Fred Meloy "Fred" FRANKHOUSE
Fred Frankhouse was born in Juniata County on April 9, 1904. He was the son of Charles D. and Jennie M. (Meloy) Frankhouse. He was the youngest of 5 brothers and sisters. He went to the Port Royal Elementary school and Port Royal High School and was graduated from Lewistown High School.
In his teens, Fred pitched for his school in the old Dauphin-Perry-Juniata League and with outstanding semi-pro teams. At the time, the St. Louis Cardinals had an International Farm League in Syracuse, New York which picked up Fred to prepare him for the majors. He played in Syracuse, Ottawa and Houston until 1926 when he was moved up to the majors with the Cardinals. Fred used to tell the story that his friend, Roger Hornsby, wanted him to go with Chicanos but St. Louis which had him in the minors wouldn't release him.
While with the Cardinals, Fred knew such greats as Dizzy Dean and Pepper Martin. Also on the Cardinals with Frankhouse were Hall-of-Famers Frankie ''The Fordham Flash” Frisch and Walter “Rabbit” Maranville, both of whom Fred later joined on the Braves.
In 1928, Fred went to the World Series with the Cardinals but never got a chance to pitch as his Cardinals were beaten in four games straight by the Yankees. He did, however, receive a World Series ring with the rest of his team.
Fred was traded to the Boston Braves in 1930 and had his best year pitching in 1934. That year he was chosen for the All Star Team and pitched the last inning of the game, the second All Star Game ever held. Fred was the fourth pitcher to take the mound during the game and many feel had he been brought in earlier, the National League may have won as he shut down the American League during the inning he pitched. 1934 was Fred's best year with a 17-9 record despite missing a month of the season due to injury.
In 1935, while with the Braves, Fred pitched in Babe Ruth's final game. Fred told the story that a ball was hit through the infield to the outfield. Babe, who was then 40 with a bad knee, started after it but couldn't get to it. The batter scored an “in the Park” home run and Babe just walked off the field. He remained with the Braves as a coach but did not play again.
In 1936, Fred was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers where he played for Casey Stengel who he knew from his days with the Braves. One of the greatest moments of Fred's professional baseball career occurred on August 27, 1937 when he pitched a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds at Ebbitts Field. Though it was shortened by rain, enough of the game had been played for it to stand as a Brooklyn victory and a no-hitter for Frankhouse. His family treasures the ball he used to win that game which is signed by a number of his Dodger teammates.
That same year, 1937, the baseball world was intently watching the pitching wizardry of Carl Hubbell, one of the all-time greats. By June of the 1937 season, Hubbell had chalked up an unbelievable 24 straight victories. Hubbell's 25th victory would be something to talk about for years to come so a record crowd, 62,000 fans, jammed the stands. There was little doubt he would do it against the lowly Dodgers but the Dodgers sent in their ''giant killer'' to do the impossible. Fred yielded only 3 runs to N.Y. while the Dodgers chalked up 10 runs of their own.
In 1938 Fred was traded back to the Braves for his final year in professional baseball.
During his career, Fred appeared in 402 major league games, 216 as the starting pitcher. He compiled 106 wins and 97 losses and had 81 complete games. Of his victories, 15 were in relief and he recorded 12 saves.
Overall, he pitched in 1,888 innings, surrendering 2,033 hits and 701 walks. He finished with a lifetime 3.92 ERA and 622 strikeouts.
After leaving baseball, Fred served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps from 1943-1946. Casey Stengel wanted Fred to work for him as a scout but Fred chose to return to Juniata County with his wife Mabel (Skiles) to live the rest of their days. After returning to Port Royal, Fred started the Little League Baseball program and coached a team. He was one of the first Christmas tree growers in the County and worked a short time for the Commonwealth.
On June 9, 1976, his home town honored him with ''Fred Frankhouse Appreciation Day" which attracted several hundred people including the late Billy Cox of Newport (former Brooklyn third baseman), Les Bell (with the Cardinals and Cubs) and Ray Mueller (with the Braves, Reds and Giants). The baseball field in Port Royal was named the “Frankhouse Field” in his honor and that same year he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Athletic Hall of Fame.
He died August 17, 1989 in Port Royal, PA Shortly after his death, Fred's family created a baseball scholarship at Juniata High School to keep Fred's memory alive and to support youngsters who play the game. Fred was nominated for consideration by the Juniata County Hall of Fame by Matt Bell who received the first annual Fred Frankhouse Baseball scholarship in 1990. Fred's family is very grateful to Mr. Bell and to the members of the Hall of Fame who selected Fred Frankhouse for this very important honor.
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