Dick Conway

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Beaneaters
  • League: National League

Richard Butler Conway (1865-1926) earned quite a reputation for toughness in his native Lowell, MA and the New England League. Although his reliance on his off-speed pitches signaled a short career in the majors (in an era when the heater dominated from fifty feet), Conway’s overhand fastball clocked Bill McGunnigle, fracturing his skull and ending a playing career for the future National League manager. The reputation may have stemmed less from the beaning than the fact that it was the third straight high hard one that decked Mac at Brockton that summer of 1885.

Conway was signed to his first major league contract with the American Association’s Baltimore Orioles in 1886 but was soon returned to the minors. He got a big break after pitching his Portland team to a win in Boston against the Blues who shared the South End Grounds with the Beaneaters, bringing him to the NL’s attention. Boston hired him for the ’87 campaign. The Globe faulted his reliance on his curve and “using his arm entirely….He fails to get any speed on the ball and much strength is wasted.” Nevertheless, Dick’s debut showed promise and the same paper lauded his effective control and all-around play. After going 5-1, the league caught on to him and he finished 9-15.

  • Plagued with a sore arm, Conway ended his two-plus years MLB tenure with a 15-24 record and 4.78 ERA
  • Dick was part of a “brother battery” with older sibling Bill with the ’86 Orioles, among only sixteen such pairings in the majors

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