Fergy Malone

  • Card series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Athletics (NABBP)
  • League: National Association (NAPBBP)

Fergus G. Malone (1844-1905) was a rare left-handed catcher, perhaps the first in major-league history (Bill Harbridge is another oft-cited contender for that title). Historians differ on what qualified then as a “major league,” but there is no doubt this Irishman was among the pioneers. He debuted with the Athletics in May, 1871 in the old National Association. A Civil War vet, Malone was a leader among his mates and was frequently tapped as “captain” or manager. He lasted in Philadelphia long enough for the new National League to form in 1876 while he was back with the Athletics. After a few seasons in the minors, Fergy got one last shot with the Union Association’s Philly Keystones in 1884 where a 19-year-old rookie named Jack Clements was starting out. Clements went on to be the most enduring and accomplished southpaw catcher in major league history.

  • Fergy finished his time in pro ball managing Pennsylvania teams through 1888
  • His batting average showed a downward arc probably related to the rigors of backstopping in the no-glove era: 1871 he hit .343, then .282, dropping steadily to .229 his last active season. Overall: .250

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