Frenchy Genins

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Sioux City
  • Team: Corn Huskers
  • League: Western Association

C. Frank Genins (1866-1922) had a modest career as a utility fielder for three major league clubs in the 1890s. Frenchy had started out getting paid to play ball with the Omaha Omahogs of the Western League in 1887, en route to a total of 16 years in the minors. He concluded his playing days with the Racine Belles of the Wisconsin-Illinois League in 1909, having also managed in his latter seasons for three teams. Whether in the farm leagues or the bigs, Genins was consistently mediocre at the plate. His MLB average was .226. His most plate appearances came with Sioux City in 1894 where Frenchy had his best output, batting .374 with seven home runs. He exceeded .300 a couple other times so he had some decent seasons along the way. Genins’ stints in the majors were with his hometown Browns in ‘92 (one game?), the Reds for a longer trial that year, the Pirates in ‘95 and with Cleveland’s Blues in 1901. Frenchy had a respectable season in Pittsburgh, hitting .250, playing seven positions, and was the only outfielder to spell the team’s beloved trio of Mike Smith, Patsy Donovan and Jake Stenzel.

  • Frenchy has five known poses in the Old Judge series and all five come in a curious variant: Genins is oftentimes misspelled as “Genius.” The editors of the Photographic Baseball Cards of Goodwin & Co. conclude that the misspelling is an error, but I am inclined to disagree. Considering the amount of intentional humor interspersed throughout the Old Judge canon, the fact that the misspelling is prevalent across Frenchy’s entries, and perhaps most tellingly that one must only flip an “n” upside down in Genins to turn Frenchy into a “Genius” – and I am inclined to believe that this misspelling was indeed purposeful at the hands of the Goodwin pranksters. 

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