Hardie Henderson

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Pittsburgh
  • Team: Alleghenys
  • League: National League

James Harding Henderson (1862-1903) could have been nicknamed “Hard-Luck” Henderson instead of Hardie. He is one of only 34 pitchers of the 1870s and 1880s to achieve 200+ decisions. Unfortunately, most were losses (81-121 over his six-year major league career with four teams). Hardie came up with the NL’s Quakers in 1883 and was rudely treated in his debut by the Providence Grays and one Charles Radbourn. Old Hoss made Hardie one of the 48 notches on his belt that year, prepping for the glory of “59 in ‘84.” Philadelphia soon shuffled Henderson off to Baltimore where he would achieve ignominy in a number of categories: most losses in ‘85 with 35; most walks in ‘84; most hits, walks and runs surrendered in ‘85; not to mention twice leading the league in wild pitches. Nevertheless, the guy won 81 games in a mere six seasons and compiled a lifetime 3.50 ERA, so the losses couldn’t have all been his fault.

  • In a curious bit of morbid irony, the Library of Congress lists Hardie Henderson as a member of the Brooklyn Trolley-Dodgers – for his 1888 Kimball Campions (N184) card – when the team was actually known as the GraysThe borough of Brooklyn wouldn’t be known by that Manhattan put-down until 1895 – the year the team adopted the Trolley-Dodger nickname. Unfortunately for this man who has been posthumously misidentified as a trolley-dodger, Hardie perished under the wheels of a Philadelphia trolley while making his way home from work at a pool hall at the tender age of 40
  • Henderson’s uniform color in this card was changed from black & red to blue & red in March, 2017 to reflect recent reliable research conducted by Craig Brown and friends at Threads of Our Game. Two cards had been previously released featuring a black uniform.

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