Abernathy, Woody

Primary Position: Relief pitcher
Birthplace: Forest City

First, Middle Names: Virgil Woodrow
Date of Birth:  Feb. 1, 1915    Date and Place of Death: Dec. 5, 1994, Louisville, Ky.
Burial: Resthaven Memorial Park, Louisville, K

High School: Undetermined
College: Did Not Attend

Bats: L             Throws: L        Height and Weight: 6-170
Debut Year: 1946       Final Year: 1947          Years Played: 2
Team and Years: N.Y. Giants, 1946-47

Career Summary
G         W        L          Sv        ERA     IP         SO       WAR
16        1          1          1          3.64     42.0     6          0.3

Woody Abernathy spent five years as a professional baseball player, including 16 games in the major leagues. He spent much of the rest of his life repairing looms at a textile mill in South Carolina.

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Covington, Wes

Primary Position: Left field
Birthplace: Laurinburg

First, MIddle Names: John Wesley
Date of Birth: March 27, 1932           Date and Place of Death: July 4, 2011, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Burial: Cremated

High School: Laurinburg Institute; Hillside High School, Durham, NC
College: Did Not Attend

Bats: L             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-1,205
Debut Year: 1956       Final Year: 1966          Years Played: 11
Teams and Years:  Milwaukee Braves, 1956-61; Chicago White Sox, 1961; Kansas City Athletics, 1961; Philadelphia Phillies, 1961-65; Chicago Cubs, 1966; Los Angeles Dodgers, 1966

Career Summary
G             AB         H         R           RBI      HR      BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
1075    2978    832   355     499    131     .279     .337     .466      +9.2

Awards/Honors: Boys of Summer Top 100

The Bears of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a Boston Braves’ minor-league affiliate, featured two African American sluggers in 1952, roomies Wes Covington and Henry Aaron. Covington hit 24 home runs that year, Aaron a mere nine.  “At that point, if people had known that one of our players would someday be the all-time, major-league home-run leader, everybody would have assumed that Covington would be the guy,” Aaron would later write in his autobiography. [I]

Of course, that’s not how it turned out. While he had a productive career in the majors that included appearances in three World Series, Covington never became a baseball immortal like his old roommate. Injuries afflicted him and, by some accounts, a big mouth hampered him. The authors of an encyclopedia about the Philadelphia Phillies summed up the career of the team’s former left fielder: “Wes Covington lasted 11 years in the major leagues because of a bat that made a lot of noise and in spite of a mouth that did likewise…. (He) specialized in long home runs and long interviews that tended to get people around him a bit testy.”[II]

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Zachary, Tom

Primary Position: Starting pitcher
Birthplace: Graham

First, Middle Names: Jonathan Thompson Walton
Date of Birth:  May 7, 1896    Date and Place of Death: Jan. 24, 1969, Burlington
Burial: Alamance Memorial Park, Burlington

High School: Undetermined
College: Guilford College, Greensboro

Bats: L             Throws: L        Height and Weight: 6-1, 187
Debut Year: 1918       Final Year: 1936          Years Played: 19
Teams and Years: Philadelphia Athletics, 1918; Washington Senators, 1919-25; St. Louis Browns, 1926-27; Senators, 1927-28; N.Y. Yankees, 1928-30; Boston Braves, 1930-34; Brooklyn Dodgers, 1934-36; Philadelphia Phillies, 1936

Career Summary
G         W        L          Sv        ERA     IP           SO       WAR
533   186    191      23      3.73    3126.1   720      40.1

Awards and Honors: N.C. Sports Hall of Fame, 1966; Boys of Summer Top 100

Ninth on the list of the state’s Top 100 players, Tom Zachary as one of the best pitchers to come out of North Carolina. Only two pitchers from the state had longer major-league careers. Only four started more games. Only five won more. A crafty lefty known for his coolness under pressure, Zachary played in three World Series and won the three games that he started.

Few people, though, wanted to talk about any of that after Zachary retired to his farm in Alamance County. Everyone, however, wanted to know about the day he served up Babe Ruth’s 60th home run. “There’s probably been more talk about that pitch than any other one pitch in baseball,” Zachary pointed out more than three decades after that historic afternoon, “and it has made me somewhat of a baseball goat for years.”[I]

So, let’s get it out of the way.

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Corbitt, Claude

Primary Position: Shortstop
Birthplace: Sunbury

First, Middle Names: Claude Elliott

Date of Birth:  July 21, 1915   Date and Place of Death: May 1, 1978, Cincinnati, OH
Burial: Arlington Memorial Gardens, Cincinnati

High School: Undetermined  
College: Duke University, Durham, NC

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 5-10, 170
Debut Year: 1945       Final Year: 1949          Years Played: 4
Teams and Years: Brooklyn Dodgers, 1945; Cincinnati Reds, 1946, 1948-49

Career Summary
G          AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
215    630    153    60       37         1          .243      .297     .286     +1.3

Claude Corbitt may have given his baseball career to his country. Like many ballplayers of his generation, Corbitt put down his glove and bat to serve in the armed forces during World War II. Before enlisting in 1942, Corbitt was a slick-fielding shortstop who had been among the batting leaders at every stop in the minor leagues. The Brooklyn Dodgers thought he would compete with eventual Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese for the starting job. When he returned from war three years later and finally made his major-league debut, Corbitt was a 30-year-old with diminished skills. He would be no more than a utility player.

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Stowe, Hal

Primary Position: Relief pitcher
Birthplace: Gastonia

First, Middle Names: Harold Rudolph
Date of Birth:  Aug. 29, 1937             

Current Residence: Belmont, NC

High School: Belmont High School
College: Clemson University, Clemson, SC

Bats: L             Throws: L        Height and Weight: 6-0, 170
Debut Year: 1960       Final Year: 1960          Years Played: 1
Team and Year: N.Y. Yankees, 1960

Career Summary
G         W        L          Sv        ERA     IP         SO       WAR
1          0          0          0         9.00   1.0        0          0.0

Hal Stowe had real pedigree when he took the mound at Yankee Stadium for his major-league debut on that balmy September night in 1960. He was a stud, a prep and college star who had lit up the minor leagues. By all baseball forecasts, this was to be the beginning of a long and illustrious career.

As a kid in Gastonia, Stowe had pitched his American Legion Post 23 to runner up in the World Series. Those were heady days. College recruiters filled the stands when he pitched. Young Harold was considering Florida State until one Sunday afternoon when he arrived home and found coaches from Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, sitting around his kitchen table. His mother, Nellie, was dishing out country ham and eggs. No need to go way down to Florida to play ball, Fred Stowe suggested to his son. Within minutes, Hal agreed to head to South Carolina.[I]

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