California Brown

Catcher
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

William M. Brown (1866-1897) was a catcher & infielder for 7 seasons with 5 clubs, including stints with NY’s Giants in both their National League and Players’ League incarnations. He began in New York in 1887, left for the Phillies in ’91, was out a year before catching on with the Orioles. His final year in the majors was with two teams: the Louisville Colonels & St. Louis Browns in 1894. This native San Franciscan was exotic enough to be nicknamed for his State in an era dominated by eastern teams and players. Chronic lung problems limited his play. He sought milder climes in the west & Hawaii to no avail, succumbing to the disease at age 32. He is buried in the necropolis “City of Souls” in Colma, CA, near his hometown.

  • Brown’s finest year was 1893 with the Colonels, batting .304 with 140 hits and 85 RBI
  • His 50 walks that year gave him an OBP of .373

Roger Connor

First Base
  • 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 was not surpassed until Babe Ruth was in the Bronx. 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)
  • 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

Cannonball Crane

Pitcher
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Edward Nicholas Crane (1862-1896) began in major league ball with the notorious Boston Reds of the Union Association - a hard-drinking crew. It appears that big Ed avoided the bottle that would eventually kill him years later when he joined Al Spalding’s world exhibition tour. That he even made that trip was highly unlikely as Cannonball had labored in anonymity for years until the 1889 “World Series,” where Jim Mutrie played a hunch and decided his Giants could best the Bridegrooms with fastballs. Crane was tapped for five starts, won four and the Series. Cannonball could always throw hard and was famed for a 406’ long-toss, but such post-season heroics were virtually unheard of. The seeds of Ed’s doom had been planted on that tour, nourished by the vices of Paris. All too soon he would spiral into alcoholism and an early death. While the coroner ruled Crane's death an accidental overdose, rumors persisted that he had taken his own life by drinking acid.

  • Ed had one of the great seasons of any pitcher for the Toronto Maple Leafs in ‘87 with 33 wins and an eye-popping .428 BA (when walks counted as hits)
  • Other firsts: 1st NY Giant to hurl no-hitter; 1st pitcher with four Ks in an inning

Buck Ewing

Catcher
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

William Ewing (1859-1906) was the premier catcher of the 19th century, honored for decades after his early death as even, perhaps, the greatest player of all time. A scourge at bat, Buck hit over .300 ten times. He played behind the plate with courage and style, crouching close to the hitter so as to shave precious seconds off his inerrant throws. Ewing had debuted with the remarkable Troy Trojans in 1880 and joined four future Hall-of-Famers in moving to NYC in ‘83. The sturdy catcher may have been the primary inspiration for Jim Mutrie’s “my Giants!” exclamation that led to the new identity of the Gothams. An arm injury on a raw spring day curtailed his tenure behind the plate from 1891 on. Such a magnetic figure couldn’t escape the turmoil of the Players’ League controversies and Ewing was sometimes pilloried for lax effort. Despite such caviling, Ewing left as indelible a mark on the game’s first century as anyone. Upon his induction to Cooperstown (among the first six of the “pre-modern” era), he was hailed by Connie Mack as the greatest catcher he had seen and he had seen most.

  • “Buck” was a derivative of “Buckingham,” bestowed on the budding star by an admiring scribe who wanted to add gravitas to the youngster’s reputation
  • Played all nine positions and managed 3 different teams over 7 seasons
  • Was the first catcher elected to the Hall of Fame; and the second 19th century player elected (after Cap Anson)
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1939

Elmer Foster

Outfield
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Elmer Ellsworth Foster (1861-1946) was an outfielder with the New York Metropolitans, New York Giants and Chicago Colts over a six year span beginning in 1886. The very rare baseballer who threw left and batted right, Foster achieved a career batting average of .187.

  • One of the first five major leaguers born in Minnesota
  • Played at Haverhill with future Hall of Famers Wilbert Robinson and Tommy McCarthy
  • Noted for his speed on the base paths, Foster always had an explanation if caught stealing: “Why, I wasn’t a bit tired. Why should I have stopped running?”

