William Adolf Wambsganss (1894-1985) was a Major League second baseman who played from 1914-1926. He also possesses one of the more interesting last names I can ever recall hearing.
Nicknamed “Wamby,” Wambsganss hit .259, crushed seven taters and drove in 519 runs in his somewhat average career. No, non-baseball fans – Wamby didn’t dislike potatoes – a tater is baseball slang for a home run. The tater is, however, apparently a reference to the fact that baseballs were known as potatoes back in the day. (Wikipedia Glossary_of_baseball – this page is actually pretty funny, and informative!)
But it is for one play that Wambsganss is by far best remembered for. In game five of the 1920 World Series, Wamby caught a line drive hit by Clarence Mitchell, touched second base to retire Pete Kilduff (love the last name!) and tagged Otto Miller coming from first, completing what remains the only unassisted triple play in World Series history! Earlier in the game, Wambsganss scored when teammate Elmer Smith crushed the first grand slam in World Series history off Burleigh “’Ol Stubblebeard” Grimes. The blast also scored Hall of Famer Tristram E. Speaker. Talk about a homer of epic funny name proportions!
However, it seems that Wamby was not fond of only being remembered for his historic triple play. During an interview with Lawrence Ritter, Wambsganss stated: “Funny thing, I played in the big leagues for 13 years, 1914 through 1926, and the only thing that anybody seems to remember is that once I made an unassisted triple play in a World Series. Many don’t even remember the team I was on, or the position I played, or anything. Just Wambsganss-unassisted triple play! You’d think I was born on the day before and died on the day after.”
Hey, I’d give anything to be remembered for one of the greatest plays in World Series history. But to each their own, I guess.
In any case, you go, Wamby!