The Man With The Killer Pitch
In 1918, Tom "Shotgun" Rogers earned himself a piece of baseball immortality—by killing a former teammate with a fastball.
They called him "Shotgun" Rogers. In 1916, Nashville Vols pitcher Tom Rogers earned that nickname with a fastball that called a cannon to mind, and what, in the sports-writing parlance of the day, might have been called "sterling displays of boxwork." He won 24 games for the minor league club that year, and led the team to the Southern Association championship. In an era before television, before radio, when small towns saw big leaguers only during rare off-season barnstorming trips, these independent clubs were the only game in town. In Davidson County, Rogers was a hero, a country boy made good in the big city. But on June 18, 1916, Shotgun Rogers, aka the Gallatin Gunner, earned his deadly nickname a second time around.
Pitching in Mobile against the Sea Gulls, Rogers launched one of his famous fastballs at Johnny Dodge, a smooth-handed third baseman who had played in Nashville the year before. A happy-go-lucky type sometimes criticized for a lack of comm…
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