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September 16, 1925: Mel Kerr




Mel Kerr is one of the most unique "cup of coffee" players in history and his playing career story is perhaps even more intriguing than Moonlight Graham. Kerr was born in Souris, Manitoba in 1903. When he made his debut for the Chicago Cubs 94 years ago today, he became just the second Manitoban player in the history of Major League Baseball.


Kerr made his way to the Cubs late in the 1925 season after clubbing 31 doubles and hitting .283 540 plate appearances for the Class-B Saginaw Aces. His one appearance didn't come in the batter's box, though. It came on the base paths. Like many "cup of coffee club" players, his appearance came in one game of a doubleheader. Chicago was hosting the Boston Braves at Wrigley Field as Kerr was summoned as a pinch runner.


Amazingly, Kerr came around to score, giving him one career run without a major-league plate appearance. With that trip around the bases, his MLB career was over. He never was put into a game defensively and never got to hold a bat in a Cubs jersey. After taking 1926 off, Kerr played for the Elmira Colonels and Okmulgee Drillers. He hit .289 in 1927 and then .319 in 1928 with Elmira. The 1929 season saw him once again in Elmira, but he did not play in 1930.


He missed the game, so he came back in 1931 to play in Class-D ball. He played for the Cedar Rapids Bunnies and Rock Island Islanders of the Mississippi Valley League, where he played the final 118 games of his professional career.


Kerr eventually moved to Florida, where he passed away in Vero Beach in 1980 at the age of 77. He will live in baseball record books forever as the first player in history to score a run with zero career plate appearances at the time of retirement. In the 94 years since then, only six others players have accomplished the feat. Of course, they are also members of the "cup of coffee club". We'll hear more about them down the line.

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