Three more Major Leaguers from Davie discovered

Published 8:47 am Thursday, August 4, 2016

Last week the total number of major league baseball players from Davie County – as either a native of the county or a graduate of Davie High – seemed to be five.

Now it’s eight as three more have been discovered. Add to the list Everett Little Booe, Wade Hampton Lefler and Jack Albert “Roxy” Crouch.

The first major leaguer from Davie was Fred Anderson of Calahaln. The 6-2, 180-pounder debuted in September 1909 and played in the majors for seven years. He played for the Boston Red Sox, the Buffalo Buffeds and the New York Giants. He had a career record of 53-57 with a 2.86 ERA in 178 games. Anderson died in 1957 in Winston-Salem at age 71.

The most distinguished major leaguer from Davie is Baxter “Buck” Jordan of Cooleemee, who enjoyed a 12-year career from 1927-38 while playing for the New York Giants, Washington Senators, Boston Braves (and later the Boston Bees), Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies. He died in 1993 in Salisbury at age 86. The 6-0, 170-pound first baseman/third baseman was a .299 career hitter. And get this: Twice he had eight hits in a doubleheader (1935 with the Braves and 1938 with the Phillies).

Thomas Edward Seats of Farmington was a lefty pitcher for the Detroit Tigers in 1940 and the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945, his career interrupted by World War II. Seats died in 1992 in San Ramon, Ca., at age 81.

Tom and wife Opal moved from San Francisco to Tom’s old homeplace in Davie County in April 1973, arriving in time to plant a garden before moving back out west at the end of that summer. They moved in his aunt’s mobile home near the house in which Tom was born. He was looking forward to spending time with his brother, Clyde.

“It’s impossible to raise a garden in San Francisco,” Seats told the Enterprise in June 1973. “There’s no available land for a garden or anything else.”

“It was a long drive, just to raise a garden,” Opal said of the 2,710-mile journey after traveling in a truck pulling a camper. “We drove this stupid camper to bring all the garden equipment. It’s packed so full that I don’t know if we’ll have room to take back all of Tom’s vegetables.”

Believe it or not, Seats never played baseball in high school, just Sunday afternoons for pleasure. From a minor league farm team, he worked his way to the majors.

In 1940, Seats and his Detroit Tigers met Cincinnati in the World Series, losing four games to three as the Reds won Game 7 by a score of 2-1. Seats was a relief pitcher, although he did not pitch in the Series.

Seats went back down to the minors in 1942, but he was back in the majors in 1945, pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Then he was sent back to Triple-A in the Pacific Coast League. While in the PCL, he was employed as superintendent of the ship yards. He was stuck in the ship yards during World War II, working the night shift. As of 1973, Seats claimed to still hold a world record for major and minor leagues, something he set while playing in the PCL. The record: He pitched shutouts in both games of a doubleheader.

He retired from pro ball in 1950, ending a 17-year career. After baseball retirement, he worked with the telephone company in San Francisco and later with a furniture store. “Seats in the furniture business … It was kinda funny,” he said in ‘73.

“We were the only Seats in the phone book (in San Francisco), and it was five to six inches thick,” Opal said.

Zebulon “Zeb” Eaton of Cooleemee was a pitcher and pinch hitter for the Detroit Tigers in 1944-45. His two-year career saw him go 4-2 with a 4.43 ERA in 69 innings. He had a .214 batting average, with nine hits in 42 at-bats. Eaton died in 1989 in West Palm Beach, Fl., at age 69.

Eaton was not only on a World Series-winning team in 1945, he appeared in the Series. The Tigers outlasted the Chicago Cubs four games to three. In Game 1, when the Cubs romped 9-0, Eaton entered as a pinch hitter. He struck out, his only playing time in the Series.

Everett Little Booe, born 1891 in Mocksville, was an outfielder and shortstop in 1913-1914. He was a .219 hitter in 125 games. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1913, seeing action in 29 games and hitting .200 (16 for 80) with two triples, two RBIs and two stolen bases. The 5-8, 165-pounder played for the Indianapolis Hoosiers and the Buffalo Buffeds in 1914, seeing action in 96 games and hitting .224 (61 for 272) with 10 doubles, two triples, 20 RBIs, 12 steals and 28 walks.

Booe died in 1969 in Kenedy, Tx., at age 77.

Wade Hampton Lefler, born in 1896 in Cooleemee, was a right fielder for the Boston Braves and Washington Senators in one season, 1924. The 5-11, 162-pounder acquitted himself quite well during his cup-of-coffee stint, going 5 for 9 (.556) in six games with three doubles and four RBIs between the two teams.

Lefler tied in 1981 in Hickory at age 84.

Jack Albert “Roxy” Crouch, born in 1903 in Cooleemee, was a catcher for three years. For the St. Louis Browns in 1930, he played in six games and went 2 for 14 with a double, an RBI and a walk. For the Browns in 1931, he went 0 for 12 in eight games with an RBI. For the Browns and the Reds in 1933, he appeared in 29 games, went 7 for 46 (.152) and had six runs, a home run, six RBIs, a stolen base and two walks. The 5-9, 165-pounder played in 43 games in three years.

Crouch died in 1972 in Leesburg, Fla., at age 68.