Clipper Flynn

First Base
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: Troy
  • Team: Haymakers
  • League: National Association (NAPBBP)

William Flynn (1849-1881) was one of the remarkable group of early baseball players to come out of Lansingburg (Troy) NY. This small town had an out-sized impact on the game as amateur ball was being born on a national scale right after the Civil War. Flynn was a first-baseman for the Troy Haymakers from 1867-69 before joining teammates in Chicago with the White Stockings in 1870, all with the National Association of Base Ball Players. He became part of the first openly professional sports league when the Haymakers helped form the NAPBBP in 1871. The following season, Flynn moved south for a brief stint with the D.C. Olympics but the club disbanded after a mere nine games in ‘72. The slightly-built Flynn hit .338 in ‘71, ranking with the leaders on the team. He managed only a .225 average in his final tour with the Washingtons. The 1880 census-taker found “Clipper” home in Lansingburg with his wife and four kids where he worked in a brush factory.

  • Flynn and his Troy mates did deprive Harry Wright’s all-pro Cincinnati Red Stockings of one more win in their undefeated 1869 season. The teams were deadlocked at 17-17 when the visiting New Yorkers left the field in the sixth inning

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Davy Force

Third Base
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits I: 1850-1874
  • City: Washington, D.C.
  • Team: Olympics
  • League: National Association (NABBP)

David W. Force (1849-1918) played shortstop for Nicholas Young’s Olympic Club in D.C., one of the founding-dozen teams in the new Nat’l Assoc of pro ball. Davy spent a long career moving among the prominent clubs of the first two decades of the national game. In the mid-70s he was regarded as second only to George Wright at his position and was vied for by his Chicago club and the Athletics. The “Force Case” became a cause of action in the formation of the National League in ‘76 as Bill Hulbert was energized to bring order from chaos (though he still lost Davy.) “Wee Davy” was a powerhouse at 5’4” with terrific range and would later be known as a “miniature Hans Wagner.” On Christmas Eve 1896 a murder occurred in San Francisco and the tabloids had a field day mis-identifying poor Davy as the killer. His old mentor Young rescued him from scandal by vouching for the ex-player.

  • Force hit .418 in ‘72 and .365 in ‘73 for the Canaries and .249 over his 15 years

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