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Unsung Phillies Legends: Hugh Mulcahy

January 29, 2020

(Fourth in a series of 13 Unsung Phillies Legends, fellas who played a long, long time ago. None are enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame or the team’s Toyota Wall of Fame, but each played a small role in franchise history). Hugh Mulcahy, a right-handed pitcher, made his major

(Fourth in a series of 13 Unsung Phillies Legends, fellas who played a long, long time ago. None are enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame or the team’s Toyota Wall of Fame, but each played a small role in franchise history).

Hugh Mulcahy, a right-handed pitcher, made his major league debut in 1935 as a 21-year-old and became a 200-inning workhorse from 1937-40, leading the league with 56 games in 1937.

Phillies alumni

Pitching on a team that lost 92, 105, 106 and 103 games, Mulcahy posted 8-18, 10-20, 9-16, 13-22 records, earning him the unflattering nickname, “Losing Pitcher.” In 1937, he was the losing pitcher after throwing one pitch, something that rarely happens.

The Phillies began playing night games for the first time in 1939. They lost their first four such games before Mulcahy beat the Brooklyn Dodgers on August 8.

The 1940 season was a strange one. Pitching his best, he was one three Phillies selected to the National League All-Star team although he didn’t get to pitch in the July 9 game. On the last day of that month, a win boosted his record to 12-9. He then tied a club record by losing 12 consecutive games before winning his final start on the last day of the season. He finished with 13 wins. His team won only 49.

Mulcahy made news off the field the following spring when, as a 27-year-old, he was the first major league player drafted into the military during World War II. The date was March 8, one day before he was to report for spring training in Miami Beach, FL. ”I’m 100 percent in favor of military training. I’m ready serve,” he was quoted. He spent 53 months in the military, including time with the Army in the Pacific theater where he won a Bronze Star. He was discharged on August 5, 1945, joined the Phillies six days later and pitched in five games. He received a rousing ovation from Phillies fans when he took the field for his first game, August 26. He lost to the Boston Braves, 4-3, allowing one run in six innings.

Two years later, his playing career ended with a 45-89 record. His final two games were with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mulchay spent 20 years as a White Sox minor league pitching coach/administrator after his playing career ended. He was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels.

According to a SABR BioProject, Mulcahy felt he was “a fortunate person…fortunate to break in the majors with the Phillies, fortunate to survive WW II and fortunate to have a secure job in baseball after his playing days were over.” He died at age 88 in Aliquippa, PA.

He may have not excelled on the mound but he earned a Bronze Star serving his county, unique in Phillies history.