James York was the son of farmer Augustus York and Rebecca Brown2. The York family lived in West Fork, AR during James' childhood and remained in the area perhaps as late as 19073 before moving to Cherokee County, OK4.
During his furlough, York went to Newton, KS where he reportedly struckout 27 batters in a 16-inning game in July9. Afterward, he was ordered to join the 7th Infantry stationed in El Paso, TX. Having heard of York's impressive pitching feat with Newton, the 7th quickly added him to the infantry's team. On July 30th, in his first appearance with the 7th, York threw a no-hitter and struck out 21 batters against a local amatuer team9. The remarkable performance was publicized across the country, and it was rumored that the Detroit Tigers were interested in York9. As a member of the 7th Infantry, however, he remained in El Paso and continued to pitch against local clubs. Nevertheless, the next spring, he was given the opportunity to pitch against a major league the club. On March 29th, 1917, the Chicago Cubs stopped in El Paso on their spring tour to play an exhibition with the 7th Infantry, and York was selected to pitch. He was beaten badly though, allowing 18 runs and 20 hits in only four innings10.
York and the 7th Infantry were transferred to Gettysburg, PA, in late May, 191711. There, the infantry team secured an several exhibition games against the Gettysburg Ponies of the Blue Ridge League. On June 18th, York started for the 7th and struck out 14 Gettysburg batters12. This undoubtedly caught the attention of the Gettysburg club, and before long, York joined the Ponies under the alias of "Lefty Moser"13. He made his minor league debut on July 20th14 and remained with the team for several weeks.
York played with Chattanooga in 192015
The following is a record of teams York played with during his career:
"With the sailing of the transport Logan the following athletes from the 1st infantry will sail for the United States, to be furloughed and transferred to the army reserve: Pvt. James York, Company F, who Is well-known to all baseball fans on the Island and acknowledged to be one nf the best slab artists here . . ."8
"York is an army reserve man who served with the Seventh [Infantry] in the Philippines but went on the reserve a year ago. With his catcher, Gallagher, he took a job at Newton. Kas.. and played Sunday ball. Two weeks ago he fanned 27 men in a 16 inning game so it will be seen that his performance was no fluke. It is understood that the Detroit Tigers are angling for this pitcher."9
"El Paso. Tex., Aug. 2.--James York, who two weeks ago at Newton, Kan., established what was said to be an amateur baseball record by striking out twenty-seven players in sixteen innings bettered the feat here yesterday, by striking out twenty-one in nine innings. He fanned twelve in succession and pitched a no-hit game. York is here as a reservist of the Seventh United States infantry, called hack to the colors, and pitched for the regimental team against Everybody's team, a fast amateur nine."16
"Lefty York, who pitched for the l6th Infantry, will play with Vancouver next season."17
"Lefty Moser, who is none other than Lefty York, the former Seventh Infantry pitcher, was on the hill for the [Gettysburg] Ponies and twirled a masterful game, allowing the [Frederick] Hustlers but four hits, striking out 11 men and at all times master of the situation."13
"Southpaw York, a soldier boy, dropped in at Shibe Park the other day and asked permission to pitch a game. His request was granted, but he did not last long against the White Sox because of the poor support afforded him. York is still in the service, having only recently returned from overseas where he engaged in many important skirmishes with the American forces."18
"The new pitcher signed by Textor [for the Massillon Agathons], who is now on a scouting trip for players, is none other than "Lefty" York, southpaw hurler who broke into the big leagues with the Chicago Cubs and last season was on the roster of the American Chain company's team of York, Pa. York is the first southpaw to be signed by the local team but he is the third pitcher already on the roster and from indications Textor will have a hurling corps this year that will outshine any ever assembled by the Agathons in previous campaigns . . . A telegram received here this morning carried the information from Textor that he had come to terms with York Friday afternoon. York is no stranger to Massillon fans. He pitched one game against the Agathons last September while playing with the American Chain company's team and beat the Massillon outfit 4 to 3 in a six-inning contest. The big southpaw allowed the Agathons but six hits during the abbreviated encounter and retired them in order during the last three innings. York is still a youngster in the prime of his baseball career. When he joined the Chicago Cubs he was touted as one of the most promising southpaws to ever break into the National league. The portsider became dissatisfied with his berth with the Cubs and when the York, Pa., team made him an attractive offer "Lefty" grabbed it. This winter York made application to Commissioner K. M. Landis for reinstatement in organized baseball. This was granted but Landis later revoked his decision when he declared that he had discovered that York had -played independent baseball last season. York should prove to be one of the most capable left handers ever signed to an Agathon contract. For a number of years the local team has not been able to secure a first class southpaw. This season Textor seems to have eliminated that difficulty by securing York."19
1919-1921 Major League Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.
1920 Minor League Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.
1. York's U.S. Military Headstone Applications
2. 1900 U.S. Census
3. James' sister Maud died about 1907 and was buried in West Fork.
4. 1910 U.S. Census
5. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 8/17/1916
6. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 5/14/1914
7. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 2/10/1916
8. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 4/11/1916
9. El Paso Herald, 7/31/1916
10. El Paso Herald, 3/30/1917
11. El Paso Herald, 5/29/1917
12. Gettysburg Times, 6/19/1917
13. Frederick News-Post, 8/6/1917
14. Galveston Times, 7/21/1917
15. Wyoming State Tribune, 4/2/1921
16. Sporting Life, 8/12/1916
17. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 12/11/1916
18. The Sporting News, 9/18/1919
19. Evening Independent (Massillon, OH), 3/3/1923