Phil Douglas
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"Shufflin" Phil Douglas

Born June 17, 1890 Cedartown, GA
Died August 1, 1952 Sequatchie, TN

The information below addresses his Major League baseball career, after which he settled among relatives in Sequatchie, Tennessee. While living in Sequatchie, Phil was a quiet, personable man content with working on his farm rather than discussing his baseball career. I remember him as a big man, and could see his farm from my front door, and frequently hung out there with his grand daughter and other neighborhood friends. The news spread quickly through town when he cut two toes while working in the garden, and walked with a limp for a while. As 11 year olds, we sadly surmised that he would never be able to play baseball again, him being in his late 50s not being considered. It was also on his farm that I was introduced to Rabbit Tobacco. Bad scene!

Excerpt from Obituary

Douglas, Ex-Pitcher for the Giants, 62 - Chattanooga, Aug. 1 (AP) - Phil (Shufflin' Phil) Douglas, an outstanding pitcher for the New York Giants three decades ago, died today at his farm home in Sequatchie, Tennessee after a long illness. He was 62 years old.

Highlights from Phil's Career

Chicago White Sox 1912
Minor League 1913
Cincinnati Reds 1914-1915
Brooklyn Robins 1915
Chicago Cubs 1915-1919
New York Giants 1919-1922

Philip Brooks Douglas was born on June 17, 1890 in Cedartown, GA. He made his major league debut twenty-two years later with the Chicago White Sox. After spending the 1913 season in the minors, Douglas surfaced with Cincinnati in 1914. From there he was sent to Brooklyn in 1915 and eventually to the Chicago Cubs later that season. With the Cubs, Douglas solidified himself as a major league pitcher. Using his trademark spit ball; he appeared in 101 games in three seasons, before being shipped to the New York Giants late in the 1919 campaign.

In 1920 the spit baller posted his best season to date, fashioning a 14-10 record and outstanding 2.71 ERA. Following that season, the two leagues got together and decided to ban the use of the spit ball, allowing only those pitchers that had already been using it to continue. Nine players, including Douglas, were allowed to throw the pitch until the end of their careers.

In 1921, Shufflin' Phil (the origin of the nickname remains a mystery) won 15 games and the Giants captured the NL Pennant. They would face the cross-town Yankees in the World Series. That Series proved to be the pinnacle for Douglas' career, as he won two games for the victorious Giants, posting a 2.08 ERA.

In 1922, Douglas raced out to an 11-4 start with a league leading 2.63 ERA for the first place Giants. This was his last year to play baseball. During his career, Douglas compiled a 94-93 record and 2.80 ERA.

Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis ruled baseball with an iron fist at the time. Giants President Branch Rickey and Manager John McGraw could ruin or make a player's career on a whim, and decided to do so in Phil's case over a five line letter, critical of the Giants, written to a friend who was a member of a rival team. Needless to say, things tolerated in today's major league sports were classified as being among the seven deadly sins in the early 1920s. A major league career was ended over a minor incident. The press of today would probably crucify Landis, Rickey and McGraw for their judgment in this matter.

More Career Highlights

July 7, 1915: After Brooklyn wins the opener, 4-3, over Boston, the two teams battle to a scoreless 16-inning tie. Phil Douglas shuffles all the way for the Robins.

September 15, 1915: The Cubs edge the Braves, 1-0, behind Phil Douglas, with lefty Tyler taking the tough loss.

July 23, 1917: The Cubs sweep a double header wit Brooklyn on two shutouts. Grover Alexander wins the opener 3-0 and Phil Douglas shuffles in to take the nightcap 6-0.

September 9, 1917: The Cubs Phil Douglas stops the Pirates on three hits to beat Wilbur Cooper, 1-0.

September 9, 1918: In game four, Ruth bats in two runs on a triple in the 4th and pitches seven scoreless innings before the Cubs tie it in the 8th, ending Ruth's World Series record of 29 2/3 scoreless innings. Shufflin' Phil Douglas relieves Lefty Tyler of Chicago in the last of the 8th.

August 24, 1921: The Pirates, in front by seven games, drop a doubleheader to the Giants in New York before 35,000. Art Nehf wins the opener 10-2 handing Babe Adams his first loss in 10 games. Phil Douglas takes the nightcap, 7-0.

September 11, 1921: The Giants whip Brooklyn 11-3 behind Fred Toney in relief of Phil Douglas.

April 13, 1922: Dazzy Vance, 31 makes his Brooklyn debut and loses to the Giants' Phil Douglas, 4-3.

April 29, 1922:The NY Giants collect 20 hits, including four inside-the-park home runs, in windswept Braves Field in Boston. Phil Douglas coasts tot a 15-4 win.

This page was submitted by Ray Millard


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October 16, 2004
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