Elmer Foster

Outfield
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • 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?”

Auction History

Dave Foutz

Pitcher
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Brooklyn
  • Team: Grooms
  • League: National League

David Luther Foutz (1856-1897) compiled the 2nd highest winning % of all time (.690) for the St. Louis Browns & Brooklyn Bridegrooms over a 13 year career. A fine batsman, he hit .357 for Brooklyn in ’87 & won 25 games on the mound. Foutz was so highly prized that Browns’ owner Chris Von der Ahe bought the Bay City, MI franchise to get him.

  • Was sold to the Bridegrooms in 1888 for $13.5k, then led Brooklyn to pennants in ’89 & ‘90
  • Ended his career as player-manager for the Bridegrooms from 1893-1896
  • Forced to retire due to ill health, Foutz succumbed to asthma at the age of 40

Auction History

Bud Fowler

Second Base
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Findlay
  • Team: Sluggers
  • League: Independent

John W. Fowler (nee Jackson) (1858-1913) was the first black pro ballplayer. He got his start with the Lynn, MA Live Oaks, besting Tommy Bond’s NL champs in an exhibition game on April 24, 1878. He played for minor league clubs in New England and Canada until his life changed dramatically in 1887. For two decades the stain of Jim Crow had spread northward and arrived in Binghamton NY, whose white players decided they couldn’t any longer abide their black mates. The “Gentlemen’s Agreement” took hold, leaving few integrated leagues for Fowler. Undeterred, Bud found teams in the west. By 1892 Sporting Life asserted the Nebraska League was “the only league in the country which permits the employment of colored players.” Still undeterred, Fowler and Findlay, OH teammate Home Run Johnson determined to found their own franchise which became the Page Fence Giants of Adrian MI, pioneering barnstorming and showmanship.

  • “Those who know say there is no better second baseman in the country” said Sporting Life. Yet, Fowler died in poverty, excluded from the white game until Cooperstown, his hometown, named the street to Doubleday Field for him on the centenary of his passing
  • Fowler played a greater number of seasons and games in professional baseball than any African-American until 1956, when Jackie Robinson played his 11th professional and final (10th) season for the Brooklyn Dodgers

Auction History

Shorty Fuller

Shortstop
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

William Benjamin Fuller (1867-1904) played shortstop for the Washington Statesmen (Senators), St Louis Browns and NY Giants from 1888-1896. For one day in 1891, Shorty‘s brother Harry joined him with the Browns for his only MLB game. Blessed with a keen eye at the plate, Shorty struck out only 198 times while receiving 444 bases on balls.

  • Fuller’s knack for walks boosted his anemic career BA of .235 to an OBP of .322
  • Fuller’s stint with the Browns included their final year in the AA (’91) and 1st in the NL in ’92
  • Washington sold Shorty to the Browns after the ’88 season for $800

Auction History

Will Fuller

Catcher
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Cedar Rapids
  • Team: Rabbits
  • League: Western Association

William Fuller was a minor-league catcher and infielder, primarily at first-base. His closest shot at the majors came in 1888 with the Milwaukee Brewers of the Western Association. It was in that uniform that the Old Judge photo-shoot captured Will in right-handed throwing and left-handed batting poses. Will had begun the previous year with the Kalamazoo Kazoos in the Ohio State League before being picked up by the Brewers where he played in 67 games, batting .236. He came back with Milwaukee in ‘89 but got into only ten games and hit a paltry .100. Thereafter, Fuller saw limited duty with the Burlington Hawkeyes of the Central Interstate League before heading west to toil for Tacoma in the Pacific Northwestern League. After a four year absence (or at least an absence of data) Fuller showed up with the Birmingham Bluebirds of the Southern Association in 1896 before returning to the Western Association with the Cedar Rapids Rabbits in 1897.

  • His swan song was sweet: Will played in 124 games, hit a fine .305, tying for the team lead in hits with 155

Auction History

Charlie Ganzel

Catcher
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Beaneaters
  • League: National League

Charles William Ganzel (1862-1914) was reared in Kalamazoo with nine siblings, part of what would be called the “First Family” of Michigan baseball. Charlie had the longest major league career, 14 seasons, with his best coming with the Wolverines and Beaneaters for whom he served nine years behind the plate. Usually a reliable reserve, Ganzel had to step up when longtime teammate Charlie Bennett lost both legs in a train accident. The duo had moved from Detroit to Boston as part of the then highest-cost foursome sold: $30,000. They had split the duties in 1887 when the Wolverines reached their peak, winning the NL flag and defeating the Browns in the post-season. Charlie’s years in Boston were very productive with three more pennants. A lifetime .259 BA testified to his skill offensively and he was always praised for his defense.

