Harry Edwin Heilmann, "Slug"
Born: August 3, 1894
, San Francisco
Bat and threw right.
Weight: 195 lbs
In 1913, at the age of 19, Harry Heilmann was hired to fill in for a sick ballplayer on a semi pro team. That game, he doubled in the 11th inning to win the game. A scout in the crowd saw his performance and signed him to the minors.
The Detroit Tigers bought his contact for 1914, but after his poor performance sent him back down to the minors again for 1915. A .364 average there led Detroit to bring him back up permanently.
Heilmann was a decent player who became much better when Ty Cobb became manager of the Tigers in 1921 and began coaching him. With Cobb's guidance, Heilmann quickly improved as a batter. In 1921 he even topped Cobb with a .394 batting average which won him the AL title.
In 1923 he won the batting title again, with a .403 average.
Heilmann came from behind to beat out Tris Speaker for the batting title again in 1925, and gain came from behind in 1927 to take the crown.
On July 26, 1928, he batted 8 runs in during a single game.
He played with the Cincinnati Reds in 1930, sat out 1931 with arthritis, and managed to play 15 games in 1932 before retiring as a player.
Heilmann, hurt by the market crash of 1929, took a job as a Tigers broadcaster for WXYZ radio, a job he kept for 17 years.
He died of lung cancer July 9, 1951, in Southfield, Michigan. Ty Cobb had been leading an effort to get him into the Hall of Fame by the All Star Game, and Heilmann died believing this campaign was successful. In fact, Heilmann was not elected to the Hall of Fame until 1952.
AVG G AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB SO
.342 2148 7787 1291 2660 1539 542 151 183 856 550
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