Cy Seymour

James Bentley "Cy" Seymour (December 9, 1872 – September 20, 1919) was an American center fielder and pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB). From 1896 through 1913, Seymour played for the New York Giants (1896–1900, 1906–1910), Baltimore Orioles (1901–1902), Cincinnati Reds (1902–1906) and Boston Braves (1913). He batted and threw left-handed.

Primarily a center fielder, Seymour retired with 1,724 hits and a lifetime batting average of .303. He was a pitcher for his first five seasons, ending his MLB career with a 61–56 win–loss record and a 3.76 earned run average in 140 games pitched (123 as a starting pitcher). He is the only player apart from Babe Ruth to finish his career with at least 50 home runs and 50 pitching wins. Seymour is the Reds' career leader in batting average (.332) and holds the Reds' single-season record for batting average (.377 in 1905).

Cy Seymour
Outfielder / Pitcher
Born: December 9, 1872
Albany, New York
Died: September 20, 1919 (aged 46)
New York, New York
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 22, 1896, for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
July 17, 1913, for the Boston Braves
MLB statistics
Batting average.303
Runs batted in799
Win–loss record61–56
Career highlights and awards


Early career

Seymour played semi-professional baseball in Plattsburgh, New York, receiving a monthly salary of $1,000 ($30,116 in current dollar terms).[1] He began his professional career in minor league baseball with Springfield Ponies of the Class-A Eastern League and New York Metropolitans of the Class-A Atlantic League in 1896.[1][2]

Major League Baseball

New York Giants (1896–1900)

Seymour signed with the New York Giants of the National League (NL) during the 1896 season, making his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut on April 22.[3] A sometimes wild pitcher, The New York Times described him as having a "$10,000 arm and a $00,000 head".[4] Seymour set a MLB record with three errors in one inning, a record later tied by Tommy John.[5] However, he pitched to an 18–14 win–loss record in 1897, with a 3.37 earned run average (ERA), while recording 149 strikeouts, good for second in the NL.[1]

In 1898, he won 25 games, had a 3.18 ERA, and led the NL in strikeouts with 239, while leading the team in wins and games started (43).[1] During the season, Seymour pitched three games in two days against the Baltimore Orioles. Orioles manager John McGraw later said that Seymour deserved the title of "Iron Man" more than Joe McGinnity.[6]

Seymour held out from the Giants for the first month of the 1899 season in a contract dispute, eventually signing for $2,000 ($60,232 in current dollar terms), a $500 raise ($15,058 in current dollar terms) over his 1898 salary.[1] He finished second in the NL in strikeouts with 142.[1] Seymour was briefly demoted to the minor leagues after walking 11 batters in a victory against the St. Louis Perfectos on June 7, 1900.[7] Due to injuries and the ineffectiveness of the Giants' outfielders, the team began to play Seymour in the outfield, though they insisted that Seymour would not shift positions on a permanent basis.[1] Seymour last pitched for the Giants that season, at which point he converted into an outfielder full-time due to injury from throwing the screwball.[1]

Baltimore Orioles (1901–1902)

With the formation of the American League (AL) as a competitor to the NL, Seymour joined many fellow NL players who jumped to the AL.[8] McGraw, remembering Seymour's toughness in previous seasons, signed Seymour to his team, the Baltimore Orioles, before the 1901 season.[1] Seymour batted .303 with the Orioles that year.[3] By 1902, the franchise began to fall into significant debt. Joe Kelley, star player for the Orioles and son-in-law of part-owner John Mahon, reported that the team owed as much as $12,000 ($347,492 in current dollar terms).[9] Unable to afford that debt, Mahon purchased shares of the team from Kelley and player-manager McGraw, who had resigned from the team and signed with the Giants. With this, Mahon became the majority shareholder. On July 17, 1902, Mahon sold his interest in the Orioles to Andrew Freedman, principal owner of the Giants, and John T. Brush, principal owner of the Cincinnati Reds, also of the NL. That day, Freedman and Brush released Seymour, McGraw, Kelley, McGinnity, Roger Bresnahan, Jack Cronin, and Dan McGann from their Oriole contracts. Brush then signed Seymour and Kelley to the Reds, while Freedman signed McGinnity, Bresnahan, Cronin, and McGann, joining McGraw, his new player-manager, on the Giants.[10]

Cincinnati Reds (1902–1906)

Baseball player, Cy Seymour, Cincinnati Reds, holding baseball bat, standing at West Side Grounds
Seymour with the Cincinnati Reds in 1903

Reds owner Garry Herrmann added $100 per month ($2,896 in current dollar terms) to Seymour's $2,800 annual salary ($81,082 in current dollar terms) when he acquired him from Baltimore, and made him the team's starting center fielder.[1] He set a record with four sacrifice bunts in one game on July 25, 1902; this mark was tied by Jake Daubert on August 15, 1914.[11] Seymour continued to bat above .300 with the Reds in each season through 1905, when he led the NL in batting average (.377), hits (219), runs batted in (RBI) (121), doubles (40), triples (21), and slugging percentage (.559).[1][3] He nearly won the Triple Crown but finished second in home runs with eight, behind Fred Odwell's nine.[1] His .377 batting average set the single-season record for the Reds,[12] and his 325 total bases that season were an NL record through 1919. Seymour had a .333 batting average during his tenure with the Reds, which remains a franchise record.[13]

