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This Date in Washington Senators History
Dec. 26th is marked as “Boxing Day”, primarily in Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand. A tradition of Boxing Day is to make donations to the poor.
It might be suggested that for the majority of their existence both Washington Senators franchises were some of those unfortunates who would benefit from Boxing Day donations.
The Senators donations come in the form of 2 Short Timers and one player who actually remained in a Senators uniform for 8 seasons.
Frank Ellsworth (Jerry) Freeman B Dec. 26, 1879 D Sep. 30, 1952
1st baseman Jerry Freeman debuted with the Senators in mid-April of 1908. Playing in 154 games his rookie season, Freeman would hit .252 with 15 doubles, 5 triples, 1 home run, scoring 54 runs and being credited with 54 RBI’s as well.
Freeman would return with the Senators in 1909 but would see his BA drop to .167 in 19 games. He’d make his last major league appearance in late May.
John Mark Henry B Dec. 26, 1889 D Nov. 24, 1941
Not the John Henry of steam drill fame noted in American folklore and song, this John Henry was a catcher/1st baseman, debuting with the Senators in early July of 1910. Henry would hit a measly .149 in 29 games his first season but would remain on the Senators roster through 1917. The only season where he’d play in over 100 games would be 1916 and he’d respond by having the best season of his career at the plate, hitting .249 in 117 games.
Purchased by the Boston Braves, Henry would play in 43 games for Boston in 1918, his last major league appearance coming in mid-August.
John Burnette (Bonnie) Hollingsworth B Dec. 26, 1895 D Jan. 4, 1990
Bonnie Hollingsworth would enter the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates in late May of 1922. A pitcher, Hollingsworth would appear in 9 games, leaving the Bucco roster with a 7.90 ERA.
Hollingsworth would make his way east for the 1923 season, joining the Washington Senators. Pitching in 17 games, the most active season of his career, Hollingsworth would go 3-7 with a 4.09 ERA, also a career best.
After the season, he’d be traded to the Brooklyn franchise, then known as the Robins for Bert Griffith. Hollingsworth would pitch in just 3 games for Brooklyn, leaving with a 1-0 mark and an ERA of 6.23.
Hollingsworth would be out of the major leagues for the next few seasons but would return in 1928 with the Boston Braves where he’d go 0-2 in 7 games, his last major league appearance coming in mid-July.
Honorable Mention Carlton (Pudge) Fisk B Dec. 26, 1947 Still Living
No, Carlton Fisk never played FOR the Senators. However, the Hall Of Fame catcher, who debuted in 1969 with the Boston Red Sox, holds the distinction of being the last active major leaguer to have played AGAINST the Senators during his career.
After the Senators departure to Texas in 1971 I chose the Boston Red Sox as the franchise I would follow, never buying the Washington media’s attempts to shove the Baltimore Orioles at us as “our” team. As Fisk’s career continued, I followed his exploits in Boston and later with the White Sox, as to me, he represented a last connection to the much-missed Senators. I hated to see him retire after the 1993 season as the connection had been broken.
Happy Birthday Carlton and thanks for the memories!
*Baseball historians Art Audley and Jamie Johnson researched and chronicled events, such as daily highlights plus birthdays in Washington Senators’ history (both franchises-the original Senators [1901-1960] and the expansion Senators [1961-1971]).