John Pickett

Shortstop
  • Series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
  • City: St. Paul
  • Team: Apostles
  • League: Western Association

John Thomas Pickett (1866-1922) was a utility infielder/outfielder who earned three brief chances in the major leagues. First, after tearing up the Western Association for St. Paul in 1888-89, John was given a try by the American Association’s Kansas City Cowboys late in the ‘89 season. He got to play quite a bit for a late-comer that year, getting into 53 games at three positions. He managed only a .224 average. Fortunately for Pickett, 1890 was a volatile year in the majors as the Players’ League siphoned off as much talent as they could lure to their rogue enterprise and John got a chance with the Philadelphia Athletics where he did much better, hitting .280 in 100 games. The diluted talent allowed many of the Players’ players to excel that single year of the league’s existence, similar to what had happened in 1884 as the Union Association played spoiler to baseball’s establishment. Two years later Pickett got his last chance in the big leagues with the cellar-dwelling Orioles. Tommy Lasorda has famously postulated that the best teams lose a third of their games and the worst win a third of theirs. Baltimore defied Tommy’s sage observation by winning 19 and losing 54 en route to a last place finish in the AA in ‘92. He hit .213 for the struggling Birds - totally unlike his usual solid hitting in the minors. John had begun in pro ball with Stillwater of the Northwestern League in 1884 and played later for Milwaukee and Minneapolis in the same circuit. He was still hitting near .300 in his final Western Association appearances with Kansas City and Minneapolis in 1897 as he wrapped up his time in the minors.

  • One sweet note that Pickett could take with him was that when the Orioles let him go, he was replaced at second base by a young firebrand named John McGraw

 

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