Sy Sutcliffe

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Cleveland
  • Team: Spiders
  • League: National League

Elmer Ellsworth Sutcliffe (1862-1893) asked the famed Cap Anson for a tryout as a catcher. The Wheaton, IL native impressed “Uncle” Cap but wasn’t going to be a pushover. When Anson asked what he’d want to be paid, he is said to have replied “Well, Cap, I’ve been getting a dollar a day working out in Wheaton and I can’t afford to play ball for any less!” The 22-year-old signed on with the White Stockings for 2 years. Then, typical for the era, bounced from team to team: the Maroons, Wolverines, Spiders, Infants, Senators & finally, the Orioles in 1892. His lifetime BA of .288 was a composite of highs & lows. Sy’s best years were with Cleveland’s Infants (.329 in ’90) & .353 for the Senators in ’91 (the franchise’s 1st year, known then as the Statesmen).

  • Although signed as a catcher, Sutcliffe had the versatility to play 1B, SS, and the outfield
  • Sadly, the strapping 6’2” left-hander’s health gave out and he died at age 30, just months after his final game with Baltimore

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