One of the earliest full-time relief pitchers to play in the major leagues, he was also a coach and scout for the Boston Red Sox.
Without a school baseball team, he instead took up javelin throwing, earning a scholarship to the University of Iowa.
In 1938, pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he gave up the legendary 'Homer in the Gloamn' to the Chicago Cubs catcher Gabby Hartnett, which propelled the Cubs to the World Series.
He was born near North English, Iowa, his father a school janitor.
In his rookie season he witnessed the last home run ever hit by Babe Ruth.