Stafford, Robert

Position: First Base
Birthplace: Oak Ridge

First, Middle Names:  Robert McGibboney Jr.
Date of Birth:  June 26, 1872  Date and Place of Death: Aug. 20, 1916. Moore’s Springs, NC
Burial: Oak Ridge Cemetery, Greensboro, North Carolina

High School: Undetermined
College: Did Not Attend

Bats: R Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-0, 180

Bob Stafford, according to most baseball references, was barely in the major leagues long enough for that proverbial cup of coffee — one at bat in the last game of the 1890 season. That Bob Stafford, though, may not have gotten close enough to a big-league clubhouse to even smell the java brewing. It seems likely that researchers a century ago mistakenly linked the “Stafford” who was listed in that box score with the sheriff’s kid from Oak Ridge, North Carolina, who starred in the minor leagues. Though it’s unlikely that he ever made it to the majors, Stafford appears here to help set the historical record straight.

The Athletics were one of the six charter members of the American Association when the professional league formed in 1882.[1] They had won a pennant in their second season, but 1890 was a disaster. The team had lost 21 straight at the end of the season on the way to a next-to-last-place finish. It faced Syracuse on October 12 in Gloucester, New Jersey, for mercifully the final game of the season. Manager Bill Sharsig picked four locals to play. All we really know about them are the last names that appear in the box score of the day’s game: McBride, Sterling, Sweigert, and Stafford. Researchers for early baseball encyclopedias came along later and gave them the first names of known baseball personalities. John McBride was an umpire at the time and John Sterling, Hampton Sweigert and Robert Stafford were minor leaguers.

That Bob Stafford had been born in Oak Ridge, in eastern Guilford County, in 1872, the son of the county’s longtime sheriff. He had a 17-year career in the minors as a player, coach, and umpire. There’s no evidence in the existing historical or genealogical records to suggest that the 18-year-old in North Carolina had any reason to be in New Jersey when the Athletics manager was casting about for players.

He began his playing career in 1894 for a minor-league team in Petersburg, Virginia. By the turn of century, Stafford was a well-known ballplayer whose name appeared often in North Carolina newspapers. None of the stories that survive in online archives note his alleged one at-bat in the majors. It wasn’t until after he retired that a newspaper reported in 1913 that “Bob once went up to the big show but did not remain for a full season, going back to Atlanta, from which place he was drafted.”[I] The writer was either trying to be kind or, more likely, didn’t know that his supposed big-league career didn’t last an inning, let alone a season. Stafford did play for the Atlanta Crackers in 1903-04, but that was more than a decade after his mysterious appearance in New Jersey.

Biographers at the Society of American Baseball Research are a particularly persnickety bunch in their quest to ensure that facts about these early players are correct.[2] They determined more than a decade ago that the four Athletics’ players were misidentified. “Since these players have not been positively identified, I am removing all the biographical information we have and we can start from scratch to figure out who they are,” Bill Carle, the committee’s chairman, wrote in his report in October 2007. “I doubt we will ever be able to identify them.” He added that doubts existed about the identities five other players on that 1890 Athletics’ team. “This might be baseball’s most ‘mysterious’ team,” Carle concluded.[II]

Footnotes
[1] The American Association existed for 10 seasons from 1882 to 1891. It set out to distinguish itself from the rival National League, which formed in 1876, by chartering teams in what the puritanical leaders of older league pejoratively called “river cities” – Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Louisville – because of their implied lower moral and social standards. In contrast to its rival, the American Association offered cheaper ticket prices and allowed games to be played on Sundays and beer to be sold at the ballparks.
[2] The Society for American Baseball Research is a membership organization founded in 1971 to promote historical and statistical baseball research. It’s acronym SABR was used to coin the term “sabermetrics,” the use of sophisticated mathematical tools for statistical analysis.

References
[I] “Bob Stafford Ill.” Charlotte News, April 18, 1913.
[II] Carle, Bill. “Biographical Research Committee September/October 2007 Report.” Society of American Baseball Research.

