Making it to the major league

By Staff Writer
March 18, 2004

Courtesy of Frank Bammer

Franklin Bammer couldn’t have been happier to talk about his long career in sports and his short-lived dreams of playing in minor league baseball. My grandfather sat comfortably with his photo album and began the interview talking about how he started playing sports. He was a junior at Northeast Catholic High School when several big league baseball teams began taking an interest in him.

He was an orphan at St. Joseph’s Home and played every sport there was to play. He mostly played basketball and baseball. He earned the nickname “Goose” Bammer in basketball because he was “the shortest guy on the team with the biggest hands.” When he was 18 years old he was a hurler like no other. He went for his third no-hitter at the time, which led to St. Joseph’s defeating Nicetown 6-4 in the American Legion League. Bammer struck out 11 to up his season to a total of 46 and had helped gain a 6-1 record for St. Joseph’s, giving them a tie in first place.

Out of the awards that Franklin Bammer received, the one that he was the most proud of was the Herbert J. Pennock Award. He received this award at Connie Mack Stadium in recognition of his sportsmanship and outstanding play as the left-handed pitcher for the American League. He had a total of four no hitters in high school and a record of 16 wins and five losses. “Baseball wasn’t my whole life. It was a way for me to get out of the orphanage home,” Bammer said.

There were five teams that came out to look at his skills as a baseball player. Teams such as the Phillies, Cubs, the A’s and Milwaukee would come to take him out to Connie Mack Stadium to see what he could do. He met a lot of famous baseball players in his life, but he doesn’t remember all of them. He clearly remembers meeting Richie Ashburn, Roy Smalley, Chuck Speaks, Robin Roberts and Joe and Frank Torre. Bammer also said that he met pretty much all of the Braves and remembers having Roberts and Torre watching him throw pitches down at the Connie Mack Stadium where they were amazed at how much of a mean hook that he had.

He played for the Kingsport Orioles in the minor leagues for about one year. He was then taken up to the major leagues to see what “big show” was all about.

He played for the Baltimore Orioles for about a year and was a reliever, where they would put him in if the team were losing. “They were impressed because my ball moved, it didn’t stand still,” Bammer said. When he played with the Kingsport Orioles down in Tennessee, he played for $200 a week and he didn’t have an agent. Bammer said that he modeled his pitching career after Kurt Simmons of the Phillies and said that he was disappointed when Simmons got traded to St. Louis.

He only played in the big show for a year since he had an injury to his pitching hand. He didn’t want to go back because if he had lost control of his pitching hand then he didn’t want to hurt anyone when throwing the ball. He says that he still has the scar from when his brother swung a board that had a nail in it that went through his finger. Bammer said that he doesn’t blame his brother because if it was meant to be then it was. He doesn’t regret it either because he said that if he wouldn’t have returned to Philadelphia than he wouldn’t have met his wife.

Posted to the web by: Cecelia Francisco

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