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Joe Crotty

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: New York
  • Team: Metropolitans
  • League: American Association

Joseph P. Crotty (1860-1926) was a catcher in two leagues: the American and Union Associations. He was in these organizations with 4 clubs from 1882 to 1886. Before, during and after these years in the “major leagues,” Crotty floated among numerous minor league franchises including the Sioux City Corn Huskers in whose uniform he appeared in the Old Judge series for 1889. A journeyman receiver, Crotty had a typically anemic batting average (.170 in MLB) but fared 100 points higher when in the lower echelons. His career did allow him to see the country: as far east as Syracuse, south to Jackson and west to Helena. Joe’s initial year, 1882, was also a year of firsts for his two clubs. He began in Louisville with the new Eclipse squad and then was picked up by Chris von der Ahe’s St. Louis Brown Stockings. This enabled him to be present at the creation of the Cardinals as the controversial owner brought the team into the American Association.

  • Joe’s other ML clubs were the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds and the NY Metropolitans
  • The Reds played in the UA’s only season, 1884, affording Crotty another chance to make a kind of history

Auction History

Dick Buckley

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: St. Louis
  • Team: Browns (AA)
  • League: American Association

Richard D. Buckley (1858-1929) was a catcher with four teams over an eight-year career in the majors. He started with the Indianapolis Hoosiers in 1888 where he was behind the plate in 51 of his 71 games. Dick hit a robust .273 his rookie season. He played two full campaigns in Indiana, two with the Giants, two with St Louis and finished with two more with the Phillies, closing his MLB tenure in 1895 with a fine overall batting average of .245. Buckley wasn’t through with pro ball however, continuing in the minors with Midwest clubs until retiring at age 42 with the Omaha Omahogs of the Western League.

  • Buckley was born to the game: in Troy, NY just at the beginnings of organized ball. In 1860 the Victories of Troy were one of 62 teams in the new NABBP, reconstituted in ‘66 as the Unions of Lansingburgh (a neighborhood in north Troy) where young Dick would have seen baseball’s finest come through town

Auction History

Marty Bergen

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Boston
  • Team: Beaneaters
  • League: National League

Martin Bergen (1871-1900) was the Beaneaters’ catcher his entire, all-too-brief career (’96-99), leading them to two pennants and a 2nd place. Teammates knew him as an “artist” behind the plate and a terror in the clubhouse. Suffering from what would be posthumously diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia, the tortured Bergen took his own and his family’s lives at 28.

  • Hall of Famer Jesse Burkett extolled Bergen as the “best the world ever produced”
  • Brother Bill was a MLB catcher also for Cincinnati and Brooklyn

Auction History

Charlie Bennett

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Detroit
  • Team: Wolverines
  • League: National League

Charles Wesley Bennett (1854-1927). A catcher for 4 teams over 15 seasons, Bennett was an above average hitter and one of the best defensive catchers of the 19th century. He lead the NL in FLDG % 7 times and is credited with inventing the chest protector. Bennett played all 7 seasons of the Detroit Wolverines existence and the Detroit Tigers’ 1st ballpark was named for him: Bennett Park.

  • Won 2 World Series: ’87 & ’92
  • Lost both legs when he slipped & fell under a train

Auction History

Roger Bresnahan

  • Series: Pilgrims
  • City: St. Louis
  • Team: Cardinals
  • League: National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

Roger Bresnahan (1879-1944) played every position but came into his own as a lead-off-hitting catcher and battery mate to Christy Mathewson for John McGraw’s Giants. Innovation took guts in a rowdy era and he had the fortitude to introduce shin guards, batting helmets and padded masks over the protests of other clubs and the pelting of irate fans (who didn’t have to catch Mathewson.)

  • Batted .350 in 1903, trailing only Honus Wagner’s .355 and Fred Clarke’s .351
  • Elected to Hall of Fame the year after his death: 1945

Auction History


T201 Mecca Canvas: Roger Bresnahan