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Al Mays

Pitcher
  • Series: 1880s: Spotted Ties
  • City: New York
  • Team: Metropolitans
  • League: American Association

Albert C. Mays (1865-1905) began in professional ball as a pitcher with Oil City of the Iron and Steel Association in 1884. He signed the next season with Louisville of the American Association. As the third-string hurler, Mays went 6-11 for the Colonels. He had a decent ERA of 2.76 for a sixth-place team that struggled to score runs. Mays moved to New York and the Metropolitans in '86 but continued to lose many more than he won. It was so bad in '88 that the woeful Mets (not the last time the Big Apple would bind those two words) were 44-89 with Mays providing 17 of the wins and 34 of the losses. He hurled 441 innings with a 4.73 ERA. Al's 34 defeats were the league record that year as were the 232 earned runs allowed. Thereafter, staying exclusively in the AA, Mays played for the Brooklyn Bridegrooms late in 1888 where he got to contribute to a second-place finish with a 9-9 record. He finished up with the Columbus Solons where he clearly enjoyed better run-support as he was 10-7 in 1889 with a 4.82 ERA before ending his MLB tenure the following season with but one decision, a complete-game loss.

  • Mays was the only native of little Dover, Ohio to play in the big leagues. Sadly, his life ended tragically in a drowning accident at age 39 in Parkersburg, West Virginia

Auction History

Tom McLaughlin

Shortstop
  • Series: 1880s: Spotted Ties
  • City: New York
  • Team: Metropolitans
  • League: American Association

Thomas McLaughlin (1860-1921) was primarily a shortstop for three American Association franchises beginning with the Louisville Eclipse in 1883 and finishing up with the Washington Statesmen in 1891 following a four-year hiatus from the big leagues. Never much of a hitter, Tom's career lasted as long as it did on the merits of his defensive skills. His swan song with D.C. was his best at the plate where he hit .268 - but in only 50 plate appearances.

McLaughlin's career average was a lowly .192, but his nadir came with the Metropolitans in 1886 when he hit .136 with an OPS+ of 22 (league average is 100). The underwhelming performance pushed McLaughlin back to the minors for four years. He had played much more previously for Louisville and, in his final year with what was by then the Colonels, was in every one of that 112-game campaign of 1885.

McLaughlin's '86 sojourn with the Mets earned him a place in Old Judge's “spotted tie” series that we feature here. All of which proves that lasting fame is not always the result of on-field prowess, but can also be a function of being at the right place at the right time. The same could be said of the entire Metropolitan squad of 1886, which featured ace Jack Lynch going 20-30 while the team's record was 53-82 en route to a 7th place finish where the Mets trailed 38 games behind the dominant St. Louis Browns.

  • Tom's exile to the minors saw him travel from New Jersey (Newark of the International League) to Toronto, St. Paul and, finally, Syracuse to open the '91 season before his call-up to Washington.
  • His personal-best hitting came with the Stars: .280, which led to his final attempt to hit big league pitching

Auction History