Moser, Walter

Primary Position: Starting pitcher
Birthplace: Mount Pleasant

First, Middle Names:  Walter Frederick
Date of Birth:  Feb. 27, 1881  Date and Place of Death: Dec. 10, 1946         Burial: West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, PA

High School: Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute, Mount Pleasant, NC
College: Lenoir-Rhyne University, Hickory, NC

Bats: R Throws: R        Height and Weight: 5-9, 170
Debut Year: 1906        Final Year: 1911    Years Played: 2
Teams and Years: Philadelphia Phillies, 1906; Boston Red Sox, 1911; St. Louis Browns, 1911

Career Summary
G          W         L           Sv         ERA             IP          SO        WAR
14        0          7           0           4.58           70.2      30         -3.1

Despite what his numbers suggest, Walter Moser could pitch. Down in the minors, he won more than 120 games during a six-year career. He won 19 straight once, a sure sign that the guy could consistently pitch winning baseball. And there’s this: He had 30 wins in another season, a benchmark that few pitchers at any level ever reach. As with any Dead Ball Era pitcher worth his chewing tobacco, he logged more than 300 innings most years and often started both games of doubleheaders.

Why, then, did this effective minor-league pitcher stink it up in the majors? How did a guy who played well everywhere else accumulate in only 14 big-league games the lowest Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, of any his North Carolina pitching peers? That number implies that Moser’s teams were better off with someone else on the mound, that they lost more than three games over his short career with him out there instead of an average pitcher.

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Hearn, Bunny

Primary Position: Starting pitcher
Birthplace: Chapel Hill

First, Middle Names:  Charles Bunn
Nickname: Bunny

Date of Birth:  May 21, 1891  Date and Place of Death: Oct. 19, 1959, Wilson, NC
Burial: Maplewood Cemetery, Wilson, NC

High School: Undetermined
Colleges: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS; Elon University, Elon, NC

Bats: L Throws: L        Height and Weight: 5-11, 190
Debut Year: 1910        Final Year: 1920          Years Played: 6
Teams and Years: St. Louis Cardinals, 1910-11; New York Giants, 1913; Pittsburgh Rebels, 1915; Boston Braves, 1918, 1920

Awards/Honors: N.C. Sports Hall of Fame, 1993

Career Summary
G           W        L            Sv       ERA        IP           SO       WAR
66        13        24        0          3.56       399.2  111      +1.3

For almost three decades, folks in the college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, knew spring was imminent when the big, black Cadillac pulled up in front of Woollen Gym. A portly, resplendent figure emerged. A passing student might yell a welcome, “Hey, Big Steam.” The Caddy’s occupant might wave an acknowledgement before disappearing into the building. Bunn Hearn was back in town for another Carolina baseball season.

He spent most his of his life in baseball. An accomplished pitcher in the minor leagues, he won more than 200 games over 19 seasons. The big-league portion of his career is scant by comparison, just 66 games scattered over six summers.

Hearn, however, is best remembered for his 26 years as a baseball coach at the University of North Carolina. He was head coach for about half that time, preaching the importance of fundamentals – “old timey, country baseball,” he called it – while leading his kids to more than 200 victories and six Southern Conference championships. Hearn understood young players, nurtured their talents, and gently corrected their failings, usually with a funny story. He was never known to be harsh or critical. “Hang in there, old fellow,” he would counsel. “We’ll get ‘em back.”[I]

In so doing, he became so beloved a figure that the governor thought it proper to proclaim a statewide day in his honor when Hearn retired. The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame inducted him posthumously in 1993 for his coaching achievements.

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Upchurch, Woody

Primary Position: Starting pitcher
Birthplace: Buies Creek

First, Middle Names:  Jefferson Woodrow
Date of Birth:  April 13, 1911  Date and Place of Death: Oct. 23, 1971, Buies Creek
Burial: Buies Creek Cemetery, Lillington, NC

High School: Buies Creek High School, Buies Creek
College: Campbell University, Buies Creek

Bats: R Throws: L        Height and Weight: 6-0, 180
Debut Year: 1935        Final Year: 1936          Years Played: 2
Team and Years: Philadelphia Athletics, 1935-36

Career Summary
G          W        L          Sv        ERA     IP         SO       WAR
10        0          2          0         7.42     43.2     8          -0.3

Woody Upchurch was a star pitcher in the semipro leagues that flourished in North Carolina before World War II. He shined for teams like the Ayden Aces and the Dr. Pepper Bottlers.  Not so much, though, for the Philadelphia Athletics. He pitched 10 games over two seasons for the American League club, gave up almost eight runs a game, and was back in Ayden.

