Jimmy Esmond

  • Card series: Jim Dandie Feds
  • City: Indianapolis
  • Team: Hoosiers (FL)
  • League: Federal League

James Joseph Esmond (1889-1948) played shortstop for three major league clubs from 1911-1915, half of his tenure being with two Federal League teams: the Indianapolis Hoosiers and Newark Pepper. Jimmy had started in pro ball with the Gloversville-Johnstown/Elmira nine of the New York State League in 1908, a team with constituents all over the upstate area that would be reconstituted from 1939-51 in the Canadian-American League. Esmond never managed much offensive output in the minors and may have been that rare player to perform better when he got to the Cincinnati Reds in 1911 and hit .273. He reverted to form in ’12, taking a demotion to the International League’s Montreal team in 1913 before getting a final chance at major league glory in the renegade Federal League. He would be out of baseball for all of his late twenties before reappearing with Syracuse of the IL in 1921 at age 31. He then moved to the Eastern League and played a season each for Waterbury, Albany and Pittsfield. Jimmy’s performance in Indiana and New Jersey far exceeded his norm, undoubtedly due to the paucity of truly major league caliber talent as the Feds tried valiantly to compete as a third league. He hit .295 for the Hoosiers with a league-leading 15 triples. Though his batting average subsided with the Peps he hit 11 more three-baggers showing extra-base prowess heretofore not in evidence. Esmond’s debut in Newark allowed him to bask in the glow described in the local paper: “Newark and its surrounding hamlets were seized with a violent attack of baseball yesterday, accompanied by a high fever and laryngitis. The ailment can be directly traced to the opening of the Newark Federals at their new, roomy park in Harrison. The epidemic spread among nearly 25,000 Jersey folk who jammed the new park to see ‘Whoa Bill’ Phillip’s ‘Peps’ make their home debut against Otto Knabe’s Baltimore Terrapins.” The celebration was dampened a bit by the Terps’ 6-2 victory. Sadly, Jimmy’s three errors made it tough for starter Cy Falkenberg.

  • Esmond’s major league debut in Cincinnati was in the ballpark known as the Palace of the Fans, occupied by the franchise since 1902. In 1912 Jimmy and the Reds got to inaugurate Crosley Field, the team’s home until 1970

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