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

John Irwin

Third Base
  • Series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Washington, D.C.
  • Team: Nationals
  • League: National League

John Irwin (1861-1934) followed elder brother Arthur out of Toronto and into American baseball, joining Art’s Worcester Ruby Legs when they were a National League entry in 1882. Art had been with the team since 1880 and was an established star when John debuted, getting into a single game that season. The younger Irwin played his most substantial year in ‘84 with the upstart Union Association’s Boston Reds under the tutelage of George Wright. John played third base, and hit .234 over 105 games in the UA’s only season. He would never see that much playing time again. Staying on the margins of big-time pro-ball, John saw action in all of the leagues of his day. He was with the NL’s Washington team in ‘87,the Players’ League’s Buffalo Bisons in ‘90, and then back with another Boston team called the Reds, this time in the American Association in 1891 with a final stint with the AA’s Louisville Colonels that same year.

  • John’s appetite for the game was undiminished by his mediocre record. He played for various, primarily New England, teams through the 1899 season
  • Big brother Art’s innovation of the fielder’s glove and scandalous demise amid bigamy revelations overshadowed John’s more mundane career but he outlived Art by 13 years
  • Irwin’s uniform color on this card was changed in May, 2017 from blue to red to reflect recent reliable research by Craig Brown & friends at Threads of Our Game. Two cards had been previously released featuring a blue uniform.

Auction History