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Johnny Kucab
Born December 17, 1919(1919-12-17)
Olyphant, Pennsylvania
Died May 26, 1977
Youngstown, Ohio

John Albert Kucab (December 17, 1919 – May 26, 1977) was a standout pitcher in major and minor league baseball who is best known for pitching the Philadelphia Athletics to victory in Connie Mack's last game as a major league manager.[1]

Contents

Early years

Kucab was born in Olyphant, Pennsylvania. In 1940, he signed with the Cincinnati Reds organization's Lenior, North Carolina, farm team, where he pitched a winning game but missed the bulk of the season due to an injury. The next year, he moved to Harrisonburg, in the Class C Virginia League, and "seemed headed to stardom".[1]

World War II intervened, however, and Kucab would spend 47 months in the armed service, where he saw active duty in the European and Pacific theaters. His obituary states that this development may have "kept him from attaining a longer stay in the major leagues".[1]

Major league career

Following the war, Kucab signed with the Philadelphia Athletics, which brought him to Youngstown, Ohio, in 1946.[1] As a pitcher for the Youngstown Gremlins, Kucab posted a 13-1 record, followed up by 12-4.[1] After four minor league seasons, he was "called up" by Connie Mack.[1]

Kucab made his major league debut on September 14, 1950. A couple of weeks later, Kucab pitched the Philadelphia Athletics to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Senators, a game that turned out to be an "historic achievement".[1] The ball used in the October 1, 1950, match between Philadelphia and Washington is currently housed in the Baseball Hall of Fame, at Cooperstown, New York, "marking the last game the legendary Connie Mack ever managed".[1] Kucab played for two seasons with Philadelphia.[1]

Later years

Following his retirement from the major leagues in 1952, he went on to pitch for an additional 13 seasons with various minor league teams. His obituary stated: "Among his top performances in baseball is a string of 19-straight wins while pitching for Ralph Houk at a New York Yankees farm team in Kansas City".[1]

As his career wound down, Kucab settled in Youngstown, where he had met his wife, Mary, in 1946. During the last decade of his life, he was associated with Youngstown's Hovanec Distributing Company.[1] In 1977, John Kucab died of a heart attack at his home in neighboring Campbell, Ohio.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l The Youngstown Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio, May 27, 1977.
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