Street to be renamed after baseball player

Posted Monday, Apr. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Weatherford has long honored residents who impacted the community or who became famous by naming streets after them.

At the April 9 City Council meeting, the council decided to again honor one of its own, and on the anniversary of his birthday – a major league baseball player from the early 1900s nicknamed Hippo.

James Leslie Vaughn was born April 9, 1888, in Weatherford, where he attended elementary school.

Council member Craig Swancy, who said he was a baseball fan himself, first suggested that the street in Soldier Springs Park near the baseball fields should be named after Vaughn.

“I thought this was a good way – and in a proper location at the little league fields – of recognizing someone,” Swancy said.

Vaughn, a lefty pitcher, debuted on June 19, 1908, with the New York Highlanders. He later pitched for the Washington Senators and then the Chicago Cubs before retiring in 1921.

The 6-foot-4 pitcher earned several awards over his career, including the 1918 National League Triple Crown, 1918 National League pennant and the National League Earned Run Average (1918), wins (1918) and strikeout (1918-19) champion.

But Vaughn is most well-known for taking part in the first and still only double no-hitter. For nine innings, he and the opposing pitcher gave up no hits on May 2, 1917, at the ballpark now called Wrigley Field.

He retired with a 178-137 record, 2.49 ERA, 1416 strikeouts, 41 shutouts and five seasons with 20 or more wins.

He died in Chicago, where he lived after finishing his baseball career, in 1966 at the age of 78.

“This is the first major league player we ever had,” Swancy said, and said this would be a good way to remember and honor this pitcher who he said may still be considered one of the best 30 pitchers of all time.

Danielle Felts, President of the Parks and Recreation Board, said they are not sure if current residents of Weatherford that share Vaughn’s name are his relatives.

The council unanimously accepted the recommendation to name the street Hippo Vaughn Court after the only known major league baseball player from Weatherford. Mayor Dennis Hooks said this is one more way for the city to carry on its rich heritage.

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