Jack Quinn pitched for 23 years, winning 247 games in three different major leagues for eight teams. He pitched against Hall of Fame shortstops George Davis and Arky Vaughan (who starred four decades apart), and he was teammates with Hall of Fame hurlers Chief Bender and Lefty Grove, who started and ended their careers 38 years apart. In 1929, Quinn started Game Four of the World Series for Connie Mack’s A’s at the age of 46, and the next season he again pitched in the Series, at age 47. During the regular season in 1930, he became the oldest man to hit a home run in the major leagues. The right-hander pitched his final game for Cincinnati in 1933 at the age of 50, having posted a respectable 4.02 ERA in 15 2/3 innings of relief work.
The Coal Miner
John Quinn Picus, later known as “Jack Quinn,” worked as a coal miner in his early teens, starring for mining teams as a pitcher and outfielder. His professional career started when, as a spectator at a Connellsville, Pennsylvania game, he threw a ball back to the catcher and nailed the mitt dead center. The visiting manager for Dunbar offered Quinn five dollars for a win in the next game, two dollars and fifty cents for a loss. But his debut in the majors didn’t come until 1909, when he was 25. Quinn had an amazing career. He threw 27 complete games in 1914, at the age of 30. Fourteen years later, at age 44, he threw 18 complete games. In 23 major league seasons, he started 444 games, threw 243 complete games and nearly 4,000 innings. On April 14, 1931, Quinn became the oldest man to start a season opener, losing 7-4 to Boston at Braves Field.
In December, 1920, the American and National Leagues voted separately to allow those pitchers who used the spitball in 1920 as their primary pitch, to continue to do so for the remainder of their professional careers. The 17 pitchers were: