Blix Donnelly

Sylvester Urban "Blix" Donnelly (January 21, 1914 – June 20, 1976) was an American professional baseball player. A right-handed pitcher and lifelong resident of Olivia, Minnesota, Donnelly had an 18-year (1935–1952) professional career and worked in 190 Major League games between 1944–1951 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves. He stood 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and weighed 166 pounds (75 kg).

Donnelly spent nine seasons in minor league baseball; in 1941, he had 28 wins and 304 strikeouts for the Class C Springfield Cardinals of the Western Association. He was promoted to the Major Leagues and the St. Louis Cardinals as a 30-year-old rookie in 1944. In 27 games, four as a starting pitcher, Donnelly posted a career-best 2.12 earned run average, won two of three decisions, and collected four saves as the Redbirds won their third successive National League championship.

He then turned in two outstanding performances in relief in the "All-St. Louis" 1944 World Series. In his first outing, in Game 1, he retired all six St. Louis Browns to face him, but the Browns held on for a 2–1 triumph. Then, in Game 2, Donnelly relieved starting pitcher Max Lanier in the eighth inning of a 2–2 tie. He worked four scoreless frames, allowing two hits and one base on balls while striking out seven, and was the winning pitcher when pinch hitter Ken O'Dea drove home the winning run in the bottom of the eleventh inning. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series over the Browns in six games.

Donnelly was sent to the Phillies in 1946 and spent 4½ seasons with them, appearing in 113 games as both a starter and reliever. He was a member of the 1950 "Whiz Kids" edition that won the NL pennant, but at age 36 he was one of the older players on the squad and did not appear in the 1950 World Series.

All told, he allowed 659 hits in 691⅔ MLB innings pitched, with 306 bases on balls and 296 strikeouts. He recorded 27 complete games as a starter and 12 saves as a reliever.

By Dean Hanley

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