Josh Devore

Josh DevoreThe speedy Josh Devore was a leadoff man who sparked the offense on four pennant-winning teams in four straight seasons from 1911 to 1914. He was known as a first-pitch hitter, and in a game in 1911 he had five hits, each of them on the first pitch. Devore also did something else that seems incredible: in 1912 he stole second and third base twice in the same inning, for four steals in one frame, a mark that isn’t likely to be topped.

In Game Three of the 1912 World Series between his Giants and Boston, Devore made an amazing game-saving catch in the ninth inning. The ball was hit like a shot off the bat of Hick Cady and went flying to the deep regions of right field. The Red Sox had the tying and winning runs on base. Devore raced back and got his glove on the ball, but it popped out. However, he snared it with his throwing hand, securing the final out. Tris Speaker, playing for the Red Sox, said, “The catch was as good as any I ever saw.”

He finished his National League career in 1914 as a member of the Miracle Braves, who rolled to the pennant with an amazing stretch run. Devore was acquired just before the great stretch run began. He was part of manager George Stallings’ many platoons but contributed speed and leadership to the underdog team. He appeared in one game in the World Series. He later played in the Federal League briefly before spending several seasons in the minor leagues drawing a paycheck as a ballplayer.