February 2011

Chick Galloway, PC’s First Major Leaguer

Clarence Edward “Chick” “Galloway was born on August 4, 1896, in Manning, South Carolina. His family later moved to Clinton, where Chick attended Clinton High School and was a standout in several sports. In 1914, he entered Presbyterian College, where he went on to earn all-state honors in baseball, basketball, and football. During the summers, he also played textile league baseball.

In 1918, Chick wrote to the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern League and told them he could play shortstop for them if they would give him a chance. He played briefly for them before joining the navy, where he served from July until December of 1918. He returned to Atlanta for the 1919 season.That year the Crackers won the Southern League pennant, largely due to the efforts of the famous double play trio, Galloway, Jimmy Dykes and Ivy Griffin. Near the end of the season, Connie Mack brought the three to Philadelphia to play for the Athletics. According to Galloway, “I suppose the most thrilled I’ve ever been was the day Mr. Mack told me I was going to Philadelphia…He had been scouting the Atlanta club for a few days, and everybody knew he was looking at Dykes. I was really surprised when he also bought my contract. It was a dream come true” (State and Columbia Record, Sept. 17, 1961, p. 8-B).

Galloway played his first major league game on September 9, 1919, but did not become a regular starting shortstop until 1921. His best season with the A’s was in 1922, when he batted .334, and was named to the all-star team. According to the Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, “He not only outhit his nearest shortstop competitor by some fifty-five points, but his batting average was higher than that of Babe Ruth…His fielding was as brilliant and consistent as that of a man who aspired to be Barry’s successor could be. Best of all, the Chicken isn’t swollen headed over his success. He is just the same good-hearted, modest youngster as when he came up, unheralded and unsung, from the sticks” (Nov. 8, 1922).

Chick Galloway when he played for the Philadelphia Athletics

Chick Galloway when he played for the Philadelphia Athletics

In 1928, Galloway was traded to the Detroit Tigers. After playing only 53 games that season, he was hit in the head during batting practice, resulting in a serious head injury that ended his major league career. He returned to Clinton, where he first opened a book and gift shop, and later became an underwriter for Equitable Life Insurance and Colonial Life. From 1935-1943 he coached the PC baseball team, which won the state championship in 1937. That year he persuaded Connie Mack to bring the A’s to Clinton for an exhibition game against PC. He also worked as a major league scout, and recruited both Lou Brissie and Kurt Higbe.

Chick Galloway was named Clinton’s Citizen of the Year in 1967 because of his sportsmanship and encouragement of young people in the community. According to the Clinton Chronicle, “On any given day…at the Little League park, the PC tennis courts, or the high school football field – one may find Mr. “Chick” as the living symbol of the best in sports. He’s as young at heart as the youngest performer, interested in every move and ready with encouragement for clean, hard play” (April 6, 1967). Chick Galloway died two years later, on Nov. 7, 1969, and was posthumously inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976.