- Series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
- City: Baltimore
- Team: Orioles
- League: American Association
Thomas Joseph Tucker (1863-1935) played first base for six MLB teams from 1887 through the 1899 season. He learned the game in and around his native Holyoke, Massachusetts, coming up in the era when gloves were small to nonexistent. At age 20 he signed on with his local minor league club and stayed in New England until the American Association’s Baltimore Orioles gave him his shot in the big leagues. He was a regular immediately and stayed three years, during which Tommy batted .275 and .287 before finishing with a spectacular .372 in 1889. That led to a job with the Beaneaters in Boston where he proved a worthy successor to famed Dan Brouthers. In his seven full seasons in Boston, Tucker never again attained such a lofty average, but he was a consistently good solid hitter, exceeding .300 three times. In ‘97, the Senators purchased Tucker from the Beaneaters for $2,000 and he rewarded the club with a .338 average in his lone season in the Capital City. He split the ‘98 campaign between Brooklyn and St. Louis before closing out his career in the majors with the Cleveland Spiders. Despite tailing off at the plate after leaving Washington, the switch-hitting righty compiled a very fine .290 average overall.
Tucker was known as a tough & rowdy competitor, earning him colorful nicknames such as Noisy and Foghorn Tom.
- Tucker’s career-year in 1889 was remarkable for at least two reasons: He led the league that season and his .372 average still stands as the highest ever achieved by a switch-hitter
- Tommy tied a major league record on July 22, 1893 with four doubles and also had a perfect 6-for-6 game in 1897
- Tommy was hit-by-pitch more often than all but two players. Only Hughie Jennings and Craig Biggio exceeded his 272 career plunks
- After retiring from the majors, Tucker returned to New England and played for three minor league clubs through the 1902 season
- Bill James ranked Tucker as the 93rd greatest 1st baseman of all-time in 2001; Jay Jaffe's JAWS system ranks him today as the 108th best all-time (betwixt Ripper Collins and Charlie Hickman)
Old Judge Pose: 465-1
- Series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
- City: St. Paul
- Team: Apostles
- League: Western Association
William H. Tuckerman (1866-1904) pitched for five seasons in the minors beginning in 1886 with Brockton of the New England League, close to his Connecticut roots. On July 16 of his rookie year, young Tuckerman hurled a no-hitter against the Boston Blues. He moved west to Minnesota and Wisconsin before landing with the Apostles of St. Paul for the 1888-’89 seasons. William had an outstanding campaign in ‘88. His 17-12 record belied an outstanding 1.74 ERA, sixth in the Western Association. Unfortunately, Tuckerman lost that command. In 1889, still with St. Paul, he saw his ERA rise to 3.49 with a 14-13 record. He did not play in ‘90 but re-emerged back home with the Providence Clamdiggers of the Eastern Association in ‘91. He won three and lost one with a fine 2.15 ERA before leaving pro ball..
- Tuckerman was captured by the Old Judge photographer in his Apostles uniform in 1889. The five images show him in a right-handed pitching motion. Curiously, William is called A. M. Tuckerman in all the offered examples of those cards. Baseball Reference has him as William H. Tuckerman and we cannot account for the mix-up other than attributing it to the rough-and-tumble touring the Old Judge men did, trying to memorialize as many players of the day as they could.
