A Curt Walker Retrospective: His 2 Triples Inning

Curt Walker, OF MLB (1919-1930) Career BA .304

Curt Walker, OF
MLB (1919-1930)
Career BA .304

Right fielder Curt Walker of the Cincinnati Reds, and an old friend of my father’s back in our shared birthplace home town of Beeville, Texas had a pretty nice career over 12 seasons (1919-1930) in the big leagues. Walker broke into professional baseball in 1919 at the age of 22 after playing college ball at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Curt’s first minor league rookie stop was at Augusta, Georgia of the Class C Sally League in 1919, but he moved up to the Class B Houston Buffs that same year. To plug in an old expression that was pretty popular in Beeville baseball circles back in the day, Curt hardly “hit a lick” at either of his first two stops, batting an OK .278 at Augusta in 194 at bats, but then dipping to .215 at Houston in only 135 at bats. – And yet, near the 1919 season’s end, Curt Walker made it all the way up to the roster of the New York Yankees, getting there in time to make his MLB debut in an 0 for 1 appearance on September 17, 1919.

I never had enough awareness in time to ask Curt how he made the leap to the Yankees in his first year. Walker died in Beeville on December 9, 1955, during the fall term of my senior year at St. Thomas High school. We had been Houstonians since my 5th birthday and, in 1955, Curt was still only a figure in my father’s life at the time of his death – and my serious baseball history lamp did not really come on until some time in my twenties. Whenever I happened to see Curt Walker on trips with Dad to the downtown American Cafe in Beeville, I saw him at the time more as the town undertaker than I did the former Reds star. It was to become a kid’s perceptual lock on one of my dad’s peers that I would long regret, once I later awoke to my missed opportunity. And I quickly learned that even Dad could not answer all of my Curt Walker questions – like, how does a guy hit .215 for the Buffs in his rookie minor league year and still make it all the way up for one at bat with the New York Yankees near season’s end?

Curt Walker was an outstanding big league outfielder. He had speed, a good contact hitter bat, a strong arm, and lifetime stats that compared favorably with those of fellow Texan outfielder Ross Youngs of the New York Giants, who presence in the Big Apple and early death helped propel him into the Hall of Fame.

This quickie career stat performance comparison is what propelled me back in 2000 to start hounding the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame over the absence of Curt Walker from their membership rolls – in addition to the fact that Youngs was also in the National HOF. I didn’t really think that either Youngs or Walker were deserving of Cooperstown, but I felt strongly that Curt deserved the state Hall honor every inch as much as Ross:

Two Texans Plate trips Hits Runs RBI 2B 3B HR SB BA OBP SA
Ross Youngs 5,336 1,491 812 592 236 93 42 153 .322 .399 .441
Curt Walker 5,575 1,475 718 688 235 117 64 96 .304 .374 .440

Both Youngs (5’8″, 162 lbs.) and Walker (5’9″, 170 lbs.) were little guys, but so were a lot of other players in the 1920s. Both men were BL/TR types. It wasn’t simply my opinion rolling here. By any logical deduction, Curt Walker deserved the state Hall of Fame honor as much as Ross Youngs, who, as stated previously, was already a member.

Curt Walker’s best full season batting average was .337. Curt did that in 1923 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Ross Youngs hit over .350 twice in full seasons as a NY Giant, batting .351 in 1920 – and .356 in 1924.

I kept hounding the TBHOF in behalf of Curt Walker until they finally inducted him the following year. In the absence of any surviving close kin, or my father, I also journeyed to Forth Worth for the TBHOF induction banquet in November 2001 and accepted this honor in Curt Walker’s behalf. – Things move strangely in baseball. In the wake of the Walker induction, I was invited by the TBHOF Board to serve on their selection committee. Then, in 2004, I was asked to serve as their Board Chair and Executive Director. I served in those capacities for three years during the TBHOF’s brief move to Houston in 2004.

On July 22, 1926, in a home game played with the Boston Braves, the Reds defeated the visitors, 13-3, by exploding for 11 runs in the bottom the second inning. In that single inning. the Reds collected four triples, two three-baggers by Curt Walker alone. That rare accomplishment placed Curt on a very short list of only 11 big league players to this date who have done the same.

Can you think of a safer record? The odds against ever getting three times at bat are virtually off the table. – That being said, what are the odds against anyone ever getting three times at bat in a single inning and then – using that opportunity to hit three triples in the same inning to move ahead of the eleven guys tied at two triples each?

Here’s the box score for Curt Walker’s entry into the rare club:

Baseball Almanac Box Scores

Cincinnati Reds 13 – Boston Braves 3.

