Sport Legends

DSCF2415These five men pictured here have gone on to play major league baseball are (from bottom left corner, clockwise) Chauncey Fisher, Jermaine Allensworth, Carl Erskine, Bucky Crouse and Tom Fisher.

Since 1893, 10 young men from Madison County have lived the dream dreamed of by many a young boy of playing major league baseball.  Here are five of their stories.

    Chauncey Burr Fisher was nicknamed “Whoa Bill.”  He was born January 8, 1872, in Anderson, Indiana.  Fisher was a right-handed pitcher who made his MLB debut on September 20, 1893, with the Cleveland Spiders of the National League playing at Cleveland’s League Park.  He was plagued with various injuries and spent time with the Cincinnati Reds in 1894 and 1896.  In 1897, he was with the National League Brooklyn Bridegrooms.  He pitched for the Chicago White Sox 1900 championship team, which was the year before they became a major league baseball club.

In 1901, he returned to the major leagues and pitched a game for the New York Giants and St. Louis Cardinals where he finished his career July 6, 1901.  His lifetime win-loss record was 21-16 with a 5.37 ERA, and 80 strikeouts.

Chauncey died April 27, 1939, in Los Angeles, California.  He is buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Anderson, Indiana.

Jermaine Lamont Allensworth was born January 11, 1972, in Anderson.  The Madison Heights High School graduate was the California Angels’ 15th selection and 422nd overall selection in the 1990 MLB draft, but he did not sign.  Instead he attended Purdue University and was a Big Ten Conference All-Star in 1993.

That same year, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, earning a salary of $109,000.  He made his major league debut July 23, 1996.  Playing in the outfield his entire career, he played two more seasons in Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium, appearing in 238 games before being traded to the Kansas City Royals in 1998, where he played in 30 games before being traded to the New York Mets.  He finished the 1998 season playing in 34 games as a Met.  Jermaine retired from baseball the next season on May 29, 1999 after appearing in 40 games earning a salary of $284,000.  His MLB career batting average was .260 with 15 home runs, 114 RBIs, and 42 stolen bases.

Carl Daniel Erskine learned his pitching skills while growing up in Anderson, where he was born on December 13, 1926.  The 1945 Anderson High School graduate signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946.  The right-handed pitcher made his major league debut with the club on July 25, 1948, earning a salary of $5,000.

During his career, he pitched two no-hitters;  one against the Chicago Cubs in 1952 and the other against the New York Giants in 1956.  His 1955 Dodgers won the World Series.  Erskine appeared in 11 World Series games during his career and made the National League All-Star team in 1954.

Known as “Ersk”, he played his career for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers making his final appearance on June 14, 1959.  In 12 seasons, his record was 122-78(.610) with 981 strikeouts and a 4.00 ERA in 1,718.2 innings pitched.

A memorable Game 3 of the World Series played at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, October 2, 1953, saw Carl strike out 14 batters, including the side in the ninth inning, breaking a series record that had stood since Game 1 of the 1929 Series and stood for another 10 years until Sandy Koufax struck out 15 Yankees in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series.

He also put the New York Yankee’s catcher, Yogi Berra, in the history books by hitting him twice, making Berra the first American League player in World Series history to be a hit-batsman twice during the same game.

After retiring, Erskine returned to Anderson where his contributions for the betterment of his hometown are the type of things that make men legends in their own time.  Despite his 88 years, the “Ersk” is still seen around town and has visited with us at the History Center.

Clyde “Bucky” Ellsworth Crouse was born January 6, 1897, in Anderson.  He was acquired by the American League Chicago White Sox in the middle of the 1923 season playing catcher.  In 1925, he led the team in hitting with a .351 average in 54 games.  His salary that year was $3,300.  Best known for his strong arm and defensive abilities, he played his entire career with the White Sox at the old Comiskey Park where his batting average was .262, with 8 home runs and 160 RBIs.  His last game was September 28, 1930.  Bucky died October 23, 1983, in Muncie, Indiana.

Thomas Chalmers Fisher was Chauncey’s younger brother.  He too was born in Anderson on November 11, 1880.  He was a right-handed pitcher and made his major league debut in relief April 17, 1904, for the National League Boston Beaneaters at Boston’s South End Grounds against league rival the Brooklyn Superbas.  His first major league win came as a starter on May 10 against the Chicago Cubs, and five days later he recorded his first shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tom played for only one year in the major leagues with his last appearance on October 3, 1904.  During that year he compiled a 6-16 record with 84 strikeouts in 31 games pitched, 21 games started, 19 complete games, two shutouts and nine games finished.  Fisher’s ERA was 4.25 in the 214 innings he pitched.

In early baseball days, it was not unusual for a player to play more than one position.  Fisher played center field in six games for the 1904 Beaneaters with a batting average of .212 with two home runs and eight RBIs.

Tom Fisher died in Anderson, September 3, 1972, and is buried in East Maplewood Cemetery.

The Fisher brothers are in unique company as they are one of 350-plus brother combinations to have played major league baseball.

Since 1904, the Boston Beaneaters have undergone several name and location changes before becoming today’s Atlanta Braves.

In 1915, the Cleveland Indians organization began;  the Cleveland Spiders are part of their franchise history.

The Brooklyn Bridegrooms was one of several nicknames given to the Brooklyn Base Ball Club, the team’s legal name, by fans and sportswriters that eventually was called the Brooklyn Dodgers when the name first appeared on team jerseys in 1932.

By Steve Jackson, Madison County Historian

For more Madison County history stories, visit us here.

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Published on January 3, 2015 at 9:57 am  Leave a Comment  

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