Urban Shocker

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Urban Shocker
Urban Shocker.jpg
Born: (1890-09-22)September 22, 1890
Cleveland, Ohio
Died: September 9, 1928(1928-09-09) (aged 38)
Denver, Colorado
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 24, 1916, for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
May 30, 1928, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Win–loss record187–117
Earned run average3.17
Career highlights and awards

Urban James Shocker (September 22, 1890 – September 9, 1928), born Urbain Jacques Shockcor in Cleveland, Ohio, was a Major League Baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees and St. Louis Browns from 1916 to 1928.

As a prelude to his major league career, Shocker spent most of the 1916 season demoted by the Yankees to the Toronto Maple Leafs (International League) of the International League for seasoning and to prove himself at which Shocker posted a marvelous 15–3 record and strung together 54 consecutive scoreless innings. His scoreless inning streak and 1.31 ERA for the campaign both still stand as International League records. He was called up by the Yankees and played with them through the 1917 season. That winter, Miller Huggins engineered a trade to the Browns which he very much came to regret, however Shocker rejoined Huggins and the Yankees in 1925.

The right-handed hurler had four consecutive 20-win seasons with the Browns in the early 1920s, during which he was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. Urban was the last Yankees pitcher to legally throw a spitball, as he and a handful of other pitchers were grandfathered into the practice after it was banned by baseball in 1920.

Shocker lived with a heart condition so severe some books say he had to sleep either sitting or standing up. By the early fall of 1927, he was too ill to maintain his place in the starting lineup.

His career totals for 412 games include a 187-117 record, a .615 winning percentage, 317 games started, 200 complete games, 28 shutouts, 72 games finished, 25 saves, and an ERA of 3.17 in 2,681.2 innings pitched. He compiled a career .209 batting average (167-798) with 89 runs scored and 70 RBI. He was a good fielding pitcher in his era, committing only 15 errors in 769 total chances for a .980 fielding percentage.

After his release from the Yankees in 1928, Shocker entered an exhibition tournament in Denver. He pitched in one game on August 6, 1928 against a team from Cheyenne, Wyoming and fared poorly in that outing.

Around this time, he contracted pneumonia and was hospitalized shortly thereafter. He died in Denver as the result of heart failure exacerbated by the disease.

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