  • Brother John saw major-league experience as did son Foster who followed 43 years after Dad’s debut, still the longest gap for father/son major-league debuts

Auction History

Pretzels Getzein

Pitcher
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Detroit
  • Team: Wolverines
  • League: National League

Charles H. Getzein (1864-1932) mastered the “pretzel curve,” thrown with a skipping delivery and a sharp overhand swing. The pastry analogy may have been hyperbole, but he was able to baffle hitters for nine major league seasons for five teams. Charlie came into his own with the Detroit Wolverines and was stellar in 1886-87 winning 59 games plus hurling six complete games in the ’87 “Series.”

  • Game 6 of that tourney was witnessed by 10,000 at the Polo Grounds. Getzein no-hit St Louis for 8 innings, shutting them out en route to a Detroit championship
  • Teamed with catcher Charlie Ganzel, a duo sports writers dubbed the “Pretzel Battery”
  • Career record: 145-139 including 277 complete games with an ERA of 3.46

Auction History

Jack Glasscock

Shortstop
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Indianapolis
  • Team: Hoosiers (NL)
  • League: National League

John Wesley Glasscock (1857-1947) was the premier shortstop of the 19th century. Some of his records (fielding % & assists) stood until Ozzie Smith a century later. No slouch at the plate, Glasscock averaged .290 and led the NL in ’90 for the Giants.

  • In ’89, discovered the young Amos Rusie and signed him for the Hoosiers’ final season
  • Went 6 for 6 on 9/27/90 to secure the batting title over Billy Hamilton
  • One of the toughest to strikeout of his era, averaging one every 33 ABs
  • Was selected as SABR's Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend for 2016

Auction History

George Gore

Outfield
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: White Stockings
  • 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

Auction History

Clark Griffith

Pitcher
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: Colts
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Clark Calvin Griffith (1869-1955) was a successful pitcher for over 20 years but had only just begun his baseball career. AL founder Ban Johnson prevailed on Griffith to take the helm of the NY entry into the new league in 1903. That began a tenure as manager and owner that lasted until Griffith’s death in 1955. With a showman’s touch and a veteran player’s savvy, Griffith turned around the D.C. franchise.

  • Only one in history to be a player, manager and owner for over 20 years in each role
  • Counted eight U.S. presidents as friends during his long tenure as owner of the Senators
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1946

Auction History

Billy Hamilton

Outfield
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Beaneaters
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

William Robert Hamilton (1866-1940). An outfielder for 3 teams over 14 ML seasons, Sliding Billy was an elite hitter & one of the greatest base runners in history. In 1894, Billy scored a record 198 runs. He ranks 4th all-time in OBP (.455) & 3rd in stolen bases. Billy has a career .344 BA & is 1/3 players to avg 1+ runs scored per game.

  • 1 of 5 players to hit a lead-off & walk-off HR in same game
  • Was a member of Philly all-.400 outfield in 1894 (.404)
  • Won 6 NL pennants, 5 as a manager
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1961

Auction History

Ned Hanlon

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

Edward Hugh Hanlon (1857-1937). A fast and skilled center fielder over 13 seasons with 6 different teams, Ned made his mark as a manager over 19 seasons. Hanlon compiled a 1313-1164 managerial record & lead his teams through 7 consecutive seasons with .600+ winning percentages.

  • 26th all-time in managerial wins
  • Hanlon’s “piratical” signing of Lou Bierbauer in 1891 inspired the name Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Won 6 NL pennants, 5 as a manager
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1996

Auction History

Pink Hawley

Pitcher
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Pittsburgh
  • Team: Pirates
  • League: National League

Emerson Pink Hawley (1872-1938) was a good enough pitcher to be the opening day starter for 3 teams: the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds. In 10 years, Hawley went 167-179 with a 3.96 ERA for 5 clubs. A workhorse, Hawley had 297 complete games, including 44 in 1895 for Pittsburgh and a league-leading 34 in 1900 for the Giants.

