Lawrence Herbert French (November 1, 1907 – February 9, 1987) was a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1929–1934), Chicago Cubs (1935–1941) and Brooklyn Dodgers (1941). A knuckleball specialist, French batted right-handed and threw left-handed. He was born in Visalia, California.

Larry French
Born: (1907-11-01)November 1, 1907
Visalia, California
Died: February 9, 1987(1987-02-09) (aged 79)
San Diego, California
Batted: Right Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 18, 1929, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
September 26, 1942, for the Brooklyn Dodgers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record197–171
Earned run average3.44
Career highlights and awards

One author has described French as the best pitcher not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.[1] In a 14-season career, French posted a 197–171 record with 1,187 strikeouts and a 3.44 ERA in 3,152 innings pitched, including 40 shutouts and 198 complete games. French had at least 10 starts and 5 games in relief for all 14 seasons of his career.

French joined the United States Navy after the Dodgers and became a career sailor, serving in both World War II and the Korean War.[2] He retired in 1969 with the rank of Captain,[1][3] having been awarded the Legion of Merit.[2] He died in San Diego, California, at age 79.

1933 "shower game"Edit

With his team leading the Boston Braves 8–0 in the ninth inning during their game on July 12, reliever French figured he could duck out of the bullpen and hit the showers early. Little did he know as he was getting clean that the Braves had rallied to make the score 8–7. When the call came for French to pitch, he did not even have time to rinse off. He put on his uniform and hustled out to the mound with soap trickling down his neck.[4]


  1. ^ a b Bullock, Steven R. (2004). Playing for Their Nation: Baseball and the American Military during World War II. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 136–137. ISBN 0-8032-1337-9.
  2. ^ a b Larry French at the SABR Baseball Biography Project, by Gregory H. Wolf, Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  3. ^ "Baseball in Wartime – Larry French". Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Fulton, Bob (1999). Pirates treasures : facts · feats · firsts in Pittsburgh Pirates History. [Pittsburgh?]: Golden Goose Enterprises, Inc. p. 172. ISBN 9780967571508.

External linksEdit