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Luke Appling

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Full Name: Lucius Benjamin Appling Primary Position: SS
Height/Weight: 5' 10"/183 First Game: September 10, 1930
Birthdate: April 2, 1907 Final Game: October 1, 1950
Birthplace: High Point, North Carolina MLB Experience: 20 years
Died: January 3, 1991
Deathplace: Cumming, Georgia
Bat/Throw: Right/Right


Biography

Lucius Benjamin Appling (April 2, 1907 - January 3, 1991) was an American shortstop in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the Chicago White Sox.

Appling was born in High Point, North Carolina. He attended Oglethorpe College, but left during his sophomore year when he was signed by the Southern League Atlanta Crackers in 1930. He was a good hitter in his first year, but committed 42 errors in 104 games. The Chicago Cubs showed some interest at first, but decided not to sign him, and the White Sox ended up purchasing him from the Crackers for $20,000. He seemed a poor pickup initially, as his hitting fell off and his fielding failed to improve, but in 1933 he stopped trying to be a power hitter and had his first of nine straight .300 seasons.

Appling was a good leadoff hitter who topped the .400 mark in OBP eight times (1933–1934, 1937, 1940, 1943, 1947) and drew over 100 walks three times (1935, 1939, 1949), though he often batted third due to a lack of offensive talent on the White Sox. Indeed, this lack of talent insured that Appling, who spent his entire 20-year career with the White Sox, never had a chance to play in a World Series. His best season was 1936, when he batted .388, knocked in 124 runs (his only 100-RBI season), scored 111 times, recorded 204 hits, and had a team-record 27-game hitting streak. His .388 average was good for the first batting title ever won by a shortstop and was the highest batting average recorded by a shortstop in the 20th century. Appling won another batting title in 1943 with a .328 average and also led the league in OBP that year (.419). Appling was selected to seven All-Star teams (1936, 1939–1941, 1943, 1946–47).

Appling was famous among his teammates for complaining day in and day out about minor ailments such as a sore back, a weak shoulder, or shin splints. While much of this complaining was probably for show, it earned him the moniker "Old Aches and Pains." He did suffer one serious injury: a broken leg that cost him much of the 1938 season.

Appling was well known for his ability to foul off pitches, leading to the story that he once fouled off 10 pitches in a row on purpose when ownership refused to give some baseballs to autograph because they were too expensive; he was supposedly never refused a ball again.

Appling remained a solid contributor into his forties, but ownership was dedicated to a youth movement and he retired after the 1950 season. At his retirement, Appling was the all-time leader for most games played and for double plays by a major league shortstop, and the all-time leader for putouts and assists by an American League shortstop. These records were later broken by Luis Aparicio, who also spent the majority of his career with the White Sox.

Appling was a successful minor league manager after his playing days were over, winning pennants with Memphis in the Southern Association and Indianapolis of the American Association and being named minor league manager of the year in 1952; but his only chance to manage at the major league level was as a late-season replacement for Alvin Dark as manager of the Kansas City Athletics in 1967, leaving his major league managerial record at 10-30. He later worked as a batting instructor for the Atlanta Braves in the 1980s. At age 75, he appeared in an old-timers game and hit a home run off Warren Spahn.

Appling was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964.

He died in Cumming, Georgia at age of 83.

