On this day in 1924 Dave "Gabby" Jolly was born in Stony Point, North Carolina. He served in the Army in World War II and spent several years traversing the minors before finally getting his first shot in the big leagues in 1953, making his MLB debut as a member of the new Milwaukee Braves.
Jolly pitched in the majors for five seasons but easily his most notable year was 1954, when he made 47 appearances (including one start) and had a 2.43 ERA over 111.1 innings. At the time he was one of just five players in MLB history to pitch at least 100 innings with an ERA under 2.50 despite making 80% or more of his appearances in relief. Amazingly enough, he was one of three NL pitchers to do it in 1954: New York Giants teammates Hoyt Wilhelm and Marv Grissom also did it that year.
All told Jolly pitched five seasons in the majors, all as a member of the Braves, and posted a 3.77 ERA over 159 appearances. His final MLB season was 1957, when he appeared in relief in 23 games for the eventual World Series champions but had a 5.02 ERA and did not appear in the postseason.
Jolly passed away following surgery to remove a brain tumor in 1963, when he was just 38 years old.
Thanks to the B-Ref Play Index for reminding me that Jolly would have been 89 today. With help from Brewerfan.net, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to:
- 2013 Brevard County Manatee Ben McMahan, who turns 24.
- Seattle Pilot and 1970-71 Brewer Tommy Harper, who turns 73. We covered his birthday in this space two years ago.
Today is also the ninth anniversary of the Brewers claiming reliever Derrick Turnbow off waivers from the Angels in 2004. We covered that event in this space last year.