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Leonard Leslie Cole (1886-1916)
Profession baseball player in early 1900s.
  • Added April 2014.
  • Find-A-Grave - bio by Kit and morgan Benson..


    Born April, 1886, Toledo, Tam County, Iowa.
    Died January 6, 1916, Bay City, Bay County, Michigan.
    Buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Toledo, Tama County, Iowa.

    Major League Baseball Player. Pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees. He was the pitcher who gave Red Sox rookie Babe Ruth his first hit (a double base hit) of his career. Born in Toledo, Iowa, he was separated from his parents at an early age, and when he was 14, he lived as a student in the Industrial School for Boys in Eldora. In 1908 he was the winning pitcher for the minor league Bay City, Michigan team, when they won the pennant for their city. He was immediately recruited to the Chicago Nationals (changed that year to the Chicago Cubs), where Cole made his major league debut, stopping the Cardinals 8 to 0. On July 31, 1910, Cole pitched a seven inning no-hitter for a 4-0 win over St. Louis. Cole finished the 1910 season with a .883 league leading percentage and a 20-4 record, the major league's best winning percentage (and the best by a Chicago Cub in the entire twentieth century), however, the Cubs lost the 1910 World Series to the Philadelphia Athletics 4 games to 1. The only game of the World Series that the Cubs won was the 4th game, and the only game that Cole pitched in. Cole played for the Cubs from 1909 to 1912, then played two years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and from 1914-1916 with the New York Yankees. Sports writer and author Ring Lardner gave Cole immortality when Lardnar developed him as the hero for his Alibi Ike series of short stories. A slow-thinking poker player, his manager Frank Chance once threatened Cole with a $50 fine unless he quit spoiling poker games on the team's train trips. Cole would pitch ten ten games in his last season with the Yankees, when he died from cancer at age 29 in Bay City, Michigan.

    Mixer and Server, Vol. 19, 1910.

    Leonard Cole, pitcher, is a barber> by trade. He is the youngest member of the Cub's crew, being just 24 years old. He is married and weighs 180 pounds. Cole is 6 feet 1-1/2 inches in height. He was born at Toledo, Iowa, and began his professional career with Bay City, Mich., two years ago. This is his first year with the cubs. He is a right-hand heaver, and also bats right-handed.

    American Magazine, Vol. 71, 1910.

    Frank Chance and Scout George Huff, of the Chicago Cubs, seems to have more luck in discovering players than anyone else, and last spring they accumulated one of the greatest squads of young players ever gathered. Still the team was so strong there was little use for them, and Chance promptly traded the great majority and secured veterans to strengthen his great playing machine. He accumulated Bill Davidson, Miller (now of Boston), and Tony Smith, of Brooklyn, and traded enough talent to make a winning team. Out of this squad he kept one. This gem of purest ray serene was doomed to the dark, unfathomed cave of a barber< shop at Toledo, Iowa. His name is Leonard Cole and he looks both his name and his birthplace. He is six feet four inches tall and laid out on the plan of a fence rail. He started pitching for a Boomer Girl team, and did so well that Bay City, Mich., bought him, and there Chicago found him before he had finished his first season as a professional. With Cole, pitching is just like yelling “Next!” in the barber shop.

    He is the natural pitcher who, whether he wants to or not, “puts something on every ball.” His fast ball flashes upward and in; his curve breaks like a air-blown ball. He achieves his speed seemingly without an effort, his long arm and figners giving the ball strange twists, and the speed with which he hurls it causes the air pressure to do the rest.

    Additional Notes:

    Leonard's known siblings.
    Mildred, b. 1898, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, m. A. L. Harding.

    1895 - Census: Tama, Iowa.
    Cole, Hyrim H. - b. 1855.
    Cora A., wife - b. 1866.
    Leonard L., son - b. 1877.
    Lottie, daughter - b. 1895. (Mildred)

    1890 - Census: Hardin, Iowa.
    Cole, Leonard - B. 1885, Iowa - Industrial School for Boys in Eldora city.

    1910 - Michigan Marriages: Bay City, Bay, Mich.
    Date: May 9, 1910.
    Groom: Leonard L. Cole, age 24 years, born 1886, Toledo, Iowa, son of Henry Hiram and Cora (Phillips) Cole.
    Bride: Ada E. Seder, age 19 years, born 1891, Argyle, Mich., daughter of Issac and Nora (Stevens) Seder.

    Leonard "King" Cole Statistics - BaseballReference.com.
    Period: 1909 to 1915.
    Games: 129
    Wins: 54
    Losses: 27
    ERA: 3.12
    Innings pitched: 730.2
    Hits: 657
    Runs: 309
    Home runs: 13
    Base of balls: 331
    Best season: 1910 - 20 wins & 4 losses, with Chicago Cub.

    Reference Notes & Pages

    Related Pages:
    - See writings/sports/baseball
    People Referenced
    Chance, Frank
    Cole, H.H. (father)
    Cole, Leonard L. (subject)
    Cole, Mildred (sis)
    Davidson, Bill
    Huff, George
    Lardner, Ring
    Philips, Cora (mother)
    Ruth, Babe
    Seder, Ida (wife)
    Seder, Issac (f-inlaw)
    Smith, Tony
    Stevens, Nora (m-inlaw)
    Subjects Referenced
    Argyle, MI
    Bay City, MI
    Boomer Girl team
    Boston Red Sox
    Brooklyn, NY
    St. Louis Cardinals
    Cedar Rapids, IO
    Chicago Cubs
    Chicago Nationals
    Harden, IO
    New York Yankees
    Philadelphia Athletics
    Pittsburg Pirates
    Tama Co., IO
    Toledo, IO
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.