Folks, for all you Delaware sports afficionados I strongly recommend Doug Gelbert’s book, The Great DELAWARE SPORTS BOOK. Gelbert wrote that in the late 1880’s, the first wave of Delawareans began to make their mark in major league baseball.
Most of these boys were local pitchers as big league teams were always on a look-out for new arms — any one which could dominate a league in a day when a good starting pitcher would throw 500 innings a season.
Gelbert informs us that Ellsworth Cunningham, who was born in1865 and grew up playing ball in Wilmington’s Ninth Ward, he played for several teams in the American Association. As a reward for his yeoman work the Chicago Cubs signed him to a $3,000 contract in1900. He pitched only nine games for the Cubbies, but he hung up his spikes with a career mark of 142-167.
Cunningham went on to become the first major league umpire from Delaware. He umpired for four years, including one in the National League. He ended up selling typewriters in Wilmington.
A scholium: Ellsworth Elmer “Bert” Cunningham was inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame in 1996.
Today’s TSD History Corner comes from Alex F. Wysocki, who is a Veteran of WWII, served in the Pacific Theater and was part of the original occupation of Japan. He has a passion for the history of state he was born in, Delaware.