Some of you might be familiar with Tony Mullane. Many more of you probably are not familiar with Tony Mullane. It's worth it to be familiar with Tony Mullane.
Several days ago, the venerable Jon Bois brought to my attention one Tony Mullane. The reason Bois brought Mullane to my attention was because Mullane's listed nickname is "The Apollo of the Box." That is a weird nickname! That is a nickname worthy of sharing. I lingered on Mullane's page, though, and discovered that he had a lot of other interesting traits. As January 30 is Mullane's birthday - he would be 153 today - I figured now would be a good time to review some of the highlights.
About that nickname - "The Apollo of the Box"? It's because Mullane was supposedly very handsome.
To quote his Baseball-Reference Bullpen page:
Teams would often schedule Mullane on "Ladies' Day" promotions to drum up business on otherwise quiet dates on the schedule.
Also from his Baseball-Reference Bullpen page:
Mullane was known for being cheap and often wore clothes till they became very raggedy.
I don't know why that's so funny to me, but that's so funny to me. It's funny that that's included in his player bio. It's funny that that's included in his player bio right after the bit talking about how he was popular with the ladies.
Mullane was ambidextrous! Sort of. From a writeup on the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame museum website (Mullane is in the Reds Hall of Fame):
While pitching for Louisville in the American Association in 1882, Mullane suffered an injury to his right arm and resorted to pitching a few games left-handed, a practice he employed on a few other occasions throughout his long career.
It's confirmed by Baseball-Reference:
Nowadays, if a pitcher injures his arm, he goes on the shelf for a short while or a long while. Mullane was like "f*** it" and switched. Here's more, from Wikipedia:
[...] he would even alternate throwing right-handed and left-handed in the same game, which was easy for him since he did not wear a glove. Mullane would face the batter with both hands on the ball, and then use either one to throw a pitch.
Here's another quote that arrives somewhat abruptly on the Bullpen page:
Mullane is also known for his racism. His catcher in 1884 was sometimes Fleet Walker. Mullane admitted to purposefully mixing up Walker by throwing pitches the catcher hadn't called for. When he did admit this, Mullane also called Walker the best catcher he ever worked with.
These were supposed to have been baseball's glory days, remember.
Finally, we'll end with the fact that, on June 18, 1894, Mullane allowed 16 runs in the first inning of a game against the Boston Beaneaters.
There is still plenty more to learn about Tony Mullane, but these are the nuggets of the most interest. I hope that you are pleased to have made his acquaintance.