Monday, February 22, 2016

Ewald Pyle

Ewald Pyle played for a few teams in the forties as a pitcher; his overall career numbers weren't the best (11-21, 5+ ERA), but he was good enough to get in games with the Browns, Senators, Giants and Braves.

His Baseball-Reference page comes up short in listing his transactions:

First of all, it doesn't tell us how Pyle went from the Senators to the Minneapolis squad. I found it in this article about the Senators cleaning house in 1943 from the St. Petersburg Times of July 30, 1943:

“First to go was pitcher Ewald Pyle, traded to Minneapolis of the American Association for Wilfred Le Fevre [sp], a southpaw formerly with the Boston Red Sox.”

Wilfred (Bill) LeFebvre would pop up with the parent Senators later. 

Pyle played in the majors in 1945 with the Giants and Browns, but finished with independent minor league team Milwaukee. Here's how that happened, from the Telegraph of July 3, 1945:

“…the Boston Braves today obtained right hand pitcher Don Hendrickson from Milwaukee of the American association, general manager John Quinn announced.”
“The Braves turned over left hand pitcher Ewald Pyle outright to Milwaukee and will give them another player later, and transferred on 24-hour option catcher Mike Ulisney. The Boston club also transferred the option of Armond Cardone [Ben Cardoni], now with Indianapolis of the American association, to Milwaukee.”

So Hendrickson was traded to Boston for Pyle and a player to be named later, plus the Braves loaned them two others.

Hendrickson would play a couple seasons for Boston. Ulisney and Cardoni also had major league stops.

Pyle stayed with Milwaukee through their transfer to being a White Sox, and then a Boston Braves affiliate. But in 1948 he was traded to the Red Sox organization. From the Milwaukee Sentinel of May 18, 1948:

Don Grate, a 23 year old pitching prospect, and Jim Gleeson, 35, an outfielder, became Brewers yesterday in a deal sending Ewald Pyle and Bill Sinton to the Colonels”
Grate would be in the majors for awhile later, while Gleeson's major league years were behind him. Sinton did not make the majors. Grate would gain some notoriety for throwing a baseball 443+ feet in 1953.

Pyle closed out his career at age 38 the next year with Louisville.

Pyle and Lefebvre from
Henderson and Gleeson from pinterest
Grate from

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mickey Witek Comes Back to the Yankees

Mickey Witek was a pretty fair infielder for the Giants in the early forties, even garnering some MVP consideration after a .314-hitting 1943 season. After going off to the war effort, he played a couple more years for the Giants and resurfaced to go 1-for-1 as a Yankee in 1949. 

Witek's Baseball-Reference page doesn't list any transactions, so we don't have a list of his many baseball movements. 

First, how did he get to the Giants in the first place? Witek was Yankee property in Newark in 1939, then appears with the Giants the next year. The Lewiston Daily Sun of Sep. 1, 1939 has part of the answer:

"The New York Giants announced tonight they had purchased second baseman Nicholas Joseph (Mickey) Witek of the Newark Bears of the International League for an undisclosed sum of cash and two players to be named later.”

The rest of the story comes from the Spokesman-Review of Dec. 28, 1939:

"The New York Giants today announced the sale of Second baseman Alex Kampouris and reserve Catcher Tom Padden to the Newark Bears of the International League. This completed the deal in which the National leaguers acquired Second Baseman Mickey Witek form the Bears for two players and cash just before the end of the International league season.”

The sales of Kampouris and Padden are listed on their Baseball-Reference pages, but not as a part of any other deal.

Witek was out of the majors, in AAA Jersey City for the Giants in 1948, when he was sent for what turned out to be a short stay for the Red Sox' Louisville team. From the Milwaukee Journal of June 23, 1949, in an article about a different minor league deal:

“Minneapolis of the American association traded pitcher Francis (Red) Hardy to Jersey City of the International league for Wesley Bailey. Bailey has won eight and lost three so far this season. He was traded to Jersey City last year by Louisville for infielder Mickey Witek.”

Bailey never played in the majors, Hardy made two appearances for the Giants in 1951.

Witek was bounced to Kansas City and the Yankees again in a trade we highlighted in the last blog entry:

“Louisville and Kansas City, eighth and seventh in the standings, completed a straight trade with Jack Robinson, pitcher, and Outfielder Milt Byrnes going to the Colonels for Outfielder Bill Sinton and Mickey Witek, second baseman.” [Toledo Blade of June 8, 1948]

Witek came up fpr his one at-bat for the Yankees in 1949 and was back in Kansas City the next season. He goes to independent Seattle midway through the year in a deal I couldn't track down, and at the end of the season, he was sent to Atlanta. This from the excellent blogsite at

"St. PETERSBURG, Fla., Dec. 7—The Seattle Rainiers have disposed of utility infielder Leon Mohr, who played part of last season in Spokane in the Western International League. He has been sent outright to Oklahoma City of the Texas League.
Joe Montalvo, the catcher who leads the Puerto Rican winter league with a .385 average, has been purchased from Shreveport of the Texas loop.
They also traded .261-hitting second baseman Mickey Witek to the Atlanta Crackers of the AA Southern Association for second baseman Ellis Clary, a .301 hitter."

Clary played for Washington and the Browns in the forties, and this trade isn't mentioned on his Baseball-reference page. In fact, Witek didn't play at all for Atlanta as his career ended in 1950, and Clary never played for Seattle, instead finishing his career in AA Chattanooga.

 Padden from

Kampouris from eBay
Witek from last blog entry, see attribution there please.
Red Hardy from

Ellis Clary from wikipedia