December 11, 1894: Lou Raymond
Born on this day 125 years ago, Lou Raymond spent his formative years perfecting his craft in Buffalo, New York. Unlike many Cup of Coffee Club players, his professional baseball career was very short-lived. His first year of professional ball came in 1918 where he spent time between the Syracuse Stars, Hamilton Tigers, and Rochester Hustlers.
During his time in the International League (Double-A), he hit .293 with 17 extra-base hits in 304 at bats. Apparently, that was enough to catch the eye of the Philadelphia Phillies, who signed him the following season. However, he didn't appear in their minor-league system and appeared early in the season. On May 2, 1919, just months before the Black Sox Scandal would rock the baseball world, Raymond got into a game against the New York Giants.
In front of 20,000 fans at the Polo Grounds, Raymond stepped up to pinch hit for starting second baseman Possum Whitted. Yes, that was really the name he went by. Philadelphia was already down 13-1, so it didn't seem like the rookie was apt to do the team any further damage. They were right. In two at bats in the game, Raymond went 1-for-2 with a single. Still, New York won the game 14-2.
Especially early in the season, one would think the Phillies could have afforded to give the 24-year-old a longer look. After all, Philly finished the 1919 season dead last in the National League, seven games worse than the next-worst St. Louis Cardinals at 47-90. Yet, Raymond does not appear in an official record of another professional baseball game. His two at bats were all he would get in the majors and his one hit was what he had to show for his brief professional career. Still, that one hit is one more than many men who have tried and failed for much longer to live out the pro baseball dream, even for just a day.