Literary Birthday Greetings: The Mechanical Man and Milt Pappas

Ron KaplanContributor IMay 11, 2011

DETROIT - APRIL 28: Alex Avila #13 of the Detroit Tigers bats against Michael Pineda #31 of the Seattle Mariners during the game at Comerica Park on April 28, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images


Hall of Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer was born this date in 1903. He earned the nickname “Mechanical Man” for his steady play for the Detroit Tigers, with whom he spent his entire 19-year career, earning the MVP award in 1937 and six All-Star berths.

Also born this date, Milt Pappas, who turns 72.

Before there was Armando Galarraga, there was Milt Pappas, who lost his bid for a prefect game with two outs in the ninth and a two-and-two count on the batter. According to the story, Bruce Froemming, the umpire in that Sept. 2 1972 event against the San Diego Padres, called two more balls on very close pitches to allow the batter first base. Pappas still got the no-hitter, but never forgave Froemming.

Pappas won 209 games over a 17-year career with four teams. He was a two-time All-Star and a pretty good power hitter, too  (20 home runs).

He suffered a bizarre tragedy after retirement when his wife disappeared. Her body was was found five years later in her car at the bottom of a pond just a few blocks away from their home.

Pappas published Out at Home in 1999.

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