James Leslie Vaughn
- Bats Both, Throws Left
- Height 6' 4", Weight 215 lb.
- Debut June 19, 1908
- Final Game July 9, 1921
- Born April 9, 1888 in Weatherford, TX USA
- Died May 29, 1966 in Chicago, IL USA
Pitcher Hippo Vaughn began his big league career with the New York Highlanders in 1908 and was traded to the Washington Senators in the middle of the 1912 season. However, he achieved his greatest success after joining the Chicago Cubs the following year. In nine seasons with the club, he won twenty games five times.
On May 2, 1917, Vaughn was the losing pitcher in baseball's only double no-hitter. Facing the Cincinnati Reds, both he and Reds hurler Fred Toney allowed no hits through nine innings. The Reds broke up the no-hitter and scored a run in the top of the tenth, while Toney held the Cubs hitless in the bottom of the inning to get the win.
Vaughn had further bad luck in the 1918 World Series. He allowed only three earned runs in the course of three complete games for the Cubs, but was tagged with losses in two of the games as his team lost the Series to the Boston Red Sox.
Vauhgn was born in Texas, and pitched at first in the Texas League and then the North Texas League. He was then in the Arkansas State League, the New York State League, the South Atlantic League, and the American Association. He had a cup of coffee at the major league level in the midst of the minor league play. Strangely enough, he was so impressive in spring training of 1910 that he was given the privilege of pitching on opening day for the Highlanders.
His best seasons were toward the end of his major league career, in 1918 and 1919, when his ERA both years was in the 1.75 range, a run below the league average. He won the pitcher's Triple Crown in 1918, leading the league in ERA, wins, and strikeouts.
Hippo's career ended in 1921 when manager Johnny Evers suspended him for thirty days for insubordination. In 1922, he got into a salary dispute, and chose to pitch for a semi-pro team instead. After he left organized baseball to play in semi-pro leagues, his salaries were comparable to his major league salaries, as he was reportedly earning $9,000 a year by 1926. He was reinstated by Commissioner Landis after 8 years of ineligibility in 1930. He went to spring training with the Cubs in 1931 but failed to make the team at age 43. He then continued to pitch semi-professionally until the mid-1930s when he was 49 years old.
His lifetime ERA of 2.49 is # 39 on the all time list, and his 41 shutouts are # 41 on the all time list. His 178 victories, however, are not in the top 100 (roughly 200 victories are needed at present to be in the top 100). He is however one of the few pitchers to ever notch 400 victories between minor league and major league play. Hippo Vaughn currently holds the record for most errors by a pitcher in a career in the National League with 64 (http://www.baseball-almanac.com/rb_pier.shtml). Of course, Nolan Ryan has 90 errors overall, but split between the two leagues.
Most players with his last name in the big leagues have spelled their name V-A-U-G-H-N, like Hippo did, but a few, such as Arky Vaughan, add an "a" near the end.
- NL Pitcher's Triple Crown (1918)
- NL ERA Leader (1918)
- NL Wins Leader (1918)
- 2-time NL Innings Pitched Leader (1918 & 1919)
- 2-time NL Strikeouts Leader (1918 & 1919)
- NL Shutouts Leader (1918)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 7 (1914-1920)
- 20 Wins Seasons: 5 (1914, 1915 & 1917-1919)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 8 (1910 & 1914-1920)
- 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1919 & 1920)