"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
It takes a talented pitcher to lose 20 games in a season, the saying goes. Right-hander Hugh Mulcahy of Allston-Brighton, Mass., accomplished the feat twice, pitching well enough to lose a lot for some horrible Phillies teams, and even being named to the National League All Star team in 1940, a year in which he led the league in losses, with 22.
He was nicknamed "Losing Pitcher Mulcahy" by sportswriters because his name appeared that way so often in box scores. When he became the first big-leaguer to be drafted into the US Army in 1941 in the lead-up to WWII, he told the Sporting News: "My losing streak is over...I'm on a winning team now." He served for the duration, losing what might have been a promising career to the Second World War.
Life seems to have dealt Hugh Mulcahy a tough hand: he pitched for an awful club, got tagged with an ignominious nickname, was the first major league World War II draftee, and spent four and one-half "prime" years in military service, effectively ruining his big league career. Unless, of course, one were to ask Mr. Mulcahy himself.
Now eighty-seven years old and living in suburban Pittsburgh, he prefers to view himself as a fortunate man. Fortunate to break in to the majors with the Phillies, where manager Jimmie Wilson straightened out his pitching delivery and where he became a workhorse and was named to the 1940 National League All-Star team. Fortunate to survive World War II, particularly the stint in New Guinea, where his outfit was ravaged by a tropical disease that nearly proved fatal for many of them. And fortunate, after his playing days were over, to secure a job in baseball as a respected pitching coach and minor league administrator. In other words, as Mr. Mulcahy sees it, a life blessed by a lot of good luck, not bad.
Hugh Mulcahy passed away in 2001, and as we approach Memorial Day, we toast the memory of this grateful, gracious man. (Hat tip: John Salmon)