Lucas Giolito made his Cleveland Guardians debut on Monday and he got shelled. The righty gave up seven hits and nine earned runs in three innings and the Minnesota Twins beat the Guardians, 20-6. For Cleveland it was just another bad result in a lost year, but it earned Giolito’s season a weird footnote: He’s the first player to give up eight earned runs for three different teams in the same season since Bill Magee did it in 1899.
So how did this happen? Well, Giolito started the season with the Chicago White Sox before he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on July 26th when the team went all-in to try and make the postseason and make a case for Shohei Ohtani to re-sign. That obviously did not work out so Giolito was placed on waivers and picked up by the Guardians. At each stop he had one very bad start, which makes sense considering the three teams Giolito played for in 2023 are a combined 48 games under .500 this season as of September 5th.
As for Magee, well, this is the kind of statistical quirk that you only find in baseball where we have access to about a century and a half of meticulous record keeping. Giolito’s feat is antithetical to the Tungsten Arm O’Doyle meme. We always know when the last time something really good happened and we also know the last time something really bad happened.
Enter poor Bill Magee. Born in Canada in 1875, Magee made his MLB for the 1897 Louisville Colonels. He played for five teams in five seasons and then played in the minors until 1906. Then, according to Call to the Pen, while living with a wife and children in Buffalo, he vanished in 1907. To this day no one knows what happened to him, which really confuses websites that autogenerate how old people are because without an official date of death on record, they have to assume he’s 148 years old.
More than 100 years later, there’s not much online about Magee’s case, so it seems unlikely that we ever know what actually happened to him. Call to the Pen says there were rumors that he was working for the government in secret, but who knows. It sounds like the kind of thing that would make for a good movie or true crime podcast. And if that happens, you can thank Lucas Giolito.