 

Glass, Tom

Position: Relief pitcher
Birthplace: Greensboro

First, Middle Names: Thomas Joseph

Date of Birth:  April 29, 1898 Date and Place of Death: Dec. 15, 1981, Greensboro
Burial: Moriah Methodist Church Cemetery, Greensboro, NC

High School: South Buffalo School, Guilford County, NC
College: Did Not Attend

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-3, 170
Debut Year: 1925       Final Year: 1925          Years Played: 1
Team and Year: Philadelphia Athletics, 1925

 Career Summary
G         W        L          Sv        ERA     IP         SO       WAR
2          1          0          0          5.40     5.0       2          -0.1

Tom Glass was in the major leagues for only four days. He pitched five innings in two games, winning one of them thanks to one of the greatest late-inning comebacks in baseball history.

Connie Mack, manager and part owner of the Philadelphia Athletics, bought Glass from the Canners of Cambridge, Maryland, in the Eastern Shore League in September 1924. Though the Class D team played at the lowest level of the minor leagues, the youngster had won 31 games in two seasons. Glass reported to Philadelphia the following year and joined a talented group of A’s rookies that included Lefty Grove and Mickey Cochrane.[1] In his debut on June 12 in the A’s Shibe Park, Glass took the mound in the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox with his team already down 13-0. He gave up a run on a couple of hits in the 15-1 loss.

Mack called on him again three days later against the Cleveland Indians. He entered the game in the sixth in a little better shape – the A’s were down just 12-2. He yielded three more runs, only one was earned, in his three innings of work, but this time the Athletics didn’t roll over. They scored a run in sixth and the seventh and 13 in the eighth. Glass got the win in the 17-15 victory that Baseball Roundtable, a highly respected website, considers the greatest late-inning comeback. The outburst in the eighth included seven singles, a triple, a home run and three walks. Ten different players crossed the plate and in one stretch, ten straight batters reached base.[I]

Mack apparently wasn’t impressed because he released Glass a week later.[2] His major-league career over almost as soon as it started, the 27-year-old returned home to Guilford County, North Carolina.[II]

Glass was born there in 1898. He was among the 10 children that David and Mary Magnolia, known as Maggie, would raise on their farm along South Buffalo Creek northeast of Greensboro. He attended South Buffalo School and played for local semipro teams after graduating around 1916.[3]

Before joining the Canners, Glass pitched professionally for Reidsville, North Carolina, in the Bi-State League and for the Newark, New Jersey, Bears, in the International League. His control and Popeye forearms developed from years on the farm set him apart. “Glass has hams on the end of his arms like a steam shovel’s scoops. He could make a living dredging for oysters  any time he quit baseball,” a Newark newspaper reporter noted. “But most rooks are (as) wild as Barnum’s alleged wild man from Borneo. This fellow is as accurate as the pitching needle on a sewing machine. You never saw better control.”[III]

After his release from the Athletics, Glass got married and eventually moved to Greensboro where he worked as a carpenter and house painter. His wife, Pearl, died in 1964. He died in 1981. They apparently had no children.

Footnotes
[1]Lefty Grove was the dominant pitcher of his era. He won 300 games in a 17-year career and is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Catcher Mickey Cochrane played 13 years, won two Most-Valuable Player Awards and ended with a .320 average. He, too, is in the Hall of Fame.

[2] Along with Tom Glass, Connie Mack released a catcher named, according to the newspapers at the time, James Fox. Glass’ career was over, but Jimmie Foxx came back in 1926 and would become one of baseball’s most-feared sluggers. Double X would play 20 years and win three Most-Valuable Player Awards, two batting titles and a Triple Crown. He’s enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
[3] South Buffalo School opened in 1902 on the site of Gillespie Park Elementary School in Guilford County. It accommodated about 40 students. A larger building was built in 1916. The current building was completed in 1929.

References
[I] “
Tom Glass’ Remarkable (and only) Win …. and a Look at Some of MLB’s “Backs-Against-The-Wall” Comebacks.” Baseball Roundtable.com., March 6, 2021. http://www.baseballroundtable.com/tom-glass-remarkable-and-only-win-and-a-look-at-some-of-mlbs-back-against-the-wall-comebacks/.
[II] Bevis, Charlie. “Tom Glass.” Society of American Baseball Research. https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/tom-glass/.
[III] “Tom Glass Makes ‘Em Sit Up and Take Notice.” Reidsville (NC) Review. April 16, 1923.

