Baseball’s First Amphibious Pitcher

Baseball’s first amphibious pitcher was Milton “Mudpuppy” Hammond, whose 9-year career lasted from 1919-28.

Groundskeepers would flood the dugout on days that Hammond pitched, and he was often accused of stealing opponents’ signs as he peered out from just above the waterline. After a victory, teammates would traditionally douse him with a large bucket of river mud.

Though he never played in the majors, Mudpuppy Hammond spent three years in the Cape Cod league and another six with the San Francisco Seals of the old Pacific Coast League, where he was briefly a teammate of Joe DiMaggio. He spent three more years barnstorming with another baseball irregular, Will Rogers, on their “Lassos, Tadpoles and Sinkerballs” tour.

Hammond was arrested, but not charged, for his part in the Northwest Fish Riots of 1932. The next year he disappeared into the forests of British Columbia and was never heard from again.

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