- Series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
- City: Kansas City
- Team: Blues (WA)
- League: Western Association
Edward Charles Cartwright (1859-1933) was built to anchor first base and, once he finally made it to the majors at age 30, he did just that; first for the Browns in 1890 and then for four straight seasons with the Washington Senators of the National League from '94-97. The stocky 5'10” 220 lb infielder hit well until his final season, better than he had in the minors. His rookie year saw him hit .300 while driving in 60 runs. After a three-year hiatus, he continued his excellent offense, highlighted by a .331 average in 1895. He carried his weight well, evidenced by the fact he still ranks 13th all-time among base stealers who played for D.C. teams. Jumbo began with Youngstown in 1883 and had one season -1886- with the Acid Iron Earths in Mobile for the Gulf League, one of the more intriguingly-named clubs in the universe of minor league baseball that had some doozies. He was with New Orleans in '87 then Kansas City and St. Joseph (another of those tantalizingly-dubbed clubs-the Clay Eaters) before heading north to Montreal in the International Association to begin the 1890 campaign prior to his call to St. Louis for his MLB debut. Despite hitting .300 in 75 games for the Browns, Ed was sent west where he played for San Francisco, Tacoma and Missoula before returning closer to home with Memphis for the '93 season. He was released by the Senators in mid-1897 and played a few more games with the Minneapolis Millers as his pro career came to an end.
- Jumbo had a game whose output at the plate justified his nickname. On September 23, 1890 he drove in seven runs in one inning, setting a mark that would stand for 109 years until another St. Louis warrior, Cardinal Fernando Tatís, hit two grand slams off the Dodgers' Chan Ho Park in the third inning on April 23, 1999
Old Judge Pose: 70-1
- Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
- 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
- Series: Diamond Heads '15
- City: Chicago
- Team: White Sox
- League: American League
John Frank Fournier (1889-1973) has been ranked by Bill James as the 35th-best first baseman of all-time. Yet, his inability to play the position competently left the managers of his five major league teams in a constant quandary. He got his ranking at the plate, not afield. Always a good hitter, as his career progressed, Jack put up numbers with the best of the era. His career BA was .313 in 15 ML seasons and he really soared when the Cardinals dealt him to Zack Wheat's Brooklyn Robins. From 1923-26 Fournier averaged .337 and slugged 82 homers. His performance with the bat only improved as he aged. A recent ranking of hitters in their Age 34 to 36 seasons shows Fournier among twenty of the best ever. In fact, only he and Gavvy Cravath failed to make the Hall after achieving what he did in his mid-thirties. And he was no slouch in his twenties. Jack began his professional endeavors with Seattle in the Northwestern League in 1908. The teenager knocked around the west coast until the White Sox came calling in 1912. In two years he was hitting .300 and rarely dipped below that threshold thereafter. Had his glove been as magnetic as his body, Jack may have played even more—he led the league in being hit-by-pitch three times.
- Fournier may well have been the most mis-matched player of his day. The stratagems of the Dead Ball era dictated many bunts, a particular weakness for the sturdy fielder. And one is left to imagine the hits he'd have had with a livelier ball
- Jack almost quit the game rather than report to the Robins. He relented and went on to the best years of his career, despite leading the NL in errors his first season in Brooklyn
- Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
- City: Boston
- Team: Red Stockings (NAPBBP)
- League: National Association (NAPBBP)
- Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame
James Henry O’Rourke (1850-1919) made the National League’s first base hit, and went on to a 21-year, Hall of Fame career. From 1876-92, only Cap Anson played in more games or got more hits. After leaving MLB for the minors, O’Rourke returned for his swan song with his pal John McGraw’s Giants, becoming the oldest player (at 54) to play in the NL and to get a hit.
- Played for 5 pennant winners and was NA HR champ in 1874-75
- One of only 29 to play in MLB in four decades
- One of the first 19th century players to be elected to HOF
- Elected to Hall of Fame: 1945
- Series: Beginnings: 1880's
- City: Washington, D.C.
- Team: Nationals
- League: National League
William Frederick Krieg (1859-1930) was a powerhouse in the minors, but barely left an impression in the big leagues. Coming out of Notre Dame, Krieg joined the Northwestern League's Springfield and Peoria teams in 1883. The following season he got a chance at the big time as the Union Association multiplied opportunities for young pro players. He signed on with the bi-city Chicago/Pittsburgh entry as their catcher, playing in 71 games with a .247 average. Over the next three seasons, Bill would roam among three other major league clubs and various minor league teams. His stints in the American Association and National League were brief and his output paltry.
When he finally resigned himself to play in the minors permanently, Krieg came into his own. In 1887 with the Minneapolis Millers he batted .402, second in the Northwestern League. He then became a terror in the Western Association, hitting .324 with St. Joseph in '89 and .339 with Milwaukee in ‘92, good for his first batting title. His second title was historically good, when he ravaged WA pitchers for an astounding .452 performance with the Rockford Forest Citys in 1895. He was the team's slugger, tallying 15 triples and 12 home runs.
While Krieg's time in the majors was brief, he showed remarkable durability in the game. He finally retired as a player in 1901 at age 42, but served one more season as manager for the Southern League Chattanooga squad. Bill even returned for one last hurrah as manager of Muscatine of the Central Association in 1912.