Luke Appling homers off Warren Spahn in Cracker Jack Old Timers Game at RFK Stadium
“It was just a good pitch,” Appling said after the game. “It was right there. I just swung away.”
His solo shot into left field helped propel the American League old timers to a victory over the National League, with a final score of 4-2. Spahn, the winningest left handed pitcher to take the mound in major league history with 363 victories, wanted to take the game seriously from start to finish, but Appling got in the way of that.
“I told Luke last night my strategy was to pitch around the young guys and get the old fogeys out,” Spahn told The Washington Post after the game. “But he didn’t give me a chance.”
In a game with greats like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, Appling’s home run was just one of two in the game, the other coming off the bat of 40-year-old Jim Fregosi. Never hitting more than eight home runs in a season, Appling’s 45 career long balls paled in comparison Mays and Aaron’s combined 1,415.
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Known as one of the best singles hitters in baseball, Appling ended his career with a .310 batting average, twice leading the league in hitting.
He ended his career with more extra base hits than strikeouts, with 587 and 528 respectively. He averaged just 35 strikeouts a season and had an on base percentage of .399.
Appling was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1964 and is one of just 24 shortstops enshrined in Cooperstown. He passed away on Jan. 3, 1991.
Cady Lowery is the 2017 public relations intern in the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum