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FNLL in the Majors


Clarence Blethen

Birth Name:    Clarence Waldo Blethen
Nickname:      Climax
Born On:        07-11-1893 
Born In:          Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
Died On:        04-11-1973
Died In:           Frederick, Maryland
Cemetery:       Mount Olivet Cemetery, Frederick, Maryland
High School:      Undetermined
College:         University of Maine
Bats:                Left       Throws:        Right
Height:             5-11       Weight:        165
First Game:      09-17-1923 (Age 30)
Last Game:      09-26-1929
Draft:               Not Applicable
1923 Boston Red Sox 
1929 Brooklyn Robins

Deal for  Salt of Local Player Consummated— Price Paid 1,500.
The deal by which Clarence Blethen, Hustler utility man, becomes the property of the Boston Americans, has been completed. A telegram was received by Manager McNeill this morning to the effect that Blethen is to report to Boston on September 1. The price paid for him is $1,500. It was also intimated that the local management is awaiting word from E G Barrows, of the New York Yankees, who, it is understood, is dickering for Ray Gardner, the Hustler shortstop it Is also rumored that several major league outfits have their eye on Gardner and there is prospect he will be the property of a 'big time" outfit when next season rolls around. Four years ago the tall right hander came to Frederick and has been with the local club ever since He has pitched, played the outfield and infield. He has impressed fans all over the Blue Ridge circuit by his never-say die spirit, add intense earnestness in every game, no matter what the score and no matter whether his club seemed hopelessly beaten. Blethen's promotion to the majors comes as a fitting reward to a hard-working and brilliant player who always gave his club the best that was in him. Fans have marveled time and time again at his wonderful throwing arm when playing the outfield for Frederick. Just how much more effective Bleth would have been on the mound, had he received the customary three or four days rest between games its hard to say. But he was too valuable a man to have on the bench. Blethen played a bang-up game for the Frederick professional basketball team of two years ago. The spring just past found him coaching the Blue Ridge College baseball nine. Under his watchful eye Blue Ridge enjoyed its most successful season and mowed down the larger colleges of this section with surprising regularity. Blethen came from Maine four years ago a raw recruit with a strong right arm, a willingness to work, a remarkable store of physical energy and a likable personality. He will return to the metropolis of New England September 1 a big leaguer. Other Frederick players to get tries in the big show are Bill Lamar. Lewis Malone, Clyde Barnhart and Rube Meadows Barney is the only one still in the big show. Bleth is the second local twirler to win a big league berth, Meadows being with the Now York Yankees for a brief spell several years Ago. He was with Frederick in the Tri-City League and later pitched winning ball for Jack Dunn’s Birds

Birth Name:    Charles Ernest Keller
Nickname:      Charlie or King Kong
Born On:        09-12-1916
Born In:          Middletown, Maryland
Died On:        05-23-1990
Died In:          Frederick, Maryland
Cemetery:       Christ Church Reformed Cemetery, Middletown, Maryland
High School:    Middletown High School (Middletown, MD)
College:           University of Maryland
Bats:                Left              Throws:                     Right
Height:             5-10              Weight:                     190
First Game:      04-22-1939 (Age 22)
Last Game:      09-14-1952
Draft:               Not Applicable
1939 New York Yankees                             9                $6,000.00                       
1940 New York Yankees                             9                $10,000.00                     
1941 New York Yankees                             9                $10,000.00                     
1942 New York Yankees                             9                $16,000.00                     
1943 New York Yankees                             9                $18,000.00                     
1945 New York Yankees                             12              Undetermined                
1946 New York Yankees                             12              Undetermined                
1947 New York Yankees                             12              $25,000.00                     
1948 New York Yankees                             12              $27,500.00                     
1949 New York Yankees                             9, 12          $20,625.00                     
1950 Detroit Tigers                                       27              $15,000.00                     
1951 Detroit Tigers                                       27              $20,000.00                     
1952 New York Yankees       28, 99  $3,000.00

July 1, 1933

Major league scouts watching Charlie Keller, Newark's 21-year old star, this year predict he will shine more brightly with the Yankees than Joe DiMaggio. Because his great speed enables him to beat out so many infield hits. Keller is one of those rare players that have both power at the bat and speed in the field and on the bases. The young Bear has a strong and accurate throwing arm and is always hustling and trying to improve his play. One major league scout said this of him: "If I could buy Keller for $150.000 I'd consider it the best purchase I ever made."

