Just over a year ago, a bunch of talented, gutsy youngsters thrilled their home town of Westport — and the world — as they battled to within 1 win of the Little League national championship.
Many of those boys are now at Staples. They’re 9th graders, ready to try out for Wrecker baseball. Pro careers — an elusive dream even for Little League stars — are waaaaay in the future, in the improbable case they happen at all.
In fact, in the entire history of Westport, we’ve had exactly one major league baseball player.
And his entire career in the Bigs consisted of exactly one game.
Exceptionally alert “06880” reader Glenn Payne found him.
Hezekiah Allen — whose name sounds more like a long-ago preacher than a baseball player* — was born and died in Westport. Glenn is a baseball fan, and — reading a baseball reference book — he wondered how many Westporters are among the 18,408 men to have played played major league ball in the past 140 years.
Step up to the plate, Hezekiah!
Born in 1863, his 1 game came in 1884. The 21-year-old was a catcher for the Philadelphia Quakers — now known as the Phillies.
He had 2 hits in 3 at-bats that May day, in a 9-0 loss to the Buffalo Bisons. He was part of a double play, and had no errors. So Hezekiah’s lifetime stats are a batting average of .667, and a fielding percentage of 1.000.
“It’s unclear why he never played again,” Glenn says.
The 1910 census lists him as a “watchman” at a butter factory. Six years later — age 53 — he was dead.
You can find Hezekiah Allen today in (besides a reference book) Willowbrook Cemetery.
“His plot is well tended,” says Glenn, who hunted it down. “Unfortunately, it’s not in the shape of a base!”
* I’m thinking of you, Pumpsie Green.