Yount, Eddie

Player Name: Yount, Eddie
Position: Outfield
Birthplace: Newton

First, Middle Names: Floyd Edwin   
Date of Birth:  Dec. 19, 1916 Date and Place of Death: Oct. 27, 1973, Newton
Burial: Eastview Cemetery, Newton

High School: Undetermined
College: Wake Forest University, Wake Forest, NC

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-1, 185
Debut Year: 1937       Final Year: 1939          Years Played: 2
Teams and Years: Philadelphia Athletics, 1937; Pittsburgh Pirates, 1939

Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
6         9          2          1          1            0          .222     .222     .222     -0.1

Eddie Yount’s big-league career was brief and undistinguished: six games over two seasons, a couple of years apart. In a minor-league career that stretched over 13 years, however, he was a feared slugger and the beloved manager of his hometown team.

Floyd Edwin Yount was born in 1916 in Newton in Catawba County, the younger of two sons of Floyd and Annie Yount. Floyd owned a grocery store where young Eddie and his brother, Sidney, worked while growing up. We can assume that he graduated from old Newton High School but no evidence has surfaced to confirm that.[1]

We do know that he attended Wake Forest College in Wake County, North Carolina. He very likely played baseball, though, again, no surviving records indicate that he did, because the Philadelphia Athletic ssigned him when he graduated in 1937.

Yount played in four games for the A’s at the end of that season and then pinched hit in two games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1939. That was the extent of his major-league career.

He had a more satisfying career in the Army. Yount enlisted about a week after Pearl Harbor in 1942 and started playing baseball while stationed with the 12th Armored Division in Camp Campbell, Kentucky. He began managing the team in 1943 and also attended special services school at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. The division was sent to Europe in 1945, and its team started playing again after Germany surrendered.[I]

Yount continued to play, coach and manage in the minor leagues when he returned home in 1946. He hit .420 two years later as the player-manager of the Newton-Conover Twins in the Western Carolina League, which occupied the very lowest rung in professional baseball. None of its teams was affiliated with a big-league club. He managed and caught for the Twins for four years and was among the league’s leading hitters each year. Yount attributed some of his offensive prowess to a juiced ball – a “rabbit ball,” he called it – and slick infields that turned routine grounders into singles through the holes.[II]

Well-liked by teammates and fans, the homegrown manager had to step aside in 1951 because of vision problems in his left eye.[2] He tried to stage a comeback the following season by was forced to retire after only 51 games. Trying to see out of the eye, he said, was like driving through a thick fog. He put himself back on the roster because he thought the struggling team needed him. Yount still managed to hit .305 with one eye.[III]

After baseball, he was a salesman at a flour mill for a time and then opened a general store in Newton.

His wife, Margaret, died in 1967. A native of Scotland, she had met Yount in Toronto, Ontario, while he was playing ball there. They got married in 1941 and had no children.

Yount committed suicide in 1973.


Footnotes
[1] Newton’s first high school was built in 1923. It burned and was rebuilt in the 1930s. “North Main Avenue Historic District.” Living Places Neighborhoods, https://www.livingplaces.com/NC/Catawba_County/Newton_City/North_Main_Avenue_Historic_District.html).
[2] Eye specialists diagnosed Andrews’ problem as “chorditis.” The modern, medical definition of the condition relates to inflammation of the vocal cords.

References
[I] Bedingfield, Gary. “Eddie Yount.” Baseball in Wartime. https://www.baseballinwartime.com/player_biographies/yount_eddie.htm
[II][1] Helms, Herman. “Baseball’s Leading Hitter Awes ‘Em.” Charlotte (NC) Observer, July 21, 1948.
[III] _________ “Sport Shorts.” Charlotte (NC) Observer, May 22, 1951.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yount, Ducky

Position: Relief pitcher
Birthplace: Iredell County

First, Middle Names: Herbert Macon    Nicknames: Ducky, Hub
Date of Birth:  Dec. 7, 1885    Date and Place of Death: May 9, 1970, Winston-Salem
Burial: Eastview Cemetery, Newton, NC

High School: Newton High School, Newton, NC
College: Catawba College, Newton, NC

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-2, 178
Debut Year: 1914       Final Year: 1914          Years Played: 1
Team and Year: Baltimore Terrapins, 1914

Career Summary
G         W        L          Sv        ERA     IP         SO       WAR
13        1          1          0          4.14     41.1     19        -0.7

Ducky Yount is the only North Carolinian who played exclusively in the renegade Federal League, a short-lived experiment that challenged the stranglehold that baseball owners had on players. Yount lasted about three months and then returned home to become one of the pioneering industrialists of Catawba County.

