Local baseball historian Tom Sipes believes that Altoona native and former major leaguer Pat Malone was destined to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. However, Sipes said, that Malone liked to drink too much and that probably affected his chances.
As a kid, Malone didn't like his given name of Perce. He said that it sounded too "sissy" and demanded that it be changed to Pat. He was a leader of a gang of boys who stole food from neighbors and took it to a nearby shanty where they concocted their next plan.
By the age of fourteen, he had quit school and was working for the parcel carrier Adams Express. He, then, falsified his age to land a job as a fireman on the Pennsylvania Railroad at the age of sixteen.
A year later, he enlisted in the US Army. He played football and baseball in the army. He also boxed while in the service.
Upon returning to Altoona, he fought 41 professional fights, mostly at the Jaffa Mosque, under the name of Kid Williams.
He also had a short stint as a football player at Juniata College in Huntingdon. He, then, had success as a pitcher for the semipro Altoona Independents.
After compiling a 13-12 record in 219 innings with the Knoxville Pioneers, John McGraw and the New York Giants bought Malone for a reported $5,000. After a suspension from the Giants, he was later given a second chance with them. He ended up being discarded by McGraw because of his wayward behavior. They sold Malone to the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association.
At twenty-one years of age, Malone had already established his reputation as a swashbuckler who was wasting his talents. His record for his first five seasons of professional baseball was 44-66.
During his season with The Des Moines Demons of the class A Western League in 1926, he had a league leading 190 strikeouts, a career high in wins with 28 and innings with 349 while becoming one of the most unhittable pitchers in the league. Malone helped to lead the Demons to the league title.
When pitching for the Millers in 1927, he continued to prove himself by leading the American Association in strikeouts with 214. He ranked in the top five in almost every important pitching category including twenty wins, 319 innings and 53 games.
Malone was, then sold to the Cubs for a reported $25,000. He proved to be the Cubs most successful and consistent pitcher especially during the pennant race in the last two months of the 1928 season. He won nine of ten decisions in August and September, hurling complete games in eight of his last nine starts. He relieved four other games and notched a 2.41 ERA in 89 2/3 innings. His 155 strikeouts and 5.56 strikeouts per nine innings were second only to Brooklyn Robins ace Dazzy Vance.
**To read the complete article, please check out the book They Came From Blair County volume 2 due out by the end of this year.
**Information for this article, was obtained from the following sources:
2. Wikipedia article on Pat Malone
3. Article written by Neil Rudel for The Blair County Sports Hall op Fame
4. In- person interview with baseball historian Tom Sipes