Sam Agnew of the 1918 Red Sox — 1918: Babe Ruth and the World Champion Boston Red Sox by Allan Wood

Samuel Lester “Slam” Agnew
Catcher

5’11”, 185 lbs., Batted Right, Threw Right
Born: April 12, 1887, Farmington, Mo.
Died: July 19, 1951, Sonoma, California

Sam Agnew played for the St. Louis Browns for three seasons before joining the Red Sox in 1916. He was valued more for his work behind the plate than his hitting skills. Agnew was a master at picking off runners, although his arms was sometimes wild and scattershot. He led all American League catchers in errors in 1913 and 1914.

On June 30, 1916, during a brawl, Agnew punched Washington Senators manager Clark Griffith in the face and was arrested on the field. The brawl started after George McBride was hit by a pitch and threw his bat at Red Sox pitcher Carl Mays.

According to Mays, Griffith shoved Agnew and “Slam hauled back with that big fist of his and he hit Griffith a terrible smash to the face. … It sounded just like a telephone pole snapping off. Blood flew all over the place … [H]itting Griffith in Washington was just like hitting the President of the United States … police poured out of the stands … the paddy wagon came clanging onto the field” and the groundskeeper had Agnew arrested. After the game was over, Boston manager Bill Carrigan bailed Agnew out of jail. The matter was dropped and never reached court.

Agnew turned 31 three days before Opening Day 1918. He was released by the Red Sox in February 1919, finishing his career with Griffith’s Senators. In 1920, Agnew headed to San Francisco, where he played with the Seals in the Pacific Coast League for eight years. 

Batting

 

 

g

ab

r

h

2b

3b

hr

rbi

sb

bb

so

ba

oba

slg

1918

Bos

72

199

11

33

8

0

0

6

0

11

26

.166

.221

.206

Career

563

1537

105

314

41

14

2

98

29

102

216

.204

.265

.253

Fielding

g

po

a

e

dp

pct

1918

Bos

72

254

104

13

10

.965

Career

551

2034

773

132

67

.955