Thursday, November 13, 2008

Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Preacher Roe dies

Preacher Roe best known as a Dodger but who also played with my beloved if hapless Pirates has died. For you soccer fans out there, the spit ball was declared illegal in 1920. Preacher is on the far right with Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese. From Newsday-

Preacher Roe, a five-time All-Star and central character on Brooklyn's storied "Boys of Summer" teams, who was known for a pitching resourcefulness that included use of the banned spitball, died Sunday. He was 93, according to most sources, though his Web site listed him as 92. Roe, who long ago settled in West Plains, Mo., near his childhood home of Viola, Ark., had undergone colon surgery recently and never fully recovered.

For years, he operated a small grocery store in West Plains on Preacher Roe Boulevard.
A skinny 6-foot-2, 170-pound lefthander, Roe starred for the Dodgers in the late 1940s and early 1950s alongside such familiar greats as Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Gil Hodges. He pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates before joining Brooklyn in 1948, Roe had a 127-84 record in 12 major league seasons.

He pitched in three World Series games, all against the Yankees, winning two.
He prided himself in keeping hitters off balance by throwing a slider and a "Beech-Nut slider." Players regularly chewed Beech-Nut gum at the time, and Roe used the juice to illegally wet the ball, causing it to dip dramatically. Roe acknowledged using the spitter in a Sports Illustrated story a year after his retirement, saying he had no regrets and wanted to see the pitch legalized.,0,3768728.story

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