Doc Crandall

From BR Bullpen


James Otis Crandall

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10½", Weight 180 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

"Crandall is the Giants' ambulance corps... He is first aid to the injured. He is the physician of the pitching emergency, and they sometimes call him old Doctor Crandall. He is without an equal as an extinguisher of batting rallies and run riots, or as a pinch hitter." - Damon Runyon, 1911

Known for his sharp curveball, Doc Crandall was one of the first pitchers to be used primarily in relief. While with John McGraw's New York Giants, Crandall picked up his nickname due to his ability to help recuperate "sick" Giant games.

Doc came up during the ultimately doomed 1908 Giants season. In his only season primarily as a starter, he was 12-12 with 13 complete games in 214 2/3 innings. He would make starts for the Giants during the remainder of his tenure in Gotham, but made the transition to relief seamlessly, leading the National League in games finished each of the next four seasons. He spun two shutouts and saved five games in 1910 to finish 17-4, 2.56, batting an impressive .342/.385/.521 in 73 at bats. The Giants gave him starts at shortstop and second base in 1911, a 15-5, 2.63 season in which his bat fell to .239/.295/.372, driving in 21 runs while belting 2 homers. He became the first man to make over 30 relief appearances in a season in 1913, making two appearances with the St. Louis Cardinals before returning to the Giants after two weeks.

Crandall was one of the last major league players to split his time between pitching and playing the field during the same season. He bolted to the Federal League in 1914 and did this with the St. Louis Terriers. Crandall pitched 27 times and played second base 63 times, tying for the team lead in victories (13) and batted .309/.429/.424 while driving in 41 runs. He enjoyed his only 20-win season in 1915 (21-15, 2.59) and made only 7 more big league appearances in the next three years. As a big leaguer, Crandall finished 102-62, 2.92 with 25 saves and batted .285/.372/.398 with 9 home runs in 887 at bats. He was used as a pinch-hitter over 100 times in his career.

Crandall continued to pitch until he was 41 years old, winning 11 games in the Pacific Coast League as late as 1929. In 1918, he finished one out short of a no-hitter, allowing the lone base hit to his brother, Karl Crandall. Overall, he won 249 minor league contests, giving him 351 career wins as a professional. He pitched 13 seasons in the Pacific Coast League (1916-1926 and 1928-1929), with a 230-151 record and a 2.96 ERA over 3,331 innings.

Crandall was player-manager of the 1927-1928 Wichita Larks. After his playing career, he was a coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1931 to 1934. He managed the Des Moines Demons in 1935, and coached the Seattle Indians in 1937 and Sacramento Solons in 1938. In 1943, Crandall was an inaugural inductee into the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame.

His son, Jimmie Crandall, never reached the majors as a player but spent a season as a St. Louis Browns coach. His brother Karl was a minor league infielder from 1907 to 1924.

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Playoffs Notes
1927 Wichita Larks Western League 91-63 2nd
1928 Wichita Larks Western League -- -- replaced by Art Griggs
1935 Des Moines Demons Western League 58-55 3rd Lost in 1st round

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