Happy 100th birthday to Eddie Carnett, the oldest living Major Leaguer
On Oct. 12, 1916, Babe Ruth won the second of his three World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox. Nine days later, Eddie Carnett was born in Springfield, Mo.
Now, Carnett -- pictured above (L) with former Major Leaguer Pat Combs (R) -- is the oldest living Major Leaguer, and today, he celebrates his 100th birthday.
As a child, Carnett moved to Oklahoma, where he grew up playing baseball and ultimately captured the attention of professional scouts. He went on to play professional ball from 1935 to 1955 and, remarkably, he filled roles both as a pitcher and a position player during his career. Although the majority of his professional career took place in the Minor Leagues, he did log time in the Majors in three different seasons, each for a different team: the Boston Braves (1941), Chicago White Sox (1944) and Cleveland Indians (1945). Earlier this year Carnett became the oldest living Major Leaguer and today, he celebrates his 100th birthday.
Carnett made his Major League debut on Apr. 19, 1941 -- a year famous in baseball history for Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak and Ted Williams' .406 season batting average -- pitching for the Braves against the Brooklyn Dodgers. It wasn't an easy first test for Carnett as he faced not one, not two, but three future Hall of Famers that day: Joe Medwick, Pee Wee Reese and Paul Waner.
Throughout his career, he roomed with such baseball luminaries as Dizzy Dean, Warren Spahn, Phil Rizzuto and Allie Reynolds. But, arguably, his most important contribution to baseball came when he crossed paths with the great Bob Feller. It was 1945, and Feller was working on developing a slider at the time. Carnett gave him a few pointers and helped him refine the pitch.
Also in 1945, Carnett joined the Navy for the end of World War II. It marked a premature end to his season with Cleveland and, unbeknownst to him at the time, also brought an end to his time in the Major Leagues.
Carnett now lives in Ringling, Okla., with his wife of 75 years. If you want to read a more complete history of his life and career, check out his entry in the SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) bio project here.