Pete Sommers

Catcher
  • Card series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: White Stockings
  • League: National League

Joseph Andrews Sommers (1866-1908) was a catcher in the days when the position exacted a heavy toll on its players. Perhaps this accounts for why Pete could last four seasons in the majors despite having no discernible skills in the batter’s box. He hit .181 his rookie year in the lesser circuit of the day, the American Association. He debuted with the New York Metropolitans, a struggling club under Dave Orr’s direction in 1887. Sommers got into a mere 33 games, but did contribute a dozen RBI. The following year Pete moved to the National League where he would remain during his major league tenure with Boston’s Beaneaters, the Chicago White Stockings, Indianapolis Hoosiers, New York Giants and Cleveland Spiders. He split the ‘89 season between Chicago and Indianapolis and was in NY and Cleveland for his final turn in 1890. Overall Sommers managed to hit a combined .198 in these four years. Nevertheless, the risks of being the backstop in the days before modern protective gear were such that a high batting average was hardly necessary to fill in at catcher and Sommers got to be part of some of the noteworthy teams of the decade. His MLB experience was less than half of Pete’s pro career. He had started out with Cleveland’s Forest Cities in the Western League in 1885 and saw limited service as late as 1896 with the Quincy, IL Ravens.

  • In ‘92 Pete was a regular with the Terre Haute Hottentots (a simpler time!) of the Illinois-Iowa League where he hit .250
  • During his season in the Big Apple, Sommers proved to be a sturdy oak behind the plate. News reports described a collision with Orr that left the player/manager out cold and missing two teeth. Apparently, Sommers and first-baseman Orr were trying for the same pop-up. Unknown if Pete held onto the ball

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