The Infinite Baseball Card Set is a never-ending card set of baseball’s forgotten heroes: Negro League legends, barnstorming mercenaries, semi-pro sluggers, blacklisted bums, foreign phenoms, bush league oddballs, and the famous before they were famous.

Walt Malmquist: Correcting a Baseball Record

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Since 1913, the name Walter Malmquist has sat atop the list of highest single-season batting averages. His .477 has become one of baseball’s iconic numbers as well as a record that has never been topped. But did he really hit .477? […]

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In the On Deck Circle…

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I’m just putting the finishing touches on my next story and illustration – a new look at Walt Malmquist’s 1913 Nebraska State League season. Who the heck is Malmquist and why should you care about his season in an obscure and defunct bush league? Well, for more than a century Walt Malmquist’s .477 has been touted as the highest recorded single-season batting average in professional baseball. Problem is, Walt Malmquist didn’t hit .477. […]

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Leon Day: The 1945 G.I. World Series

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Back in the late 1980’s, I was fortunate to make the acquaintance of Leon Day. The old Negro Leaguer lived nearby me in Baltimore, and I would spend afternoons in his little second floor baseball room listening to his stories. I once asked him what was the best game he ever pitched, and instead of naming his Opening Day no-hitter or one of his record-setting strikeout games, Day told me about his Game 2 masterpiece in the 1945 G.I. World Series… […]

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Benny Kauff: Stealing Bases and Automobiles

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It was the week before Christmas, 1919.
Three men were cruising the neighborhood looking for a Caddy. It was, as the stockier one of the three had proclaimed earlier that evening, a “good night for stealing autos.” […]

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In the On-Deck Circle…

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I’ve been working on a new project lately, and it’s just about out of the prototype stage and into production. […]

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Stan Musial: Stan The Sailor Man

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The Brooklyn fans didn’t know who the guy was, but it seemed that every time “that man” came to the plate, he tore Dodger pitching apart. Eventually, as more and more singles, doubles and homers flew off the end of his bat, “that man” evolved into a more reverent “The Man” – the name Stan Musial was forever known by. […]

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Bobo Revolinsky: The Miracle 1937 Salisbury Indians

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Everyone loves a good story about miraculous underdogs and winning despite the odds – but there is no more incredible comeback story than than of the 1937 Salisbury Indians – when guys named Blackie, Jorge and Bobo came together to overcome an 0-26 record and win the pennant. […]

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Lefty Grove: The Best Pitcher a Fence Can Buy

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Just about 98 years ago today, a tall, lanky nineteen-year-old stepped onto the train platform at Baltimore’s Camden Station. The kid’s name was Robert Groves, though everyone back home in Lonaconing, Maryland called him Bob, and here was in Charm City to join the Baltimore Orioles. […]

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Smoke Justis: The Harder They Hit – The Harder I Threw

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With his trademark mane of wavy, dark hair, the Indiana native was well known for his many eccentricities, such as practicing his sliding in hotel hallways and wearing ladies silk stockings under his uniform for luck. But for all his flakiness, Smoke holds the record for most no-hitters in one season – FOUR – set in 1908. […]

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Bill Niemeyer: A Place Called Hill 378

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The area they were clearing of enemy troops looked a lot like familiar places in the northeast and Midwest United States, and many of the boys of G Company thought back to the little places they left behind called Sussex County, Washington Courthouse, Mechanicsburg or Crescent Springs.

To the officers of G Company, this place was just called Hill 378. […]

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Tomás Romañach: Afraid of being what the Americanos call “the lemon”

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In the spring of 1913, Cincinnati Reds fans, players and management were finally confident their club was turning a corner. Two years earlier, in what was thinking outside the box for the time, the Reds signed Cubans Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida to fill holes in their roster. Now they were awaiting the arrival of another Cuban import to solve their shortstop problem… […]

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Memo Luna: The Story Behind Card 222

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One can almost hear the voices of 10 year-old boys repeating the name “MEMO LUNA!” as they expectantly thumbed through a freshly opened pack of the new 1954 Bowman bubble gum cards. While coming across a Ray Katt, Gil Coan or Mel Hoderlein would have merited merely a grunt or groan, even the most jaded 10 year-old boy had to admit that “Memo Luna” had an alluring ring to it. […]

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Stella Friss: Babe Ruth in Bloomers

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Over the years many women ballplayers were given the title of “the female Babe Ruth”, but Stella Friss may be the only one that came close to living up to it. […]

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Lou Gehrig: Uncovering the Mysterious “Lou Long”

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In the spring of 1922 a strapping young man stepped off the Manhattan train and into the streets of Morristown, New Jersey. The city-slicker shouldered his bag of baseball equipment and headed to Collinsville Oval where he was hired to play for the local ball club. In the scorecard he would be called “Lou Long” – in reality he was Lou Gehrig, and for the second summer in a row he was violating college rules by playing ball for money… […]

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Dick Sipek: The Deafening Roar of the Crowd

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When Dick Sipek took the field for the Cincinnati Reds in 1945, he was living the dream of many American kids before and since – with one major exception. Instead of hearing the roar of the crowd, the PA announcer heralding his first at bat or the umpire calling balls and strikes, all Dick Sipek hear was silence. See, Dick Sipek was completely deaf… […]

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Overton Tremper: Putting One Over on John McGraw

