George Bradley

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

George Washington Bradley (1852-1931) groomed for the major leagues with the vaunted Easton, PA club, known as the top amateur squad of the day. He signed with the NA’s St. Louis Brown Stockings in 1875 with a number of teammates. “Grin” (for what may have been his mesmerizing smirk that befuddled batters) hurled a shut-out in his second start against the White Stockings, a feat that came to be known as “Chicagoing” for years after. That promising beginning was completely overshadowed the following year as Bradley led St. Louis to a second-place finish in the new National League. George pitched all but four innings of the ‘76 season and his record and the team’s were identical: 45-19. He led the league in ERA at 1.23. He threw 16 shut-outs. He scored the first NL no-hitter. No one has since exceeded the shut-out record (only Grover Cleveland Alexander tied it). After that remarkable year Grin became a vagabond. He logged 16 cities over the next dozen years. He never came close to such heights on the mound and played infield as much as he pitched. He was a superb-fielding third baseman.

  • A former manager, Frank Bancroft, cast a shadow over Bradley’s career-year. Grin was said to have found a way to access the game ball and smash it with a vise, yielding a malleable sphere to befuddle batters even more than the evil smile

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