 

 

 

 

Gooch, Lee

Position: Left field
Birthplace: Oxford

First, Middle Names: Lee Currin
Date of Birth:  Feb 23, 1890   Date and Place of Death: May 18, 1966, Raleigh, NC
Burial: Wake Forest Cemetery, Wake Forest, NC

High School: Horner Military School, Oxford
College: Wake Forest University, Wake Forest, NC; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-0, 190
Debut Year: 1915       Final Year: 1917          Years Played: 2
Teams and Years: Cleveland Indians, 1915; Philadelphia Athletics, 1917

 Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
19       61        18       4          8          1          .295     .338     .377       0.2

Lee Gooch was worried. Wake Forest College invited him to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1960 to manage a team of baseball alumni against the varsity squad. It was the school’s way to honor one of its most-illustrious coaches, the skipper who had won more than 60 games in two glorious seasons, coming just shy of a national baseball championship. He had made the little Baptist school, then still in its hometown of Wake Forest, North Carolina, the talk of the state.[1]

But it was only two seasons more than a decade earlier and Gooch, 70, wondered whether anyone would remember or care. He had arrived early at Ernie Shore Field and fretted, nervously chain smoking while pacing the dugout as the stadium slowly filled.

The place was packed when the announcer finally got around to introducing the participants. The fans applauded generously when each player took his place along the foul line. “When the announcer called his name, Gooch removed his hat and his white hair glistened in the sun,” a newspaper reported. “The cheers were long and loud, a moment of emotion at a homecoming at the ballyard.”

Gooch let the applause shower over him, his body rigid, his face firm. They remembered. He fought back tears as he returned to the dugout.  “Here,” he said, handing his half-filled pack of cigarettes to a bystander, “take these things. I quit smoking, on doctor’s orders, years ago.”[I]

Lee Currin Gooch was born in 1890 on the family farm outside Oxford, the seat of Granville County. His father, Daniel, died when Gooch was a teenager. His mother, Mary Alice, or Allie, moved her large family of nine children to town, where she ran a boarding house.

Gooch played baseball and football for four years at Horner Military School in Oxford.[2] He graduated in 1912 at age 22, old for a high-school senior. He entered Wake Forest, then in neighboring Wake County, and was the leading hitter on the 1913 team that won a state championship. It’s puzzling, then, that the team’s hitting star would leave for the University of North Carolina. Before reporting to Chapel Hill in the fall of 1914, Gooch played outfield for the Winston-Salem Twins, his first professional team.

Newspaper reports imply that Gooch wasn’t happy about his lack of playing time at UNC and quit before the season ended to sign with the Durham, North Carolina, Bulls in the old North Carolina State League.

He got his first taste of the major leagues in 1915 when he appeared in two games for the Cleveland Indians. He hung around a little longer two years later, playing in 19 games for the Philadelphia Athletics. He was released and spent the rest of the season playing or managing for minor-league clubs in Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina.

A war in Europe then intruded. Gooch was drafted in September 1917 and assigned to the Army’s 81st Infantry Division at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina. Before being shipped to the Western Front the following August, Sgt. Gooch married Mary Holding, a local Wake Forest girl he had met while in school.

The division was at the front lines near Verdun, France, in early November 1918. Gooch, by then a second lieutenant, was with the 322nd Regiment that captured the ruined village of Moranville on the morning of November 9. Though it suffered heavy casualties, the regiment had to withdraw to a safer position by nightfall. It was preparing to try again two days later when the battlefield went eerily silent. The armistice had been signed. The war was over. The division returned to the United States in June 1919.

Gooch spent the next 10 years playing and managing in the minors, first in such far-off places like Maine and Washington state and later closer to his home in Oxford and then nearby Henderson, North Carolina: Greensboro, Durham, Fayetteville and Rocky Mount. As a player, he was known for his potent bat and slick outfield defense. Only twice did his average dip below .300, and he hit three home runs in a game in 1927. He won two pennants as a manager and even tried his hand coaching the kids at Trinity College, now Duke University, in Durham for one season.

Approaching 40 in 1929, Gooch retired from baseball to spend fulltime on his second career, the one that paid the bills. He had managed or owned tobacco warehouses in the offseasons since the early 1920s.

Gooch had been out of baseball for two decades when he took over the Wake Forest team in 1949. He said that he was “glad to get back to my first love.”[II] He also said he liked his club’s chances. He inherited a veteran team with 15 returning players, including future All-America’s Charlie Teague at second base and Gene Hooks at third. Russell Batchelor, the conference’s best catcher, was back, as was a trio of savvy pitchers: Vernon “Deacon” Mustian, Moe Bauer and Harry Nicholas.