Bill George

Pitcher
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

William M. George (1865-1916) was a left-handed pitcher & outfielder for two major league teams over 3 years in the late 1880s. He debuted as a pitcher for the NY Giants in ’87. During his two seasons on the mound, George went 5-10 with a 4.51 ERA. His mediocre performance led to him being released by the Giants in June of ‘89. He had not gotten into a game that year in NY. The native of Bellaire, OH tried out with the American Association’s Columbus Solons in July of 1889. They picked him up as an outfielder. Bill got into five games that summer, getting 4 hits and 3 RBI in 17 at-bats & was released in August, ending his major league experience.

  • Bill’s record in ’88 was 2-1 with a 1.34 ERA. But, with Tim Keefe winning 35 with an 1.74 ERA & Mickey Welch winning 26 with a 1.93 ERA, the competition was stiff on the pennant winner

George Gore

Outfield
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

“Piano Legs” (1857-1933). An outfielder for 4 teams over 14 major league seasons, Gore was an excellent hitter who played on 7 pennant winning teams and in 4 World Series. His alcoholism oftentimes put him at odds with teammates, fans, and managers.

  • All-time leader in OF errors: 368
  • Stole 7 bases in 1 game; a record
  • Had 5 extra-base hits in 1 game: a record he achieved by hitting 3 doubles & 2 triples against Old Hoss Radbourn
  • Won NL batting title: 1880

Gil Hatfield

Third Base
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Gilbert Hatfield (1855-1921). A pitcher and infielder for 6 teams over 8 seasons, Hatfield did not break into the majors until the age of 30 – then played sporadically across the next decade – actually getting into 5 games with Louisville at the age of 40.

Hatfield was a member of the 1888 World Series Champion New York Giants. As a hitter, Hatfield went 2-8 in the series with 1 BB, 1 RBI & 1 Run. As a pitcher, Hatfield made 1 relief appearance, giving up 12 hits & 12 runs (7 earned) in 5 innings.

Tim Keefe

Pitcher
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Smiling Tim, Sir Timothy (1857-1933). A dominant pitcher for 5 teams over 14 seasons, Keefe’s 1st season was the last in which pitchers threw from 45′ & his last season was the 1st in which they threw from 60’6″. In an extraordinary career, Keefe won 20+ gms 7x; 30+ gms 6x; 40+ gms 2x; 200+ Ks 6x; 300+ Ks 2x; & posted lowest ERA in history: 0.86 in 1880.

  • Won Triple Crown: 1888
  • ERA Champ: ’80, ’85, ’88
  • 342 career Wins
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1964

Pat Murphy

Catcher
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Patrick J. Murphy (1857-1927) was a right-handed catcher for the New York Giants from 1887-1990. This Massachusetts native had a career batting average of .220 and hit one home run in the “Dead Ball” era. He played in one “world series” in 1888, going one for 10 and scoring a run in three games against the St Louis Browns. The Giants prevailed six games to four. The contest was marked by the great future Hall of Famer Tim Keefe’s four victories over the Browns.

  • Murphy was a grizzled 30 years of age when he broke in with the Giants
  • Murphy’s sole hit in the ’88 series was good for an RBI
  • In 1889 Murphy’s salary was $1800

Jim Mutrie

Manager
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

James J. Mutrie (1851-1938) was a giant among early baseball entrepreneurs. He may rightly be known as the father of New York baseball, is second only to Joe McCarthy in manager winning %, won pennants in two leagues, helped create (and won) the first true inter-league run-up to the “world series” and popularized the nickname for his Manhattan “Gothams” by referring to his burly lads as “my Giants!” Along the way, “Truthful James” (a wry sobriquet given by the immortal Father Henry Chadwick) stirred controversy at nearly every turn, risked all and in the end, lost. Yet he was beloved by his players and for decades was revered in the Big Apple as the man who truly brought the game to its biggest stage. He and partner John Day audaciously brought two new NY entries into the city: the AA’s Metropolitans and what would become the National League’s Polo Grounds-dwelling Giants who triumphed in the first two post-season tournaments. Done in by the Players’ League rebellion and ensuing financial pressures, Mutrie was forced from the game in 1892.