Boston Braves ab   r   h rbi
Smith cf 5 0 0 0
Bancroft ss 2 0 0 0
  Gautreau 2b 3 0 2 0
Welsh rf 5 1 3 0
Burrus 1b 4 0 1 0
Brown lf 2 1 1 0
  Wilson lf 2 1 0 0
High 2b,3b 4 0 1 1
Taylor Z. c 1 0 1 0
  Siemer c 3 0 1 0
Taylor E. 3b,ss 3 0 0 1
Goldsmith p 1 0 0 0
  Genewich p 2 0 1 0
  Cooney ph 1 0 0 0
Totals 38 3 11 2
Cincinnati Reds ab   r   h rbi
Christensen lf 5 2 1 2
  Allen lf 1 0 0 0
Walker rf 4 1 3 2
Roush cf 5 2 2 1
Hargrave c 5 2 4 1
Pipp 1b 4 0 2 2
  Hudgens 1b 1 0 0 0
Critz 2b 5 1 2 1
  Carter 2b 0 0 0 0
Pinelli 3b 3 2 2 0
Emmer ss 4 1 1 1
Donohue p 5 2 2 1
Totals 42 13 19 11
Boston 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 11 2
Cincinnati 1 11 1 0 0 0 0 0 x 13 19 3
  Boston Braves IP H R ER BB SO
Goldsmith  L(3-4) 1.1 8 6 6 0 1
  Genewich 6.2 11 7 4 1 1
Totals
8.0
19
13
10
1
2
  Cincinnati Reds IP H R ER BB SO
Donohue  W(15-8) 9.0 11 3 2 0 1
Totals
9.0
11
3
2
0
1

E–High 2 (21), Walker (8), Emmer 2 (30).  DP–Cincinnati 1. Emmer-Hudgens.  2B–Boston Welsh 2 (13), Cincinnati Hargrave (13).  3B–Boston Gautreau (4), Cincinnati Christensen (4); Walker 2 (15); Hargrave (6); Pipp (9).  SH–E. Taylor (5); Pinelli (7); Emmer (17).  Team LOB–9.  HBP–Pinelli (3).  Team–9.  U–Barry McCormick, Bob Hart, Cy Rigler.  T–1:35.  A–2,300.

Baseball Almanac Box Score | Printer Friendly Box Scores

____________________

Compulsion Wasn’t Invented in the 21st Century

In spite of his sportsmanship in everyday life and baseball, Curt Walker was no conservationist. Long before I was born, Dad invited Curt to come hunt deer with him at our ranch near Beeville in South Texas. The two hunters split up to hunt in different areas and were separated from each other for most of the morning. I don’t think Dad even saw a deer that day, but he kept hearing Curt’s rifle exploding in the distant forest of ancient oaks that separated them.

“Curt must be a worse shot than I ever imagined,” Dad says he thought silently.

That impression got corrected when the two hunters made contact again near the camp where they had left their trucks.

Curt’s truck contained five bucks – and we’re talking deer here, not dollars. The Walker slaughter haul was way beyond the limit.

“My God,” Dad exclaimed to Curt. “Do you realize the fine and other legal trouble you may have shot yourself into if the game warden stops you on the way back to town?”

“Yeah, I know,” Curt smiled, as he busied himself covering the animals with some kind of tarp. “I just couldn’t keep myself from shooting.”

“What were you thinking, Curt?” Dad then asked.

And Curt stopped what he was doing and turned to face my Dad with his answer:

I was thinking, Bill – you know what? – My granddaddy didn’t save me any buffalo!”

Friends and home town heroes aren’t always perfect. Dad and Curt remained friends for life, even played some town ball for Beeville together, but Curt never was asked back to go hunting at our ranch again.

____________________

eagle-0rangeBill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

https://bill37mccurdy.com/

 

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3 Responses to “A Curt Walker Retrospective: His 2 Triples Inning”

  1. Larry Dierker Says:

    Another Texan, and an Astro, Craig Reynolds had two triples in an inning.

  2. Anthnony Cavender Says:

    I note that the game’s attendance was 2300–but this was the Depression era.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Tony – 1926 was still three plus years short of Black Tuesday on Wall Street, but the “Roaring’ Twenties” were a little overrated outside of New York and Chicago. As you know, Cincinnati was a blue collar town in the midwest and, even though the Reds only lost out at the end of the 1926 season to the Cardinals by two games, the eventual seventh place Braves were one of the worst draws in the NL by July 22nd. On the player level too, it was much easier for Ross Youngs of the Giants to get media attention for his efforts than it was for a guy like Curt Walker to kick up any sand in Cincy. When Youngs then dies while he’s still in the heat years of his productive career, his sympathy vote for the HOF was almost a done deal down the line.

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