Phil Douglas

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Phillip Brooks Douglas
(Shufflin' Phil)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Phil Douglas had a respectable major league career, winning 94 games over 9 seasons, but his tempestuous behavior led to his eventual ban from baseball.

Douglas began his pro career with the Rome Romans of the Southeastern League in 1910 but the circuit folded in mid-season. With the Macon Peaches the next summer, he led the South Atlantic League with 28 wins. He spent most of 1912 with the Des Moines Boosters of the Western League, going 15-16, before joining the Chicago White Sox late in the season. In 3 outings that year for Chicago, he went 0-1 with a 7.30 ERA.

Phil douglas.jpg

Douglas started 1913 with the San Francisco Seals before moving on to the Spokane Indians later that summer. He was then selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1913 Rule V Draft. He won 11 games for the Reds in 1914 while posting a 2.56 ERA in his first full season in the majors. He began 1915 slowly, going 1-5 with a 5.40 ERA in 8 appearances for Cincinnati before being purchased by the Brooklyn Robins in June; less than three months later, his contract was sold to the Chicago Cubs. He ended the 1915 campaign with a 7-11 record in 32 games split among the three clubs.

After spending 1916 back in the minors, going 12-11 with the St. Paul Saints, Douglas returned to the Cubs in 1917 and went 14-20 in a National League-leading 51 outings. He missed the start of the 1918 season due to recovering from appendicitis but ended up recording a 10-9 record and a 2.13 ERA in 25 games as Chicago won the National League pennant. He made just one appearance in the World Series that fall, giving up one unearned run in one inning of work and taking the loss in Game 4, as the Cubs fell to the Boston Red Sox.

Douglas went 10-6 with a 2.00 ERA in 25 games for Chicago in 1919 before being traded to the New York Giants for Dave Robertson in July; he added 2 more wins after the deal. The next summer, 1920, he won 14 games for the team, and he notched 15 wins for the pennant-winning Giants in 1921. He went 2-1 in 3 starts in that year's World Series, as the Giants went on the defeat the crosstown Yankees.

Douglas has perhaps his best season in 1922, going 11-4 while leading the National League with a 2.63 ERA. However, late that season, he had a heated argument with his manager, John McGraw. Still angered over the argument, Douglas then wrote a letter to St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Les Mann. The letter in part stated: "I don't want this guy (McGraw) to win the pennant. Talk it over with the boys and if it's alright send the goods to my house and I'll go fishing." Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis found out about the letter and banned Douglas for life.

At one point, Douglas played in a company league of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company in Alabama. He played in 1924 with other outlawed players in the South Georgia League.

The book Much More Than a Game states that Douglas was "an alcoholic who had been fined for going AWOL", and that the 1922 letter was a try at revenge. The book Ghosts in the Gallery at Cooperstown also states Douglas was an alcoholic and that McGraw assigned Jesse Burkett to keep track of him 24 hours a day in 1922. However, Douglas "tired of Burkett's company and fell spectacularly off the wagon".

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL ERA Leader (1922)
  • NL Games Pitched Leader (1917)
  • NL Shutouts Leader (1921)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1921)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 5 (1914, 1917 & 1919-1921)
  • Won a World Series with the New York Giants in 1921

Related Sites[edit]