The team sent a message in the opener by pounding out 15 hits in trouncing Randolph Macon College, 14-1. The umpires mercifully called it off after five innings because of heavy rain. They followed that up with another 15 hits, including four homers, in an 11-5 walloping of Cornell University. Two Deacon pitchers then combined to toss a no-hitter against Lumberton’s minor-league team. Wake Forest beat them 17-0 two weeks later.

The winning streak reached 20, one of the longest in collegiate history in the state. Their games were drawing overflow crowds. Good pitching and harmony were the ingredients of success, their rotund coach said. “There’s not the least bit of friction,” Gooch noted. “When a sub goes in, he slapped on the back by the man he replaces. There’s hustle, spirit, fight and scrapping on every play. The boys go all out to win.”[III]

Wake Forest ended up 38-6. Against college teams, it lost only two games. The runaway winner of the Southern Conference faced Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA double-elimination tournament. Wake won two straight. The heavily favored University of Southern California, the defending national champion, was next. The Deacons won two 2-1 thrillers, both going extra innings, to advance to Wichita, Kansas, for the final round. No North Carolina college baseball team had ever advanced so far. Only the UNC basketball team in 1946 had been the runner up in a national collegiate tournament.[3]

The formidable Texas Longhorns, a perennial baseball powerhouse, proved to be too much. They handed Wake its worst drubbing of the year in the first game, getting 15 hits on the way to a 8-1 victory. The second game was even worst, a 10-3 loss.

More than a thousand fans, though, greeted the Deacons when they landed at Raleigh-Durham Airport after the tournament. Their coach, though, wasn’t with them to bask in the applause. He followed on a train. Like a lot of baseball players, Gooch was very superstitious. He carried a rabbit’s foot wherever he went, never rode on airplanes and wouldn’t allow photographers in the dugout during games.[IV]

The Deacons again had the class of the conference in 1950, and everyone expected them to repeat as champions. Many thought they would win it all this time. Though it won 31 more games and the Southern Conference, the team faltered in the first round of the NCAA tournament, losing to eventual champion University of Alabama.

After two championship seasons, amassing 69 wins in 81 games, Gooch retired. He was 60 and getting too old, he said. The tobacco warehouses needed his attention, he said.

He and Mary lived their final years in Wake Forest. She died in 1959. Gooch died of a heart attack seven years later.

Footnotes
[1] Founded in 1834 in Wake Forest, the school moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1956.
[2] James Hunter Horner opened a secondary school on the outskirts of Oxford in 1855. His nephew, Jerome Horner, turned it into a military school in 1880. It was a great success until a fire burned down the barracks in 1913, the year after Lee Gooch graduated. It reopened in Charlotte, North Carolina, a year later and officially closed in 1920. (Anderson, Jean B. “Horner School,” NCPedia, 2006. https://www.ncpedia.org/horner-school).
[3] The 1949 tournament was the third NCAA-sanctioned tournament to determine a national baseball champion. The championship round was played for the first and only time in Wichita, KS. It moved to Omaha, NB, in 1950 where it’s been ever since.

References
[I] Helms, Herman. “Homecomings, at 76, Can Be Painful.” Charlotte (NC) Observer, April 10, 1960.
[II] “Gooch Named Deacon Coach for Baseball.” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), Feb 13, 1949.
[III] Associated Press. “Gooch Attributes Wake’s Success to Team Spirit.” Charlotte (NC) Observer, May 11, 1949.
[IV] Garrison, Wilton. “Wilton Garrison’s Sports Parade.” Charlotte (NC) Observer, February 24, 1951.

 

 

Watlington, Neal

Positions: Catcher, pinch hitter
Birthplace: Yanceyville

First, Middle Names: Julius Neal
Date of Birth:  Dec. 25, 1922  Date and Place of Death: Dec. 29, 2019, Yanceyville
Burial: Yanceyville Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Yanceyville

High School: Bartlett Yancey High School, Yanceyville
College: Did Not Attend

Bats: L             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-0. 195
Debut Year: 1953       Final Year: 1953          Years Played: 1
Team and Year: Philadelphia Athletics, 1953

Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
21        44        7          4          3          0        .159     .213     .182     -0.3

Neal Watlington went off to war in 1943. Unlike other ballplayers of his generation, Watlington actually fought the enemy. He didn’t play ball to entertain the troops. He was one of them who slogged through France and Germany. He went back home to Yanceyville in Caswell County when it was all over with a Purple Heart for wounds he would always pass off as mere “nicks.” He later played a few weeks in the big leagues and then settled in to become a pillar of his hometown. He died in 2019, a few days past his 97th birthday, as one of the oldest-living ballplayers.

