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Thomas York

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: Troy
  • Team: Haymakers
  • League: National Association (NABBP)

Thomas Jefferson York (1850-1936) began playing amateur ball on a big stage with the National Association of Base Ball Players’ Powhatans of Brooklyn in 1869. He joined the Troy Haymakers in 1871 as their left fielder in the now openly professional NAPBBP. Tom stayed in the nascent pro circuit with the Baltimore Canaries and Philadelphia White Stockings through the 1874 season. The following year saw York in Hartford with the Blues and migrated with the club to the new National League in 1876. The team became the Hartfords of Brooklyn in 1877. He really came into his own when he was signed by the Providence Grays in ‘78, beginning a five-year tenure during which he led the league in several batting categories including total bases and triples. He hit over .300 three of the five years and also served as the team’s first manager. He moved to Cleveland’s Blues in 1883 and finished his long career back in Baltimore with the Orioles of the American Association 1884-1885.

  • York was pretty good. In 963 games over 15 professional seasons he fell just short of 1,100 hits and sported a .273 career average
  • A few years ago, a Cardinals blogger with time on his hands one Fourth of July determined the all-time major league roster of players sharing the name of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson York made the squad, along with Thomas Jefferson Davis Bridges.

Auction History

Clipper Flynn

First Base
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: Troy
  • Team: Haymakers
  • League: National Association (NAPBBP)

William Flynn (1849-1881) was one of the remarkable group of early baseball players to come out of Lansingburg (Troy) NY. This small town had an out-sized impact on the game as amateur ball was being born on a national scale right after the Civil War. Flynn was a first-baseman for the Troy Haymakers from 1867-69 before joining teammates in Chicago with the White Stockings in 1870, all with the National Association of Base Ball Players. He became part of the first openly professional sports league when the Haymakers helped form the NAPBBP in 1871. The following season, Flynn moved south for a brief stint with the D.C. Olympics but the club disbanded after a mere nine games in ‘72. The slightly-built Flynn hit .338 in ‘71, ranking with the leaders on the team. He managed only a .225 average in his final tour with the Washingtons. The 1880 census-taker found “Clipper” home in Lansingburg with his wife and four kids where he worked in a brush factory.

  • Flynn and his Troy mates did deprive Harry Wright’s all-pro Cincinnati Red Stockings of one more win in their undefeated 1869 season. The teams were deadlocked at 17-17 when the visiting New Yorkers left the field in the sixth inning

Auction History

Esteban Bellán

Third Base
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: Troy
  • Team: Haymakers
  • League: National Association (NAPBBP)
  • Hall: Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame

Esteban Enrique "Steve" Bellán (1849-1932) was one of the first Latin players in American pro baseball. Born in Cuba and educated in NY during the Civil War, Bellán played for the Unions of Morrisania and Troy Haymakers of the NABBP and the NAPBBP at the dawn of pro sports franchises. A stylish infielder, Steve was nicknamed the “Cuban Sylph.” Bellán attended Fordham University, the innovator of nine-man college baseball with a game against St. Francis Xavier College on Nov 3, 1859.

  • Upon gaining US citizenship, Esteban returned to Havana and helped found Cuban baseball in 1874
  • Piloted Club Habana to 3 titles from 1878-83
  • Oftentimes cited as the "Father of Cuban Baseball"
  • Elected to Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame: 1961

Auction History