  • Mutrie prospered by raiding AA players for his NY club and paid the price when his top talent defected a decade later to the PL

Jim O’Rourke

Outfield
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • 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
  • Entered the HOF as one of the first 19th Century players to do so
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1945

Team Portrait

  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Danny Richardson

Second Base
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Daniel Richardson (1863-1926) played 2B and SS for the Giants, Grooms, Senators, and Colonels over an 11 year span. His stints with the NY Giants included one year when the team played in the Player’s League (’90). He contributed to two Giant league championships in ’88 & ’89.

  • During his one year with the Washington Senators, Richardson was player/manager
  • Achieved a career BA of .254 and stole 225 bases

Mike Slattery

Outfield
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Michael J. Slattery (1866-1904) was an outfielder for five teams over five seasons, including the 1888 Champion NY Giants. He debuted for the Union Association’s Boston entry (the Reds) in 1884 during that league’s only season. Slattery returned to MLB in 1888 with the NL’s Giants for two years before jumping to the NY Player’s League team in 1890. He closed his career with the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Statesmen in ’91.

  • Averaged .251 at the plate over his ML tenure
  • Best year was in the PL, with a .307 BA, 126 hits, 5 HRs and 18 steals

Mike Tiernan

Outfield
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Michael Joseph Tiernan (1867-1918) overcame early miscues (a still-MLB-record 5 errors in a game & giving up a 10-run 10th inning in relief) to become a model of stability and decorum for the NY Giants, playing exclusively for them his entire 13-yr career. His bat trumped all else. “Silent Mike” was 4th in 19th Century HRs and batted .311 lifetime.

  • Tiernan’s bat was key to the NY triumphs in the ’88-89 “world series”
  • His outstanding year in ’91 silenced any animosity felt by returning teammates who had formed the ill-fated Players’ League

Cannonball Titcomb

Pitcher
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Ledell Titcomb (1866-1950). A pitcher for 5 professional seasons, Titcomb won a total of 30 games in his career while playing for 4 different clubs: Philadelphia Quakers, Philadelphia Athletics, New York Giants & Rochester Broncos. His best season was 1888, when he went 14-8 with a 2.24 ERA and 22 complete games for the New York Giants.

  • Threw a no-hitter against the Syracuse Stars while pitching for the Rochester Broncos: 9.15.90

John Ward

Shortstop
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

“Monte” Ward (1860-1925). An elite pitcher and an excellent batsman, Ward also earned a law degree, formed sports’ first labor union, and helped create the Player’s League to challenge the reserve clause – all before the age of 30.

  • 3x National League Pennant winner
  • Only player: 100 wins/2,000 hits
  • Pitched 2nd perfect game in history, June 17, 1880
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1964

Mickey Welch

Pitcher
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Smiling Mickey (1859-1941). An elite pitcher for 13 professional seasons, Welch was the 3rd pitcher to reach 300 wins. Mickey was a 20-game winner 9 times in his career, 7 times in succession. He also won 30+ games 4 times and 40+ games once. Shared pitching duties with HOFers John Ward & Tim Keefe.

  • 1st pinch hitter in Major League history: 9.10.89, when he pinch hit for fellow HOFer Hank O’Day
  • Still holds record for consecutive K’s to start a game: 9
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1973

Art Whitney

Third Base
  • Series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Arthur Wilson Whitney (1858-1943). Art played 3rd base for 8 different teams over 11 major league seasons. A below average hitter, his best year may have been 1886 with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys when he compiled 122 hits, 13 doubles, 4 triples, 15 steals & 70 runs with a light .239 batting average.

  • 2x World Series Champion with the New York Giants: 1888 & 1889
  • Brother Frank Whitney also played professionally: 34 games for the Boston Red Caps in 1876