Friday, June 29, 2012

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Harry Byrd, Oriole #52

Harry Byrd pitched in the Major Leagues for seven seasons between 1950-57 and played for five different teams during that time. His best year was his rookie season in1952, when he went 15-15 with a 3.31 ERA for the Philadelphia Athletics and won the A.L. Rookie of the Year award for his efforts.

Harry came to the Orioles as part of the massive 18 player swap between the Orioles and Yankees prior to the 1955 season. He made his Orioles debut on April 16, 1955 and went on to appear in just 14 games for them before moving on to the White Sox, who selected him off of waivers from the O's.

This 1955 Bowman card is the only "Orioles" card that came out during his lifetime, so it is a permanent member of my collection. Harry is clearly wearing the Yankees pinstriped jersey, but at least Bowman made the effort to put the Oriole bird on his cap.

After his baseball career ended, Harry returned to his native South Carolina where he worked as a construction foreman before passing away at age 60 in 1985 due to lung cancer. His hometown of Darlington named a road after him that has since been renamed for fellow major leaguer Bobo Newsom.

RIP Harry.

To briefly explain the misspelled/made up title of these weekly posts: Every Friday, I profile a former Oriole who has passed away. I've substituted the word unpossible for impossible as an homage to a line from "The Simpsons". Young Ralph Wiggum, who is not very smart, says "Me fail English? That's unpossible." 

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