Quick Pitch: Harry Dorish Had the Midas Touch but Never Got the Gold

Randy S. RobbinsContributor IIIJanuary 22, 2012

Base-stealer. Ace reliever. Big stick. Defensive gem. Harry Dorish could do it all.
Base-stealer. Ace reliever. Big stick. Defensive gem. Harry Dorish could do it all.

First in a series of short player profiles spotlighting the peculiar and the noteworthy.

Harry Dorish was a moderately successful relief pitcher, most notable for being the last American League hurler to swipe home, which he did on June 2, 1950, as the front end of a double-steal.

This was the only stolen base of Harry’s career. And, for good measure, he also clubbed two doubles and drove in two RBIs in this game.

Dorish pitched for 10 years with the Red Sox, Browns, White Sox, and Orioles, compiling a 45-43 record and leading the AL in saves in 1952.

He enjoyed an especially fine season in 1953, going 10-6 with 18 saves, for the Pale Hose.

Lesser known is that Dorish compiled a very impressive .974 fielding percentage against the league average of .956 for pitchers, including a perfect 1.000 for five consecutive seasons (1952-1956).

As the photo above demonstrates, it’s not hard to see why.

A batter had to be a fool to lay down a bunt with Dorish on the mound, and anything hit up the middle never had a chance.

He even played a third of an inning at third base, when, after relieving in the seventh and eighth innings against Boston in 1951, White Sox manager Paul Richards—an incessantly tinkering skipper who made Tony LaRussa look like a push-button robot—moved Dorish to the hot corner so that southpaw Billy Pierce could pitch to Ted Williams.

After Pierce induced a Williams pop-up to shortstop, Dorish returned to the mound and finished the game.

Yet despite his versatility, it was as a slick-fielding fireman that Dorish excelled. In 834.1 innings pitched during his career, Dorish committed but six errors. 

Sadly for Dorish, the annual Gold Glove awarded for best fielding at each position was not instituted until 1957—the season after Dorish's last in the Majors.

This is a terrible shame because he not only could have been the first relief pitcher ever to win a Gold Glove—predating Bobby Shantz's Gold Gloves after his move to the bullpen—but Dorish might have owned it for a decade.