Although Archbald “Moonlight” Graham is baseball’s and Scranton’s most noted “one game wonder”, Scranton native Jerry Lynn is an even more compelling story because of his success in his one appearance. Graham, who played in Scranton for several seasons, never got to bat in the big leagues. He was made famous by the movie, Field of Dreams.
Jerome Edward Lynn was born on Friday, April 14, 1916, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His parents were Thomas A. and Alice Mangan Lynn. He had 5 brothers are 1 sister. He is listed as 5’ 10’ and 164 lbs. He threw right-handed and batted right-handed. His primary position was second base. He also caught later in his career. He pitched one inning in 1934. He was described in the Scranton Republican as “the freckle-faced, North Scranton second sacker.” (Scranton Republican May 23, 1935).
Jerry started his pro career playing as an 18 year old in 1934 with the Jeanette Reds of the Pennsylvania State Association. His manager was Ray Reynolds. He batted .263 in 64 games with the Reds’ affiliate. The Scranton Republican filled in the rest of his 1934 season, Jerry played with Beckley in the Middle Atlantic League and Mt. Airy in the Bi-State League of North Carolina and Virginia. In 1935, Jerry received a tryout with the Scranton Miners managed by Joe Shaute. He appeared in at least 2 exhibitions games. A May 6th, 1935 (Scranton Republican p 14) article in the Scranton Republican announced that Jerry was among 30 who tried out. Jerry was among the final cuts. Jerry latched on with the Stroudsburg Poconos, a semi-pro baseball team managed by “Honest” Eddie Murphy (of Chicago “Black” Sox fame) for the 1935 season. (Scranton Republican May 23, 1935).
In 1936, Mike McNally’s Williamsport team picked up Jerry. No record shows he played. He is listed on baseball reference as a member of the Wilkes-Barre franchise. He played in a handful of games for Wilkes- Barre filling in for an injured players. He played mainly 3rd base for Wilkes-Barre and was released when the injured player returned. A March 25, 1936 states that Jerry Lynn may go to the semi-pro circuit in the Metropolitian sector. A May 23rd article in the Scranton Republican stated that Jerry Lynn formerly of North Scranton, now of Daleville would man 2nd base for Bay Ridge a Brooklyn semi-pro outfit. Later that same year, Jerry helped Moscow beat Moosic for the right to play Tobyhanna in a local baseball league.
The 1937 season was the highlight of Jerry’s career. Jerry played for the Salisbury Indians. The team was managed by Jake Flowers. The Indians were part of the Eastern Shore League. The Indians forfeited 26 games due to violating Baseball’s old class rule. The Indians played an ineligible player. The rule stated that any team in the league could field only 3 players who had played at higher level than D ball. First baseman Bob Brady’s ineligible play proved costly.
It was decided by league President, J. Thomas Kilber that Salisbury would forfeit all the games he was on the roster, even the ones he didn’t play. Kibler said, “If we can’t play baseball according to the rules of the National Association, let’s break up the league.” The Indians had been 21-5. After Kibler’s decision, The Indians record was 0-26. The Indians played amazing after the decision. The won 49 games and lost just 10, after the 0-26 start. They won their league with a victory over The Centreville Colts on September 9, 1937. Jerry led the league in hitting. Jerry batted .342-7-60 in 93 games. Salisbury’s achievement in 1937 is unbelievable.
The owner of the Washington franchise was Clark Griffith; he purchased 5 of the Salisbury Indians’ contracts at the end of the year. Jerry’s double play partner, Frank Trechock from the Indians, was also playing for Washington. Lynn was 21 years old when he played in his only major league game on September 19, 1937, with the Washington Senators. He played second base that day and went 2 for 3 with a double. He also played a flawless second base having 7 total chances. 4 putouts, 3 assists and 2 double plays. This was Jerry’s one and only game in the majors.
Jerry also got to play against the Philadelphia A’s that season. This exhibition game was played after the 1937 season on September 20, 1937 at Salisbury’s Gordy Park. Salisbury won the game, 3-2. Jerry was not nearly as successful with the bat in this game going 0-4. Philadelphia used 3 pitchers: Delaney, Woodend, and Kalfass. (Salisbury beats A’s in exhibition, p22 Philadelphia Inquirer, September 21, 1937)
Jerry played for Charlotte of the Class B Piedmont League in 1938; they were an affiliate of Washington and managed by Calvin Griffith. Jerry batted .297. He also hit a career high 10 HRs. (basseballreference.com)
Jerry played for Springfield Gems of the Eastern League in 1939. This team was Washington’s Class A entry in the Eastern League. He played against Scranton. Over 11,000 fans came out to see Jerry play on August 4, 1939. He helped the Springfield club with his double play partner Fred Chapman start 3 twin killings in the Gems victory over Scranton. (Reading Eagle August 5, 1939) Jerry had a successful season batting .271
Lynn played for Williamsport Grays of the Eastern League in 1940, which was an afillliate of the Philadelphia A’s. The team was managed by Fresco Thompson. Jerry was playing 2b for Williamsport. He hit .223 in only 73 games. (basseballreference.com)
He then spent five years in the service during the Second World War. Jerry served as a military policeman in ETO, European Theatre of Operations from 1940-1945.
After the war, Jerry was in spring training with Elmira, an affiliate of the St. Louis Browns. He never played with the team that year. Jerry played in the Class B Tri-State League. In 1946, he played for the Spartanburg Peaches. Spartanburg was also an affiliate of the St. Louis Browns and was managed by Ed Dancisak. They played their home games at Duncan Park. Jerry’s bat showed no rust, hitting .312 for the season. He also switched positions and was now primarily a catcher. He was 30 years old this season.
In 1947, Jerry played for the Rock Hill Chiefs also of the Tri-State League. They were managed by Ed Freed and Danny Carnevale. The Chiefs played their home games at Legion Park. Jerry played in 55 games and hit a robust .304.
1948 was Jerry’s last in organized baseball. He was again on the Chiefs and played in 78 games and hit .263. He had switched back to second base from catcher to finish out his career. He was 32 years old when he retired from baseball
Jerry was married to the former Alice York, a native of South Carolina. She was a graduate of Spartanburg High School and Cecil’s Business College. She served in the Woman’s Army Corps in Europe. She worked as a secretary for the Pennsylvania State College. She preceded him in death passing on August 3rd 1952 at Veteran’s Memorial Hospital in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She was only 34 years old. Jerry was a bartender after his playing days were over.
Jerome died on September 25, 1972. He is buried in St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Moscow, Pa.
Spartanburg Herald Journal 1947 1948 1952
Bill James Historical Abstract
History of the Eastern Shore League
Wlkes-Barre Sunday Independent