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Shore, Ernie

Primary Position: Starting pitcher
Birthplace: East Bend

First, Middle Names:  Ernest Grady
Date of Birth:  March 24, 1891           Date and Place of Death: Sept. 24, 1980, Winston-Salem, NC
Burial: Forsyth Memorial Park Cemetery, Winston-Salem, NC

High School: East Bend Graded School
College: Guilford College, Guilford College, NC

Bats: R Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-4, 220
Debut Year: 1912        Final Year: 1920          Years Played: 7
Teams and Years: New York Giants, 1912; Boston Red Sox, 1914-17; New York Yankees, 1919-20

Awards/Honors: N.C. Sports Hall of Fame, 1979; Boys of Summer Top 100

Career Summary
G          W        L          Sv        ERA     IP             SO       WAR
160    65      43        5          2.47     979.1     309      +9.3

Ernie Shore settled down at the end of the Boston bench at Fenway Park for what he expected to be a long afternoon of idleness. His Red Sox were playing the Washington Senators in a doubleheader on that Saturday, June 23, 1917, and Shore wasn’t to start either game.

Babe Ruth got the ball for the opener. He was not yet the feared slugger who would change the face of baseball, but the 22-year-old was fast becoming the best lefthanded pitcher in the American League. He was on his way to winning 24 games, one more than the previous season. With that raw talent, though, came an uneven temperament, which gradually evened out as Ruth got older.

His first pitch to leadoff batter Ray Morgan was called a ball by home plate umpire Brick Owens, himself a man not known for his forbearance. He had started umpiring as a child on the sandlots of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and had become a professional at age 17. He bore the scars of his various altercations with fans and players, including the one on his head from the thrown brick that inspired his nickname.[1] A man brained by a brick wasn’t intimidated by a kid pitcher, no matter how talented. Ruth complained about the call and stomped around the mound and only got angrier after Owens ruled that his second and third offerings were balls as well. He threatened to punch Owens in the nose; the ump told the kid to shut up and keep pitching. After the fourth ball, Ruth rushed towards home plate but was intercepted by his catcher Pinch Thomas. He flailed at Owens as Thomas held him back and later claimed in his autobiography that he struck the umpire on the side of the head. Shore didn’t remember years later that any punches were thrown. No matter. Owens tossed Ruth out of the game. The enraged Babe had to be escorted off the field by several teammates and a police officer.

Manager Jack Berry summoned Shore to the mound. “Try to get out of the inning,” he instructed.[I]

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Melton, Cliff

Primary Position: Starting pitcher
Birthplace: Brevard

First, Middle Names:  Clifton George
Nicknames: Mickey Mouse, Mountain Music

Date of Birth:  Jan. 3, 1912     Date and Place of Death: July 28, 1986, Baltimore, MD  Burial: Most Holy Redeemer Memorial Park, Baltimore, MD

High School: Black Mountain High School, Black Mountain, NC
College: Did Not Attend

Bats: L Throws: L        Height and Weight: 6-5, 203
Debut Year: 1937        Final Year: 1944          Years Played: 8
Team and Years: New York Giants, 1937-44

Career Summary
G          W        L          Sv        ERA     IP             SO         WAR
272    86      80       16        3.42     1453.2  660      +15.3

Awards/Honors: All-Star, 1942; Boys of Summer Top 100

Cliff Melton seemed destined for stardom after the big lefty struck out a record 13 batters in his major-league debut in 1937 and then won 20 games in his initial season. Those victories, however, would amount to almost a quarter of the career total that he would accumulate over the next seven years as Melton became another promising pitcher whose arm gave out.

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