  • Called “a king of speedball artists,” the “Duke of Pittsburgh” even had a cigar named for him
  • That fastball sometimes strayed as Hawley ranks 3rd all time in hit batsmen with 210
  • On May 9, 1896 Hawley hit five Washington batsmen

Auction History

Sadie Houck

Shortstop
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Athletics (AA)
  • League: American Association

Sargent Perry “Sadie” Houck (1856-1919) was a much-traveled shortstop, playing for seven teams over his eight year career. A native of Washington D. C., Houck debuted with the Boston Red Caps in 1879 and closed his playing days with the New York Metropolitans in 1887. Houck was among the first players to be blacklisted by the National League owners as management combined to assert its dominance over the then-unorganized players.

  • Houck led the American Association in fielding percentage in 1884
  • Houck’s salary as a Red Caps rookie was $600

Auction History

Dummy Hoy

Outfield
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Cincinnati
  • Team: Reds (NL)
  • League: National League

William Ellsworth Hoy (1862-1961) was a renowned outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds & other clubs over a 15 year career. Hoy was rendered deaf by a childhood illness. He was not the 1st deaf player in the majors, but he was the most accomplished, using his speed and small stature (5’4”) to generate walks and steals. Hoy retired in 1902 holding the career record for outfield chances.

  • Hoy’s record three outfield assists to the plate in one game were all to his catcher Connie Mack
  • Teamed with player-manager Charles Comiskey in the final season of the American Association
  • At his death in 1961 he was the longest lived major league player at 99 years of age

Auction History

William Hulbert

League President
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

William Ambrose Hulbert (1832-1882) was Chicago through and through: “I’d rather be a lamppost in Chicago than a millionaire in any other city.” President of the White Stockings, Hulbert joined Al Spalding in founding the “senior circuit” NL in 1876. Repulsed by misbehavior of players and intrigue by “Eastern” owners, Hulbert worked hard to bring order and integrity to the game. Morgan Bulkeley served as first NL leader for one year before Hulbert took over the office until his death. He gave the NL authority to set schedules and hire umpires, wresting real control when he ousted the NY and Philadelphia franchises in a show of strength that solidified his leadership.

  • Made the first serious moves to deal with the scourge of gambling, banning 4 Louisville players for life
  • His ban of Cincinnati for beer-selling led to the formation of rival American Assoc in ‘82
  • Although Spalding called him the “man who saved the game!” Hulbert was denied a plaque in Cooperstown for nearly 60 years
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1995

Auction History

Arthur Irwin

Shortstop
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Reds (PL)
  • League: Players' League
  • Hall: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Doc, Sandy, Cutrate, Foxy (1863-1927). Born in Canada, Irwin was: 1st pos. player to wear a glove; member of the 1st World Series Champion; college coach; ML scout & business manager; minor league owner; major & minor league manager; president of 1st pro U.S. soccer league; owner of cycling tracks; inventor of a football scorecard; and umpire of 50 NL games. After contracting stomach cancer, Irwin committed suicide by jumping over board a ship. It was soon discovered that he had two wives, 1 in Boston, 1 in New York.

  • Canadian BB Hall of Fame: 1989

Auction History

Hughie Jennings

Shortstop
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Baltimore
  • Team: Orioles
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Hugh Ambrose Jennings (1869-1928) became the premier ML SS for the Orioles in the mid-90s, hitting .401 in ’96. Nearly killed by an Amos Rusie quick-pitch, this survivor returned to be hit 46x in ’96. Irrepressibly good-natured and brilliant, Jennings was an attorney and manager after his playing days, guiding the volcanic Ty Cobb to his phenomenal career.

  • Still holds record for being hit by pitch (287)
  • Is credited with inventing the platoon system
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1945

Auction History

Chappie Johnson

Catcher
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: Columbia Giants
  • League: Independent

George “Chappie” Johnson (1877-1949) was a popular and talented catcher for the early Negro teams. His playing days ended just as the “Negro Major Leagues” began @1920. Johnson broke color barriers with several teams for whom he could not play but valued his expertise as coach and trainer, especially in spring training.

