Thursday, July 13, 2017

Jack Wisner Tied to Fitzsimmons Deal and More

Jack Wisner was a pitcher in the National League for the Pirates and Giants for at least part of four seasons 1919-20 and 1925-26. His Baseball-Reference page doesn't list any transaction for him, but not only did he have may of them, one involved a fairly big future star of the era.

Let it be said that Wisner put up some good numbers in his relatively short Major League experience: 3.221 ERA and a WHIP just above a reliever and starter.

His 22-10 record at Saginaw at age 19 bought him a ticket to the majors and the Pirates that year, where he impressed...4 games, 0.96 ERA, one complete game. Here's how he got there, from the Morning Oregonian of August 19, 1919:

“The Pittsburg club has purchased Pitcher Jack Wisner from Saginaw of the Michigan-Ontario league.”

And yes, they spelled it without the H at the end.

Wisner was OK with the Pirates the next season, 1-3 3.43 ERA in just 17 games, but the Pirates sent him to Rochester for 1921, and released him unconditionally to that club in early 1922. From the Pittsburgh Press of Feb. 19, 1922:

"Jack Wisner was turned loose last week, and it is believed that others are to follow."

From an article about the Pirates shaking up their roster before training camp. Wisner stayed with Rochester thru 1924, and the Giants picked him up on a conditional basis for Spring Training. Excerpt from the Evening News from Harrisburg (PA) of April 6, 1925:

"Big Jack Wisner, the Rochester recruit, is not touring the provinces with the Giants. He was taken by John McGraw on the conditional agreement that if the Giants' manager considers he has the goods. $25.000 will be Paid."

Wisner stuck with the club thru the season and part of 1926, again putting up some decent numbers, including 2 complete games in just 5 Giants games in 1926 before being involved in a complicated deal. From the  Indianapolis Star of May 18, 1926:

"The Indianapolis baseball club and the New York Giants were involved In an important trade yesterday which will send Paul "Pepper" Florence, catcher, to the National League team, and bring a new battery to Ownle Bush's Indians Grover Hartley, catcher, and Jack Wisner, pitcher. Florence originally was obtained from McGraw after being signed by the Giants following a successful college career at Georgetown university. He has been catching regularly for the Tribe this season with Eddie Ainsmith out of the lineup owing to an injury to his shoulder sustained at the Hot Springs (Ark.) training camp of the Indians early this spring."

"Wisner comes to the Indians in final payment for Fred Fitzsimmons who was sold to the Giants last season."

"Fat Freddie" Fitzsimmons would go on to have a very good career in the majors, but what does his Baseball-Reference page say about that deal?

August 8, 1925: Traded by Indianapolis (American Association) to the New York Giants for 2 players to be named.

No mention of Wisner at all. Grover Hartley's Baseball-Reference page of his extensive career makes no mention of this deal at all, and neither does the Paul Florence Baseball-Reference page.

Wisner had one good year for Indianapolis before holding out the next season and being sent to Toledo. From the San Antonio Light of April 24, 1927:

"JACK WISNER BOUGHT BY TOLEDO MUDHENS TOLEDO, Ohio....Toledo Mudhens of the American Association (??) their (??) corps Saturday (Apr. 23) with the acquisition of  Jack Wisner formerly of the New York Giants. Wisner, who was with Indianapolis the greater part of the season is expected to be a big winner with the local club."

He went to Reading for the next year, then Baltimore and New Haven to round out his career by the age of 29.

Wisner pic from
Pepper Florence from
Hartley and Fitzsimmons pics stolen from the good folks at

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