Sam Crane

Second Base
  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Washington, D.C.
  • Team: Nationals
  • League: National League

Samuel Newhall Crane (1854-1925) played second base for eight major league teams in three leagues from 1880-90. Sam lacked power (three career HRs, .203 average) despite a sturdy 6’, 190-lb frame. He was only a little more adept stealing bases (25 over the decade). Somehow, the practice of thievery on the bases carried over into Sam’s private life and his mediocre tenure in the big leagues ended ignominiously when he was accused of stealing a local merchant’s cash and wife. Such a checkered past was no hindrance to a longer career as a sportswriter. True to his tarnished image, Sam was mired in controversy as a scribe, getting himself barred from the Polo Grounds after attacking Giants’ owner Andrew Freedman in print. Whatever unpaid debts Crane left on the field or in the press box, he more than made up for by becoming an early and ardent promoter of creating a “memorial” to past stars of the game in Cooperstown, NY. His and others’ efforts eventually led to the establishment of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1939.

  • Crane’s ouster amid the “circus” atmosphere surrounding the Giants made him a brief cause celebre among journalists aghast that one of their own should be censored
  • Crane’s uniform color on this card was changed in February, 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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