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

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