- Series: 1880s: Diamond Duos
- City: Boston
- Team: Beaneaters
- League: National League
- Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame
Old Hoss Radbourn:
Charles Gardner Radbourn (1854-1897). An elite pitcher for 5 teams over 12 seasons, Radbourn owns the single-season Wins record with either 59 or 60 (sources vary) in 1884 – the year in which he became baseball’s 2nd triple Crown winner with 441 Ks & a 1.38 ERA. In 1884, Radbourn started 40 of his team’s last 43 games and won 36 of them. In the 1884 World Series, Radbourn started and won all three games, giving up only 3 runs. Including the postseason, Old Hoss won 62-63 games in 1884 and threw over 700 innings.
- NL Triple Crown: 1884
- NL Wins champ: 1883, 1884
- 309 career Wins
- Pitched no-hitter: 1883
- Elected to Hall of Fame: 1939
William Mitchell Nash (1865-1929) made one invaluable contribution to baseball: he scouted & recruited Napoleon Lajoie, bringing him to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1896. By that time, Nash had mostly played out his ML career as a steady-hitting 3rd baseman for the Boston Beaneaters. He compiled a respectable .275 lifetime average and, in 1895, was declared by Sporting Life magazine “the best fielding third baseman in the League.” Traded for future Hall of Famer Billy Hamilton to the Phillies, Nash was player-manager when he found Lajoie who was pounding the ball for the Fall River Indians in the New England League.
- Nash broke into the majors with his hometown Richmond Virginians of the old AA in 1884 before finding a home wih the NL Beaneaters
- Best year was 1887: .295 AVG with 84 RBI
- Bill James ranks Nash 49th amongst third basemen all-time
- Sporting Life touted his $7500 compensation in ’91 as money well-spent
- Series: 1880s: Diamond Duos
- City: Cincinnati
- Team: Red Stockings (AA)
- League: American Association
John Good Reilly (1858-1937) was a one-man Big Red Machine long before the days of Bench, Morgan and Rose. When he was replaced at first base by Charles Comiskey in 1892, Long John held the Cincinnati record in singles, doubles, triples, home runs, runs scored, RBI, and games played. His decade with the Reds had seen Reilly consistently rank in the league top ten in most offensive categories. In addition, his lean 6’3” frame made him a welcome target for his teammates. To this day, after more than a century of powerhouses in the Queen City, Reilly remains one of only four in team history to twice lead the league in HRs. In 2012 he was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, which according to the team’s website is the oldest continually operating team Hall of Fame.
- Reilly had been orphaned at age three when his father died in the Battle of Fort Donelson while serving as captain of a Union ironclad gunboat
- Long John grew up in Cincinnati as a professional artist until lured by his love of baseball. He was loyal to his hometown, retiring rather than moving to another club
- Career home runs were impressive for the era at 69
Hugh N. Nicol (1858-1921) was one of the great “little men” in all of baseball. This Scottish immigrant arrived in Rockford, IL in 1865 and grew up playing a mid-west style of ball that would suit him for great accomplishments in the major leagues. After only two years with his hometown White Stockings, the Chicago version called him up to Cap Anson's powerhouse in 1881. He was only a part-timer for the champion club in his first two seasons before his speed caught the attention of Chris Von der Ahe and Hugh moved to the Browns. “Little Nic” became a favorite with his outfield speed and accurate arm. Measuring speed on the bases is particularly challenging in evaluating 19th century players as “stolen bases” didn't factor into record-keeping for a long time and rules changed into the '90s. Nevertheless, Nicol's 138 steals credited in 1887 surely rank him among the greats. SABR's Charles Faber notes that this accomplishment came at age 29, leaving it to the imagination how many this speedster swiped in his early years. Hugh set this all-time record for his new club, the Reds, after being part of MLB's first trade. Von der Ahe sent Nicol to Cincinnati for Jack Doyle and $400 after the '86 campaign. His fame preceded Hugh to the Queen City, as reported by The Sporting News: “Hugh Nicol's addition to the Cincinnati team means chain-lightening on the bases. He is worth all the young blood in Christendom.” The diminutive (5'4” 145lbs) utility man never hit very well, although he did shine in his first season in St Louis with a .285 average. His ten-year ML tenure saw him hit .235 for three clubs before returning to the minors and a managerial career that lasted through the 1905 season with various Illinois teams.
- The light-hitting Nicol had a highlight game for the Browns in late 1883 as the club was seeking to overtake the Phils. Hugh went five-for-five with a walk and scored five times. The Browns fell one game short of Philadelphia for the pennant