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Roger Connor

First Base
  • Series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Roger Connor (1857-1931) was the home run king of the 19th century, clouting 138 in his 18-year career. His record stood for 23 years after his retirement, until Babe Ruth surpassed him in 1921. Connor anchored first-base for five teams, winning pennants twice with the Giants. His flair for the dramatic was never more evident than when he struck the first-ever major league grand slam with his team down by three with two outs in the ninth. Born in Connecticut, Roger played for local clubs until joining the Troy Trojans in 1880. That NY hamlet witnessed five future Hall of Famers on their squad with Connor playing alongside Dan Brouthers, Buck Ewing, Tim Keefe and Mickey Welch. After moving to the Gothams, the 6’3” Connor inspired owner Jim Mutrie to proclaim the team “my giants!” and a new identity was born.

  • Much more than a slugger, Connor won the NL batting title in 1885 and consistently hit .300+ while exhibiting remarkable speed for a big man (still fifth all-time in triples)
  • Connor lived to see Ruth claim his HR title. It was thought at the time, however, that Connor had hit 131 HRS and Ruth's record was celebrated at 132. Writing for SABR in 1975, John tattersall discovered that Connor had actually hit 138 HRs.
  • Jay Jaffe's JAWS system ranks Connor as the 5th greatest 1st baseman of all-time, just behind Cap Anson and just ahead of Jeff Bagwell
  • Beloved by fans and the baseball press, he had a particularly strong advocate for the Hall in fellow legend, umpire Bill Klem
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1976

Auction History


Old Judge Pose: 88-3

Ezra Sutton

Third Base
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Beaneaters
  • League: National League

Ezra Ballou Sutton (1849-1907). A 3rd baseman & shortstop, Sutton played for 5 teams over 20 seasons. Ezra was the 1st player to hit a home run in Major League baseball and became the 1st player to hit 2 HRs in one game when he hit his second that day (in a losing effort). Sutton was also one of the 1st ball players to collect 1,000 career hits.

  • Played in 1st National Association game: 5.4.71
  • Played in 1st National League game: 4.22.76
  • Lifetime .294 batting average
  • Sutton is tied with 17 other players as the first player in major league baseball history

Auction History

Pete Sommers

  • Series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: White Stockings
  • League: National League

Joseph Andrews Sommers (1866-1908) was a catcher in the days when the position exacted a heavy toll on its players. Perhaps this accounts for why Pete could last four seasons in the majors despite having no discernible skills in the batter’s box. He hit .181 his rookie year in the lesser circuit of the day, the American Association. He debuted with the New York Metropolitans, a struggling club under Dave Orr’s direction in 1887. Sommers got into a mere 33 games, but did contribute a dozen RBI. The following year Pete moved to the National League where he would remain during his major league tenure with Boston’s Beaneaters, the Chicago White Stockings, Indianapolis Hoosiers, New York Giants and Cleveland Spiders. He split the ‘89 season between Chicago and Indianapolis and was in NY and Cleveland for his final turn in 1890. Overall Sommers managed to hit a combined .198 in these four years. Nevertheless, the risks of being the backstop in the days before modern protective gear were such that a high batting average was hardly necessary to fill in at catcher and Sommers got to be part of some of the noteworthy teams of the decade. His MLB experience was less than half of Pete’s pro career. He had started out with Cleveland’s Forest Cities in the Western League in 1885 and saw limited service as late as 1896 with the Quincy, IL Ravens.

  • In ‘92 Pete was a regular with the Terre Haute Hottentots (a simpler time!) of the Illinois-Iowa League where he hit .250
  • During his season in the Big Apple, Sommers proved to be a sturdy oak behind the plate. News reports described a collision with Orr that left the player/manager out cold and missing two teeth. Apparently, Sommers and first-baseman Orr were trying for the same pop-up. Unknown if Pete held onto the ball

Auction History


Old Judge Pose: 430-4

Juice Latham

First Base
  • Series: Mort's Reserve
  • City: Louisville
  • Team: Grays (NL)
  • League: National League

George Warren Latham (1852-1914) came out of Utica, NY to become his hometown’s first player to make the major leagues. He began his career with a pretty good club, Harry Wright’s National Association champion Boston Red Stockings. They captured the pennant in 1875 with a 71-8 record. Juice (also known as Jumbo) got into only 16 of those games in ‘75, but he hit a solid .269 with 13 RBI. Latham also played for the New Haven Elm Citys that year, but hit only .197 as a utility infielder. Perhaps his stint with Wright gave him baseball smarts that quickly paid off as Jumbo also managed the Elm Citys for 18 of their games despite his rookie status. Latham fared much better with his next big league team, the Louisville Grays in the National League’s second season, 1877. He hit a fine .291 as a regular first baseman and had the most plate appearances on the club. A four year hiatus ensued before Juice revived his big league career in the American Association. He played for the Philadelphia Athletics in ‘82 and again had a solid season, batting .285, and was the team’s RBI leader with 38. The veteran moved back to Louisville with the AA’s Eclipse in 1883 and saw a drop-off in his stats, hitting .250 as the everyday first sacker. The following year would close-out his tenure in the majors, again with the Eclipse, where Juice slumped to .169 in his final summer at the top of his profession.

  • Latham was far from through with baseball when he left Louisville. He enjoyed a minor league career that continued through the decade of the 1880s. He had played for Utica in the International League back in 1878 and would play for his hometown in 1886 and ‘87, as well as other Eastern League and International League teams
  • Juice had shown further managerial skills with the London Tecumsehs of the International Association of Professional Base Ball Players back in 1877-78, a would-be rival to the new NL in the States. The Tecumsehs have been called the finest team in all of Canada in the early decades of the game
  • Per the New York Times, Latham made a final appearance with the Richfield Springs, NY squad in 1894, just a short drive from Cooperstown - perhaps the closest Jumbo got to the Hall

Auction History

Charley Jones

  • Series: Mort's Reserve
  • City: Cincinnati
  • Team: Reds (NL)
  • League: National League

Charles Wesley Jones (1852-1911) was a star slugger in the NL and AA from 1875-88. Though he never led his teams to pennants, Jones held many early HR records, notably with Boston and Cincinnati. A victim of the Blacklist, Jones lost two seasons in his prime. Despite this, he was the career HR leader thru 1884.

  • Was the first player to hit 2 HRs in same inning, 6/10/80. The pitcher was Tom Poorman
  • Nickname: Baby
  • Birth name: Benjamin Wesley Rippay
  • Was the 274th player to debut in MLB
  • Was an MLB umpire, 1890-1891
  • According to Jay Jaffe's JAWS system, Charley ranks as the 80th best left fielder in MLB history, between Larry Hisle & Joe Rudi
  • Until 2012 Jones was the best-known MLB player for whom death info was unknown. The “mystery” was solved by SABR researcher Greg Perkins.

Auction History