Lady Baldwin

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Detroit
  • Team: Wolverines
  • League: National League

Charles B. Baldwin (1859-1937) got his first taste of “big league” ball with the Cream Citys (Milwaukee Brewers) when that Northeastern League franchise briefly joined the Union Association in 1884. For five more years with the Detroit Wolverines, Brooklyn Bridegrooms and Buffalo Bisons of the renegade Players’ League, Lady’s left arm would win 73 games with a 2.85 ERA and 582 Ks. His stellar season of 1886 saw him lead the NL with a 42-13 record including 55 complete games and a league-best 323 strikeouts. His 42 wins still place him 2nd all-time among southpaws. Baldwin followed that annus mirabilis with an injury plagued season in 1887, but still managed to pitch five complete games (winning four) to lead Detroit over the St. Louis Browns in the inaugural Dauvray Cup series.

  • Baldwin’s nickname derived from his abstemious ways and a refined manner uncharacteristic of 1880s baseball
  • It is said that Baldwin was the first lefty to master the curve
  • Matt Kilroy is the only left-hander to win more in a single season with 46 in 1887
  • Of Baldwin, Hall of Famer Ned Hanlon said, “I will not hesitate in saying that ‘Lady’ Baldwin was the best left-handed pitcher of his day and one of the best that ever stood in the box. He had wonderful command, speed and curves, and knew how to work the batters.” – Sporting Life, September 11, 1897
  • Although the Old Judge series features five known poses of Lady Baldwin, I could not find one of suitable quality for this project. This photo was taken during the Tomlinson Studio photoshoot of 1886 in Detroit and is not known to exist in the Old Judge series.

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