For The Oracle’s Halloween issue, I wanted to tell the tale about one of professional sports’ most infamous ghost stories, the spirit of Eddie Plank.
Plank, regarded as one of the best left-handed pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB), played from 1901 to 1917. He appeared in the World Series four times in that span of time, winning in 1911 and 1913 for the Philadelphia Athletics. He was the first lefty pitcher to win 300 games, and is ranked fifth all-time in shutouts. He passed away in 1926, and was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.
Now, to the story. In 1996, a Gettysburg College professor who lived in Plank’s old house claimed he heard strange noises outside in the early hours of the morning 70 years to the day of the pitcher’s death. He recalled hearing footsteps and “grunting noises” reminiscent of a pitcher’s routine, including the sound of errant baseballs missing a catcher’s mitt. An ESPN writer visited the house nine years later with a psychic in an attempt to summon Plank, and claimed that the dead pitcher told them the 1914 World Series was fixed. Despite the events after his death being claimed as a hoax, no one will know for certain if Plank really did have to come back and get in a few extra pitches.