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Frank Fennelly

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Cincinnati
  • Team: Red Stockings (AA)
  • League: American Association

Francis John Fennelly (1860-1920) came out of Fall River, MA to whack 34 career home-runs in the American Association. Not a bad sum for the era of flabby, misshapen baseballs. And, thanks to careful research, Frank’s effectiveness swinging a stout wooden implement does, indeed, exceed the prowess of his classmate and more famous hometown slugger, Lizzie Borden. Despite the scurrilous playground rhyme to the contrary, Lizzie used only about 30 blows to become the most famous self-made orphan in New England. Frank’s more prosaic career took him to Washington as a rookie with the Nationals in 1884 where he led the team in batting as their shortstop. He finished his debut year with Cincinnati where he hit .352 and earned his keep until traded to the Athletics during the ‘88 season. A brief stint with the Brooklyn Gladiators in 1890 concluded his major league experience. Overall, Fennelly’s BA was .257 with 175 stolen bases. He led the American Association in RBI (89) in 1885.

  • The notorious axe murders occurred in 1892; two years after Frank returned home
  • Frank was born six months before Lizzie, who outlived him by seven years
  • Frank is buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery; Lizzie is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, next to her parents

Auction History

Denny Lyons

Third Base
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Athletics (AA)
  • League: American Association

Dennis Patrick Aloysius Lyons (1866-1929) was a strong hitting third-baseman over a thirteen year career in the major leagues from 1885 with Providence to 1897 with the Pirates. His lifetime batting average was .310. In 1890 he led the American Association in on-base percentage and slugging, and was second to Chicken Wolf in BA. He hit 62 home runs in the Deadball Era and was known as a formidable fielder in the no-glove era. Lyons’ era was also a time of rapid evolution in the game. In 1887, the year Denny “hit” safely in 52 straight, the pitcher’s box had been tightened and the pitcher’s delivery shortened to one step. Walks were also considered hits that year which has caused most modern students of the game to dismiss his “streak,” second only to Joltin’ Joe. But DiMaggio didn’t have to hit a fastball hurled from fifty feet. Only two of the 52 games was affected by walks but they were in the middle of the run. Despite such quibbles, Lyons was clearly a very accomplished player both offensively and afield.

  • Consistently ranked among batting leaders in both leagues he starred in: AA and NL
  • An Amos Rusie fastball broke two fingers and ended Denny’s ML tenure. He continued in the minors and hit .274 for the Beaumont Oil Gushers in 1903

Auction History

Mortimer Hogan

  • Series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
  • City: Cleveland
  • Team: Blues (AA)
  • League: American Association

Mortimer Edward Hogan (1862-1923) broke into pro ball in 1883 with the Peoria Reds. The young outfielder got the first of two shots at the big time the following season with the Milwaukee Brewers of the soon-to-be-defunct Union Association. Even had the league survived that turbulent year, it is virtually certain that Hogan's .081 batting average would have doomed him to return to the minors. He spent most of '84 with the Milwaukee Northwestern League club after the UA went belly up. Hogan at least hit his weight here, bumping his average up to .217. The light-hitting Hogan remained in the minors, bouncing from the Southern League to the Western League and to Elmira of the New York State League before returning south to two Georgia squads for most of the '86 season. He moved back to the WL's Leavenworth Soldiers to finish the campaign before getting another opportunity in the majors with the American Association's New York Metropolitans where his .200 average might have been overlooked as the team struggled to a 45-88 record and a dismal seventh place finish. Well, apparently Mort's weak hitting wasn't ignored as the woeful Mets shipped him to Nashville to finish out the '87 season. But all was not dark for Hogan as he was given one last chance at big league glory with the 1888 Cleveland Blues of the AA, where he managed a .227 average. The Cleveland management, having witnessed the futility of Hogan and the Mets the prior year, still held out hope, signaling the eternal optimism that defines America's pastime.

  • Perhaps Mortimer had the last laugh as the Blues managed a sixth place finish in '88, an improvement that launched Hogan into retirement at the age of 26

Auction History


Old Judge Pose: 229-5

Mike Sullivan

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Athletics (AA)
  • League: American Association

Michael Joseph Sullivan (1860-1929) didn't play the hot corner as poorly as that ancient mariner (“he stoppeth one in three”), but let's just say that Mike made other third-basemen of his era look pretty good. Despite a respectable ability at the plate, it was defense that proved offensive to his management, leading to an abbreviated time in the major leagues. Mike lasted all of 28 games before Philadelphia sent him up to Syracuse where, four games later, his pro ball career was over. Sullivan had started out in New England playing for three teams in 1884: Meriden, Worcester and Lawrence. He stayed in the neighborhood in '85 and '87 (no record of his play in 1886). He was with Springfield and back to Meriden in '85 and Hartford in '87 before his call-up to the American Association's Athletics.

  • Sullivan actually split his time between outfield and third. But it was in the infield he did his real damage. The Brooklyn Eagle eagerly recorded the game on May 13 when the hapless Sullivan played the goat, making three errors including the one that led to the Bridegrooms' victory over the Athletics
  • Mike's debut that season had been at third where he made two errors subbing for Denny Lyons. He went on to make ten more miscues in his next nine games before being exiled to left field where his ability to track down the ball wasn't much improved. Despite having a slugging average that ranked behind only John Reilly and Harry Stovey among AA hitters with a minimum 100 at-bats, his bosses couldn't abide his .726 fielding percentage
  • A native of Webster, Massachusetts, Mike was born on the eve of the first great national calamity, the Civil War, and died there just before the onset of the worst economic calamity, the Great Depression.

Auction History

Lefty Marr

Third Base
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Columbus
  • Team: Solons
  • League: American Association

Charles W. Marr (1862-1912) was a Cincinnati lad who started his pro ball career in Evansville, IN in 1884, moving to Nashville the following season and Syracuse, NY with the Stars in '86 before getting a call-up to his hometown at the end of that campaign with the Red Stockings of the American Association. Lefty played in only eight games for the Red Stockings, but hit .276. He then detoured back to the minors for the next two years with the Stars, now of the International Association. In 1889 Lefty got his chance to play regularly in the big leagues when he was signed by the AA's Columbus Solons. He played third and showed off a sparkling .306 average, second only to Dave Orr among the starters. He returned home to the National League's Reds in 1890 where he played primarily in the outfield and continued his fine hitting with a .298 average, helping the squad to a fourth place finish. Marr began the next year with the Reds but soon moved to the Players' League cross-town rivals - Kelly's Killers. That rather tumultuous season for baseball saw Marr end the campaign back with the NL club for a single game. In all, Lefty saw action in three leagues with four years of experience in the majors. His two years with the Solons and Reds bumped his lifetime batting average to .289. He had speed, evidenced by his league-leading 15 triples in '89 with Columbus which he followed with a dozen more for the Reds in '90.

  • Marr's ML statistics include a .289 average with 417 hits, 35 triples, 92 stolen bases and 186 RBI
  • Marr was far from through with baseball when he left Cincinnati. The next season saw him out west with Spokane and Butte. He traveled south to Macon for the '93 campaign and spent the next several years seeing the country: IA, TN, MN, VA, CT and PA
  • Lefty retired from the game after the 1898 season with the Norfolk Jewels of the Atlantic League

Auction History