Statistics

Batting Stats

Year Team G AB R H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG 2B 3B BB SO HBP SH SB IBB GDP
1930 CHI A 6 26 2 8 0 2 .308 .308 .385 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
1931 CHI A 96 297 36 69 1 28 .232 .303 .313 13 4 29 27 1 3 9 0 0
1932 CHI A 139 489 66 134 3 63 .274 .329 .374 20 10 40 36 0 3 9 0 0
1933 CHI A 151 612 90 197 6 85 .322 .379 .443 36 10 56 29 0 2 6 0 0
1934 CHI A 118 452 75 137 2 61 .303 .384 .405 28 6 59 27 0 5 3 0 0
1935 CHI A 153 525 94 161 1 71 .307 .437 .389 28 6 122 40 0 7 12 0 0
1936 CHI A 138 526 111 204 6 128 .388 .474 .508 31 7 85 25 1 6 10 0 0
1937 CHI A 154 574 98 182 4 77 .317 .407 .439 42 8 86 28 1 4 18 0 0
1938 CHI A 81 294 41 89 0 44 .303 .392 .350 14 0 42 17 1 1 1 0 0
1939 CHI A 148 516 82 162 0 56 .314 .430 .368 16 6 105 37 0 9 16 0 11
1940 CHI A 150 566 96 197 0 79 .348 .420 .442 27 13 69 35 1 3 3 0 11
1941 CHI A 154 592 93 186 1 57 .314 .399 .390 26 8 82 32 1 2 12 0 10
1942 CHI A 142 543 78 142 3 53 .262 .342 .341 26 4 63 23 3 4 17 0 7
1943 CHI A 155 585 63 192 3 80 .328 .419 .407 33 2 90 29 1 1 27 0 13
1945 CHI A 18 57 12 21 1 10 .368 .478 .526 2 2 12 7 0 1 1 0 0
1946 CHI A 149 582 59 180 1 55 .309 .384 .378 27 5 71 41 0 6 6 0 15
1947 CHI A 139 503 67 154 8 49 .306 .386 .412 29 0 64 28 1 4 8 0 15
1948 CHI A 139 497 63 156 0 47 .314 .423 .354 16 2 94 35 0 3 10 0 17
1949 CHI A 142 492 82 148 5 58 .301 .439 .394 21 5 121 24 0 6 7 0 23
1950 CHI A 50 128 11 30 0 13 .234 .300 .320 3 4 12 8 0 4 2 0 7
Total 2422 8856 1319 2749 45 1116 .310 .399 .398 440 102 1302 528 11 74 179 0 129

Fielding Stats

Year Team POS G GS INN PO A ERR DP TP PB SB CS PkO AVG
1930 CHI A SS 6 0 0 12 17 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 .879
1931 CHI A SS 76 0 0 147 232 42 37 0 0 0 0 0 .900
1931 CHI A 2B 1 0 0 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .833
1932 CHI A SS 85 0 0 195 287 37 66 0 0 0 0 0 .929
1932 CHI A 2B 30 0 0 62 110 6 16 0 0 0 0 0 .966
1932 CHI A 3B 14 0 0 13 22 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 .854
1933 CHI A SS 151 0 0 314 534 55 107 0 0 0 0 0 .939
1934 CHI A SS 110 0 0 243 341 34 55 0 0 0 0 0 .945
1934 CHI A 2B 8 0 0 21 16 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 .974
1935 CHI A SS 153 0 0 335 556 39 93 0 0 0 0 0 .958
1936 CHI A SS 137 0 0 320 471 41 119 0 0 0 0 0 .951
1937 CHI A SS 154 0 0 280 541 49 111 0 0 0 0 0 .944
1938 CHI A SS 78 0 0 149 258 20 37 0 0 0 0 0 .953
1939 CHI A SS 148 0 0 289 461 39 78 0 0 0 0 0 .951
1940 CHI A SS 150 0 0 307 436 37 83 0 0 0 0 0 .953
1941 CHI A SS 154 0 0 294 473 42 95 0 0 0 0 0 .948
1942 CHI A SS 141 0 0 269 418 38 77 0 0 0 0 0 .948
1943 CHI A SS 155 0 0 300 500 36 115 0 0 0 0 0 .957
1945 CHI A SS 17 0 0 37 56 7 7 0 0 0 0 0 .930
1946 CHI A SS 149 0 0 252 505 39 99 0 0 0 0 0 .951
1947 CHI A SS 129 0 0 232 422 35 86 0 0 0 0 0 .949
1947 CHI A 3B 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1948 CHI A SS 64 0 0 133 210 20 50 0 0 0 0 0 .945
1948 CHI A 3B 72 0 0 84 163 15 13 0 0 0 0 0 .943
1949 CHI A SS 141 0 0 253 450 26 95 0 0 0 0 0 .964
1950 CHI A 1B 13 0 0 91 12 0 16 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1950 CHI A 2B 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1950 CHI A SS 20 0 0 37 50 3 13 0 0 0 0 0 .967
Total 2B 40 0 0 87 127 8 20 0 0 0 0 0 .964
Total 3B 88 0 0 98 186 21 15 0 0 0 0 0 .931
Total 1B 13 0 0 91 12 0 16 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
Total SS 2218 0 0 4398 7218 643 1424 0 0 0 0 0 .948

Transactions

  • Sold by Atlanta (Southern Association) to Chicago White Sox (August 19, 1930).
  • Released by Chicago White Sox (November 9, 1950).

Trivia

See also

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