- 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