November 14, 2017

Jerry Denny

Jeremiah Dennis Eldridge was born in New York City on March 16, 1859, to Irish immigrants who moved the family to the Bay area of California in 1861. Shortly after the relocation, Eldridge’s parents died leaving him and his sister Mary to be raised in orphanages. He attended St Mary's College in San Francisco in the late 1870s, and played semi-professional baseball during the summer months (changing his name to Jerry Denny to hide his professional play from the college), when he wasn't playing for the college as an amateur. He started playing in the minor leagues for the San Francisco Eagles in 1878, and the Stars and Athletics teams from 1879-1880. On May 2, 1881, he went pro and began playing with the Providence Grays of the National League. In 1884, the Providence Grays won the NL pennant and played in the first-ever World Series against the New York Metropolitans. In the second game of the series, Denny hit a three-run homer, the first-ever hit in World Series play, enabling the Grays to win the game, 3-1.

He was one of the few ambidextrous major league players; although he threw primarily with his right arm, he could also toss with his left. This gave him a defensive advantage at his customary field position - in ranging to his left on a ground ball, if he saw a play at second base, instead of having to transfer the ball to his right hand while pivoting and repositioning his body (as third basemen would customarily do), Denny could dispatch the ball to second with his left hand. This skill contributed to his refusal to wear a glove in the field, long after most players considered gloves essential. He holds the distinction of being the last Major League position player (non-pitcher) to play his entire career on the diamond without wearing a fielding glove.

When attendance dropped off in 1885, the Providence team became cash short and left the National League, Jerry Denny signed with the St. Louis Maroons, a new NL team. When the Maroons ballpark burned to the ground in 1886, the team folded. Denny then played three years for the Indianapolis Hoosiers. The Hoosiers, never ending higher than 7th place, folded in 1889. From this point, Denny bounced from team to team; playing for the New York Giants in 1890, the Cleveland Spiders in 1891, the Philadelphia Phillies in 1892 and finally the Louisville Colonels from 1893-94. Denny's last major league appearance was on July 10, 1894 for the Louisville Colonels. His career totals are 1,237 Games and 4,946 At Bats, 714 Runs, 1,286 Hits, 74 Home runs, and a Batting average of .260. He still holds the Major League record for most chances by a third baseman in a single game, handling 16 chances during an 18-inning match on August 17, 1882. He led the National League in games (85) in 1881 and strikeouts (79) in 1888.

Following his baseball career, he travelled to Connecticut and took over a men’s furnishing store. He became quite a businessman, his gentlemen’s stores prospered, and he went into the hotel business in Derby and Bridgeport, Connecticut. Lured back into baseball, he played in the Connecticut State League from 1897-1902 and also served as manager for the Derby franchise from 1897-1901. After that he contented himself with family life, working at his hotel business and as a city inspector for Bridgeport, Connecticut. He also occasionally appeared at old-timers get-togethers. During a visit to his daughter in Houston, Texas, during the summer of 1927, he was stricken with a heart attack and died at the age of 68 on August 16, 1927.

GPS Coordinates
29° 47.309, -095° 22.139

Section N
Holy Cross Cemetery

November 7, 2017

Pete McClanahan

Robert Hugh "Pete" McClanahan was born in Coldspring, Texas on October 24, 1906. He began his baseball career in 1927, as pinch hitter for the Palestine Pals of the Lone Star League. In 1929, he was traded to the Shreveport Sports in the Texas League, then traded again in 1931 to the Fort Worth Panthers. He was given his major league shot on April 24, 1931, for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but after only seven games he was sent back down to the minors. In 1933, he played for the Henderson Oilers of the Dixie League before retiring for the sport entirely. McClanahan died at his home in Mont Belvieu on October 28, 1987 and buried in Coldspring.

GPS Coordinates
30° 36.118, -095° 07.916

Oakwood Cemetery