Jesse Haines

Position: Pitcher
Teams: Cincinnati Reds, 1918; St. Louis Cardinals, 1920-1937

Jesse Haines served a St. Louis Cardinals-record 18-year stint on the mound, surprising since he was 27 years old before he became a regular pitcher in the major leagues. A three-time 20-game winner, he did some of his best work in World Series play.

An overpowering pitcher as a schoolboy in Clayton, Ohio, Jesse Joseph Haines (1893-1978) compiled a 17-14 record in the South Michigan League in 1914 and went 10-5 in 1915. The Tigers signed him in mid-1915, though he never saw action in Detroit. With Springfield of the Central League, he was 23-12 in 1916 and 19-10 in 1917. Cincinnati finally purchased his contract in 1918.

Jesse Haines is among a handful of 200-game winners who notched fewer than 1,000 career strikeouts.
Jesse Haines is among a handful of
200-game winners who notched
fewer than 1,000 career strikeouts.

The Reds used Haines in only one game before shipping him back to the minors. He didn’t make it back to the bigs until the Cardinals gave him a chance in 1920. St. Louis manager Branch Rickey spent $10,000 to obtain Haines’s contract, in what was the last purchase the Cardinals would make for 25 years.

Haines relied on a blistering fastball and a baffling knuckleball learned from Athletics ace Eddie Rommell. Haines compiled 20 losses in his rookie year in 1920, but he won 13 games in 1926 and lost just four, helping the Cards to the pennant.

In the World Series that year he won two games and posted a 1.08 ERA. In Game 7, Haines was leading the Yankees 3-2 with the bases loaded and two outs when 39-year-old Grover Alexander (to whom Haines gave the nickname “Old Low and Away”) came in from the bullpen to face Tony Lazzeri. Pete’s striking out of Lazzeri is one of the most famous events in baseball history.

Jesse’s best year came in 1927, when he compiled a 24-10 record while leading the league with 25 complete games and six shutouts. His knuckler proved too tough a puzzle for the league to solve the following year as well, as “Pop” notched a 20-8 record in leading the Red Birds to another pennant. Haines was roughed up when the Cardinals returned to the fall classic that year, though. He appeared in the 1934 Series at age 41, and allowed no runs while fanning two in two-thirds of an inning as the Cards beat Detroit.

Pop hung up his spikes after the 1937 season. He not only pitched more years in a Cardinal uniform than any other pitcher, but his 210 wins stand behind only Bob Gibson’s 251 for Cardinal wins. Pop remained in baseball for the 1938 season as the pitching coach for Brooklyn. The Veterans Committee selected him for the Hall of Fame in 1970.

Here are Jesse Haines' major league totals:

210 158 3.64555 209 3,208.23,4601,298871 981

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