He was a former major league baseball player. His career began in 1919 and carried him from the Florida state league to the big leagues. He died at "the Tampa Hospital" sic. He was survived by his mother, Mrs. Margaret Bigelow Hill, a brother, John Bigelow, and a sister, Mrs. Helen Malcolm, all of Tarpon Springs, FL. His Obituary states: "The funeral (held at the Vinson funeral home, Tarpon Springs, was one of the largest ever held here. conducting services were Rev. Guy R. Nelson and the Rev. J. R. Derr, St. Petersburg, former ministers of Trinity Methodist Episcopal church here [Tarpon Springs] and Vernon A. Loescher.
Bigelow Society Library files has information on his career, but
Elliott Allardice "Gilly" Bigelow was born on
1897 in Tarpon Springs, Florida. His playing career started around 1913
his brother John. Elliott was a powerful pitcher/outfielder and John an
He had a "fast" fastball and good breaking curve. He struck out 15
Spring All-Stars in a 5-4 victory once. His talent as a pitcher may
inadvertently kept him from becoming a star in the big leagues. On a
rainy day he pitched a long game and sustained an arm ailment from
he would never recover.
The St Petersburg Saints of the old Florida State League was Elliotts first professional team in 1920. His rookie season saw him bat .287 and although he missed 22 games that year he led the league with 10 homeruns. A poor "class D" Saint team finished in last place with a 38-64 mark. In 1922 the league moved up its status to "class C" but St Pete, stayed near the cellar with a 5th (out of 6) place finish. Elliott, however, improved his batting average to .315 while playing in all 117 games.
The 1922 St Petersburg team was vastly inproved. They played two split seasons. The first half ran from April 3 through June 10 and saw the Saints win 33 while losing 22. The second half ran from June 12 until August 19 and once again they finished in first place this time with a 34-21 rercrd.Both "firsts" gave them an undisputed league championship with their only real challenge coming from Lakeland who finished 32-27 in the first half but fell apart down the stretch with a 20-34 mark in the second. The Saints were stocked with great ballplayers including a catcher named Block who batted .411 in 87 games and led all league catchers with a .997 fielding percentage. Firstbaseman Bradley also led the league with a .992 defensive average in 105 games as well as
being "beaned" 13 times to lead that unfortunate category. Stanley, the teams regular thirdbagger, finished number one with a .972 mark in 107 games but the heavy hitting came from Bigelow .343, G. Moore .357, E. Moore .324 and Roser .313. In addition to those fine hitters the Saints had some excellent pitching. They included Ollinger 17-8 in 208 innings, Lane 16-8 in 223, Wilson 13-10 in 204 and Hernandez 16-13 in 256. Elliotts average was good enough for second in the league to Blocks' , (G. Moore only played 45 games) but he led in at bats, hits, doubles and triples.
In 1923 the Saints returned to their losing ways and Elliott played only 57 games with them finishing the season at Macon of the South Atlantic League.
"Gilly" Bigelow was one of the hardest hitters in the southern leagues, the "Babe Ruth" of the Citrus Circuit he was called.
After that late season stint with Macon he again returned to St Petersburg for 24'. That year the 5'11 185 pound southpaw claimed his first batting title with a .388 average as well as leading a few other categories. The Saints were ready to sell Bigelows services after a bevy of offers when the Citrus loop folded. After this event the Florida players became automatic free agents and the "big lefty" signed with the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League for a $1000 bonus.
Lookout club President Nicklin said that Bigelows weak throwing arm was all that was keeping him out of the majors. Nicklin had a well known "healer", Bonesetter Reese, work with him. Two years prior a number of scouts were hot on his trail and papers were being drawn for his sale to the Pittsburg Pirates when he re-injured his arm.
In his first year of "class A" ball he wasn't as high in the rankings but he did lead the league in triples with 27 and finished seventh in batting at .349. The Lookouts however resembled the old Saints finishing in 6th place (out of 8) with a 71-82 record. 1926 saw his average upped to .370 but another weak team finished in 6th again. Finally Elliott signed on with a top caliber team, the Birmingham Barons, in 1927. He showed that he could dominate the league while leading in games played, runs, homeruns, and runs batted in as well as having the leagues second best batting average. The Southern League Barons played a split season finishing the first half with a 50-26 record good enough for first place but took second in the second half at 49-28. Memphis took first in that half creating a playoff
The "class A" Barons were only one step down from the majors and stacked with talent. Every position had a top notch player manning it. Catcher Everett Yaryan batted .389 in 105 games with 16 homers and 88 rbis. Firstbaseman Mule Shirley hit .342 in 155 games with 9 homeruns & 133 rbis. The secondbaseman, Stuffy Stewart, led the league with 61 stolen bases to go along with his .318 average in 152 games. Jimmy "Doc" Johnston, the thirdbaseman, was second on the team as well as the league with 30 steals which added to his 38 rbis and .338 average. 20 steals and a .306 came from shortstop Eddie Smith while Elliott Bigelow contributed with 3 homers, 15 steals, 123 rbis (2nd in the league) and another batting title with a .395 average from his rightfield position. Centerfielder Rosenfeld hit .344 with 97 rbis and 17 steals in 138 games. Leftfielder Simons swatted .308 in his 150 contests. Even reserve catcher Cooper topped the .300 mark at .303. All these great hitters helped the team set.a new league record with a .331 team average and also were tops with 185 total stolen bases. The pitching staff was equally impressive with their ace Wells.
Wells led all pitchers with a 25-7 record in 291 innings with a 2.78 ERA and 129 strikeouts. Roy finished at 19-5, Morrell 14-7 and had a 12-6 posting to go along with his .437 batting average in 53 games.
After handling the Memphis team in the playoffs in four straight games the Barons earned the right to face the Texas League champions, Houston. After winning the first two games they lost the next four and what was called the "Dixie Series".
Finally "Gilly" had his first shot at the majors with the Washington Senators but they traded him to the Boston Red Sox on December 15, 1928 along with Milt Gaston, Hod Lisenbee, Bobby Reeves and Grant Gillis for Buddy Myer.
A poor Red Sox team finished the 29' season with a 58-96 record, 48 games out of first place. Elliott played in 100 games, including 58 in the outfield, ranking 5th on the team with a .284 average. The Sox transfered him back to Chattanooga for the 1930 season and after only 66 games he was released to the San Francisco Missions of the Pacific Coast League.
Once again he returned to the Lookouts in 1931 and had a fine year. He was fourth in the league batting and tops in doubles and rbis. The contract that he signed that year stated that at the close of the season he would be made a free agent. Elliott took advantage of that fact and signed with the Knoxville Smokies shortly after the first of the year. 1932 saw him bat .327 but it was only good enough for 17th in the league rankings. That was the last year he would play professional ball. Elliott Allardice Bigelow died on August 10, 1933 after a brief illness in Tampa, Florida.