Twenty-five years ago while a junior at , I was amazed to find out that a member of the 1919 Washington Senators was living in my hometown. Eddie Gill lived with his daughter and her family on Federico Circle since the early 1970’s.
It turned out his grandson Teddy Mulhaney was able to setup an interview with him for me. So, on a rainy afternoon in 1986 I sat in Mr. Gill’s living room in the basement apartment of his home.
Eddie Gill was born in Somerville, Massachusetts August 7, 1895. He would go on to graduate from Holy Cross Class of 1917, and was a teammate of Joe Dugan, who would later be a member of the 1920’s New York Yankees lineup. His coach at Holy Cross was Jesse Burkett a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
While at Holy Cross a young pitcher from the Boston Red Sox came out to coach the young pitchers – his name was George Herman “Babe” Ruth.
In 1919 Eddie Gill got a call from the Washington Senators and became a pitcher on the roster with the great Walter Johnson, another immortal from Cooperstown.
Eddie told me he had a chance to purchase stock in Coca-Cola for a nickel a share from Ty Cobb, but he turned it down and regretted ever since. He also watched N.Y. Giants manager John J. McGraw harass a young starter and ruined the player so bad he never played again.
After pitching only sixteen games with the Senators he played in the minors in Double AA Baseball with the Jersey City Skeeters in 1920, and the New England League.
Though he had a short playing career, Eddie had a couple other important items: When he died on October 10, 1995 in a Brockton nursing home he was Stoughton’s last World War I veteran.
Eddie served stateside but was considered a veteran. Did you note the year I said Eddie died? Yes, he lived to be over 100 years old—a short career on the field but a long career in life.
I like to think if there is a true Field of Dreams, Eddie Gill is there. Incidentally when Eddie got home from being with the Senators, he had also a telegram from the Chicago American league offices offering him a chance. Some of the members of the Chicago White Sox in 1919 were of course involved in the Black Sox Scandal.
Eddie is buried at Mount Benedict Cemetery in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. If you would like to see more about Eddie’s playing career: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/gilled01.shtml