Don Liddle

From BR Bullpen

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Donald Eugene Liddle, Sr.
(Butch, Little)

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 9½", Weight 165 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Don Liddle (pronounced LID-ul) was a pitcher 12 years (1946-1957), four in the majors (1953-1956) and eight in the minors (1946-1952 and 1957). He was born on May 25, 1925, in Mount Carmel, IL. He graduated from high school in 1943 and was in the Navy during World War II (TSN). He broke into Organized Baseball in 1946 at age 20 with the Auburn Cayugas in the Border League.

Scouted by Bob Coleman of the Boston Braves, he was signed by the Braves before the 1947 season. He pitched for the Evansville Braves in the Three-I League and the Mount Vernon Braves in the Illinois State League that season. He married Margaret Ruth Thompson on February 22, 1948. He played for the Pawtucket Slaters in the New England League in 1948 and 1949; the Hartford Chiefs in the Eastern League (1949); the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association (1950); the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association (1950-1951); and the Brewers again (1951-1952). The 160-lb lefthander was inevitably called Little Liddle. In 1952, he went 17-4, winning two legs of the American Association pitching Triple Crown with a 2.70 ERA and 159 strikeouts. He also led the AA in winning percentage (.810) and shutouts (5).

Liddle was 27 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 17, 1953, with the Milwaukee Braves. On May 25th, the Braves took the opening game of a doubleheader over the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5–1, behind Liddle's pitching.

On February 1, 1954 he was traded by the Braves with Johnny Antonelli, Billy Klaus, Ebba St. Claire and $50,000 to the New York Giants for Bobby Thomson and Sam Calderone. He pitched for the New York Giants until 1956. On September 24, 1954, the Philadelphia Phillies' Murry Dickson lost his 20th game of the season, 1-0, to New York's Liddle. On October 2nd, in Game 4 of the World Series, the Giants completed a sweep the American League team with the best record in history, the 1954 Cleveland Indians, as they scored 4 runs in the 5th to take a 7-0 lead. The final score was 7-­4 as Liddle, who started the game, defeated Bob Lemon. The Giants won their first world championship since 1933. Liddle was also on the mound in Game 1 of the Series in the Polo Grounds when Willie Mays made his famous over-the-shoulder catch, running down a 460-foot fly ball hit by Vic Wertz of Cleveland. Liddle had been summoned by Giants manager Leo Durocher in what we would now call a LOOGY role, to relieve Sal Maglie, specifically to face Wertz. When fellow reliever Marv Grissom came to the mound to replace him after Mays's spectacular catch, Liddle allegedly said, "I got my man".

On June 14, 1956 he was traded by the Giants with Alvin Dark, Ray Katt and Whitey Lockman to the St. Louis Cardinals for a player to be named later, Dick Littlefield, Jackie Brandt, Red Schoendienst and Bill Sarni. The Cardinals sent Gordon Jones to the Giants on October 1st to complete the trade. He played with St. Louis for the remainder of 1956 and played his final major league game on September 19th at age 31.

He returned to the minors with the Omaha Cardinals in the American Association in 1957 for one final season, ending his baseball career at age 32.

In his four years in the majors with the Braves, Giants and Cardinals, he compiled a 28-18, 3.75 record. In 1954, his best year in the majors, he was 9-4 with 4 complete games in 19 games started, 4 games finished, 44 strikeouts, 55 walks and 3 shutouts in 126 2/3 innings pitched with an ERA of 3.06 and a WHIP of 1.224 in 28 games. Overall in the minors, he was 80-50 in 1174 2/3 innings pitched with an ERA of 3.40 in 251 games.

After leaving baseball, Liddle worked at the local Elks Club in his hometown of Mount Carmel, owned a service station, sold insurance, and then went to work at the Snap-On Tools factory. He stayed there for 22 years, 18 as a supervisor. He was instrumental in his community's construction of a new ballpark for its youth baseball program. He had light brown hair and blue eyes, his ancestry was English-German and his principal hobbies were golf and hunting.

He died at age 75 from lung cancer on June 5, 2000 and is buried at Highland Memorial Cemetery in Mount Carmel. Liddle's wife, Margaret, died in 1996. Survivors included sons Craig, Donald Jr., Kevin and Kim, daughter Tamara, one sister, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


"I got my man." Liddle said to his relief pitcher, Marv Grissom, after Willie Mays had made "The Catch".

Career Highlights[edit]

Notable Achievement[edit]


Principal sources for Don Liddle include newspaper obituaries (OB), government Veteran records (VA,CM,CW), Stars & Stripes (S&S), Sporting Life (SL), The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs (1954-1956) (WW), old Baseball Registers (1954-1956) (BR) , old Daguerreotypes by TSN (none) (DAG), Stars&Stripes (S&S), The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase (PD), The Baseball Library (BL), Baseball in World War II Europe by Gary Bedingfield (GB) ; The Southern Association in Baseball, 1885-1961 by Marshall D. Wright; The American Association: Year-By-Year Statistics for the Baseball Minor League, 1902-1952 by Marshall D. Wright; and independent research by Walter Kephart (WK) and Frank Russo (FR) and others.

Related Sites[edit]