One Day Yankee – Floyd Newkirk

(This passage comes from my upcoming book, “The Least Among Them,” a unique and original history of the New York Yankees.  The manuscript is in the editing stage.  Literary agents and/or publishers interested in learning more about this project are encouraged to reach me at drpaulsem AT hotmail dot com.)

Mordecai Brown was an ace pitcher on the Chicago Cubs teams that dominated baseball in the earliest days of the Twentieth Century.  Brown won twenty or more games in six consecutive seasons between 1906 and 1911.  One of baseball’s great pitchers, Mordecai Brown won 239 games.  He was elected to the Hall-of-Fame in 1949.  But none of that is why he is remembered today…

As a youngster, Mordecai lost one finger and damaged another during an accident with a feed chopper on a farm.  It was because of these “deformities,” that he became known as “Three Finger” Brown.  Many believed that the unique grip he had on a baseball contributed to his success. But Mordecai Brown was not baseball’s only three-fingered pitcher.

In 1934, the New York Yankees had a prospect named Floyd Newkirk.  Like the great “Three Finger” Brown, Newkirk had only three fingers on his pitching hand.  Like Brown, Floyd lost his two fingers in a childhood accident of his own.  Also like Brown, the injury did not dissuade Floyd Newkirk from playing, and ultimately achieving success, through pitching a baseball.

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Mark Koenig and a Legend

The following is an excerpt from a book, The Least Among Them, I am writing about the Yankees that is currently in development:

            Mark Koenig was the Yankees starting shortstop for three seasons from 1926 through 1928.  Koenig was an erratic fielder, leading the league in errors in 1926 and 1928.  As a batter, he  usually served as the number two batter in the line-up,  hitting just before Babe Ruth.  After batting .319 in 1928 and .292 in more limited duty in 1929, Koenig got off to a slow start in 1930.  By the end of May, he was batting only .230.  On May 30, 1930, the Yankees traded Koenig, along with future Hall-of-Famer Waite Hoyt to the Detroit Tigers for Ownie Carroll, Harry Rice, and Yats Wuestling.  Of the three, only Harry Rice, who played 100 games for the Yankees in 1930 (batting .298) had any significant impact on the team.  After the trade, Koenig bounced between four teams over the remaining six years of his career, but during that time he influenced one pennant race and, in an indirect way, one of the most legendary moments in the history of baseball.

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