Chris Short

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Joseph Christopher Short

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Biographical Information[edit]

Through 2020, Chris Short is the fourth winningest pitcher in Philadelphia Phillies history, with 132 wins for the Phils. He trails only Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts and Pete Alexander among the team's career leaders.

The record book shows a catching appearance for Chris Short in 1961. In fact, Short never donned the tools of ignorance. The story goes that in Game 1 of a doubleheader on June 29th, the lowly Phillies were managed by Gene Mauch who was locked in a battle of wits with San Francisco Giants manager Al Dark. Both managers warmed up several starting pitchers in an effort to decoy their opponent and get a favorable lineup for the starting pitcher they chose.

To this end, Mauch penciled in pitcher Short at catcher, among other odd moves. He had pitcher Don Ferrarese leading off and playing center field and Jim Owens in right field and batting third. Short was listed as the seventh hitter. When the game began, Ferrarese, Owens, and Short were immediately replaced. Starter Ken Lehman didn't fare much better, getting the hook after two batters. He was relieved by Dallas Green.

Under the current scoring rules, Short, Ferrarese, and Owens would not appear in the record books with a game in the field, but their games will remain in the official statistics as that was the rule in 1961. The Phils wound up losing the game, 8-7, in 10 innings. Juan Marichal won the game in relief in one of his 12 career relief appearances. The box score can be found below.

Short won 20 games for the only time in 1966. He was 18-10 with three games left to play in late September, all three against the National League-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. But he beat the Dodgers with a complete game victory on September 30th, then, after rain wiped out the next day's game, came back to pitch in relief in the first game of a doubleheader on October 2nd and earned the win to finish at 20-10, 3.54. The last Phillies lefthander to win 20 games had been Eppa Rixey back in 1916.

On July 3, 1973, pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers in his final big-league season at 35, Short started the first game of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles. He was relieved after 3 1/3 innings, and then pitched another 1 1/3 innings of the second game.

Short suffered a brain aneurysm on October 20, 1988 and never fully regained consciousness. He was in a comatose state for almost three years. His status led to huge medical expenses, and former teammates led by Art Mahaffey, his former roommate, pitched in to help his family by holding fundraisers, including an annual celebrity golf tournament. He died in a convalescent home in 1991.

His first Baseball Card appearance was only in the 1967 Topps set, by which time he was a veteran of 8 major league seasons. Like a few contemporary players, most famously Maury Wills, it took him some time to sign a contract with the company that held a monopoly on issuing baseball cards at the time.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time NL All-Star (1964 & 1967)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 4 (1964-1966 & 1968)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (1966)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 4 (1964-1966 & 1968)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 2 (1965 & 1968)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Andy Sturgill: "Chris Short", in Mel Marmer and Bill Nowlin, eds.: The Year of Blue Snow: The 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2013, pp. 201-206. ISBN 978-1-933599-51-9

Related Sites[edit]