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Smoky Joe Wood
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Baseball Player
    (October 25, 1889-July 27, 1985)
    Born in Kansas City, Missouri
    Birth name was Howard Ellsworth Wood
    Pitcher for the Boston Red Sox (1908-15) and outfielder for the Cleveland Indians (1917-22)
    Pitching record: 117 wins, 57 losses
    ERA: 2.03
    Batting average: .283
    Led the AL in wins (1912) and ERA (1915)
    He got his start as a teen with a mostly female 'Bloomer Girls' team.
    He slipped on wet grass while fielding a bunt, broke his thumb (July, 1913) and was never a dominant pitcher again.
    In 1926, Dutch Leonard accused him, Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker of betting on a fixed game in 1919 and produced letters from Wood and Cobb supporting the allegations.
    In 1912, he set still standing (as of 2009) Red Sox records for wins (34) and consecutive victories (16).
    He, Cobb and Speaker were exonerated by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
    After retiring from the Major Leagues, he became the baseball coach at Yale for 20 years.
    He was the first pro baseball player to receive an honorary degree from Yale, which was presented by university president and future baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti.
    When Walter Johnson was asked if he could throw harder than Wood, he replied, 'Listen, my friend, no man alive can throw harder than Smoky Joe Wood!'

Credit: C. Fishel


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