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Today, there is no other avenue for a baseball player besides organized baseball: the major and minor leagues are the only game in town. But one hundred years ago, a guy could make a decent living playing baseball without suiting up for a professional ball club. And that’s just what Overton Tremper chose to do. […]

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Claro Duany: The Giant

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Mexico City, July 25, 1946.
Mickey Owen, former catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, warily watched the big Cuban standing 90 feet away on third base. Before putting his mask back on he wiped the sweat from his forehead and eyeballed the man they called “El Gigante” – “The Giant”. […]

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“Wing” Maddox: The One-Armed Batting Champ

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For many decades blackball historians were baffled by Maddox’s nickname of “One Wing” until the new breed of researchers uncovered contemporary newspaper articles that verified the pitcher-outfielder’s lack of a left arm. This revelation came as a surprise to many, more so when it was found that the one-armed ballplayer was the 1920 Negro Southern League batting champ! […]

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Max Manning: The Honor & Integrity of Dr. Cyclopse

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Even after the majors were integrated there were precious few slots open to the black players and many men of doubtless talent were left languishing in the minors or never received the call they hoped for. Max Manning is one who received that longed-for call – the problem was, if he took it, his honor and integrity were also on the line. […]

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Bunny Brief: The Long Story

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I figured of all the players in my Minor League Home Run Champions Series, Bunny Brief would be the easiest to research. Since the guy is co-owner of the record for most minor league home run crowns in a career (8), I had assumed that someone would have written a book, or a chapter in a book, or for God’s sake at least an extensive article on the guy – but sadly, no one has – until now. […]

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Mose Solomon: The Rabbi of Swat

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Mose Solomon’s popularity with baseball historians stems not just for his tremendous 1923 season with Hutchinson in which he belted 49 homers, but also from his being one of the first baseball stars who openly acknowledged his Jewish faith. This combination of power and religion earned him the unforgettable nickname of “The Rabbi of Swat.” […]

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Jack Kloza: Home Runs, Mosquitos, Hats and the Rockford Peaches

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Like so many of the players I write about, I found Jack Kloza while searching for something else. And, like so many of the outsiders I write about, what at first just seemed like a marginal career highlighted by a brief cup of coffee in the majors, turned out to be a very interesting tale on so many levels. I was drawn to this fella because the grainy 1936 newspaper article I found showed a guy who looked remarkably like a young Charles Bronson. […]

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Buzz Arlett: Another Babe Ruth of the Minor Leagues

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Today there would never be a “Babe Ruth of the Minor Leagues.” Once a player starts making headlines in AA or AAA he’s called up before the ink dries on the sports page. However, back in the 1920’s and 30’s, it was a different game and many guys like Buzz Arlett were doomed to spend their career just shy of the big time, remembered only as another “The Babe Ruth of the Minor Leagues.” […]

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Ollie Carnegie: The Bambino of Buffalo

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A late start to his career and appendicitis kept Ollie Carnegie firmly entrenched in the minor leagues. Accepting that he’d never be a big leaguer, Carnegie finished in the top five in home runs four out his first five seasons in Buffalo, cementing his reputation as “The Bambino of Buffalo.” […]

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Big Boy Kraft: Fifty-Five and Out

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Clarence “Big Boy” Kraft was the power behind the 1919-1924 Fort Worth Panthers, one of the finest minor league teams of the pre-war era. His 55 homers in 1924 was the highest recorded in the minors up to that time and only second to Babe Ruth’s major league record of 59 he set in 1921. As could be expected, after that 1924 season, everyone wanted a piece of Big Boy… […]

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Tony LaZerre: Joosta Like Babe-A-Da Ruth

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Tony Lazzeri – you know him, right? Victim of Grover Cleveland Alexander’s big strikeout in Game 7 of the ’26 World Series, charter member of the Yankees’ Murderer’s Row and first superstar ballplayer of Italian heritage – well, back before he was with the Yanks, he made baseball history under a different name… […]

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Moose Clabaugh: A Home Run Every Other Game

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On the day Moose Clabaugh hit home run number 62, the Brooklyn Robins announced they had purchased the slugger, delivery due ASAP. As soon as that news hit the wires, no less than three other teams claimed they had the rights to Moose. After the legal dust settled, Clabaugh was on the next train east – destination Ebbets Field. […]

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Joe Hauser: Leave him alone, he’s Our Joe!

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In the five and a half decades after he retired in 1942, Joe Hauser was the go-to man for “what if”, “hard-luck” and “where is he now” baseball stories. Hauser’s career stretched from the Deadball Era of Ty Cobb through the Roarin’ Twenties of Babe Ruth and on into the hardscrabble Depression Era 1930’s. That he lived to be 98 years old made him one of the most interviewed ballplayers and a direct and priceless link back to the game’s Golden Age. […]

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Bob Crues: Chamberlined

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For Bob Crues, his shot at having his own place in history came down to one night in Amarillo back in 1948. For 138 games, “Home Run Bob” had ripped apart West Texas-New Mexico League pitching. With one last game to play, Crues’ home run tally stood at 69. One more and he would break the record set by Joe Hauser in 1933. […]

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Joe Bauman: Seventy-Two Steroid-Free Big Ones

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Back in the summer of 1954, Joe Bauman was living a double life. By day he’d put in a full day’s work pumping gas at one of the Texaco service stations he and his wife Dorothy owned. Then at 5 he’d clock out and spend the evening chasing baseball’s most elusive offensive record. […]

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