Herbert Macon Yount was born in 1885 near Lookout Shoals on the Catawba River in western Iredell County, where his father, Jacob, was one of the first doctors in the region. Dr. Yount moved his family to Newton in adjoining Catawba County in the late 1890s so that his four sons could attend his alma mater, Catawba College.[1]

One gets the impression that Yount may have been a handful. His father wrote the Asheville police department in 1898 asking it to look for 13-year-old Herbert and his friend, Coonie Ramsey, who disappeared from Newton and were believed to be in Asheville.[I] Ramsey showed up several days later and told the newspaper that he had “taken a jaunt to several surrounding towns,” getting as far as Spartanburg, S.C. There’s no mention of what may have happened to Yount.[II] He did return to Newton because we know that four years later he and another teenager pleaded guilty to assault and were fined $10.

Yount played baseball at Catawba College and as early as 1906 seems to have played for independent-league teams during the summers. He coached the Catawba team after graduating and continued to play for independent and minor-league teams after the college season, first in the Midwest, then in New England.

The Baltimore Terrapins signed him in 1914 for their first season in the Federal League. The league had started as a minor league but declared war on baseball in 1913 by actively recruiting players from the two established leagues by offering higher salaries and freedom from contracts restrictions that tied players to major-league teams for life.  Many made the switch.[2]

Assigned to a relief role, Yount pitched about 41 innings stretched over 13 games. His 4.14. earned-run average wasn’t terrible, but the Terrapins released him in mid-August.

The team and the league didn’t last much longer. The competition of another, better-paying league caused salaries in the two established leagues to skyrocket, demonstrating the bargaining potential of free agency for the first time. Faced with the threat, the moguls who owned major-league teams flexed their muscle and flashed their cash. After the 1915 season, they bought out half the teams in the Federal League and the owners of two other teams were allowed to buy struggling franchises in the established leagues.[3]

The Terrapins weren’t bought out by the owners. The team’s owners sued the major leagues for violating anti-trust laws. In a landmark case in 1922, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Major League Baseball was primarily entertainment, not conventional interstate commerce, and thus exempt from the Sherman Antitrust Act. The reserve clause, under which players were little more than chattel, survived. That exemption remains, though it was significantly weakened during the 1970s and by the development of a strong players’ union.

As for Ducky, he joined his father in 1917 and founded Newton Glove Inc. with six sewing machines and 10 employees to make canvas working gloves. By the time of his death, the company had three plants in Catawba County and hundreds of employees.

Yount was also a town alderman and a pioneer banker. He was active with the Farmers Merchants Bank in Newton that was founded by his father and played an important role in its merger with Northwestern Bank. He later served on the Northwestern board. His only child, Robert, would retire as president of the board.

Yount died of a heart attack in 1970. The glove company was sold three years later.

Footnotes
[1] The Reformed Church of the United States had started the small college in Newton in 1851. The campus moved to Salisbury in 1925.
[2] Yount was one of the few Terrapin players who didn’t have major-league experience. Fellow North Carolinian George Suggs of Kinston led the pitching staff. He had been a 20-game winner for the Cincinnati Reds and would win 24 that year with the Terrapins. Another North Carolina native, outfielder Vern Duncan of Clayton, had played for the Philadelphia Phillies.
[3] Charles Weeghman, a Chicago restaurant tycoon, owned the city’s Federal franchise, the Whales. He was allowed to buy the city’s National League franchise, the Cubs. The Whales’ Weegham Park became the Cub’s new home. The park was renamed in 1927 after the team’s new owner, chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. Beloved Wrigley Field, then, stands as a monument to the failed Federal League experiment.

References
[I] “Around Town.” Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times. May 6, 1898.

[II] “Runaway Boys.” Statesville (NC) Record and Landmark, May 10, 1898.