  • Innovated shin guards at his position
  • Owned and managed several successful teams such as the Dayton Chappies
  • A skilled handler of pitchers, Johnson was a mainstay for many of the top Black clubs

Auction History

Dick Johnston

Outfield
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Beaneaters
  • League: National League

Richard Frederick Johnston (1863-1934) played OF, primarily for the Boston Beaneaters, over an 8-season career. He began with the Richmond Virginians of the AA and last played for King Kelly’s Cincinnati club in 1891. Johnston compiled a .255 lifetime BA with a high of .296 for Boston in ’88, when he led the NL in triples and extra-base hits.

  • Led the NL in outfield put-outs in ’86 & ’87
  • Turned nine OF double-plays, leading the league in 1887

Auction History

Charley Jones

Outfield
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Cincinnati
  • Team: Red Stockings (AA)
  • League: American Association

Charles Wesley Jones (1852-1911) was a star slugger in the NL and AA from 1875-88. Though he never led his teams to pennants, Jones held many early HR records, notably with Boston and Cincinnati. A victim of the Blacklist, Jones lost two seasons in his prime. Despite this, he was the career HR leader thru 1884.

  • Was the first player to hit 2 HRs in same inning, 6/10/80. The pitcher was Tom Poorman
  • Nickname: Baby
  • Birth name: Benjamin Wesley Rippay
  • Was the 274th player to debut in MLB
  • Was an MLB umpire, 1890-1891
  • According to Jay Jaffe's JAWS system, Charley ranks as the 80th best left fielder in MLB history, between Larry Hisle & Joe Rudi
  • Until 2012 Jones was the best-known MLB player for whom death info was unknown. The “mystery” was solved by SABR researcher Greg Perkins.

Auction History

Tim Keefe

Pitcher
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • 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

Auction History

Willie Keeler

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

William Henry Keeler (1872-1923) retired in 1910 trailing only Cap Anson in career hits with 2932. He still stands 14th in all of ML baseball in that category. Keeler’s proficiency with the bunt led baseball to change the rules, making a two-strike foul an out. In 13 of his 19 seasons, little William (5’4”) hit over .300 with a BA of .341.

  • Ned Hanlon brought Keeler to his Orioles in 1894, building one of the most formidable teams ever. Keeler was one of seven future Hall of Famers on Baltimore’s squad
  • No less an authority than John McGraw said “Keeler had the best batting eye I have ever seen.”
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1939

Auction History

Joe Kelley

Outfield
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Baltimore
  • Team: Orioles
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Joseph James Kelley (1871-1943) was an outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles from 1893-98 and was one of the most productive hitters of the decade. Kelley had a knack for getting on base by hit or walk. He was among the league leaders in these categories as the Orioles won three straight pennants, then finished second his last two years in Baltimore. He helped the floundering Brooklyn Superbas (last in ‘98) to consecutive titles in 1899-1900. Joe’s defensive work was stunning. Playing in fast company for Baltimore (alongside John McGraw, Willie Keeler and Hughie Jennings), was such a stand-out he was dubbed “Kingpin of the Orioles.” In an outstanding 17-year MLB career, Joe hit .317 including eleven straight .300+ seasons. Always a leader, when his output began to decline, Kelley never had trouble finding teams who wanted him in the lineup and as a manager. The veteran maneuvered skillfully through the politics and intrigue that accompanied the founding of the American League. He even accepted the highest minor-league salary to-date to play for the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs in ‘02 before returning to the NL.

  • Kelley stayed in pro-ball through 1926 as a manager, scout and coach
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1971

Auction History

Mike Kelly

Outfield
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Beaneaters
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Michael Kelly (1857-1894) was one of the great stars of the 1880s. He inspired America’s first pop record (“Slide, Kelly, Slide!”) in 1889 with a 1927 movie to follow. The “Chicago Slide” was copied by his White Stockings teammates, a “combination slide, twist and dodge” that allowed the team to “get away with hundreds of stolen bases when really they should have been touched out easily” per the Tribune’s Hugh Fullerton in 1906. A catcher, right-fielder and manager over 16 years, he popularized the hit & run.

  • A pioneer athlete in vaudeville, $10,000 Kelly also popularized autograph signing
  • First major leaguer to publish his autobiography (1888)
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1945

Auction History