Thursday, September 14, 2017

Two 1938 Dodgers: Fred Sington and Pete Coscarart

The 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers weren't particularly good, finishing 69-80, but they did have some interesting players.

Fred Sington was an outfielder on the team who had a gaudy .358 batting average and a near-.500 on-base percentage in just 68 plate appearances. His major league career started with the Senators in 1934 and ended with the Dodgers in 1939, a short career despite a very respectable .271 lifetime batting average and a near-.400 lifetime OBP mark. His Baseball-Reference page only lists the transactions that sent him from Washington to Brooklyn and an "assignment:" from Brooklyn to the Red Sox. But how did the Senators get him?

The Wilson Daily Times of Sep. 8, 1934 tells us:

"Fred Sington, slugging outfielder of the Albany Senators of the International League, has been sold to Washington of the American League for cash and three players, the club announced yesterday. The amount of cash was not disclosed."

Albany was an independent team at the time. And we find out more about the "assignment" to the Red Sox system from a 1939 post-season article in the Louisville Courier-Journal of Dec. 10, 1939:

"the only thing wrong with Fred Sington's batting last season was his average of .254. Homeliness in batting averages, as in looks, frequently is only skin deep; beneath the unattractive batting mark, as well as beneath the ugly mug, redeeming qualities frequently shine. That's why the Colonels have abandoned intentions of selling Big Fred if they had a chance of recouping all or most of the $10,000 they paid Brooklyn for him last season."

So that was a sale rather than just an "assignment."
Sington finished his career in Louisville in 1940. He was better known as a college football star for Alabama, and according to Wikipedia. had a song written about his football prowess.

Pete Coscarart was just getting his major league career started in 1938, and the useful middle infielder would be traded to Pittsburgh for 1942 and would be out of the majors in early 1946. Quite likely that was due to his support for a baseball player's union at the time.

His Baseball-Reference page doesn't list the deal that sent him from the Pirates out west to independent PCL San Diego, but we found an interesting article from the June 2, 1946 Chicago Tribune:

"The Pittsburgh Pirates today (June 1) announced the sale of Pete Coscarart to San Diego of the Pacific Coast League..."

The article goes on to say that Coscarart was threatening to jump to the Mexican league rather than go to San Diego. The article says that Coscarart thought he could still play in the majors at age 30. Baseball-Reference has him at 33 at the time of the deal.

He DID go to the Padres, and then to Sacramento and Yakima before ending his career.
Sington from Getty Images, Coscarart from

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