Thursday, April 28, 2016

Larry Drake, Joe Burns and Charles Bowles Sold By A's

Finding transactions from the forties is a lot of fun but can also be a lot of work. Newspapers sometimes garbled up names of players, and sometimes trades were altered or vetoed at the last minute for one reason or another.

We look today at a simple transaction of three players that ended the major league career of two of them; and two of them never played for the team that acquired them.

“The outright purchase of 3 players from the Philadelphia Athletics was announced today by Earl Mann of the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association.”

“The 3 new players….are Pitcher Charles Bowles, a righthander, who pitched 33 innings for the A’s last season, losing 3 games; 3rd-baseman Joseph Burns, who hit .256 in 83 games with Connie Mack’s club, and Outfielder Larry Drake, who played with Toronto and Baltimore of the International League last season.” 

Bowles, Burns and Drake all played in the majors in 1945 with the A's. Bowles and Burns never made the big time again, in fact, Burns stopped playing altogether, evidentally.

Drake did not play for Atlanta that next season, going to Sherman, TX for a couple years before resurfacing with the Senators. Try as I might I cannot track anything down on that.

This sale to Atlanta is not mentioned on any of the three Baseball-Reference pages, but Burns has this notation in his transaction list:

"May 27, 1946: Released by the Philadelphia Athletics."

Which doesn't seem to make sense; I'll see if I can find more about this.

Drake, while he didn't appear for Atlanta that season, DID eventually wind up with the Crackers. The Senators farmed him out to Chattanooga in 1948 after a couple of appearances for them, and the Lookouts dealt him to Atlanta for the next season. From the Daytona Beach Morning Journal of Dec. 10, 1948:

 “Outfielder Larry Drake who set a new home run record for the Chattanooga Lookouts last season was sold yesterday to the Atlanta Crackers.”

Drake would spend 1949 with four teams, independent Atlanta first, then Jersey City. From the Asbury Park Press of June 7, 1949:

" The Jersey City Giants of the International league bought outfielder Larry Drake from the Atlanta Crackers yesterday. The Southern association club had bought him from Chattanooga last winter. Last year Drake hit 30 home runs. His batting average this season is .260."

Baseball-Reference has Drake playing just 6 games for the Giants' AAA team, and he goes to Columbia, a Reds Single-A team, and independent St. Hyacinthe to finish the year and his career.

Top: Larry Drake from Baseball-Reference
Middle: Joe Burns from
Bottom: Charlie Bowles from Wikipedia

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