Atley Donald

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Richard Atley Donald

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Biographical Information[edit]

Swampy Atley Donald was a key part of the New York Yankees from 1938-1945. He was never the # 1 starter, but his lifetime winning percentage of .663 shows that he was an important winner for them practically every year. He was also a big winner on the great Newark Bears of 1938 and 1939, two of the minor leagues' greatest teams.

He led Binghamton of the Eastern League in strikeouts in 1936. He was the leading pitcher for the Newark Bears in 1937 with a record of 19-2, and after getting into 2 games in the majors in 1938, came back to Newark and went 16-7. Two other pitchers had 17 victories on the team, but they appeared in more games than Donald.

He appeared in only 2 games in the majors in 1938, but in 1939 he won 12 straight games, setting the American League record for most consecutive wins by a rookie. He ended 13-3. He also helped with the bat, hitting .250. The Yankees won 106 games. He did not appear in the World Series in either 1938 or 1939.

Apparently in 1939 he was clocked throwing a pitch at a then-record 94.7 mph.

Except for 1944, he never got into more than 24 games in a season. In 1940, he appeared in 24, with a record of 8-3 and an ERA of 3.03. Unlike most of his seasons, in 1940 he appeared in slightly more games as a reliever than as a starter. When the Yankees faced the Boston Red Sox on September 4, 1941, they clinched the pennant while Donald was pitching. Donald faced Ted Williams five times, and chose to walk him four times - the only four walks he issued that day. He went 9-5 as the team won the pennant that year, and in 1942 he went 13-3 as the team won again. He pitched in both World Series but was not particularly effective.

He was 6-5 in 1943, and then 13-10 in 1944 as he appeared in the most games of his career in one season, 30. He did not appear in the 1943 World Series. In 1945 he went 5-4 with a 3.52 ERA, but his career was over due to injuries.

Other than in 1938 when he only appeared in 2 games, he never had a losing season. Joe McCarthy was the only Yankee manager under which he ever played.

After baseball, he was a long-time Yankee scout.

He is in the Louisiana Tech University Hall of Fame. Picture of Atley Donald He is the winningest major league pitcher to come from there, and was the first pitcher to come from there. He lettered there in 1930-1933.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL Winning Percentage Leader (1939)
  • Won three World Series with the New York Yankees (1939, 1941 & 1943; he did not play in the 1939 & 1943 World Series)

Related Sites[edit]