- Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
- City: New York
- Team: Giants
- League: National League
Thomas John Esterbrook (1857-1901) played third and first base for seven different teams over 11 professional seasons. In 1884, Esterbrook had a terrific year, compiling a .314 batting average, with 150 hits, 29 doubles, 11 triples, 110 runs and an OPS+ of 150 for Jim Mutrie’s New York Metropolitans of the American Association. By 1889, Dude was player/manager of the Louisville Colonels during one of the most dismal seasons in MLB history (27-111, the worst record in the AA’s existence). As the losses mounted, tempers rose and Esterbrook’s attempts to fine players met with rebellion. He lost his post to “Chicken” Wolf who replaced him only to face the first true players’ strike when owner Mordecai Davidson reinstated Dude’s levies. Ironically, Esterbrook set his career mark, hitting .318 that woeful campaign, albeit in a part time role. His lifetime average in the majors was .261.
- Esterbrook’s confrontational style, evident in his short tenure as a manager, signalled emotional trouble ahead. His life ended at the age of 43 when he jumped from a train that was transporting him to a psychiatric hospital
- The Dude abides