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Roger Connor

First Base
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Roger Connor (1857-1931) was the home run king of the 19th century, clouting 138 in his 18-year career. His record stood for 23 years after his retirement, until Babe Ruth surpassed him in 1921. Connor anchored first-base for five teams, winning pennants twice with the Giants. His flair for the dramatic was never more evident than when he struck the first-ever major league grand slam with his team down by three with two outs in the ninth. Born in Connecticut, Roger played for local clubs until joining the Troy Trojans in 1880. That NY hamlet witnessed five future Hall of Famers on their squad with Connor playing alongside Dan Brouthers, Buck Ewing, Tim Keefe and Mickey Welch. After moving to the Gothams, the 6’3” Connor inspired owner Jim Mutrie to proclaim the team “my giants!” and a new identity was born.

  • Much more than a slugger, Connor won the NL batting title in 1885 and consistently hit .300+ while exhibiting remarkable speed for a big man (still fifth all-time in triples)
  • Connor lived to see Ruth claim his HR title. It was thought at the time, however, that Connor had hit 131 HRS and Ruth's record was celebrated at 132. Writing for SABR in 1975, John tattersall discovered that Connor had actually hit 138 HRs.
  • Jay Jaffe's JAWS system ranks Connor as the 5th greatest 1st baseman of all-time, just behind Cap Anson and just ahead of Jeff Bagwell
  • Beloved by fans and the baseball press, he had a particularly strong advocate for the Hall in fellow legend, umpire Bill Klem
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1976

Auction History

Charles Comiskey

First Base
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: St. Louis
  • Team: Browns (AA)
  • League: American Association
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Charles Albert Comiskey (1859-1931) rose from decent first-baseman to become one of the foremost managers and owners of baseball’s early decades. “The Old Roman’s” leadership skills emerged with his first team, the newly-minted St. Louis Browns whom he piloted to four pennants. He would go on to compile an outstanding 840-541 record. His .608 winning percentage is third-highest behind Joe McCarthy and Jim Mutrie. “Commy” parlayed his ownership of the Western Association’s Dubuque Rabbits into a franchise in the American League which he helped found in 1901. He built the White Sox stadium in 1910 which would bear his name for the next 81 years and presided for the next decade over one of the most talented and troubled teams in history. While many dismiss the charge that it was Comiskey’s penurious ways that “drove” his 1919 squad to infamy, there is no doubt he was a cheapskate of the first order. He underpaid, over-promised and reneged with abandon, epitomizing the arrogance of the reserve-clause era.

  • Charles is credited with revolutionizing play at first-base, innovating play off the bag
  • Owned the Chicago White Sox from 1901-1931, winning two World Series
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1939

Auction History

Ed Cogswell

First Base
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Red Stockings (NAPBBP)
  • League: National League

Edward Cogswell (1854-1888) was an England-born right-handed first baseman for the Boston Red Stockings, debuting in the majors in July 1879. That season he achieved the sixth highest batting average in the NL. He played two more years for short-lived NL teams, the Troy Trojans and Worcester “Ruby Legs” Worcesters.

  • Was the senior member of the Ruby Legs at age 28
  • Died in Fitchburg MA at age 34

Auction History

Dan Brouthers

First Base
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Detroit
  • Team: Wolverines
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Dennis Joseph Brouthers (1858-1932). One of the truly great hitters of the 19th century, Big Dan played for 10 different teams over 19 seasons. He lead the league in OBP 5x, SLG% 7x, Runs 2x, Hits 3x, Doubles 3x, HRs 2x, & RBI 2x. In an unfortunate incident, catcher Johnny Quigley died of injuries sustained from a home plate collision with Dan.

  • One of 29 to play in 4 decades
  • Career .342 BA is 9th all-time
  • Career .423 OBP is 15th all-time
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1945

Auction History

Jake Beckley

First Base
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Pittsburgh
  • Team: Pirates
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Jacob Peter Beckley (1867-1918) was a durable first-baseman over a 20-year career. Though he never played for a pennant winner, Beckley hit .309 lifetime and held the games-played-at-first record until Eddie Murray surpassed him in 1994. Hit .300+ in 13 seasons (three different Pittsburgh clubs, Giants, Reds and Cards.) Upon his retirement, Beckley’s 2930 career hits made him second only to Cap Anson.

  • Not above subterfuge, worked a hidden-ball trick on Honus Wagner using two balls
  • Known for cheating on the base paths, was called out by the ump for “getting there too fast!” after racing from 2nd directly home while Blue wasn’t looking
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1971

Auction History