Fred Andrus

  • Card series: Mort's Reserve
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: White Stockings
  • League: National League

Frederick Hotham Andrus (1850-1937) had the distinction of making major league baseball a part time occupation. Fred always held gainful employment but stayed close enough to the game to get two opportunities to play at the pinnacle of the sport, both with Chicago. His first brief tour was in 1876 where he played outfield in eight games for the champion White Stockings in the National League’s inaugural season. He made a good record, hitting .306 in 36 plate appearances with three doubles and two RBI. Eight years later Andrus returned for a single game for the White Stockings, this time as a pitcher. He completed his start while yielding three runs, two earned, for a “career” ERA of 2.00. Andrus is known to have played for only one official minor league club, Milwaukee of the League Alliance, in 1877. He was one of two managers for the team that year along with Pidgey Morgan. Milwaukee was one of 29 teams vying in the agglomeration known as the League Alliance. It had formed in response to a perceived threat by a rival professional organization, the International Association of Professional Base Ball Players challenging William Hulbert’s new National League. Spalding had managed Andrus at Chicago in ’76 and was heavily involved with Hulbert in navigating the tumult as the nascent NL established itself as THE major league. In fact, Spalding had founded his famed sporting goods company in 1876, a franchise Andrus would serve as treasurer for eight years beginning with his move to Chicago in 1884. Undoubtedly, it was the high-level connections Andrus had forged in baseball and in business that gave him the entree for his cameo appearance that year back with his old Windy City team.

  • Andrus had started out in his native Michigan playing for the Mutuals of Jackson, possibly a successor to one of the earliest organized clubs in America. The Daybreak Club of Jackson had begun in 1860. Jackson had another claim to fame as, in 1854, a meeting “Under the Oaks” just outside of town was the site of the founding of the Republican Party
  • Fred left Spalding’s company to manage a Detroit real estate concern with which he was still employed at his death from pneumonia at age 87

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