Chuck Churn

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Clarence Nottingham Churn

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Biographical Information[edit]

Right-hander Chuck Churn was signed as an amateur free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 1949 season. He joined the Uniontown Coal Barons of the Class C Middle Atlantic League in 1949, going 7-12 with a 6.31 ERA in his debut. He came back strong the following season, with the Hutchinson Elks of the Class C Western Association, improving to a 16-11 record and 3.71 ERA while pitching 194 innings for a team that finished dead last, 53 games back. Chuck had time to get in six outings in 1951 with the Charleston Rebels of the Class A South Atlantic League, with a 1-1 record, before being called for duty by Uncle Sam during the Korean War. Churn returned in 1953 in time to get in 25 appearances with Charleston again and the New Orleans Pelicans of the Southern Association, going 6-7 with a 1.97 ERA. Chuck established himself as a man to watch when he went 11-3 for the Denver Bears in 1954, helping them to the Western League pennant. He was 13-8 for New Orleans in 1955 and 9-8 with the Pelicans in 1956, pitching over 180 innings both years.

Chuck started 1957 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, working five games out of the bullpen with no decisions; he finished the year with the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League with a 9-7 record and 2.78 ERA. This caught the Boston Red Sox eye and, on December 2, they drafted him in the 1957 Rule V Draft. He never took the mound for Boston, being claimed on waivers by the Cleveland Indians on March 26, 1958. He was with the Indians just long enough to appear in six games and was sold to the Cincinnati Redlegs on May 5th. He was sent to the PCL and went 9-11 for the Seattle Rainiers in 1958. On May 6, 1959, the Redlegs traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Churn earned a World Series ring with the club in his final season. He appeared in one game against the Chicago White Sox in the World Series, allowing a 2 run home run to Ted Kluszewski in Game 1. In the regular season, he was 3-2 record with a save in 14 games. Chuck earned a victory on September 11, in relief of Sandy Koufax, at the expense of Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Elroy Face. It was Face's only loss in his 18-1 season.

Chuck spent parts of three seasons in the bigs, finishing 3-2 with a 5.10 ERA while appearing in 25 games. He also had the distinction of being the last pitcher to face future Hall of Famer Enos Slaughter, who popped up in his last at bat. Chuck then spent the next eight years in the minors, from Class A to AAA, with nine different teams, hanging it up in 1967 with an 111-82 record and 3.90 ERA, pitching 1,781 innings. After baseball, Chuck became the farm manager of Byrd Foods, Inc., in Parksley, VA and retired in the area. He died in 2017 at the age of 87.

See also: Baseball Players of the 1950s

Notable Achievement[edit]