Doris Sams

From BR Bullpen

Doris Jane Sams

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5'9", Weight 145 lbs.

Biographical Information[edit]

Doris "Sammye" Sams was an outfielder and pitcher in the AAGPBL. She made her debut as a pitcher with the expansion Muskegon Lassies in 1946, going 8-9 with a 3.78 ERA and batting .274. She eventually played eight seasons between 1946 and 1953. In 1947, she was named player of the year. Some sources list her as an All-Star as an outfielder and a pitcher that year, becoming the only AAGPBL player to be so honored, but W.C. Madden's statistical encyclopedia of the AAGPBL lists her with neither team. Sams hit .280/~.334/.335, finishing 4th in the circuit in average, 7th in total bases (116), tied for 7th in RBI (41) and tied for 9th in hits (97). She also won 11 games (she lost 4), had an ERA of 0.98, and pitched a perfect game (the third in league history). She was second in ERA behind only Mildred Earp and led the circuit in winning percentage. Doris helped lead the Lassies to their first pennant but they fell in the playoffs, when she lost her only decision and was 2 for 13 at the plate.

Sams pitched a second no-hitter in 1948, while also batting .257/~.321/.328. In one of her worse years offensively, she still finished 9th in average, tied for 8th in homers (3), 9th in total bases (134), 5th in RBI (59) and tied for 7th in triples (7). On the hill she was 18-10 with a 1.54 ERA, tied for 7th in victories and just missing the top 10 in ERA.

She was again player of the year in 1949 after hitting .279/~.300/.299 and became the first player to twice win player of the year honors. She won the batting title by a single point over Connie Wisniewski and had one more hit than Wisniewski to lead the AAGPBL with 114 but was not among the leaders in any other offensive category. Sams again had a strong year on the mound, going 15-10 with a 1.58 ERA. She finished 8th in the league in ERA, tied for 7th in wins and tied for 8th in shutouts. This began a streak of four straight seasons as an All-Star outfielder.

When league offensive levels improved in 1950, she began a streak of four seasons with a batting average over .300. In her last season as a regularly used pitcher, she went 12-13 with a 2.60 ERA and batted .301/~.363/.419. She was 5th in average, tied for 5th in homers (4) and third in slugging percentage. The next year Doris allowed 13 hits and 11 runs in her final three innings on the mound, though her offensive line remained strong - .306/~.358/.379. She was sixth in average, tied for 5th with 2 homers, 9th in total bases (135), tied for 8th in hits (109) and tied for 4th in doubles (16).

She had a career best .314 average and 12 home runs in 1952. She had an OBP around .379 and slugged .478 that season, when she finished third in average, led the league in homers, was second in total bases (195), third in RBI (57) and second in hits (128) and doubles (25). It was her best year as a power hitter and her final year as an All-Star. In her last season, she batted .312/~.353/.376.

Sams retired after the 1953 season. Her career stats were .278/~.335/.356 as a hitter and 64-47, 2.16 as a pitcher. Sams was the best player in AAGPBL history to wear glasses. She worked for a utility company in Knoxville after leaving baseball.

Sources: An article by Jim Sargent and "The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Record Book" by W.C. Madden

Related Sites[edit]