- 1889 was a milestone of a much different order for Tuckerman than being caught by the Old Judge camera. He married Evelyn Walsworth on April 18 back in Rhode Island in Westerly, the town he died in at an early age in 1904
Old Judge Pose: 466-2
- Series: Diamond Heads '15
- City: Havana
- Team: Leones
- League: Cuban National League
- Hall: Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame, National Baseball Hall of Fame
Cristobal Torriente (1893-1938) had the Babe Ruth build (stocky with spindly, slightly bowed legs) and, more than that, he had a Ruthian swat. He punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame by starring in Cuba and America’s Negro Leagues. In 1920 he was dubbed the “Black Babe Ruth” during an off-season exhibition against Torriente’s Almendares club versus the New York Giants who brought the Babe along. Per his Cooperstown plaque, Cristobal outhit and out-homered the Sultan of Swat over the nine game series, earning a nickname for the ages. Like the best Cuban players, Torriente had been playing at home and in the States for black franchises since 1913. He soon caught the attention of J. L. Wilkinson who signed him for the “All Nations” squad for several years. He helped lead the Chicago American Giants to the first three pennants in the Negro League. The left-handed batter (the Ruth parallels just kept coming) not only hit for power but was often around .400. Fleet of foot (sorry Babe) Torriente was a marvel in the outfield despite his physique and he had a great arm. A rival manager, C.I. Taylor, once remarked “If I see Torriente walking up the other side of the street, I would say, ‘There walks a ballclub.’” He averaged .344 over a long career in black baseball and set the Cuban Winter Leagues record at .350 overall.
- Sadly there was another way in which Torriente patterned himself after Ruth. He loved the nightlife and frequently over-indulged which led to fights with umpires and management. His alcoholism took a dire toll, plunging the slugger into poverty where he fell victim to tuberculosis and an all-too-early death at 44
- The Cuban Hall of Fame was inaugurated a few weeks after Cooperstown’s. Torriente was among the initial class of ten in 1939
- Elected to Hall of Fame: 2006
- Series: Beginnings: 1880's
- City: Detroit
- Team: Wolverines
- League: National League
Lawrence Grant Twitchell (1864-1930) spent the afternoon of August 15, 1889 having himself a grand day out. The box score would read: six for six, plus a walk; a homer, three triples, a double and a single; five runs scored; and 16 total bases. Had he not led off three innings he might have had more than his three RBI. Oh, and the outfielder even relieved in the second inning. The Cleveland Leader said of their home team's effort: “Twenty-seven hits for a total of forty-eight bases doesn't grow on every tree and never grew in Cleveland before, that's for sure.” Remarkably, it took a mere five years for Larry's total-bases mark to be eclipsed by Bobby Lowe of the Beaneaters. That mid-summer feat was the highlight, but far from the whole story of Twitchell's career. He was a strong fielder and is purported to have thrown a ball 407' - the longest throw on record in the 19th century. He played for seven MLB clubs over his nine-year career. Prior to returning to his hometown Spiders, Larry had starred for the Wolverines, his first team, from 1886-88 including the '87 “world series” title versus the Browns. That championship season saw Twitchell hit .333 while taking the “mound” in 15 games (twelve as a starter) and going 11-1. Ironically, Twitchell's teammate in Detroit, the renowned slugger Dan Brouthers, had set the NL record for total bases in 1886 with 15. After leaving the Spiders for Cleveland's Players' League entry in 1890, Larry migrated to other teams and lesser performance. It must have been satisfying when he was invited to a Cleveland Old Timer's game in 1921, playing alongside fellow sandlot veterans Cy Young, Chief Zimmer, Nap Lajoie and Elmer Flick.
- Twitchell's only blemish as a pitcher in '87 came in a 14-inning one-hitter loss
- His five extra-base hit day wasn't equalled until Josh Hamilton did it in 2012. In 2015, Jackie Bradley, Jr. also tied that mark
- Inducted into Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame: 1980
- Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
- City: New York
- Team: Giants
- League: National League
Michael Joseph Tiernan (1867-1918) overcame early miscues (a still-MLB-record 5 errors in a game & giving up a 10-run 10th inning in relief) to become a model of stability and decorum for the NY Giants, playing exclusively for them his entire 13-yr career. His bat trumped all else. “Silent Mike” was 4th in 19th Century HRs and batted .311 lifetime.
- Tiernan’s bat was key to the NY triumphs in the ’88-89 “world series”
- His outstanding year in ’91 silenced any animosity felt by returning teammates who had formed the ill-fated Players’ League