Burleigh A. Grimes Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: August 18, 1893 in Emerald, Wisconsin
Died: December 6, 1985 in Clear Lake, Wisconsin
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Full name Burleigh Arland Grimes
Born August 18, 1893, Emerald, Wisconsin
Died December 6, 1985, Clear Lake, Wisconsin
Buried at Clear Lake Cemetery, Clear Lake, Wisconsin (Block 88, Lot 3, Space 2)
First Game: September 10, 1916; Final Game: September 20, 1934
Managed First Game: April 20, 1937; Managed Final Game: October 2, 1938
Bat: Right Throw: Right Height: 5' 10" Weight: 175

Selected to the Hall of Fame in 1964
Named pitcher on The Sporting News Major League All-Star Team (1929)

This article was written by Charles Faber and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research
Burleigh Arland Grimes, oldest child of Ruth Tuttle and Cecil "Nick" Grimes, was born August 18, 1893, in northwestern Wisconsin on his father's dairy farm about half way between Emerald and Clear Lake, near the Polk-St. Croix county line. (Wisconsin records indicate Burleigh was born in the town of Emerald, but he always regarded Clear Lake as his home town.) Soon after his birth the family moved to Black Brook, near Clear Lake, in Polk County. When Burleigh got old enough, he went to work in a lumber camp, toiling from four-thirty in the morning until nine o'clock at night for one dollar a day. Later he earned a raise to thirty-six dollars a month. For four winters he worked in that camp. It was hard, dangerous work. Once a heavy load of logs tipped over on him, but fortunately, he lived to tell about it. Years later he related the story to a sportswriter:

"I can remember that little episode as though it happened yesterday. I was driving the sled. There were seven tiers of logs, two footers at the butt, sixteen feet long. The load was fourteen feet wide. There were four horses, and I was guiding them down a steep grade through the snow. We struck a stump and the load pitched forward. The thought flashed through my mind to jump clear of the load, but I hadn't time. The upper logs slid right over me. Every log on the sled pitched off except one. That was the one I had my back braced against. For some unknown reason it caught on something and held. There was just enough space for me to lie there while the logs pitched and rolled over me. It took a crowd of husky lumber jacks several minutes to dig me out. It was a close shave."[1]

When Burleigh was 13 years old, he attended a baseball game in St. Paul and was so impressed by the spitball offerings of Minneapolis Millers pitcher Hank Gehring that he went home and practiced the damp delivery until he mastered the pitch. In 1912 he began his professional career with the Eau Claire Commissioners of the Class D Minnesota-Wisconsin League, but the circuit folded in mid-season. He started the 1913 season with the Ottumwa Packers of the Central Association, where he was so effective that the Detroit Tigers purchased his contract for $400. After a week the Tigers shipped him to Chattanooga without his ever having put on a Detroit uniform. He had only moderate success with the Lookouts. In 1914 he was the property of the Birmingham Barons, who loaned him to Richmond in the Class C Virginia League, where he won 23 games. The Barons recalled him on September 12th. During the off-season he broke his leg, but was ready to pitch in 1915 and had a fine season with the Birmingham club. By August 1916 he had a 23-11 record with the Barons when the Pirates bought his contract and called him up to the majors. One report asserts that over a six-game stretch in July and August, Grimes five times lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning. Another account gives a slightly different version of this story: "Burleigh never pitched a no-hit game in the majors, but five times he went into the ninth without having allowed a safety. Once, against the Phillies in 1918, there were two out in the ninth when Fred Luderus connected for the first hit."[2]

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