Leach was a railroad telegrapher playing for town baseball teams in the Ozarks in
1922 when he decided to try professional baseball. After leading the Missouri
League in hitting (.383) in his first year, he finished the season with George Stallings's
independent Rochester team in the International League, and by 1923 he was with the
Phillies. The stocky, thick-eyebrowed Leach bounced up and down between the majors
and minors for several years before establishing himself as a steady-hitting, strong-armed
outfielder with the Phillies. In 1927 he led NL outfielders in assists. The Giants
traded Lefty O'Doul and cash for Leach's contract in October 1928. The deal was widely
regarded as a mistake by Giants manager John McGraw when O'Doul hit .398, 108 points
higher than Leach, to win the 1929 NL batting title, but McGraw announced he was
satisfied that Leach was more versatile and far better defensively. Leach contributed
two .300-plus seasons before retiring.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»June 5, 1911: In Pittsburgh, Pete Alexander tops the Pirates, 5–4, in the 10th, with the Phils winning run scoring on a fumble by Honus Wagner. Pirate Freddie Leach also helps the Phils by losing a fly ball in the sun that drops for a triple. Rookie star Alexander, pitching in his 100th inning, commits a balk, the only balk he'll make in his career of 5,088.2 innings.
»September 16, 1926:
At Philadelphia, the Cards sweep a pair from the Phils to tie for first place. They open with a 23–3 pasting, a game in which 36 players are used, 22 by the Phils. The Cards plate 12 runs in the 3rd inning, with all the Cardinals getting a hit except Billy Southworth, who is robbed of a double by Freddy Leach's catch. Taylor Douthit has a walk and single, two stolen bases, and two runs scored in the game. Flint Rhem is the winning pitcher. The Cards lighten up in game 2, winning 10–2, behind Art Reinhart.