Mike Kelly

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Beaneaters
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Michael Kelly (1857-1894) was one of the great stars of the 1880s. He inspired America’s first pop record (“Slide, Kelly, Slide!”) in 1889 with a 1927 movie to follow. The “Chicago Slide” was copied by his White Stockings teammates, a “combination slide, twist and dodge” that allowed the team to “get away with hundreds of stolen bases when really they should have been touched out easily” per the Tribune’s Hugh Fullerton in 1906. A catcher, right-fielder and manager over 16 years, he popularized the hit & run.

  • A pioneer athlete in vaudeville, $10,000 Kelly also popularized autograph signing
  • First major leaguer to publish his autobiography (1888)
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1945
  • Although the Old Judge series features eleven known poses of Mike Kelly, I could not find one of suitable quality for this project. This image is taken from a cabinet photo produced by the Hastings Studio in Boston.

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