Carl Mays was a submarine-tossing right-hander perhaps most well-known for throwing the pitch that led to the death of Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman in 1920.
Baseball Magazine described Mays’ delivery as “a cross between an octopus and a bowler,” per the Society for American Baseball Research, and while he was not a well-liked player, he was an effective pitcher for the Red Sox at the start of his career.
Mays came to the Red Sox organization when the club acquired the International League’s Providence Grays, where Mays pitched in 1914. He earned a September call-up to the Red Sox, but did not pitch.
He made the staff in 1915, mostly in relief, before taking on a starting role in 1916. He led the American League with 30 complete games and eight shutouts in 1918, when he helped Boston to its fifth World Series title.
In that series against the Cubs, Mays pitched twice and went the distance in a pair of wins, allowing two runs and 10 hits in 18 innings. That came after a less-than-stellar performance against the Brooklyn Robins in 1916, when he was 0-1 in two appearances and allowed four runs in 5.1 innings.
In July 1919, Mays was sent to the New York Yankees to complete a deal made the previous day, in which the Red Sox got Bob McGraw, Allen Russell and $40,000 cash from New York.
In parts of five seasons in Boston, Mays was 72-51 with a 2.21 ERA and 1.093 WHIP in 173 games, 112 starts and 1,105 innings. He completed 87 games with 14 shutouts with an ERA+ of 124.
Mays spent parts of five seasons with the Yankees, did a five-year stint with the Cincinnati Reds and closed his big-league career as part of the New York Giants’ bullpen in 1929.
He pitched in the minors for two clubs in 1930 before retiring. He spent 20 years as a scout for the Indians and the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves.
Mays died April 4, 1971 at the age of 79.