William Hassamaer

  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Kansas City
  • Team: Blues (WA)
  • League: Western Association

William Louis Hassamaer (1864-1910) played outfield for three seasons in the National League. His rookie campaign was with the Senators in 1894, the team he would start the ‘95 season with before being sent to Louisville, where he would finish his ML career a year later. Bill made a splash in his first year in the big leagues. On June 13, 1894 he became the 30th ML player to hit for the cycle, in a game against the St. Louis Brown Stockings. The feat had actually been accomplished 36 times previously. Curry Foley recorded the first cycle in 1882 (some sources cite a 1st cycle by George Hall in 1876); Long John Reilly recorded three cycles with the Reds between their stints in both the AA & NL (his first two cycles were only seven days apart); and Dave Orr, Tip O’Neil, Pete Browning & Mike Tiernan had each recorded two cycles by the time Hassamaer earned his membership to the elite club.

Hassamaer’s debut was auspicious in every sense that rookie year. He hit .322 with four homers and 90 RBI. He showed some speed as well, stealing 16 bases. Unfortunately, Hassamaer’s performance would steadily decline thereafter. He never again attained any of the offensive output of that first season. His second year with Washington saw his average drop to .278 with a tail-off in every category. He was purchased by Louisville for $200 on August 23, 1895. The move to Kentucky only sent Bill’s record into a deeper spiral. He batted a mere .208 for the 23 games he played at the end of the ‘95 season. Despite this meager accomplishment, the Colonels gave Hassamaer another shot in ‘96, but his .245 average with little power proved too little and he was released after only 30 games.

Prior to joining the National League, Bill had a successful tenure in the minors. He had begun in 1887 with the Western League’s Kansas City Cowboys, playing full time and hitting .371. After a second year in KC, he bounced around a number of teams and his average fluctuated wildly. His efforts for the Montgomery Colts of the Southern Association in 1893 paved the way for his major league call-up when he hit .321.

  • Hassamaer’s swan song came with the Bridgeport Orators of the Connecticut League in 1899 where he played for the club’s namesake and manager, Jim “The Orator” O’Rourke. O’Rourke had enjoyed one of the finest playing careers in the early game and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945

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