1913 Walter Johnson vs. Christy Mathewson. The first and only time the two greats square off. It occurs at South Main Park in Tulsa, OK on a post season barnstorming trip. Unfortunately, it comes under tragic circumstances when the stands collapse, injuring 52 and killing a soldier before the game. Oklahoma governor Lee Cruce barely escapes injury in the chaos. Instead of calling off the exhibition, the game is merely delayed for 2 hours. The contest is anti climatic with Johnson, playing on a squad comprised of Red Sox star Tris Speaker and most of the White Sox, striking out 8 in a complete game, 6-0 win over Mathewson. The aging Matty last 4 innings before departing. Speaker and White Sox 3B Buck Weaver lead the offense, while Jim Thorpe of the Giants collects 2 hits off the Big Train.
Today’s birthday boy is another of the “Fab Fourteen”, a player who spent time with the Philadelphia Athletics, St. Louis Browns and Washington Senators during the course of his career.
John Leonard (Doc) Lavan (Born Laven) B Oct. 28, 1890 D May 29, 1952
Shortstop Doc Lavan got his start in the major leagues in mid-June of 1922 with the St. Louis Browns. Playing in 46 games for the Browns, Lavan would only manage a .141 BA and was sold in late August to the Philadelphia Athletics. Lavan would play in 5 games for the A’s that season, going 1 for 14 at bat.
Sold back to the Browns before the start of the 1914 season, Lavan would improve his batting eye, hitting .264. Lavan would stay with the Browns through 1917. After the season, Lavan, along with Burt Shotton were sent to the Washington Senators in exchange for Bert Gallia and $15,000.
Lavan would play just 1 season in Washington, appearing in 117 games in 1918, hitting .278.
In mid-May of 1919 Lavan would find himself headed to St. Louis again, this time sold to the Cardinals. Lavan would finish his career with the Redbirds, playing there from 1919 through 1924, his last major league game coming in early May of the ’24 season.