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Germany Smith

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Brooklyn
  • Team: Bridegrooms
  • League: American Association

George J. Smith (1863-1927). A shortstop for 5 teams over 15 seasons, Germany once committed 7 intentional errors in a game to undermine the boasting of his pitcher that day, Phenomenal Smith. 14 errors were committed that day, the Bridegrooms lost 18-5, Germany and others were each fined $500, and Phenomenal was released. A below average hitter, Germany was an excellent defender and routinely finished in the league’s top five in many defensive categories for shortstops.

Auction History

Ed McKean

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Cleveland
  • Team: Spiders
  • League: National League

Edwin John McKean (1864-1919) was Cleveland’s shortstop throughout their major league existence in the 19th century. He began with the Blues (Forest Cities) in 1887 and remained with the club as it became the Spiders. The Robisons transferred their players to their St Louis team in 1899 where McKean finished his MLB tenure as a Perfecto. Baseball’s official guides list Ed’s year of birth as 1864 but biographer Rich Blevins makes the case that McKean may have been but a callow youth when he debuted with American Association Blues. Blevins presents evidence that McKean was born in 1869, making him a mere 17 as a big-league rookie. He had come up with the Youngstowns in 1884 and got his first professional hit off Cannon Ball Bill Stemmyer. He and “Stem” would be teammates with the Spiders in ‘88. McKean was a fine hitter, compiling a .302 BA over his 13 years in the majors. His career OBP was .364.

  • Career offensive stats rank McKean with the greats of his era: he is one of only four 19th century players to have 2000 hits, 1000 runs, 1000 RBI, and 300 stolen bases
  • Steady and durable, he always had 500+ at-bats

Auction History

Herman Long

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: Maroons
  • League: Western Association

Herman C. Long (1866-1909). A shortstop for 5 teams over 16 seasons, Long was a member of 5 NL pennant-winning teams. Despite a good career, Long is perhaps best known as the record holder for total errors (1,096) & errors by a SS in a career (1,070). Despite these records, Long was statistically a better than average defender & was considered a good shortstop by his peers.

  • NL HR Champ: 1900
  • .300+ batting average: 4x
  • 2 seasons with 100+ RBI; 2 with 100+ Runs

Auction History

Arthur Irwin

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Philadelphia
  • Team: Quakers
  • League: National League
  • Hall: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Doc, Sandy, Cutrate, Foxy (1863-1927). Born in Canada, Arthur Irwin was: the 1st position player to wear a glove; a winning participant in the 1st interleague series to crown a "World Champion" club, the 1884 Providence Grays; a college coach; an MLB scout & an MLB business manager; a minor league owner; a major & minor league manager; the president of the 1st professional U.S. soccer league; an owner of cycling tracks; the inventor of a football scorecard; and an umpire of 50 National League games. Arthur Irwin is also a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. After contracting stomach cancer, Irwin committed suicide by jumping over board a ship. It was soon discovered that Arthur Irwin had two unwitting wives, 1 in Boston, 1 in New York.

  • In 1907, NY Highlanders' manager George Stallings rented a flat overlooking Hilltop Park and, equipping Irwin with binoculars and mirrors, had Irwin steal signs from NY's opponents and reflect them back to Stallings in the dugout.
  • Irwin signed Lou Gehrig to his first professional contract, with the Hartford Senators in 1921. Although Gehrig used the alias "Lou Lewis" to hide his professional status from Columbia University, the ruse was discovered and Lou was forced to sit out a year of college ball.
  • Irwin managed the Washington Nationals (1889), Boston Reds (1891), Philadelphia Phillies (1894-1895), NY Giants (1896) & the Washington Senators (1898-1899)
  • While with the Providence Grays in 1883, Irwin broke two fingers on his left hand. Determined not to miss any games, Irwin got a buckskin glove, added padding and sewed two fingers together to allow his bandaged fingers to fit. After his injuries healed, Irwin kept with the glove. John Motgomery Ward soon followed. By the next season, 1884, most professional players were using the Irwin Glove.
  • Elected to Canadian BB Hall of Fame: 1989




Auction History

Jack Glasscock

  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Indianapolis
  • Team: Hoosiers (NL)
  • League: National League

John Wesley Glasscock (1857-1947) was the premier shortstop of the 19th century. Some of his records (fielding % & assists) stood until Ozzie Smith a century later. No slouch at the plate, Glasscock averaged .290 and led the NL in ’90 for the Giants.

  • In ’89, discovered the young Amos Rusie and signed him for the Hoosiers’ final season
  • Went 6 for 6 on 9/27/90 to secure the batting title over Billy Hamilton
  • One of the toughest to strikeout of his era, averaging one every 33 ABs
  • Was selected as SABR's Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend for 2016

Auction History