Firpo Marberry

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Frederick Marberry

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 190 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Fred "Firpo" Marberry was an effective reliever at a time when that role was unusual as a specialty. He led the league six times in games pitched, and six times also in saves, not an official stat at the time. He first finished games under manager Donie Bush during a partial season in the bigs with the Washington Senators in 1923 (Bush used Allen Russell in the save role), and then started getting lots of saves under manager Bucky Harris in 1924, a year in which his team won the 1924 World Series.

In most years, Marberry also started games, sometimes starting more often than relieving, but still getting saves. For instance, in 1929, he led the Senators in victories, was second on the team in starts, and nevertheless also led the American League in saves.

Marberry received his nickname because of a supposed resemblance to Argentine boxer Luis Firpo, who challenged for the Heavyweight championship shortly after Marberry was called up. Marberry hated the nickname, and preferred to be known as Fred.

He was one of the ten best relievers according to The Relief Pitcher for being the most dominant reliever of his era.

There is a legitimate question whether Marberry should be in the Hall of Fame. Splitting his time between starting and relieving, he nevertheless was able to accumulate 148 victories (with only 88 losses) and also 99 saves. Twice he was in double figures the same year in both wins and saves (something neither Dennis Eckersley nor John Smoltz ever did). According to the WAR7 method of appraising relief pitchers, he is in the top five of all time.

He was an American League umpire in 1935, working 96 games. What is unusual is that he also pitched 5 games for the Detroit Tigers in the early part of that season, and then came back to pitch for both the New York Giants and the Washington Senators in 1936.

Harlan Pyle was also nicknamed "Firpo".

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 6-time AL Games Pitched Leader (1924-1926, 1928, 1929 & 1932)
  • 5-time AL Saves Leader (1924-1926, 1929 & 1932)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 5 (1929-1931, 1933 & 1934)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1929, 1931 & 1933)
  • Won a World Series with the Washington Senators in 1924

Biographical Information[edit]

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