Fred Blanding

Frederick James Blanding (February 8, 1888 – July 16, 1950), nicknamed "Fritz," was an American baseball player. He played five seasons as a right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball for the Cleveland Naps from 1910 to 1914. He pitched a six-hit shutout against Walter Johnson in his Major League debut in September 1910. His best seasons were 1912 and 1913, during which time he compiled a record of 33-24. His career record with Cleveland was 46-46.

Before playing for Cleveland, Blanding was the ace on a pitching staff that led the 1909 Michigan Wolverines baseball team to an 18-3-1 record. Blanding also played amateur baseball for the Detroit Athletic Club and won 20 games for the San Antonio Bronchos of the Texas League in 1910.

In 1914, Blanding was placed into the middle of a baseball war between the established leagues and the outlaw Federal League. After signing a three-year contract with the Kansas City Packers of the Federal League, Blanding opted to return to the American League after Cleveland offered to pay him a salary reported to be in excess of $10,000. Blanding was sued by the Kansas City team, and the Cleveland team argued that Blanding remained bound to play for them under the reserve clause in his 1913 contract. Blanding was allowed to play for Cleveland in 1914, which proved to be his last season in professional baseball.

After retiring from baseball, Blanding operated an early Ford Motor Company dealership and service center in Lansing, Michigan. He later operated an automobile business in Roanoke, Virginia, during the 1930s and 1940s.

By Dean Hanley

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