MARCH 26, 1947


Born William L. Smith, in Adair, Indian Territory, July 8, 1887, his mother was either of Shawnee or Cherokee heritage. In 1909, with the Keokuk Indians, he took the name Jim Bluejacket. With the Bloomington Bloomers in 1913, his “slow ball” led to a 12-game win streak & contract with Brooklyn’s Federal League team. His major-league debut in August 1914 was a 2-0 win against Kansas City’s Winnebago George “Chief” Johnson. On September 7, Jim entered the game in the 9th inning with runners on base & Brooklyn down a run. He promptly picked the runner off 1st base, retiring the side.  Brooklyn’s 9th inning rally made Jim the 1st major-league pitcher to win a game without throwing a pitch. His remaining career was mostly in the minor leagues. A skilled welder, he was Standard Oil’s foreman in Aruba and helped popularize baseball there. Retiring in 1944, Jim died in Pekin, Illinois. He & former Seattle Mariner Bill Wilkinson are the 1st great grandfather-great grandson duo in major-league history.

Source: Bill Lamb, “Jim Bluejacket,” Society for American Baseball Research.  Retrieved 7/3/2021, Jim Bluejacket – Society for American Baseball Research (
Photo: Bain News Service, 8/31/1914. Likely Public Domain.  Source: George Grantham Bain collection, United States Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b44987

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