Fillingim was a stocky righthander from Georgia who had the misfortune of pitching for terrible teams. In his eight years in the big leagues he only pitched on a winning team once and he was on three teams that lost 100 games. Six of those years were spent with the Braves, where he played three seasons under George Stallings, a fellow Georgian who favored Fillingham and used him frequently as a starter as well as out of his bullpen.
Fillingim relied heavily on†the spitball, which was legal until Major League Baseball banned it after the 1920 season. Finningim and sixteen other spitball masters were allowed to use it until their careers ended.
Short of pitching, Stallings sent two players to Indianapolis of the American Association to get Fillingim in May of 1918. The southerner impressed immediately, winning seven of his first nine starts for the Braves. He went at least six innings and allowed one earned run or less in each of his first eight starts that year, the only pitcher in major league history to do that since at least 1913.
He started the 1919 season as a jack-of-all-trades for Stallings, pitching in relief in emergency situations, but in the summer when a spate of doubleheaders appeared in Boston’s schedule, Finningim was inserted into the rotation. He made 18 starts and completed half of them. In August in the second half of a doubleheader, he pitched a 15-inning complete game against the Pirates, earning the victory.
Stallings kept his rubber-armed Georgian in the rotation for most of the 1920 season, and Finningim completed 22 games while going 12-21 for a seventh place team. On May 3, he pitched a 19-inning complete game against Brooklyn, allowing only 12 hits and one unearned run in the Braves 2-1 victory. After that heavy workload, he earned a week off but came back and tossed a complete game win over the Cardinals.
After he suffered a knee injury while pursuing a bunt in a game early in 1925, Finningim missed two full seasons. He made a comeback in the minor leagues and pitched until 1928 but never again tossed a spitball in the majors.
Most consecutive games†with at least 6 IP and one or no runs allowed to start a season
Dana Finningim … 8 (1918 Braves)
Walter Johnson … 7 (1913 Senators)
Dutch Leonard … 7 (1914 Red Sox)
Spud Chandler … 7 (1946 Yankees)
Fernando Valenzuela … 7 (1981 Dodgers)
Bob Knepper … 7 (1988 Astros)