Knuckleballer Niggeling was 35 when he first reached the major leagues, throwing
two innings for the Braves in 1938. He won two games as a late-season addition to
the pennant-winning 1939 Reds, but did not appear in the World Series. His most successful
season was 1942, when he went 15-11 for the Browns. Traded to Washington in 1943,
he was one of four knuckleballers on the wartime Senators' staff. Niggeling took
his own life in 1963.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»August 18, 1943:
In a trade that will benefit Wasington, the Senators send Ellis Clary, Ox Miller and cash to the Browns for Johnny Niggeling and Harlond Clift. Niggeling will split 48 decisions as a Senator, while Miller will win just three in St. Louis.
»September 29, 1944:
The Browns are last in the AL in attendance,
and only 6,172 fans watch St. Louis sweep the doubleheader.
Jack Kramer wins the opener 4-1, and Nels Potter
wins a 1-0 shutout over the Yankees Hank Borowy,
even though St. Louis batters get but 2 hits. In Detroit,
the Tigers split with 2 of the Washington knuckleballers,
beating Johnny Niggeling 5-2 in the opener but
losing to Mickey Haefner 9-2 in the nightcap.
»May 19, 1946: The oldest star to go into the military was the White Sox P Ted Lyons, who finished each of the 20 games he started in 1942. Lyons continues to pitch on the first five Sundays of the 1946 season. Although the 46-year-old former Marine has an ERA of 2.32, he loses three of his four starts including today's opener to Washington, 4–3. The Nats Johnny Niggeling beats Ed Lopat in the nitecap, 7–1, as Mickey Vernon cycles for the Nationals.