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Will Fuller

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Cedar Rapids
  • Team: Rabbits
  • League: Western Association

William Fuller was a minor-league catcher and infielder, primarily at first-base. His closest shot at the majors came in 1888 with the Milwaukee Brewers of the Western Association. It was in that uniform that the Old Judge photo-shoot captured Will in right-handed throwing and left-handed batting poses. Will had begun the previous year with the Kalamazoo Kazoos in the Ohio State League before being picked up by the Brewers where he played in 67 games, batting .236. He came back with Milwaukee in ‘89 but got into only ten games and hit a paltry .100. Thereafter, Fuller saw limited duty with the Burlington Hawkeyes of the Central Interstate League before heading west to toil for Tacoma in the Pacific Northwestern League. After a four year absence (or at least an absence of data) Fuller showed up with the Birmingham Bluebirds of the Southern Association in 1896 before returning to the Western Association with the Cedar Rapids Rabbits in 1897.

  • His swan song was sweet: Will played in 124 games, hit a fine .305, tying for the team lead in hits with 155

Auction History

Duke Farrell

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Washington, D.C.
  • Team: Senators
  • League: National League

Charles Andrew Farrell (1866-1925) was a much-beloved and highly touted catcher for 18 years. He played three years for Boston (AL), all pennant-winning clubs. Returning to Boston after a ten year absence, the Royal Rooters gave him a diamond ring on opening day. When the club played next in D.C., the Senators fans gave him “the greatest ovation a visiting player ever received on a Washington ball field.” And there was much to love: 1563 games, 1564 hits, 912 RBI. And Duke set a record that still stands, throwing out 8 of 9 attempted steals on May 11, 1897. Farrell earned praise at every stop in his nine-team career, with multiple stints with several of the clubs.

  • Was reputed to have earned his nickname by consuming 380 clams
  • After helping the Sox to the first world title in 1903, per Tim Murnane, Boston writer: “…Farrell is the greatest catcher the game has produced”

Auction History

Buck Ewing

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

William Ewing (1859-1906) was the premier catcher of the 19th century, honored for decades after his early death as even, perhaps, the greatest player of all time. A scourge at bat, Buck hit over .300 ten times. He played behind the plate with courage and style, crouching close to the hitter so as to shave precious seconds off his inerrant throws. Ewing had debuted with the remarkable Troy Trojans in 1880 and joined four future Hall-of-Famers in moving to NYC in ‘83. The sturdy catcher may have been the primary inspiration for Jim Mutrie’s “my Giants!” exclamation that led to the new identity of the Gothams. An arm injury on a raw spring day curtailed his tenure behind the plate from 1891 on. Such a magnetic figure couldn’t escape the turmoil of the Players’ League controversies and Ewing was sometimes pilloried for lax effort. Despite such caviling, Ewing left as indelible a mark on the game’s first century as anyone. Upon his induction to Cooperstown (among the first six of the “pre-modern” era), he was hailed by Connie Mack as the greatest catcher he had seen and he had seen most.

  • “Buck” was a derivative of “Buckingham,” bestowed on the budding star by an admiring scribe who wanted to add gravitas to the youngster’s reputation
  • Played all nine positions and managed 3 different teams over 7 seasons
  • Was the first catcher elected to the Hall of Fame; and the second 19th century player elected (after Cap Anson)
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1939

Auction History

Pat Deasley

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Thomas H. Deasley (1857-1943) was a catcher for eight years for four ML clubs: the Boston Red Caps, St Louis Browns, NY Giants and Washington Statesmen from 1881 through ’88. This Irish immigrant compiled a .244 BA and did not hit a home run in the “Dead Ball” era.

  • Pat’s best year was 1887 with the Giants, hitting .314 with a .367 OBP
  • That NY team was noted for being nearly all Irish: Mike Dorgan, Pete Gillespie and Jim O’Rourke were the OF, while all but 2 innings in ’85 were pitched by Irishmen for example

Auction History

Tony Cusick

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Quakers
  • League: National League

Andrew J. “Tony” Cusick (1857-1929), was a journeyman catcher for the Philadelphia Quakers in the 1880s. His career batting average was less than stellar, falling below .200. Nevertheless, Cusick was popular with his teammates, particularly Jim Fogarty who gave him a hearty reference for the Milwaukee Brewers of the Western League after his final year in the majors.

  • Went on to umpiring with similar results: His “incorrect calling of balls and strikes” was said by the Milwaukee Sentinel to have “brought down the anathemas of the vigorous-lunged ‘bleachers’ upon himself in consequence.”

Auction History