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Dutch Leonard c. 1915

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Hubert Benjamin “Dutch” Leonard was nine when his family settled in Fresno, California. Dutch pitched on Fresno High School's varsity baseball team, though Dutch also pitched for a semiprofessional Parlier team in his second season at FHS in 1910, climbing to the professional Valley League Visalia and then Porterville teams in the winter of 1911. Said to have looked like a Dutchman, the childhood nickname remained with him throughout his career. He signed with the Boston Red Sox in late 1912. A starter by 1914, he was named the American League’s best pitcher with an astonishingly-low Earned Run Average (ERA) of 1.01 through thirty-six games—twenty-five of which he started and seventeen he finished despite persistent injury.  In 1918, Dutch was traded to the rival New York Yankees. Embittered, Dutch returned to Fresno and pitched for various teams until his contract was purchased by the Detroit Tigers in 1919. He returned to Fresno again in 1921 during a series of bitter contract disputes with famed Tigers’ player/manager, Ty Cobb. He was released from the Tigers in 1924 and retired thereafter.