Born on Christmas Day in 1922, Julius Neal Watlington was the only son among Julius and Laura’s seven children. As a teenager, he worked in his father’s general store and played baseball and football for the local high school.

He signed his first professional baseball contract with the Mayodan, North Carolina, Millers of the Class C Bi-State League. “Back in 1941 when I was 17 and just out of high school, a team of the old Bi-State League ran out of catchers,” Watlington explained later. “They asked if I’d catch a few games. I caught two games, got my release and forgot about it. So did everybody else. But a couple of years ago somebody went through some records, discovered those two games and added six years to my career.”[I]

That career was interrupted by war. Watlington joined the Army in 1943 and arrived in Europe with the 89th Infantry Division two years later. He spent six months on the front driving a Jeep and operating a machine gun as the division fought its way from northern France into Germany. He was hit in the hands and head by artillery shrapnel but told an interviewer in 1953 that the wounds were “nothing worth talking about.” Patched up, Watlington was wounded again but never applied for a second Purple Heart. “What do I need two for?” he once told his son.

Stuart Watlington, his only child who became a lawyer in Yanceyville, once offered to take his elderly father to Europe to revisit the battlefields. “I was so glad to get home,” Watlington said, “why would I want to go back?”[II]

When he arrived home in 1946, he worked at Caswell Knitting Mills in Yanceyville and played amateur baseball. A local fan recommended him to New York Giants’ scout Herb Brett, who signed him a year later to play with the Giants’ Class C Danville, North Carolina, Leafs. He hit .328 with 21 doubles and was one of the team’s offensive leaders.

Watlington was also the pride of Yanceyville. The local Rotary Club sponsored a Neal Watlington Night in Danville and hundreds of his Caswell County neighbors showed up to present him with a pocket watch.

He spent the next five years playing for the Giants’ Triple A farm clubs. He was a tobacco auctioneer in the offseasons and delighted his teammates with demonstrations.

The Philadelphia Athletics acquired Watlington before the start of the 1952 season. Manager Jimmy Dykes called him up from the Class AAA club in Ottawa, Canada, when the starting catcher, Joe Astroth, was injured in the middle of the season. The 30-year-old rookie debuted on July 12 against the Boston Red Sox and singled in his first at bat against Hal “Skinny” Brown, a Greensboro, North Carolina, native.

Watlington appeared in only 21 games and was used mostly as a pinch hitter, ending his only big-league season with a .159 batting average. “Both [Ray] Murray and Astroth only hit .250 in the big leagues, but both of them hit in the .290s that season,” he explained. “Both of them had good years, and there just wasn’t any place for me. You can’t get a better batting average by pinch-hitting.”[III]

After five more years as a solid Class AAA catcher, Watlington retired from baseball in 1958 and returned home to run the department store that he and his wife, Katherine, had bought five years earlier. Watlington’s on the Square was a downtown fixture for more than 50 years.

During that time Watlington became one of the most-respected men in town. He coached youth baseball teams and was the president of the Rotary Club, a board member of the Chamber of Commerce, an elder at the Yanceyville Presbyterian Church, and a charter member of the local Veterans of Foreign War post.

At 75, Watlington decided to plant a few fruit trees in his back yard. Within two years, he planted more than 200 apple, peach and pear trees and worked the orchard until his late 80s.

At the time of his death, he and Katherine had been married for 67 years. She died about six months later.

References
[I] Obituary: Neal Watlington (1922-2019).” RIP baseball, https://ripbaseball.com/2020/01/06/obituary-neal-watlington-1922-2019/
[II] Ibid.
[III] Diunte, N. “Neal Watlington, Former Philadelphia Athletics Catcher Dies at 97.” Baseball Happenings, January 6, 2020, https://www.baseballhappenings.net/2020/01/neal-watlington-former-philadelphia.html

 

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.