Dell Darling

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: White Stockings
  • League: National League

Conrad Darling (1861-1904) was a modest-hitting journeyman catcher knocking around the hard-scrabble baseball towns of western Pennsylvania when The Sporting Life took note of his work following the 1886 season: “Darling was undoubtedly the most valuable man behind the bat in the International League.” Suddenly, Dell was in demand, spurning an offer from Jim Mutrie’s Giants and signing with Cap Anson’s Colts. He played well but sporadically until trying his fortune with Comiskey’s Chicago Pirates in the 1890 Players’ League. His career was in steep decline, likely due to the usual toll of catching in the big leagues. Dell played only part time for the Browns in ‘91 before hanging ‘em up. He did gain a short bit of notoriety by being implicated in a massive scheme to rob moving trains. He and other ballplayers were accused of pilfering baggage and tossing the spoils to confederates trackside. The publicity faded shortly with no indictment.

  • The origin of Darling’s nickname is unknown but stayed with him through his obituary
  • It was speculated that an old baseball injury contributed to Dell’s early demise
  • Darling’s uniform color in this card was changed from black to blue in March, 2017 to reflect recent reliable research conducted by Craig Brown and friends at Threads of Our Game. One card had been previously released featuring a black uniform.

Auction History