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That winter he signed as a player-manager with the Richmond (Va.) Colts of the Class B Piedmont League.

That started Chapman on his new career…Ben’s pitching debut [on Friday, June 5] came against the Portsmouth Cubs, managed by his former New York Yankee teammate, Tony Lazzeri [who, like Chapman, also played for his team].

And the Richmond Colt manager was successful in the six innings he worked, holding the Cubs to two hits, one a homer by Cecil Garriott, for the only run, and striking out five.

At that time he was believed to be the first former infielder or outfielder to have gone from the majors to the minors, then come back to the majors as a hurler.

Chapman was released twice in 1941, finishing the season with a .237 batting average, and at the age of 32 he went to the minor leagues to make a living.

Tom Sturdivant spent three years as a minor league infielder before becoming a pitcher.

Jack Harshman got to the majors as a first baseman, went back to the minors and put up a 40-homer season, then decided his route back to the bigs was on the hill.

And Chapman took the mound for the first time in his professional career.

Here’s how Jeff Moshier told the story in the August 8, 1944, edition of the St.

He was traded by the Yankees to make room for rookie Joe Di Maggio in 1936, then traded by the Red Sox to make room for rookie Ted Williams in 1939.

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