Kurt's Historic Sites

Luke Appling

Luke Appling

Interment LocationVisitedSequence in Graves I Have Visited
Cumming, GAMarch 27, 202251st Baseball Hall Enshrinee visited

Photographed March 27, 2022.

Many of Major League Baseball’s greatest players have had indelible nicknames. Monikers have included “the Georgia Peach,” “the Say Hey Kid,” “the Sultan of Swat,” and “Mr. October.” Luke Appling, the longtime shortstop for the Chicago White Sox, had the unenviable sobriquet of “Old Aches and Pains.” The extent to which Appling’s maladies were genuine or hypochondriacal is not known, but he was keen to keep his teammates apprised of how he felt. During his 20 playing seasons, Appling complained of “indigestion, a stiff neck, fallen arches, a sore throat, dizzy spells, torn leg tendons, insomnia, symptoms of gout, astigmatism, a throbbing sensation in a kneecap,” and seasickness after a ferry ride. Yet only a broken ankle in 1938 and military service in 1944 and 1945 interrupted the hall of fame career of Old Aches and Pains. His final ailment was an abdominal aneurysm in 1991. The 83-year-old died during surgery, and his remains were entombed in Cumming, Georgia.

Upon entering the mausoleum at Sawnee View Gardens, I quickly came upon Appling’s final resting place. His vault on the right hand side, in the third of five rows. The shortstop’s grave is the second niche from the right in this image. His placard lists him as “Lucius B. Appling, Jr.”

Photographed March 27, 2022.
Photographed March 27, 2022.

Appling is inurned alongside relatives. His daughter, Carol A. Tribble, was interred in the niche to the left of the hall of famer after she died in 2020. Appling’s wife, Fay, occupies the niche to the right of his own. Luke and Fay were wed for 58 years.

Appling produced 2,749 hits during his playing days, and compiled a batting average of .310. He led the American League in batting average twice, in 1936 and 1943. In both of those years he finished second in voting for the AL’s most valuable player. He was beat out first by Lou Gehrig and then by Spud Chandler — both of them members of the New York Yankees. When Appling retired after the 1950 season, he had played in 2,422 games — more than any other major league shortstop up to that point. He still holds the White Sox franchise records for games played, at-bats, hits, doubles, runs, and walks The seven-time all-star was enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964. In 1975, his number 4 became the first uniform digit retired by the White Sox. Appling continued his relationship with the MLB into his twilight years. He was a coach in the Atlanta Braves organization for 14 years and retired mere days before his death.

Photographed March 27, 2022.

Fast Facts

Born: April 2, 1907 in High Point, North Carolina

Spouse: Fay Nell Dodd Appling (m. 1932-1991)

Military Service: U.S. Army

Primary Team: Chicago White Sox (1930-1943, 1945-1950)

Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1964

Died: January 3, 1991 in Cumming, Georgia

Cause of Death: Abdominal Aneurysm

Age: 83

Interment: Sawnee View Gardens, Cumming, Georgia

"I've got a bad right knee. Hurt it in an old-timers game. And a bad left knee and right shoulder. I reinjured the right knee a couple of years ago. I think it's mutilated now."
- Luke Appling
February 1989, indicating to the New York Times that his aches and pains were not lessening in his ninth decade of life

Sources Consulted and Further Reading

Associated Press. “Old Aches and Pains.” New York Times. February 26, 1989. Section 8, page 1. https://www.nytimes.com/1989/02/26/sports/old-aches-and-pains.html.

Baseball Almanac. “Luke Appling Stats.” Accessed January 29, 2023. https://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=applilu01.

Chicago White Sox. “Retired Numbers.” Accessed February 11, 2023. https://www.mlb.com/whitesox/history/retired-numbers.

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “Luke Appling.” Accessed February 10, 2023. https://baseballhall.org/hall-of-famers/appling-luke.

Thomas, Robert Mcg., Jr. “Luke Appling, Ex-White Sox Star In the Hall of Fame, Is Dead at 83.” New York Times. January 4, 1991. Section A, page 18. https://www.nytimes.com/1991/01/04/obituaries/luke-appling-ex-white-sox-star-in-the-hall-of-fame-is-dead-at-83.html.

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