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Matt Kilroy

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Baltimore
  • Team: Orioles
  • League: American Association

Matthew Aloysius Kilroy (1866-1940). Kilroy pitched for 6 teams over 10 seasons; most famously for the Baltimore Orioles. Did you know that Matt Kilroy is the single season record holder with 513 Ks in 1886? That’s 72 Ks more than the next closest total. Kilroy’s 1st 2 years: 75-53, 137 GS, 132 CG, 730 Ks & 3.22 ERA. After his sophomore year, Kilroy would win 20+ games once more, but then descended into mediocrity – going 20-34 over the last 6 years of his career.

  • Pitched a no-hitter: 10.6.86

Auction History

Mike Kelly

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • 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
  • Although the Old Judge series features eleven known poses of Mike Kelly, I could not find one of suitable quality for this project. This image is taken from a cabinet photo produced by the Hastings Studio in Boston.

Auction History

Charlie Kelly

Third Base
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Quakers
  • League: National League

Charles H. Kelly (18??-????). Perhaps the most obscure player in this set, Charlie was a third baseman who made two brief major league appearances: he played in 2 games for the Philadelphia Quakers in 1883 and 1 game for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1886.

For his career, Kelly made one hit in 10 at bats. It was a triple and he did score a run. Perhaps his undoing was his defense, as he made 7 errors in 16 chances.

Auction History

Jim Keenan

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Cincinnati
  • Team: Red Stockings (AA)
  • League: American Association

James William Keenan (1858-1926) had a substantial major league career as a decent hitting catcher, primarily for Cincinnati. He got his start at the dawn of pro ball with his hometown entry in the National Association in 1875, its final season. The New Haven Elm Cities struggled to a 9th place finish but Keenan was on his way. He played minor league ball until the Buffalo Bisons of the NL hired him in 1880. After brief appearances with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys & Indianapolis Hoosiers, Jim caught on as a regular catcher with Cincinnati, 5 years with their AA team and his last two with the NL version, the Reds. A lifetime .240 average testifies to his skills at the plate in a rugged era for catchers. He played other positions and even gets his name in the record books: per the Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers he is one of 41 receivers to pitch in major league games and his 2.37 ERA places him first all-time among his cohorts (he hurled 19 innings and was 0-1).

  • As an emergency replacement at catcher for New Haven, Jim witnessed teammate Billy Geer make seven errors in one inning at second base

Auction History

Tim Keefe

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • 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