Billy Earle

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: St. Paul
  • Team: Apostles
  • League: Western Association

William Moffat Earle (1867-1946) earned an outsized reputation in the game for a part-time catcher who never played more than 53 games in any of his 5 ML seasons. Long after his career ended, Bill Stern was spinning tales of how Billy was a victim of the superstitions of his day, pilloried for an “evil eye” that “creeped-out” his teammates. He began at the top of the profession, touring the world & photographed at the Great Pyramid with Al Spalding’s troupe, earning the moniker the Little Globetrotter. He was a good hitter and was lauded for his great potential during the 1889 world exhibition. That potential was never truly realized though, partly perhaps affected by Billy’s infatuation with the spirit world and hypnotism. His temperament was as erratic as his ML tenure, where he chronically jumped teams and fought over contracts.

  • Had he played more, a lifetime career .286 BA certainly would have earned Earle a place on the catchers’ honor roll
  • The “blacklist” insinuations are belied by Billy’s long minor league tenure and in Cuba, as player and manager
  • Earle’s uniform color in this card was changed from black to blue in August, 2017 to reflect recent reliable research conducted by Craig Brown and friends at Threads of Our Game. Seven cards were previously released featuring a black uniform

Auction History