Ladies, and gents, I’d like to introduce the one and only “Silent” John Titus, mustachioed lefty outfielder extraordinaire of the Philadelphia Phillies circa 1903-1912, and inspiration of the historical baseball term:
(noun.) “A spectacular catch. A circus catch.”
- The Dickson Baseball Dictionary
Silent John Franklin Titus was born in Pennsylvania in 1876 and worked in the coalmines until he joined the Army and fought in the Spanish-American War. (Which I believe to be much different than the Spanish-American WAR, I think it’s a thing. It should be.)
After the war, Titus joined a mustache-sporting basketball team, and the lefty let his ‘stache linger into his baseball career, when he made his Major League Baseball debut at the age of 27 on June 8 in 1903, playing left field for the Phillies. (I promise I knew nothing about the mustache until after I chose Silent John for today’s Throwback post, but not that you’ll believe me.) In his first season, Silent John’s batting average was .286.
But there was little noise about the reliable Silent John of Philadelphia. He saved up his paychecks, he was solid at the plate, he didn’t talk much, he made “sensational catches” (Spaulding’s Official Base Ball Guide, 1908), and as far as it’s known, he was never thrown out of a game.
Silent John was, in a word, Silent. » Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Silent Jawn Titus”