14 Apr

anniversary time

There are some relatively well-known players among the Mississippi natives who have significant debut anniversaries to celebrate in 2024. Starkville native Hughie Critz, a Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer, broke in 100 years ago. McComb’s Dalton Jones came along in 1964, Belzoni’s Herb Washington — the designated runner — in 1974, Jackson natives Chris Brown and Stewart Cliburn in 1984 and Natchez’s Nook Logan in 2004. Ninety years ago, a relatively unheralded player from Perth in Jefferson County made his debut and enjoyed one of the best first games ever by a Magnolia Stater. George Hockette, a left-hander, debuted on Sept. 17, 1934, for the Boston Red Sox. All he did was throw a two-hit shutout against the St. Louis Browns at old Sportsman’s Park. He no-hit the Browns for the first 7 2/3 innings. Hockette also went 1-for-4 at the plate in the 3-0 victory. He pitched just two seasons in the majors, going 4-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 26 appearances, all with the Red Sox. He won 88 games all told in the minor leagues, pitching his last game in 1941. … Worth noting: Critz, a 5-foot-8, 147-pound second baseman, went 2-for-4 in his debut with Cincinnati and hit .322 that season. The Mississippi State alum batted .268 with 95 triples and 97 stolen bases over a 12-year career, twice finishing in the top four in MVP voting in the National League. … Washington, a track star at Michigan State, got in as a pinch runner for Oakland on opening day in 1974 but didn’t steal a bag. He went on to steal 31 bases without ever making a plate appearance before his career ended abruptly early in 1975. … In 1994, Pontotoc’s Steve Pegues, a high school star and first-round draft pick seven years earlier, broke in with Detroit. He batted .266 in 207 at-bats over two MLB campaigns. He stole just two bases in The Show but pilfered 103 in the minors.

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