Orator Shafer

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Des Moines
  • Team: Prohibitionists
  • League: Western Association

George W. Shafer (1851-1922) still ranks tenth all-time in outfield assists. The right fielder extraordinaire also continues to hold the single-season record with 50 runners cut down in 1879. Known for jawing at himself out in right if he didn’t have an umpire nearby to harangue, “Orator” was far from all talk. He had great seasons at bat and perennially ranked among the best outfielders of his day. Shafer began with the Hartford Dark Blues of the NA in 1874. Like many in the early decades of baseball, he moved around a lot. By the time he returned for a second stint with the Athletics in 1890, he had played for ten teams in 14 years. He had a great year at bat for the Indianapolis Blues in ‘78 where his .338 average was sixth in the NL. Four times he led the league in outfield assists. Orator was a key member of Cap Anson’s White Stockings, batting .304 the year he set the assist record. From 1887-89 the volatile Shafer made his living with minor league squads where he hit well and also drew a suspension for decking an umpire.

  • Shafer’s final ML season was back in Philly where he was joined by younger brother (Zachary) Taylor at 2nd base
  • Orator had an even 1,000 hits, good for a lifetime .282 average
  • Shafer’s uniform color on this card was changed in May, 2017 from black to blue to reflect recent reliable research by Craig Brown & friends at Threads of Our Game. Two cards had been previously released featuring a black uniform.

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