Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cup of Coffee: Roe Skidmore

Every Thursday the JOBC blog features stories about players who only got a "cup of coffee" with the Cubs. If you'd like anyone featured, by all means, drop me a line at rick (at) justonebadcentury (dot) com.

Reed wrote the following e-mail to me:
"My favorite Cub short-timer is is Roe Skidmore. Look him up. He was the playground supervisor during the noon hour at my grade school when he was in college at Millikin. Nice guy. Great name, plus a 1.000 career MLB batting average. One game. One at bat. One hit. Moonlight Graham would have been proud."

Reed, I did look him up. I don't know if you ever saw this piece, but The New York Times wrote an article about one-game wonders in 1999, and one of the players they featured was your man Roe. This is what David Margolick wrote:

"Robert Roe Skidmore had been riding the bench for the Chicago Cubs for weeks when, in September 1970, Leo Durocher sent him up to pinch-hit. He hit the second pitch from Jerry Reuss over the head of Joe Torre, then the Cardinals' third baseman, for a single.

The ball was then retrieved -- the ball which still sits on his mantelpiece, the one on which his wife wrote ''1st Big League hit,'' not knowing she could have written ''last'' or ''only'' too. Why? He thinks Durocher had it right about nice guys finishing last. ''I didn't whine,'' said Skidmore, now a businessman in Decatur, Ill. Every spring training, he said, a certain hollow feeling grabs his gut. ''I'll go two or three weeks where I don't even want to pick up the paper,'' he said. ''I just kind of ignore the fact that it's starting.''"

Thanks for the suggestion, Reed. The whole fascinating article is here.