Monday, November 14, 2005

They say the odds of a young man becoming a major league baseball player are practically one in a million, but those odds were even greater in the old days. Baseball had far fewer teams and little competition from the NFL and NBA for the best athletes. It was truly an elite group of players and very difficult to break through. Yet, despite those odds, the small community of Paw Creek, on the outskirts of Charlotte, NC, produced five major league baseball players during the middle portion of the Twentieth Century. Those players were Whitey Lockman, Tommy Helms, Pete Whisenant, Ken Wood and Paul Campbell. Even more amazing was the fact that four of the players grew up in a small mill village of about fifty homes. Known as the Homestead Mill Village, the village was renowned for its strong baseball teams and passionate interest in the sport. In addition to the major leaguers, there were also several outstanding minor league players that grew up in the Paw Creek area. As former Charlotte Observer sports columnist, Ron Green, once wrote,"Paw Creek might have turned out more good baseball players per square foot than anyplace else in the country." Three of the Paw Creek players participated in a World Series and two became managers. Four of the five hit grand slam home runs during their careers, and as a group they accumulated over 3500 major league hits.

This site is dedicated to the legacy of the Paw Creek major leaguers and their remarkable story. It includes numerous images and links related to the players and their careers. To learn about the modern era of Paw Creek major leaguers click here.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Whitey Lockman

A New York Giants star of the fourties and fifties, Lockman homered in his first major league at bat in 1945 when he was only eighteen years old. Whitey is the only player in major league history to homer in his first and last major league at bat. He was on second base when Bobby Thompson hit his famous homerun to win the pennant for the 51 Giants and played in both the 51 and 54 World Series. He homered in the 51 Series. A .279 lifetime hitter, Lockman scored 117 runs for the 48 Giants and finished his career with over 1600 hits. He played fifteen years in the majors and managed the Chicago Cubs for parts of three season. Lockman's Career stats

Whitey Lockman Obit

Pete Whisenant

An outstanding pinch-hitter, Whisenant had 5 pinch-hit homeruns for Cincinnati in 1957 - three off of Vinegar Ben Mizell. He hit a grand slam against the Dodgers in 1958. Known for his hustle, he played eight years in the big leagues. A colorful character, Whisenant once traded his glove for a Castro rebel's machine gun for a pre game photo before an exhibition game in Cuba Whisenant's carer stats.

Tommy Helms

Helms was National League Rookie of the Year in 1966 and a two time all star second basemen with mostly Cincinnati and Houston. He played in the 1970 World Series for the Reds. Known for his outstanding fielding, Helms won two gold glove awards. A close friend and roommate of Pete Rose throughout their minor league careers, Helms was coaching first base for the Reds when Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's all time hits record. The two hugged each other in what later became a famous photo. Helms career stats.

Ken Wood

Wood played six years in the majors and was known for having the strongest throwing arm in the American League. In 1951 he had 16 assists. According to Joe Dimaggio, the Yankee's players were told to never try to run on Ken Wood. Wood also had good power, and on July 4, 1950, he blasted a grand slam against the Cleveland Indians. Wood's career stats

Paul Campbell

Campbell appeared as a pinch-runner during the seventh game of the 1946 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. He ended up on third base in the ninth inning representing the tying run, but the Red Sox failed to score. Known as a slick fielding first basemen, Campbell still holds the record for the most double plays started from first base(26). He played six major league seasons with the Red Sox and Detroit Tigers but had his career interrupted by military service. He was the traveling secretary for the Cincinnati Reds during the Big Red Machine era and retired in 1977 after spending 44 years in Baseball. Campbell was born in Paw Creek in 1917 and died in 2006.
 Campbell's career stats.

Campbell as a Detroit Tiger

Whitey Lockman and Richie Ashburn

Wood with Browns Posted by Picasa

Whitey Lockman

Ken Wood as a Washington Senator

Ken Wood as a member of Red Sox. He played briefly in the same outfield with Ted Williams.

Tommy Helms

Monday, May 02, 2005

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Ken Wood

Monday, April 04, 2005

Tommy Helms

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Monday, February 21, 2005


Thursday, February 03, 2005