As you make your way around the lower concourse at Metro Bank Park from the visitors locker room to the Faulkner Kids Zone, you might notice the plaque hanging on the wall. As it reads, it was placed there by family, friends, and admirers of “the pitching ace from Harrisburg”.
Jimmie DeShong was born in 1909 as the grandson of a prominent Harrisburg minister and was given the middle name of Brooklyn after the NYC borough also known as the City of Churches. He attended Harrisburg Tech and William Penn High School and played as a member of the Harrisburg Senators in the New York-Penn League in 1929 and 1930.
DeShong was a righthanded pitcher who plied his trade in the major leagues from 1932 to 1939 with the Philadelphia Athletics, New York Yankees, and the Washington Senators. He compiled a lifetime record of 47-44 and his best season was 1936 when he posted an 18-10 mark. DeShong was known for being notoriously wild on the mound, as well as one of baseball’s niftiest dressers off the field.
After his playing days were over, DeShong managed the Class B Allentown Fleetwings, the Cordele A’s of the Georgia-Florida League, and the Class A Lincoln (Neb.) A’s. It was as the skipper in Lincoln that he promoted future Hall of Famer Nellie Foxx as well as Bobby Shantz and others to the major leagues. In 1951 the Philadelphia A’s appointed him their Farm Club Supervisor overseeing all nine minor league clubs.
Throughout his life DeShong maintained his residence in Central Pennsylvania and became an amateur golfer of some renown in the area. DeShong passed away at the age of 83 at the Villa Teresa Nursing Home and is buried in East Harrisburg Cemetery.