Boom Beck

Boom-Boom Beck supposedly earned his nickname while pitching for Casey Stengel‘s Dodgers in 1934. Becoming upset when Stengel came out to remove him when the Dodgers still had a lead, Beck angrily threw the ball into right field at the old Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. The ball hit the tin-plated wall and caromed to center. The “boom-boom” of the rebound roused centerfielder Hack Wilson, who was relaxing during the pitching change and thought the game had resumed. Wilson pursued the ball and fired a strike back to the infield.

As an after-dinner speaker, the loquacious Beck later left audiences shaking their heads as he lamented that America was in danger of giving baseball back to the Indians. Pitching for atrocious teams but performing none too well himself, he had only two winning records in 12 major league seasons, a 1-0 mark in six games in 1927 and an 8-5 record split between the Reds and the Pirates in the war-weakened 1945 season, his last. He won his last game while coaching at Toledo (American Association) in 1951, pitching a 10-2 win over Minneapolis at the age of 46 to bring his total professional mark to an even 236-236.