Cannonball Crane

  • Card series: 1888 Champion New York Giants
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Edward Nicholas Crane (1862-1896) began in major league ball with the notorious Boston Reds of the Union Association – a hard-drinking crew. It appears that big Ed avoided the bottle that would eventually kill him years later when he joined Al Spalding’s world exhibition tour. That he even made that trip was highly unlikely as Cannonball had labored in anonymity for years until the 1889 “World Series,” where Jim Mutrie played a hunch and decided his Giants could best the Bridegrooms with fastballs. Crane was tapped for five starts, won four and the Series. Cannonball could always throw hard and was famed for a 406’ long-toss, but such post-season heroics were virtually unheard of. The seeds of Ed’s doom had been planted on that tour, nourished by the vices of Paris. All too soon he would spiral into alcoholism and an early death. While the coroner ruled Crane’s death an accidental overdose, rumors persisted that he had taken his own life by drinking acid.

  • Ed had one of the great seasons of any pitcher for the Toronto Maple Leafs in ‘87 with 33 wins and an eye-popping .428 BA (when walks counted as hits)
  • Other firsts: 1st NY Giant to hurl no-hitter; 1st pitcher with four Ks in an inning