October 28, 1896: Roxy Snipes
On this day 123 years ago, Roxy Snipes was born. It would be more than 26 years until he would make his major-league debut. Wyatt Eure Snipes earned the nickname Roxy or Rock as he grew up in Marion, South Carolina. Like many in his time, his first professional baseball appearance came as a member of a big-league club.
He signed with the Chicago White Sox, still relatively fresh off their 1919 Black Sox scandal and reported to the team. On July 15, 1923 the bench player got his shot against the Philadelphia Athletics at Comiskey Park. As usual, Snipes wasn't in the starting lineup, but he did come up to pinch hit for Hall of Fame pitcher Red Faber in a low-scoring affair.
Though he put the ball in play, Snipes was retired and removed from the game as pitcher Sloppy Thurston took the mound. Boy, old-school baseball names were the best. Anyway, Snipes was taken out of the game and soon, he was back in the White Sox farm system. His team lost 3-1 in the lone game he'd appeared and now it was going to be a long road to get back.
His first taste of the minors led him closer to home where he played in Greenville, South Carolina and Gastonia, North Carolina to round out the 1923 campaign. He was out of organized baseball in 1924, but again in 1925, he returned to the Columbia Comers of the Sally League. There, he batted .333 in 237 at bats. As it turned out, 1926 was his goodbye to the game as he split time between Jacksonville and St. Augustine of the Southeastern League. He was approaching 30 and there really wasn't room in organized baseball for him anymore.
Like so many in his time, he was merely a blip on the radar in the history of professional baseball, but unlike so many, his blip lasted merely a day, something allowing his career to be looked back on with a hint of magic, and perhaps a little regret as well.