Pelty, Barney "The Yiddish Curver" : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Pelty, Barney "The Yiddish Curver"

Barney Peltheimer

A pitcher with the Browns and Washington, "The Yiddish Curver" was 16-11 in 1906, with a magnificent ERA of 1.59. Famous for his glove as well as for his curve ball, he was known as "a fifth infielder." He was much better than his won-lost record of 92-117 would indicate. Pitching extremely well for weak-hitting teams, he had a career ERA of 2.63.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. September 10, 1880 - d. May 24, 1939

Career Highlights:
One of the American League's first Jewish players, Pelty first pitched for the St. Louis Browns in 1903, winning 2-1 on an eight-hitter. The following year, Barney became a member of the starting rotation and was a workhorse for the club for the next eight seasons. In that span, he had an ERA under 3.00 every year but one, but the weak-hitting Browns rarely gave him enough support to win -- although he threw an astonishing 22 shutouts (in 92 wins), he was shut out 32 times, and lost nine 1-0 games.

Pelty's best season was 1906, when he went 16-11 with a magnificent 1.59 ERA (2nd in the AL). That season, he allowed the World Champion Chicago White Sox only 1 run in 32 innings. The Sporting News wrote of the accomplishment that "A little stickwork behind Pelty would have made his record against Chicago three victories, instead of one win, one loss, and a draw, for his defeat by the Sox was by the score of 1-0 in 13 innings and the tie game was 0-0 in 10 rounds, while his victory was 3-0 in nine stanzas. In the three complete games that Pelty fought with the Comiskeyites, his opponents scored one run and made 13 singles, having a swat output that amounted to just .130. That's pretty good pitching if you ask me or anyone else."

Pelty played with the Browns until the middle of the 1912 season when he was sent to the Washington Senators. He retired following the season with a record of 92-117 and a 2.63 ERA. Despite his deceptive losing record, his career ERA is 65th all-time in baseball history! He is also among career leaders in walks and hits allowed/9 innings pitched (10.35 - 60th all-time), and hits allowed/9 innings pitched (7.84 - 89th).

Career Dates:
Pelty pitched for the St. Louis Browns, 1903-1912, and the Washington Senators, 1912.


Physical description:
5'9", 175 pounds

Career Statistics:
Wins: 92 Losses: 117
Winning pct.: .440

ERA: 2.62

Games: 266
Games Started: 217
Complete Games: 173

Innings Pitched: 1918
Hits Allowed: 1663
Bases-on-Balls: 532
Strike Outs: 693

Shut-outs: 22

Relief Pitching
Wins: 7
Losses: 11
Saves: 4

At-bats: 701
Hits: 101
Home Runs: 0
Batting Average: 144

Fielding Statistics
Put-outs: 154
Assists: 684
Errors: 56
Double Plays: 26

Total Chances per Game: 3.2
Fielding avg: .937

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
Great Jews in Sports, by Robert Slater (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 2000)
The Baseball Encyclopedia: Tenth Edition (New York: McMillan, 1996)