- Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
- City: Rockford
- Team: Forest Citys (NABBP)
- League: National Association (NABBP)
Robert Edward Addy (1845-1910) was in mid-career when he played for the Hartford Dark Blues in 1874. Having spent his early amateur and pro years with the Rockford Forest Citys, Bob was just the type of player Hartford treasured: an innovator. The hometown club of Mark Twain, the Dark Blues produced a remarkable string of “firsts” (for good and ill): 1) first team to have a captain; 2) who was also the first Jewish player in the majors—Lip Pike; 3) first to throw the curve—Candy Cummings; 4) first to bunt—Tommy Barlow; sadly, Barlow became the first big leaguer to forfeit his career to drug abuse; 5) first (and only) umpire to be expelled for throwing a game—Richard Higham, retired player. To this list was added Addy, the first to slide, a feat he piloted long before his season in CT. Not content with one “first” Bob sought years later to add “inventor of baseball on ice” to his resume, but for some reason, the idea never caught on. Ars Longa is indebted to historian David Arcidiacono for the above tidbits about Hartford's ball club. Addy was nicknamed “The Magnet” for his skill afield that helped the Boston Red Stockings to a pennant in '73. In fact, Addy was paid a superb tribute by no less than Cap Anson who, in a turn of the century book said: “Bob Addy, who was one of the best of the lot, was a good, hard hustling player, a good base runner and a hard hitter. He was as honest as the day is long . . . He was an odd sort of a genius and quit the game because he thought he could do better at something else.” Something involving bats and rinks apparently.
- Addy batted .277 for his pro career with a sole home run
- He managed parts of two seasons with the Philadelphia White Stockings and Cincinnati Reds