EDITOR'S NOTE: Frequent BCB readers may recall that a few months ago I reviewed one of my favorite new baseball books, Chris Jensen's Baseball State by State. After reading the book I've asked Chris to join us for a 12-part series in 2013 on the best players born in Wisconsin. What follows is part seven of that series. - KL
Clarence "Ginger" Beaumont is the answer to a pretty good trivia question-who was the first batter in modern World Series history? Beaumont, who batted leadoff for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1903 World Series, went on to collect 1,759 career hits over a 12-year career in the Deadball Era. The Rochester native (born July 23, 1876) earns the distinction as Wisconsin's best July-born player and he holds down one of the outfield spots on the All-Time Wisconsin team listed in Baseball State by State.
Beaumont was discovered by Connie Mack, who signed the lefty-swinging catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers of the Western League in 1898. He shifted to outfield when he debuted in the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates the next year, and his speed was an asset in the field and on the bases. Although he looked like a bowling ball, with 190 pounds packed onto his 5-foot-8 frame, he ran like a thoroughbred. Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss gave Beaumont the "Ginger" nickname due to his red hair.
The center fielder batted .352 his rookie season with 31 stolen bases. One of his career highlights came on July 22 that year, when he collected six hits (all in the infield) and scored six runs in six at-bats, an amazing feat that was not duplicated until Shawn Green did it more than a century later in 2002.
He posted four straight seasons of at least 100 runs and led the National League in batting with a .357 average in 1902. Beaumont also led the league in hits four times, including a career high 209 in 1903. He wound up with a .311 career average and 254 stolen bases. He batted .265 in the 1903 World Series as the Pirates lost the 1903 Series to the Red Sox.
Knee problems robbed him of his speed later in his career, and Beaumont batted between .263 and .267 his last three seasons before retiring at age 33 after the 1910 season. He became a charter member of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1951, five years before he passed away at the age of 79.
Other July birthdays include Shane Rawley (born July 27, 1955 in Racine), who won 111 games over a 12-year career. Rawley was an All-Star for the Phillies in 1986, a year in which he went 11-7 with a 3.54 ERA. The next season he led the NL with 36 starts and won a career-high 17 games despite allowing 250 hits in 229-2/3 innings. He is ranked as Wisconsin's fifth-best lefty starter in Baseball State by State.
Chris Jensen is the author of Baseball State by State: Major League and Negro League Players, Ballparks, Museums and Historical Sites, which was published in July 2012 by McFarland. It features a chapter on each state covering state baseball history, an all-time team, stats leaders, historic baseball places to see, future stars, player nicknames and the state's all-time best player.