Charles Vedder Sitton (September 22, 1881 – September 11, 1931) also known as "Carl," "C. V." or "Vet," Sitton was a baseball player and coach. He also played American football. Sitton played Major League Baseball as a pitcher in 1909 with the Cleveland Naps.
Charles Vedder Sitton was born in Pendleton, South Carolina on September 22, 1881, the second of five children to Henry Philip and Amy Wilkinson Sitton. He was named after a renowned Charleston Presbyterian minister. Known on the sports page as "Carl" or "C. V." the family called him Vedder. His grandfather John B. Sitton built the first brick building in the town square of the Old Pendleton District, and both father Henry and an uncle Augustus fought for the Confederacy in the American Civil War. Augustus was later prominent in the Red Shirts movement.
Sitton played football and baseball for John Heisman's Clemson Tigers, enrolling in 1901, though never graduated.
One publication reads "Vetter Sitton and Hope Sadler were the finest ends that Clemson ever had perhaps." Sitton played on the left; Sadler on the right on Clemson's football teams. Both were All-Southern football players in 1902 and 1903.
After college, Sitton played baseball in various cities. He batted and threw right-handed.
Sitton was a starting pitcher for the Southern Association champion 1908 Nashville Vols.
The club, under manager Bill Bernhard, entered the final day of that season with an opportunity to win the league pennant. The championship was to be decided by the last game of the season between the Vols and the New Orleans Pelicans at Sulphur Dell. Both teams had the same number of losses (56), but the Pelicans were in first place with 76 wins to the Vols' second-place 74. A crowd of 11,000 spectators witnessed Sitton hurl a three-hit, 1–0 shutout, giving Nashville their third Southern Association pennant by .002 percentage points.
The game was dubbed by Grantland Rice "the greatest game ever played in Dixie." Sitton's three-hit, 1 to 0 shutout, allowed Nashville to win their third championship by two percentage points. One account recalls "By one run, by one point, Nashville has won the Southern League pennant, nosing New Orleans out literally by an eyelash. Saturday's game, which was the deciding one, between Nashville and New Orleans was the greatest exhibition of the national game ever seen in the south and the finish in the league race probably sets a record in baseball history."
Nap Lajoie's Cleveland Naps soon plucked Sitton off the Nashville club, making him the first Clemson player to play in the major leagues. Sitton was optimistic upon his arrival at spring training to replace the ailing Glenn Liebhardt. He pitched well in the preseason, including a shutout over Mobile. He made his major league debut on April 24, 1909, against Rube Waddell and the St. Louis Browns, and won the game. He also won his second game over Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators.
Sitton jumped out to an early 3–0 record, but he was overshadowed by other pitchers on the club such as Cy Young and Addie Joss, and he had a high hits–to–innings ratio. He was thus relegated to the bullpen. Sitton played his last game in the majors on September 2, 1909, against the New York Yankees. He did not finish the game and lost 6–1.
In all Sitton appeared in just 14 games, 5 as a starter, posting a 3–2 record and 2.88 ERA. He had as many hits as innings pitched, and as many walks as strikeouts.
Sitton later served as head coach of the Tigers in 1915 and 1916.
After 1916, his career as baseball player and coach seems to end. Sitton surfaces again in the 1920s as an employee of the California-based Hercules Powder Company, a munitions firm turned fertilizer firm. Sitton lived in the Daniel Ashley Hotel in Valdosta, Georgia when the Great Depression hit, and lost his job some time around 1931.
On the morning of September 11, 1931, two weeks short of his 50th birthday, Sitton borrowed a car from a Valdosta native and drove to the Lowndes County Fairgrounds. There, parked by the baseball diamond, Sitton shot himself in the head. No motive for his suicide was ever determined.