Buster Hoover

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Quakers
  • League: National League

William James Hoover (1863-1924) was a prime example of players from the beginning of baseball who could shine at the amateur or minor league level and fail when up against the true elites of the game. In Buster’s case, the exception (the Union Association of 1884) proves the rule. That is where Hoover began in the “majors” but was really playing against minor-league caliber opponents. He wowed, hitting .364 (2nd in the league), third in OBP and slugging. Then that quixotic misadventure ended and the players had to find real homes. Buster’s was still in Philadelphia with Harry Wright’s Quakers where he hit .190. After years mostly in the minors (where he often excelled, averaging .306 over 11 seasons) he got a shot with the Orioles and hit .217. Finally, the Cincinnati Reds gave him a try in 1892: 14 games, .176. Hoover finished up hitting .305 for the Troy Washerwomen in 1894.

  • Bill James has thoroughly analyzed the quality of the Union Association and found that it, like the anonymous Wisconsin dairy, could have embraced the motto: “Our Best Is None Too Good”
  • Hoover’s uniform color on this card was changed in June, 2017 from black to blue/red to reflect recent reliable research by Craig Brown & friends at Threads of Our Game. Five cards were previously released featuring a black uniform.

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