Harry Sterling Wolverton
Born December 6, 1873 in Mt.Vernon, Ohio
Height 5' 11", Weight 205 lb.
Bats Left, Throws Right
Fighting Harry Wolverton made his major league debut on September 25, 1898 as a third baseman for the Chicago Cubs. He finished the '98 season and stayed on with Chicago through '99 and began the 1900 season before going to Philadelphia in mid-season.
On July 13, 1900, while playing for for Philadelphia he hit three triples and two singles in one 8 inning game in which the Phillies defeated Pittsburgh by a score of 23 to 8. On September 5, 1900, while riding on the steps of a streetcar in Philadelphia he was struck in the head by a pole beside the tracks, suffering a skull fracture. He returned the following season, however, and played in 93 games in 1901.
He started the 1902 season for the Washington Senators (then called the Nationals) of the American League, but on April 21, 1902, the Pennslyvania Supreme Court granted a permanent injunction (effective only in Pennsylvania) barring several players, including Wolverton, from playing for any team but the Phillies. He accordingly returned to Philadelphia after 59 games with the Senators. He continued to play for the Phillies until 1905, when he went to the Braves.
Wolverton was hired to manage the Oaks in 1910, and brought the team into a second place finish with a 122-98 record. Although the Oaks had a collective batting average of only .224 that season, pitching was their strength with Jack Lively as the league's top hurler at 32-13.
As PCL historian Dick Dobbins tells it, "Wolverton brought added excitement into the season over a running battle with umpire Eugene McGreevy. The conflict blew out of control in mid-September when McGreevy awarded a forfeit victory to Los Angeles against the Oaks. After a controvercial call by McGreevy at first base, Oaks firstbaseman Don Cameron erupted in anger at the umpire, Wolverton egging him on. Both were thrown out of the game and fined $25.
"Wolverton was ordered to return his team to the field but refused, compelling McGreevy to order the game forfeited. At this point fans poured onto the field and police had to come to the rescue of the embattled umpire. Wolverton and Cameron were suspended and McGreevy received a rebuke from Judge Graham for his handling of the incident. From that point on, Graham attempted to assign McGreevy to games not involving Oakland. This incident helped bring the institution of the two-umpire system to the Coast League."
Wolverton returned to the helm in 1911 and had to rebuild his Oaks pitching staff after losing Lively and most of his other star pitchers. But the Oaks' 111-00 record that year brought the team into a third place finish, and earned Wolverton a promotion to playing manager for the Yankees in 1912.
After managing and playing in 34 games, with a .300 batting average for New York in 1912, Wolverton returned to the Pacific Coast League to manage the Sacramento Wolves in 1913 and 1914. When the Sacramento franchise went into receivership in 1915, Wolverton was acquired to manage the Seals.
Wolverton managed San Francisco for two more years. He never returned to the major leagues.
He died in Oakland, California on February 4, 1937.
(c) Copyright William B. Shubb, 2002.