May 28 – Happy Birthday Bill Barrett

BillBarrettBill Barrett was the starting right fielder on the very bad Red Sox team that finished last in the 1929 American League standings with a 58-96 record. Born across the Charles River in Cambridge, it took “Whispering Bill” eight years after his big league debut with the A’s to make his way back home and play for Boston. He spent most of those eight years with the White Sox, where he established reputations for being one of baseball’s most versatile players and loudest and most annoying bench jockeys (which is how his sarcastic nickname emanated) During his time in the Windy City, he played all nine positions on the field and probably wasn’t too happy in any of them because, based on my research, it also appears as if he was also a chronic complainer. In fact, this guy was upset because first his team and then the Commissioner’s office refused to permit him to start a career as a professional boxer while he was in the big leagues.

During his one season as a starter in Beantown, Barrett played in 111 games and averaged a very soft .270, scoring 57 runs and driving in just 35. He was traded to the Senators early on in the 1930 season for outfielder Earl Webb, which turned out to be a great deal for the Red Sox because Barrett played just six games for Washington and then his big league career ended. Webb had two great seasons as Boston’s regular right fielder and still holds the franchise record for most doubles in a season, with 67.

When his playing days were over, Barrett returned to Cambridge, where he died in 1951 at the age of 50.

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