Harry Heilmann was born on Friday, August 3, 1894, in San Francisco, California. Heilmann was 19 years old when he broke into the big leagues on May 16, 1914, with the Detroit Tigers. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Harry Heilmann baseball stats page.
"Harry Heilmann was one of the most marvelous men I ever met in baseball and one of the greatest right-handed hitters. He had a choppy stroke, but powerful. He was a tough man to pitch to." - Hall of Fame Pitcher Ted Lyons (Baseball Hall of Fame, Harry Heilmann , HOF )
Harry Heilmann Pitching Stats
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Harry Heilmann Hitting Stats
Harry Heilmann Fielding Stats
Harry Heilmann Miscellaneous Stats
|Baserunning Statistics||Other Positions||Common Hitting Ratios||Common Pitching Ratios|
Harry Heilmann Miscellaneous Items of Interest
|Team [Click for Roster]||Uniform Numbers||Salary||All-Star||World Series|
|1914 Detroit Tigers||n/a||Undetermined||n/a||-|
|1916 Detroit Tigers||n/a||Undetermined||n/a||-|
|1917 Detroit Tigers||n/a||Undetermined||n/a||-|
|1918 Detroit Tigers||n/a||Undetermined||n/a||-|
|1919 Detroit Tigers||n/a||$3,500.00||n/a||-|
|1920 Detroit Tigers||n/a||$5,000.00||n/a||-|
|1921 Detroit Tigers||n/a||$6,000.00||n/a||-|
|1922 Detroit Tigers||n/a||$12,500.00||n/a||-|
|1923 Detroit Tigers||n/a||$12,500.00||n/a||-|
|1924 Detroit Tigers||n/a||$15,000.00||n/a||-|
|1925 Detroit Tigers||n/a||$15,000.00||n/a||-|
|1926 Detroit Tigers||n/a||$17,500.00||n/a||-|
|1927 Detroit Tigers||n/a||$17,500.00||n/a||-|
|1928 Detroit Tigers||n/a||$18,750.00||n/a||-|
|1929 Detroit Tigers||n/a||$18,750.00||n/a||-|
|1930 Cincinnati Reds||n/a||Undetermined||n/a||-|
|1932 Cincinnati Reds||22||Undetermined||n/a||-|
|Harry Heilmann Stats by Baseball Almanac|
Did you know that Harry Heilmann won a batting championship in 1921 , 1923 , 1925 , and 1927 , hitting .394, .403, .393 and .398 respectively (#9 career batting average in Major League history)? A reporter once told Heilmann that he led the league in alternate years to which Heilmann replied ( New York Times , 07/10/1955), "Mr. Navin gives me contracts on a two-year basis. I always bear down real hard when a new contract is coming up."
Harry Heilmann | 2003 Topps Gallery (#21) | Photoshop by Baseball Almanac
Harry Heilmann was ranked fifty-fourth on The Sporting News list (1998) of 100 Greatest Baseball Players , Slug was also nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team (1999), and he is one of the last two American League players to hit .400 , having accomplished the feat in 1923 at .403 ( Ted Williams .406 in 1941 ). How did he do it?
Heilmann's Heavy Stickwork Mystery of Major Leagues
The "lively" ball that came into play in 1921 has wrought many remarkable things in balldom, but none more so than in the slugging power of Harry Heilmann.
Ever since they "hopped up" the horsehide, Heilmann has been banging for an average beyond every other baseballer in the universe.
In the days when the baseball was just that and nothing more, Heilmann was a fair hitter. Since then he has been the super-swatsmith.
What's the answer?
The bromidic reply is that the new brand of baseball, being easier to hit into safe territory, is wholly responsible. If that's true, why aren't the men who hit beyond Heilmann back in 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919 and 1920 batting beyond him now?
If the rabbit baseball has provoked an average increase of nearly 100 points in Heilmann's average, why hasn't it done the same thing for all others?
Just Learning His Stuff.
Perhaps the real truth is that Heilmann was just learning how to hit the baseball four seasons ago and that knowledge, plus the long distance ball of today, is the double-barrelled answer why he has become the king-pin hitter of the big leagues.
One of the strange things about Heilmann's amazing feats with the war club is that full credit never has been given him. When the weekly averages have been published there is usually a headline "Heilmann Leads Hitters" — and beyond that little comment is made. Heilmann thus becomes one of the unfortunates of the game. There is nothing picturesque, nothing highly colored, nothing bombastic nor spectacular about his methods. He is not a grandstander — not theatrical. And because he isn't he doesn't get the acclaim and the plaudits which men, less wonderful, but better showmen, achieve for themselves.
Never Courts Applause.
The whanging star of the American League goes about his work calmly, methodically, almost bashfully, at times. Instead of courting the applause of the crowds, he is modest to a point where he almost shuns it. All of which seems to prove that no matter how truly great a man and his deeds are, he must be something of an actor to win the ovations he so richly deserves.
The records show that Heilmann always was a good long distance hitter but never until 1921 a wonder man with the hickory bludgeon. In the first eight years of his baseball career he could not average .300 including his minor league work. Yet, since 1920, including the first four weeks of 1924, he has averaged above .400.
Started in Far Northwest.
Heilmann was born in San Francisco August 3, 1894. His first job was with Portland in the Pacific Northwestern League in 1913. He played first base and outfield in 122 games and batted .305. He appeared in a Detroit uniform in 1914, having been purchased by the Tigers for $1,500. In 67 games the best he could do with the bat was a woeful .225.
The Tigers decided he wasn't ripe and Heilmann was released to San Francisco, where he played first base in 1915. He hit .364 in 98 games that year and Detroit recalled him at the start of 1916. Heilmann has been with the Tigers ever since, alternating at first and in the outfield in 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919 and 1920. He has played the outfield since then.
Heilmann's Early Record.
Here is Heilmann's record as a batter from the outset of his career until the lively ball came into existence (see above).
That shows an average of .295 for Heilmann during those eight years, of which two were spent in the minors. If only his major league work is considered, then Heilmann's batting average for the six years - 1914, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919 and 1920 - was the sad sum of .282.
Then came 1921!
Suddenly Goes Rampaging.
This same Heilmann, who had hit for only .282 in the years before, suddenly went on a rampage. He hit everything that was served up to him with vicious force and remarkable precision and ended up the year with 237 hits and a batting average of .395 for 149 games - a figure which gave him the championship of his league.
In 1922 he came back with .356 and last year he smashed a remarkable .403; making a grand average of .384 for three seasons for a player who in his six other years could hit for only .282.
Better Than Ever This Year.
Heilmann is back doing his fence smashing stuff again this year. The first month of play finds him far out in front of the pack again with an almost unbelievable mark of .493. He has faced all kinds of pitching in all sorts of weather in all varieties of ball parks — and he's still smacking close to .500.
What is the real reason for his Heilmann revolution? Who can explain why the whanging star of Ban Johnson's circuit could hit for only .282 while in his sprightly '20s — and then hit for .394, .356, .403 and .493 in the years that bring him near and to the end of the 30-year mark?
Source: The Lincoln Star (Frank Menke, 06/20/1924, Page 16.
Harry Heilmann | National Baseball Hall of Fame Plaque | Class of 1952 ( HOF )
Harry the Horse (a nickname used by his teammates) once won a dog! During the 1926 season, while "only" batting .359, Detroit honored him on Harry Heilmann Day, August 9, 1926 . Fans, friends, the media, all came to pay homage to Slug including: Larry Fisher, a local automobile dealer who gave him a new car; the Knights of Columbus, who gave him a diamond stickpin; and Paddy Pexton, who gave him an actual hunting dog with a huge green ribbon around his neck.