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They Played
the Game
LUKE APPLING

Nickname: "Old Aches and Pains"
Born: April 2, 1907 (High Point, NC)
ML Debut: September 10, 1930
Final Game: October 1, 1950
Bats: Right        Throws: Right
5' 10"  183
Hall of Fame: 1964 (Baseball Writers, 189 votes on 225 ballots, 84%)
Played forChicago White Sox (1930-1950)
All Star 1936, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1947
A fan favorite -- a 1969 fan poll voted him the greatest living White Sox -- Appling was Chicago's shortstop for nearly twenty years. He signed with the Southern Association's Atlanta Crackers after two years of college and was sold to the Chicago Cubs in 1930. He was dealt to the White Sox that same year. Early in his career, Appling's fielding was suspect. But at the plate he developed into a highly productive hitter known for his ability  to fend off numerous pitches to get to one he liked. (Appling is said to have fouled off seventeen pitches in a particular at-bat before hitting a triple.) As is the case with many outstanding contact hitters, Appling hit only 45 homers during his career. In 1936 he won the AL batting title with a .388 average -- the first batting title won by a White Sox player -- and one that was decided in the second game of a September 24 doubleheader with Cleveland, in which he went 4-for-4. (The .388 mark remains the highest by a shortstop in baseball history.) He garnered his second in 1943, batting .328, and hit .300 or better fifteen times in his career. Appling set Major League records for a shortstop for games played and double plays, and American League records for putouts and assists. The 2,218 games he played at short surpassed Rabbit Maranville's mark of 2,153. In 1950 he was released by the Chisox so that he could manage the Memphis Chicks (SA). Two years later, The Sporting News named him manager of the year. And in 1967 he served a stint as interim manager of the Kansas City Athletics when Alvin Dark was fired. Appling was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964 by special vote. (In 1953, his first year of eligibility, he received just two votes.)
Appling was a hypochondriac, earning the nickname "Old Aches and Pains." But there was nothing imaginary about the injuries he suffered during an exhibition game on March 27, 1938, when he broke his right leg in two places while sliding into second.
Due to military service, Appling missed all of the 1944 season and most of 1945.
In 1936 Appling set career highs in hits (204), runs (111), RBI (128), slugging (.508), and OBP (.474). His 27-game hitting streak that year remained a White Sox record until broken by Albert Belle in 1997.
Appling was replaced as the White Sox shortstop by Chico Carrasquel, who was, in turn, replaced by Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio.
In the first annual Cracker Jack Oldtimers Classic, held July 19, 1982, 75-year-old Appling hit a home run off Warren Spahn in a 7-2, five-inning triumph for the AL.
-- Jason Manning
"Luke Appling was the leader of the team. He was a nice man who would help me and the other younger players learn the ropes. When Chico Carrasquel joined the team to take his place at short, Luke helped him like a baby. They'd work extra time and during games he'd help position him. So even as a rookie, Chico was a tremendous shortstop. Appling was 41 years old, but he had hit over .300 the past 6 years and about 15 times in his career. He didn't play much in his final season but he could still give pitchers fits. He had amazing instincts and could always place the ball through positions vacated by infielders when they moved. He was so impressive. I never saw a batter who could hit so many foul balls -- up to a dozen. I think he enjoyed doing it. In Chicago, they'd get after players for giving balls to fans, so Luke said, 'I'll cost them a few dollars in today's game.'"
-- Bob Cain (1950)
They Played the Game
Major League Batting Record
Year
Team
G
AB
H
R
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
BB
SO
BA
OBP
SLG
1930
CHW
6
26
8
2
2
0
0
2
2
0
0
.308
.308
.385
1931
CHW
96
297
69
36
13
4
1
28
9
29
27
.232
.303
.313
1932
CHW
139
489
134
66
20
10
3
63
9
44
36
.274
.329
.374
1933
CHW
151
612
197
90
36
10
6
85
6
56
29
.322
.379
.443
1934
CHW
118
454
137
75
28
6
2
61
3
59
27
.303
.384
.405
1935
CHW
153
525
161
94
28
6
1
71
12
122
40
.307
.437
.389
1936
CHW
138
526
204
111
31
7
6
128
10
85
25
.388
.474
.505
1937
CHW
154
574
182
98
42
8
4
77
18
86
28
.317
.407
.439
1938
CHW
81
294
89
41
14
0
0
44
1
42
17
.303
.392
.350
1939
CHW
148
516
162
82
16
6
0
56
16
105
37
.314
.430
.368
1940
CHW
150
566
197
96
27
13
0
79
3
69
35
.348
.420
.442
1041
CHW
154
592
186
93
26
8
1
57
12
82
32
.314
.399
.390
1942
CHW
142
543
142
78
26
4
3
53
17
63
23
.262
.342
.341
1943
CHW
155
585
192
63
33
2
3
80
27
90
29
.328
.419
.407
1945
CHW
18
57
21
12
2
2
1
10
1
12
7
.368
.478
.526
1946
CHW
149
582
180
59
27
5
1
55
6
71
41
.309
.384
.378
1947
CHW
139
503
154
67
29
0
8
49
8
64
28
.306
.386
.412
1948
CHW
139
497
156
63
16
2
0
47
10
94
35
.314
.423
.354
1949
CHW
142
492
148
82
21
5
5
58
7
121
24
.301
.439
.394
1950
CHW
50
128
30
11
3
4
0
13
2
12
8
.234
.300
.320
TOTALS
2422
8856
2749
1319
440
102
45
1116
179
1302
528
.310
.399
.398

Major League Fielding Record
Pos.
G
PO
A
E
DP
FP
SS
2218
4398
7218
643
1424
.948
3B
88
98
186
21
15
.931
2B
40
87
127
8
20
.964
1B
13
91
12
0
16
1.000
2359
4674
7543
672
1475
.948