- Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
- City: Washington, D.C.
- Team: Nationals
- League: National League
John Irwin (1861-1934) followed elder brother Arthur out of Toronto and into American baseball, joining Art’s Worcester Ruby Legs when they were a National League entry in 1882. Art had been with the team since 1880 and was an established star when John debuted, getting into a single game that season. The younger Irwin played his most substantial year in ‘84 with the upstart Union Association’s Boston Reds under the tutelage of George Wright. John played third base, and hit .234 over 105 games in the UA’s only season. He would never see that much playing time again. Staying on the margins of big-time pro-ball, John saw action in all of the leagues of his day. He was with the NL’s Washington team in ‘87,the Players’ League’s Buffalo Bisons in ‘90, and then back with another Boston team called the Reds, this time in the American Association in 1891 with a final stint with the AA’s Louisville Colonels that same year.
- John’s appetite for the game was undiminished by his mediocre record. He played for various, primarily New England, teams through the 1899 season
- Big brother Art’s innovation of the fielder’s glove and scandalous demise amid bigamy revelations overshadowed John’s more mundane career but he outlived Art by 13 years
- Irwin’s uniform color on this card was changed in May, 2017 from blue to red to reflect recent reliable research by Craig Brown & friends at Threads of Our Game. Two cards had been previously released featuring a blue uniform.