January 13, 1865: Al Krumm
Born months before the end of the Civil War, Al Krumm was raised in Pittsburgh as the sport of baseball began in earnest in the United States. By the age of 24, Krumm was being given his shot with his hometown team. The Pittsburgh Alleghenys, who were in just their eighth season in existence, third in the still relatively new National League, handed Krumm the ball to take the mound on May 17, 1889.
The Alleghenys traveled to New York to take on the Giants at one of the first games ever played at the Polo Grounds. Krumm got the start, but things unraveled on him quickly. The newbie got knocked around the yard, tagged for 11 runs, 10 of which were earned. Remarkably, the team left him in the game through the beating and allowed him to throw a complete game. Pittsburgh lost the game 11-7.
Given a very long leash, Krumm stepped off the mound with a 10.00 career ERA and 0-1 record not knowing what his professional baseball future would hold. As it turned out, it didn't hold much. After that day, there is no record of him playing in another professional baseball game at any level. One of baseball's early players, Krumm came and went before the World Series was even a thought. Yet, he got to live out a dream very few get to.
Krumm passed away in San Diego in 1937, having lived almost 50 years beyond his playing career. Ironically, one of San Diego's biggest baseball legends, Ted Williams, was in the middle of his first full professional season with the Pacific Coast League's San Diego Padres at the time of Krumm's death. As baseball took away one man in Southern California, it gave way for the rise of the greatest pure hitter that ever lived. It seems like baseball has a funny way of bringing everything full circle in the end.