Ira James Flagstead
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 165 lb.
- Debut July 20, 1917
- Final Game July 29, 1930
- Born September 22, 1893 in Montague, MI USA
- Died March 13, 1940 in Olympia, WA USA
Outfielder Ira "Pete" Flagstead played 13 seasons in the majors, mostly during the lively ball era.
Born in Montague, Michigan, Flagstead grew up and began playing sandlot baseball there, but at age 16 he moved across the country to Olympia, Washington and ended up working in a lumber mill and then as a steamfitter. He began his career with the Olympia Senators in 1913. He hit .376 with the Tacoma Tigers in 1917 and earned a cup of coffee that season with the Detroit Tigers, appearing in four games. After hitting .379 with the Chattanooga Lookouts the following summer, he was back with the Tigers in 1919, hitting .331 (fifth in the American League) and starting in right field.
Despite hitting over .300 in 1921, Flagstead found himself fighting for playing time in the Tigers outfield with regulars Ty Cobb, Harry Heilmann, and Bobby Veach. As a result, player-manager Cobb tried him at shortstop that summer, using him in 55 games there. He hit .308 in 1922 but only appeared in 44 games, stuck behind Cobb, Heilmann, and Veach.
Early in the 1923 season, Flagstead's contract was sold to the Boston Red Sox. Manager Frank Chance used him as the regular rightfielder, and he responded by hitting .312, with a career-best 8 home runs. In the succeeding years, although his hitting wasn't as strong as when he was younger, he stayed in the Red Sox outfield as a regular - presumably in part because the Red Sox teams under managers Lee Fohl and Bill Carrigan always were second division teams on which his talents were welcome.
Flagstead started 1929 with the Red Sox but was twice selected off waivers that year, first going to the Washington Senators and then to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He finished out his major league career with the 1930 Pirates, for whom he was the oldest position-player on the team. After his big league days ended, he played one more season in the minors in the Pacific Coast League in 1931.
The The Top 100 Red Sox site indicates that he was a catcher when he played for an independent team but was moved by the Tigers to the outfield. He was known for having a fine arm.