On August 15, 1940, the York Bees defeated the Trenton Senators 3-2 in a Class B Interstate League game. What made this contest noteworthy was that the winning pitcher for York was a 54-year-old former major leaguer by the name of Lefty George. After the game George told the Associated Press, “I’m feeling fine. I’m not the least bit tired and there is no sign of soreness whatsoever in the old arm. I believe I have enough stuff to teach these young men a lot. I propose to play the game just as long as my arm holds out and from present indications that is likely to be a long while.” 1
Thomas Edward “Lefty” George was born in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh on August 13, 1886. He was the youngest of six children born to Thomas and Katherine George. The Georges, both of German descent, were married in 1850. Thomas worked as a laborer to support his family.
George, who went by his middle name of Edward, attended O’Hara Parochial School before moving on to Pittsburgh High. As a youngster he took up baseball, pitching for local amateur teams in the Steel City area. Around this time the George family began experiencing financial problems. In order to make ends meet, Edward dropped out of high school, taking a job working for the Ward Baking Company driving a bread wagon. George continued to play ball in his spare time, pitching for the Beltzhoover team in a local semipro league. While playing for Beltzhoover he was discovered by Richard Guy, a sports writer for the Pittsburgh Gazette Times. Guy signed the promising southpaw for his traveling all-star baseball team called the Collegians. Several major leaguers got their start with Guy’s Collegians: Jim Shaw, Gene Steinbrenner, Cy Rheam, Jack McCandless, and Elmer Smith. One of Guy’s assistants with the Collegians was Phil Tabor, coach of the East Liberty Academy baseball team. At Guy’s insistence, George enrolled at East Liberty to complete his high school education.
Upon graduation, George was accepted at the Staunton Military Academy, where he was a player-coach on the school’s baseball team. With restrictions on amateur players being quite lax, Edward was able to play a few games with the East Liverpool team in the Class D Pennsylvania-Ohio and Maryland League in the summer of 1906. Author Gerald Tomlinson noted in a 1983 article in SABR’s Baseball Research Journal that George played professionally under assumed names, including George Miller, from 1906 through 1908. Tomlinson…