Lewis Grover Lanford
>> Visit the Sam Lanford biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
By DEAN LOLLIS
Washington wasn't exactly having the best of trips to Chicago in August 1907 and in that game on Aug. 19, it seemed that everything was going wrong.
Frank Oberlin started the game for Washington and he lasted less than two innings against the Sox. Chicago scored 11 runs in those first two innings including seven in the second. Jim Block, who started the game at catcher for Washington, injured his finger on a foul ball in the second inning. To make matters worse, Washington's Mike Heydon had left the team a couple of days earlier and now Washington was down a catcher.
According to the game report, Block played through the injury until he was replaced by Owen Shannon who had just arrived at noon that day. The change at catcher set up an interesting exchange when Sam Lanford made his debut.
According to the reports in the Chicago Daily Tribune, as Lanford made his way out to the mound, the plate umpire, Bill Evans, asked Shannon for the identity of the new pitcher.
"'How can I tell?' retorted Mr. Shannon. 'I didn't know the last guy they had on. Ask me something easy.' "
Evans then inquired with the team's coaching staff as to the rookie's identity.
"After some delay, his name was said to be Mr. Lanford of Greenville, S.C."
Lanford finished out the game, surrendering runs to Chicago in the sixth and eighth innings. He also got his first major league hit -- a single -- in his only at-bat.
And then, as if on cue, the rain began to pour and the umpire called this game after eight innings.
Reports in the Washington Post, of the same game, say that the umpire called the game due to darkness.
Lanford's identity problems continued in his second and final game in the major leagues. This gime, he started against the Highlanders on Sept. 14 and the Washington Post referred to the pitcher as "Cy" Lanford.
The game report was not kind to the South Carolina native, referring to him as "wild and ineffective." New York jumped on Lanford in the first inning, scoring six runs. Lanford knocked out New York's Frank LaPorte with a pitch.
Lanford scored in the third inning when after he was able to get on base thanks to a wild throw.
His pitching problems returned in the fifth inning and he put two men on base. Lanford was replaced by Case Patten who surrendered a two-run triple.
Lanford's major league totals include an 0-1 record in seven innings pitched with a 5.14 ERA. He surrendered 10 runs, four of them earned, in two games. He also collected a hit in three at-bats with one run scored.
Lanford's name appeared in Washington Post again on Aug. 6, 1916. Lanford, now pitching for Belton of the Interurban League in South Carolina, pitched a perfect game against Fountain Inn. Belton won the game, 1-0.
The article on the perfect game also reported that Lanford had pitched for New Orleans. Other reports say that Lanford pitched for Orangeburg, S.C.