Dolly Gray (graydo01)

From BR Bullpen


William Denton Gray

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 160 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Before the big leagues[edit]

Dolly gray newspaper.png

Dolly Gray began his professional career during or before the 1902 season. That year, he pitched for the Los Angeles Angels of the old California League. Following the season, the Angels joined the Pacific Coast League, and in 1903 they had one of the greatest seasons in minor league baseball history ([1]). Gray went 23-20 with a 3.55 ERA that season. In 1904, Gray went 24-26, in 1905, he went 30-16, in 1906, he went 7-2 (during the 1906 season, Gray and many other West Coast players left to play on the East Coast after the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake [2]), in 1907 he went 32-14 and in 1908 he went 26-11. He played in one game in 1909, winning it. In 1905 and 1907, he led the league in winning percentage.

One source says Gray was born in Ishpeming, MI ([3]).

Major league baseball[edit]

A 30-year-old rookie, Gray made his major league debut with the Washington Senators on April 13, 1909. He made 36 appearances in his rookie season, starting 26 of those games. He we 5-19 with 19 complete games. That year, he led the American League in earned runs allowed (87), was third in losses, seventh in walks allowed (77) and eighth in appearances. Gray gave up Tris Speaker's first big league home run on May 3rd of that year ([4]), and on August 28th, he set the major league record for most walks allowed in an inning, when he walked eight batters in the 2nd inning. He also set the record for most consecutive walks in an inning, when he walked seven batters in a row. In total, Gray allowed 11 walks that game, giving up six runs and earning the loss in the process. Had he had better control, he may very well have won the game - he threw a one-hitter ([5]).

In 1910, Gray went 8-19 with a 2.63 ERA. He was second in the league in losses that year, fifth in wild pitches (9), ninth in earned runs allowed (67) and ninth in hit batsmen (10).

On April 12, 1911, Gray threw the very first pitch in Griffith Stadium history. He also won the game that day, beating opposing pitcher Smoky Joe Wood. That would be one of only two wins for Gray in 1911 - overall, he went 2-13 with a 5.06 ERA. His ten wild pitches were fourth-most in the league, and his ten games finished were eighth-most in the league. Gray played in his final major league game on September 29th.

Gray went 15-51 with a 3.52 ERA in his three year career. His .227 winning percentage is one of the worst all-time among pitchers with at least 50 career decisions. As a batter, Gray was pretty solid for a pitcher - he hit .202 in 218 big league at-bats.

Statistically, Gray is most similar to Blondie Purcell, according to the Similarity Scores, through June, 2008.

Post-big league career[edit]

Following his major league career, Gray pitched in the Pacific Coast League in 1912 and 1913, retiring after the 1913 season ([6]). He played for the Vernon Tigers and Oakland Oaks in that time ([7]).

Gray also managed the Flint Vehicles for part of the season in the 1921 Michigan-Ontario League.

Following his death in 1956, he was buried in Sutter Cemetery in Sutter, CA.

In 2008, Gray was inducted into the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame, along with Wheezer Dell, Casey Stengel and Lee Susman. ([8])

The nickname[edit]

Gray got his nickname "Dolly" from the 19th century song Nellie Gray, composed by Benjamin Hanby. One line in the song goes darling Nellie Gray, they have taken you away. His teammates mangled and distorted darling and it became "Dolly." [9]

Another source says his nickname came from the song Goodbye, Dolly Gray ([10]).

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1909 & 1910)


  • Baseball Library
  • The Pacific Coast League: A Statistical History, 1903-1957 By Dennis Snelling (page 267)

Related Sites[edit]