Jumbo Schoeneck

First Base
  • Card series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: Maroons
  • League: Western Association

Lewis N. Schoeneck (1862-1930) came by his nickname honestly, standing 6’2” and 223 lbs, a true Gargantua in his day. Despite his size and presumed strength, Schoeneck proved better suited to the minors than the big leagues. His decade in pro ball was mostly in those smaller circuits and, apart from his season with the Union Association in which he played for two clubs and saw pitching a decided cut below true major league caliber, his batting average was consistently much higher in the minors. This is, of course, not unique by any means and the big first baseman was able to perform very well for most of the franchises he played for. Thanks to the renegade UA that siphoned off a lot of upper-tier minor league talent to make its attack on National League dominance in 1884, many of its players enjoyed one sunny season hitting well above their pay grade. Jumbo, for example, was in the top ten in the league in many offensive categories, including BA, OBP and Slugging Percentage. Since his only other major league time came four years later with the Indianapolis Hoosiers of the NL, his summer of love with the Pittsburgh Stogies and Baltimore Monumentals (never mentioned in connection with baseball greatness) enabled Schoeneck to “retire” with a career major league batting average of .283. Not a bad accomplishment to tell the grandkids.

  • During his first of two seasons with the Hoosiers in 1888, Jumbo was summoned to relieve in two games. He hurled 4.1 innings, surrendering five hits and four runs without a decision. All of the runs were unearned giving him a phenomenal career ERA
  • Neither of Jumbo’s UA clubs performed too badly, but all of the league’s other teams were crushed by the St. Louis Maroons who made mincemeat of the competition. The lop-sidedness of the runaway Maroon steamroller played a large part in demoralizing the fans and leading to the league’s demise after that storied ’84 campaign. St. Louis was a big winner in another, more important way. Their achievement led to the franchise graduating to the NL in 1885 where they became cellar-dwellers

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