Jay Faatz

First Base
  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Cleveland
  • Team: Blues (AA)
  • League: American Association

Jayson S. Faatz (1859-1923) was a long, lean first-baseman with speed, spunk and the mouth of a drunken sailor. His brief tenure in the major leagues was marked by poor offensive output and notable regard by his bosses. Despite mediocre hitting stats and the temperament of a wounded wolverine, Jay was repeatedly chosen to lead his teammates on the field. He served as player-manager in the minors and majors and was a key ally of John Montgomery Ward in the creation of the Players’ League. Faatz came out of the Canadian circuits to Pittsburgh’s misbegotten American Association entry late in the 1884 season, getting into 29 games as the club finished 11th of 13. He last played in the PL after moving from Cleveland to Buffalo. A colorful sports reporter of the time, Ernest Jarrold, once described the inner machinations that produced the Players’ League. He spoke of Faatz, with his 6’4” sub-200 lb frame as “one of the most striking figures” involved. He dubbed Faatz “the most expert poker player in the United States” with a passion for diamonds, which were always tucked on his person. He not only cut a dashing image but was a “level-headed, clear thinker, and the orator of the Brotherhood,” per Jarrold.

  • Faatz’ career average was as lean as the player: .241. Yet one of his three lifetime home runs was noteworthy. His grounder bounced off third-sacker Deacon White’s foot and rolled under the stands, yielding a three-run “blast” that never left the infield, per David Nemec of SABR
  • In one of those Old Judge idiosyncrasies, Goodwin’s editors elected to identify Faatz as “Capt.” on his three Old Judge entries while curiously omitting his defensive position. One might assume that this speaks to Faatz’ reputation as more of a leader than a skilled ballplayer.

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