I suppose you've never heard of Tom McAvoy. He was one of those one-day major leaguers, and his one day happened to come on the final day of the 1959 season, when the Washington Senators played Boston on Sept. 27, a Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.
McAvoy, a left-hander, entered the game in the second inning, in relief of another lefty you probably have heard of - Jim Kaat. McAvoy pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, and was hit for in the fifth inning. Season over, and as it turned out, big league career over as well.
Tom McAvoy passed away last Saturday in Stillwater, N.Y., after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 74.
After the 1959 season, McAvoy headed to Nicaragua to play winter ball. While throwing a pitch down there, he broke his arm, not totally unlike what happened to another lefthander, Dave Dravecky, years later; in Dravecky's case, cancer played a part in weakening the humerus bone. McAvoy spent all of 1960 rehabbing, but his arm broke again in 1961, and the now-Minnesota Twins released him.
McAvoy spent some time in the expansion Senators' farm system in 1962-63, but was out of professional baseball at 26.
McAvoy became a wholesale newspaper distributor for many years, and also turned his attention to men's fast-pitch softball, spending the last 30 years of his life as a coach in that sport. His efforts earned him induction into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame in 2009.
He wore No. 25 with the Senators, and appeared on a single baseball card, in the high numbered series of the 1960 Leaf set, a card that, ironically, is valued at more than $20, if you can find one.
No wins, no losses, but a zero ERA. Not quite as famous as Moonlight Graham, but anyone who made it to the major leagues - even for a single day - when there were only eight teams in each league accomplished something special.