Cherokee Fisher

  • Card series: Mort's Reserve
  • City: Baltimore
  • Team: Canaries
  • League: National Association (NAPBBP)

William Charles Fisher (1844-1912) was an erratic pitcher in baseball’s earliest days. He set some records with his renowned fastball but ended his career with far more losses than wins (56-84). Fisher toiled for so many clubs in the sport’s beginnings that his resume reads like a catalog of the founding franchises. In the amateur days of the late 1860s, Cherokee threw for the West Philadelphias, the Cincinnati Buckeyes, the Troy Haymakers and the Chicago Dreadnaughts. As baseball turned pro, Fisher made the rounds, first with the Rockford Forest Citys in 1871 and then with such noteworthy teams as the Baltimore Canaries, Philladelphia Athletics and White Stockings, Hartford Dark Blues, Cincinnati Reds and Providence Grays. He posted the National Association’s best ERA in ‘72, 1.80, with Baltimore. Another less illustrious moment came with Chicago’s White Stockings in 1876, the first season for the new National League, when Cherokee surrendered the first home run in league history to Ross Barnes. Despite his mediocre win/loss record, Fisher ended his career with a fine 2.61 ERA. His finale came with Providence in ‘78 where his dismal 4-21 record ushered him out of the big leagues. Even then he managed a 3.06 ERA. It has been asserted that Fisher struggled throughout his tenure in baseball with a severe drinking problem. While that was a common affliction in his day, his history indicates he wasn’t out of control as he served for many years with the Chicago Fire Department following his major league days. Fisher’s peripatetic ways have been cited as a product of his alcoholism, but players were chattel in those days and clubs could and did ship even good players around arbitrarily.

  •  Fisher was 10-1 with Baltimore for his best winning percentage. His most wins came with Philadelphia in 1875 when he won 22 while losing 19. This was also the only other season he posted a winning record
  • A quote concerning Fisher’s victory over New Haven in May of 1875 is a reminder of the far different conditions that prevailed in the early days: “Fisher’s pitching seemed to bother the New Haveners some, and foul outs and outs on strikes were frequent” per the New Haven Register

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