Here’s far more information on my late great-uncle Bradley Hogg. Lots more than you probably ever wanted, but what the hell. Information is cheap. Sometimes. Besides, it’s a good story.
Bradley went to Mercer University in Macon, Georgia and graduated from Mercer Law as an attorney in 1911. Four or five Major League clubs offered him contracts in late spring of 1911 on the basis of his twelve-game unbeaten streak as a pitcher for Mercer, but he turned them all down because he knew he had to graduate first. Boston was the only team willing to wait, so the Nationals got his name on a contract.
Boston sent him to Class B Haverhill of the New England League, and he was easily the Hustlers’ best pitcher, going 10-3 (winning his first eight in a row) before the Rustlers called him up in late August. In his last game for Haverhill, he was shelled, then accused of “laying down” for money by Haverhill owner Dan Clohecy. He challenged this accusation, which went all the way to the National Commission, and was proved innocent after an investigation.
He had his Major League debut (in relief) on September 1, 1911, but his first start was the next day (September 2nd) against Brooklyn in a 4-3 loss due in part to errors by his teammates. This was in the first game of a doubleheader. The second game, the Rustlers won 2-1 on more Brooklyn errors and the winning pitcher was Bradley’s teammate (and for the rest of the season his doubleheader-rotation mate) Cy Young.
Bradley started the 1912 season with Boston, but wasn’t ready in spite of his 1-1 record, so the Braves sent him down in June to the New England League again in a trade with the New Bedford Whalers. They gave the Whalers Bradley and $1,000 for a little shortstop of some ability named Walter “Rabbit” Maranville.
Bradley immediately made a big impression on the New England League by pitching the only no-hitter of the 1912 season in his first game, an 11-0 shutout over Brockton, the league leaders. In spite of an ERA under 2.00, Bradley went 9-10 for the Whalers, who were a pretty poor team.
Drafted by Mobile (Class A) of the Southern Association in 1913 for $600 (equivalent to $10,560 today), he became the Gulls' best pitcher over the next three years, averaging twenty wins a season. He continued his streaky pitching, with the 1913, ’14 and ’15 seasons all featuring winning streaks of eight and nine games. He led the league in 1915, going 22-12 in spite of three weeks off due to hurting his leg sliding.
He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in September 1915, and pitched two games for them in the last weeks of the Major League season, getting a no-decision against the Phillies in his first attempt, then shutting out the Reds 5-0 on four hits in the second to earn a contract for the 1916 season. His catcher in that game was also his manager, future Hall of Famer Roger Bresnahan.
When the Cubs were sold during the 1915-16 off season, Bradley got caught in the numbers. New Cubs’ manager Joe Tinker tried to skirt waivers and sell him outright to Memphis of the Southern Association, but Bradley (being an attorney, he knew the rules) took it to the National Commission and had the sale voided. After a short appearance in Tampa with the Cubs during spring training, he was sold to the Los Angeles Angels, and played under their new manager-part owner, future Hall of Famer Frank Chance, where his 16-9 record helped the Angels win the Pacific Coast League pennant in 1916.
Pitching for the Angels in 1917, Bradley led the Pacific Coast League with a 27-13 record, including ten and fifteen-game winning streaks. The only reason the second one stopped at fifteen was due to the season ending, the Angels finishing second by half a game.
Sold to the Philadelphia Phillies in the winter of 1917, Bradley became Pat Moran’s best right-hander, with the best ERA on the 6th place club - 2.53. His 13-13 record also led the staff of regulars. Retiring after the 1918 season, Bradley opened his law practice in Americus, Georgia.
After the Phillies’ poor start in 1919, owner Bill Baker (under urging from new Phils’ manager “Colby Jack” Coombs) offered him a big raise and got him to come back for one more run. A bad decision, as the Phillies were awful. Bradley never got in shape until September, and went 5-12 for the last-place team. He often switched off roles as starter and reliever for teammate Eppa Rixey, another future Hall of Famer who went 6-12 himself.
After the season, when Major League baseball outlawed “trick deliveries” including his spitball / shineball, he voluntarily retired — making him the first spitballer to retire as a direct result of the new rule — and became a full-time lawyer.
In 1923, he became involved with the origination of Americus, Georgia’s entry in the new semi-pro South Georgia League, managing (and pitching ONE game) for about three weeks. Family and business constraints forced him to retire again, and he was replaced by an itinerant ballplayer and his team of itinerants, a man named “Shoeless” Joe Jackson who took the team from last to first and the pennant. What a surprise.
Bradley died in 1935 as a result of using the common dipper to drink water from the well in the center of town in Americus, contracting tuberculosis which killed him.