3] He also received a late-season promotion to the Norfolk Tars of the Class B Piedmont League.[6] The Yankees assigned Beggs to Norfolk in 1936,[8] and he won 22 games.[5] The Yankees promoted Beggs to the Newark Bears of the Class AA International League in 1937. He had a 21–4 record and a 2.61 earned run average (ERA) for Newark that year,[2] and pitched to the win in Game 4 of the Junior World Series against the Columbus Red Birds. He also contributed to Newark's win in the decisive Game 7.[3]

Beggs made his major league debut in April 1938.[5] He had a 3–2 record and a 5.40 ERA in 58+13 innings pitched with the Yankees in 1938 before they sent him back to Newark,[5] where he went 6–3 for the rest of the season. In 1939, he was 12–10 with a 3.80 ERA for Newark and did not pitch for the Yankees.[5][9] The Yankees ran out of options on Beggs after the 1939 season, so they traded him to the Cincinnati Reds for Lee Grissom before the 1940 season.[9] He had a 12–3 record and 2.00 ERA in 37 games pitched for the Reds, all of them but one as a relief pitcher, as the Reds won the 1940 World Series.[10] He earned the nickname "Fireman" for his ability to "put out a threatening blaze" on the basepaths.[11][12] Beggs continued to play as a relief pitcher from 1941 through 1943,[5] though at his request, he appeared as a starting pitcher for a few games late in the 1943 season.[13]

Beggs made one appearance for the Reds during the 1944 season, as a starting pitcher, before his career was interrupted by World War II. He enlisted in the United States Navy[14] as a lieutenant. He missed the entire 1945 season.[5][15] He returned to the Reds in 1946, and worked as a starting pitcher. He started for the Reds on Opening Day and won 22 games with a 2.32 ERA, which was the third-best in the National League.[5][10]

The Reds traded Beggs to the New York Giants for Babe Young on June 7, 1947.[16] He started the season with an 0–3 record in 11 appearances for the Reds, and went 3–3 for the Giants, with a combined ERA of 4.58.[5] Beggs underwent surgery on his throwing arm during the 1947–48 offseason. He pitched one-third of an inning in 1948 for the Giants before they released him on May 10.[17]

Later in May 1948, Beggs signed with the Yankees and was assigned to the Kansas City Blues of the American Association.[18] In 1949, he became the manager of the Charleston Senators of the Class A Central League.[19] Beggs managed Charleston for two years,[5] and then managed the Bluefield Blue-Grays of the Class D Appalachian League in 1952.[20]

Personal life

Beggs married Ann (née Yargates) of Aliquippa in 1934. They had two daughters.[5] Ann died after battling Lou Gehrig's disease. Beggs married Laura Royce Kerst of Indianapolis in 1974, and they moved to Indianapolis.[21] Beggs spoke fluent Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, and Spanish; he also read Latin and studied French.[10]

Following his baseball career, Beggs taught history and geography in public schools in Millford and Newport, Kentucky.[1][10] He served as Kentucky's superintendent of prisons under Governor Happy Chandler, and became the director of urban renewal for Newport in 1959.[10][22] He retired in 1970.[21]

Beggs died of a heart attack on July 19, 1983, at St. Vincent's Hospital in Indianapolis.[1][5][10][23] Beggs has been inducted into the halls of fame for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, and Newark, New Jersey.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Joe Beggs, ex-relief star, Beaer Hall of Famer". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 21, 1983. p. 12. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  2. ^ a b Cuddy, Jack (March 2, 1938). "Yank Rookie Has Uncanny Faculty Of Making Good In Big Way In Anything He Tries". The Cincinnati Enquirer. United Press. p. 14. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  3. ^ a b c "Joe Beggs Hurled No-Hitter First Time He Tried Pitching". Palladium-Item. United Press. January 21, 1940. p. 15. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  4. ^ a b c d "Ex-Scranton Star Lands In Bings Uniform". The Evening News. April 16, 1935. p. 14. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Havey, Mike. "Joe Beggs". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Schlemmer, Jim (July 27, 1940). "Beggs Feels Better Now". The Akron Beacon Journal. p. 10. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  7. ^ Schlemmer, James W. (May 7, 1935). "Akron Yanks Shove Off Today For Charleston". The Akron Beacon Journal. p. 26. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  8. ^ Schlemmer, James W. (February 25, 1936). "Yanks May Ship Many Stars". The Akron Beacon Journal. p. 22. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  9. ^ a b Kirksey, George (January 4, 1940). "Cincinnati Sends Grissom To Yanks". The Gazette. United Press. p. 17. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Joe Beggs, 72, Dies: Former Reds Pitcher". The Cincinnati Enquirer. July 20, 1983. p. 37. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  11. ^ Martin, Whitney (September 7, 1940). "Joe Beggs Is Hook, Ladder Company No. 1". The Missoulian. p. 6. Retrieved February 27, 2021 – via
  12. ^ Smith, Lou (February 24, 1941). "Big Schnoz To sign Soon". The Cincinnati Enquirer. p. 12. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  13. ^ Martin, Whitney (March 13, 1946). "Joe Beggs, After Two Years of Rest, May Star as Reds' Hurler". The Bangor Daily News. Associated Press. p. 7. Retrieved February 27, 2021 – via
  14. ^ Keck, Harry (April 22, 1944). "A Good Win for Joe Beggs Finishing Just as He's Starting". Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. p. 18. Retrieved February 27, 2021 – via
  15. ^ "Baseball in Wartime – Joe Beggs". Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  16. ^ "Giants Swap Babe Young To Reds For Joe Beggs". Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. Associated Press. June 8, 1947. p. 26. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  17. ^ "Giants Release Joe Beggs". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. May 11, 1948. p. 12. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  18. ^ Mehl, Ernest (May 26, 1948). "Joe Beggs Is Confident His Arm Is Ready to Work". The Kansas City Star. p. 32. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  19. ^ Nichols, Jim (March 15, 1949). "Charleston Banking On Fireman Beggs". The Journal Herald. p. 9. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  20. ^ "Joe Beggs Will Pilot Bluefield". Kingsport Times-News. Associated Press. March 2, 1952. p. 1-D. Retrieved February 27, 2021 – via
  21. ^ a b Dunkin, Zach (June 12, 1979). "Double-Bears 'The Greatest'". The Indianapolis News. p. 26. Retrieved February 27, 2021 – via
  22. ^ "Beggs Is Consulting". The Cincinnati Enquirer. June 24, 1966. p. 2. Retrieved February 26, 2021 – via
  23. ^ "Baseball: Ex-Reds' pitcher Joe Beggs dies". The Journal Herald. July 20, 1983. p. 9. Retrieved February 27, 2021 – via