May 24, 1990

Former New York Yankee player, racehorse farm owner, Mr. Charles Ernest Keller Jr., who played 13 years for the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers and later became the owner of a successful harness race horse breeding farm, died Wednesday, at his home near Yellow Springs west of Frederick. He was 73. Mr. Keller died of colon cancer at his Yankeeland Farms home after an illness of 1 1/2 years, said Donald B. Thompson, funeral director. The stocky, barrel-chested outfielder, who was nicknamed "King Kong" Keller, played from 1939 to 1949 with the Yankees before moving to Detroit. He played a total of 1,170 major league games and had a career batting average of .286. Mr. Keller also played in the 1939, 1941,1942 and 1943 World Series, batting .306 in 19 games. Mr. Keller's brother, Hal, also played three seasons in the major leagues, for the Washington Senators. After Mr. Keller retired from baseball in 1952, he became a successful breeder of trotters at his farm on Yellow Springs Road Mr. Keller's friends from baseball described him as a tough competitor who never let his success go to his head. Former Yankees pitcher Eddie Lopat played with Mr. Keller in the 1940s and said he "would give you 105 percent every day." "He could do everything. He'd be a superstar today. He used to hit 30 or 35 home runs a year. He could throw. He had outstanding speed," said Mr. Lopat. Former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, another Keller friend, described him as "a class act." "He was a helluva player and he played in a great outfield with (Joe) DiMaggio and Tommy Hendrick," said Mr. Branca. Born in Middletown on Sept. 12, 1916, he was the son of the late Charles Ernest Keller Sr. and Naomi Kefauver Keller. He was the husband of Martha Williamson Keller. Mr. Keller was a graduate of Middletown High School and the University of Maryland, where he majored in agriculture economics. Mr. Keller was a member of Christ Reformed United Church of Christ in Middletown and was an avid golfer. Surviving besides his wife are one daughter, Jean K. Bittle of Frederick; two sons, Charles E. Keller III and Donald L. Keller of Frederick; six grandchildren, Charles E. Keller IV, E. Dan Bittle, Brett D. Bittle, Scott Keller and Colyn Keller, all of Frederick, and Gabrielle Keller of Alexandria, Va., three great-grandchildren, Charles E. Keller V, Maxanne Keller and Lexington Bittle; two brothers, J. Hugh Keller of Braddock Heights and Harold K. Keller of Seattle, Wash.; and one sister, Ruth Holier of Middletown. There will be no visitation at the funeral home. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at Christ Reformed United Church of Christ. The Rev. Mark Wakefield, Mr. Keller's pastor, and the Rev. George Klinefelter, his former pastor, will officiate. Private interment will be made in the church cemetery. The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the memorial fund of Christ Reformed United Church of Christ, Middletown, Md. 21769, or to Hospice of Frederick County, P.O. Box 1644, Frederick, Md. 21701.

Branden Kline
Birth Name:    Branden Alexander Kline
Nickname:     BK
Born On:        09-29-1991 
Born In:          Frederick, MD
High School:      Gov. Thomas Johnson HS
College:         University of Virginia
Throws:        Right
Height:             6-3       Weight:        210
First Game:      April 20, 2019, for the Baltimore Orioles
Last Game:      September 25, 2020, for the Baltimore Orioles
Draft:               2nd Rd.; 65th overall, Baltimore Orioles

Branden Alexander Kline (born September 29, 1991) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles in 2019 and 2020.

Amateur career

Kline attended Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Maryland. In his senior year, in 2009, he experienced an increase in velocity, reaching 95 miles per hour (153 km/h), which drew attention from scouts. He finished his senior year with a 6–1 win–loss record, a 0.51 earned run average (ERA) and 79 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched.  The Boston Red Sox selected Kline in the sixth round, with the 198th overall selection, of the 2009 MLB draft. He opted not to sign, as he had already committed to attend the University of Virginia on a college baseball scholarship.

With the Virginia Cavaliers baseball team, Kline was used as a relief pitcher in his freshman and sophomore years. In his sophomore year, Kline recorded 18 saves, the third most in college baseball, and tying the Cavaliers' record and setting an Atlantic Coast Conference record. That year, he was also named a first-team All-American. As a junior, Kline had a 7–3 win–loss record, a 3.56 ERA, and 94 strikeouts in 93 2⁄3 innings, with 15 of his 16 appearances as a starting pitcher.

Professional career

The Baltimore Orioles selected Kline in the second round, with the 65th overall selection, of the 2012 MLB draft.[2][4] He signed with the Orioles, receiving a signing bonus just below $800,000. He made his professional debut after signing with the Aberdeen IronBirds of the Class A-Short Season New York–Penn League, where he compiled a 4.50 ERA in 12 innings.

Kline pitched for the Delmarva Shorebirds of the Class A South Atlantic League in 2013 where he was 1–2 with a 5.86 ERA in seven starts. He began the 2014 season with the Frederick Keys of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League, and was named their Opening Day starting pitcher.[5][6] In August, the Orioles promoted Kline to the Bowie Baysox of the Class AA Eastern League. In 26 starts between both teams, he was 8–8 with a 4.08 ERA. Kline spent the 2015 season with Bowie. By training with a weighted ball in the offseason, as suggested by teammate Tyler Wilson, Kline's fastball velocity improved from 90 to 94 miles per hour (145 to 151 km/h) to 93 to 97 miles per hour (150 to 156 km/h). In eight starts, he pitched to a 3–3 record and a 3.66 ERA.

In October 2015, Kline underwent Tommy John surgery. He missed the 2016 season, and had a follow-up surgery in March 2017, forcing him to miss all of that season as well. He returned to Frederick in 2018 as a relief pitcher. The Orioles added him to their 40-man roster after the season.

He opened the 2019 season with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides. On April 20, he was recalled to the major league roster for the first time, as the 26th man for a double-header versus the Minnesota Twins. He made his debut that night, recording two innings in relief.
Kline was designated for assignment by the Orioles on January 30, 2020, and outrighted on February 5. On September 4, 2020, Kline was selected back to the major leagues. Kline pitched to a 1.80 ERA with 7 strikeouts over 3 appearances for the Orioles in 2020. He elected free agency on October 29, 2020.

On January 13, 2021, Kline announced his retirement from professional baseball via Instagram.

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