New York Giants (1906–1910)

The Giants purchased Seymour from the Reds on July 12, 1906 for $10,000 ($278,852 in current dollar terms), the largest monetary transaction in baseball to date.[1] Seymour attempted to hold out from the Giants in order to obtain a portion of this transfer fee, claiming that Herrmann had promised him this money if the sale was completed.[14] McGraw convinced Seymour not to hold out, which could have set a precedent for players obtaining money in player transactions.[1] He batted .286 in 1906 for the Reds and Giants, finishing eighth in the NL.[1]

Cy Seymour baseball card
Cy Seymour's baseball card

Seymour finished fifth in the NL in batting average (.294) for the 1907 season.[15] However, an ankle injury prematurely ended his season.[16] His batting average declined to .267 for the 1908 season. That year, he participated in one of baseball's most infamous plays, known as Merkle's Boner, in which the Giants lost the pennant to the Chicago Cubs. In the replayed game between the Giants and Cubs, Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson reportedly waved Seymour to move further back in the outfield; Seymour refused, only to see the ball hit over his head, allowing the Cubs to score three runs on their way to the win.[17] Mathewson later denied waving Seymour back, saying Seymour "knew the Chicago batters as well as [he] did and how to play them."[18]

As there were no full-time base coaches at the time, players took turns in the role. While coaching at third base, Seymour tackled teammate Moose McCormick as he rounded third base and headed for home plate, in an attempt to keep McCormick at third. McCormick overpowered Seymour and scored. When McGraw asked why, Seymour made an excuse about having the sun in his eyes.[19] This led McGraw, now realizing the need for a full-time coach, to hire Arlie Latham for the role, the first full-time coach in MLB.[20] Seymour got into an altercation with Latham in March 1909 at the team's hotel, prompting McGraw to seek a buyer for Seymour.[21] Seymour apologized to McGraw,[22] who responded by suspending Seymour for eight weeks. However, Seymour injured his right leg in his first game back from the suspension.[23] This injury limited his effectiveness for the rest of his career.[24] As a part-time player that season, he batted .311, best among NL reserves.[1] He again played a reserve role for the Giants in 1910, batting .265 in 79 games.[3]

Later career

The minor league Baltimore Orioles of the Class-A Eastern League purchased Seymour from the Giants on August 24, 1910.[25] After playing for the Orioles in the 1911 season, they sold him to the Newark Indians of the Class-AA International League, where he played during the 1912 season.[26] Seymour became property of the Los Angeles Angels of the Class-A Pacific Coast League after the 1912 season, but he secured his release from the Angels without playing a game for them,[27]

Seymour subsequently signed as a free agent with the Boston Braves on February 25, 1913.[27] After playing sparingly for the Braves during the 1913 season, the Braves released him on July 19, 1913, as they were carrying 26 players on their roster, though league rules permitted a maximum roster of 25.[28][29] Seymour played for the Buffalo Bisons of the Class-A International League after being released by the Braves. He returned to professional baseball in 1918, playing in 13 games for the Newark Bears of the International League.[1]

After baseball

Seymour was declared physically unfit for service in World War I. However, he worked in wartime jobs in the Speedway shipyards and Bush terminal. While working in the shipyards, he contracted tuberculosis, and died at his home on September 20, 1919.[1] He was interred in Albany Rural Cemetery.[30]

Career perspective

Few players enjoyed as much success as Seymour as both a pitcher and hitter; only Babe Ruth recorded more combined pitching victories and hits.[1] As a pitcher, Seymour threw a fastball, a curveball, and a screwball. Orioles catcher Wilbert Robinson said that he had never caught a pitcher as wild as Seymour, as opposing batters did "not know whether their head or feet were in most danger."[1]

In his 16-year MLB career, Seymour hit 52 home runs with 799 RBI, 1,723 hits, 222 stolen bases, and a .303 batting average.[1] He also won 61 games as a pitcher.[1] Seymour was posthumously inducted in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1998.[12]

The New York World listed Seymour as one of the best players in baseball, along with Mathewson, Ed Walsh, Honus Wagner, Nap Lajoie, and Roger Bresnahan.[1] Elmer Flick insisted that Seymour was the toughest pitcher he batted against, saying he "was practically unhittable" and that Seymour "had a wonderful control of his curve ball."[1]

According to a formula for evaluating baseball players developed by Bill James, Seymour ranks above Hall of Famers Lloyd Waner, Jimmy Collins, and Joe Tinker.[31]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Cy Seymour at the SABR Bio Project, by Bill Kirwin, retrieved March 23, 2012
  2. ^ "Cy Seymour Minor League Statistics & History". Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d "Cy Seymour Statistics & History". Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  4. ^ "On the Baseball Field; New York Defeats St. Louis in the First Game of the Present Series. The Attendance Not Large. Brooklyn's Team Developes a Batting Streak in the Eighth Inning and Overcomes the "Colts" – Boston and Baltimore Victorious". The New York Times. September 5, 1897. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  5. ^ Verducci, Tom (July 28, 1988). "Yanks' Funhouse Effect Win comedy of errors and homers". Newsday. p. 150. Retrieved March 22, 2012. (subscription required)
  6. ^ "Cy Seymour is Real "Iron Man": McGraw Says He Outdid Joe McGinnity in Endurance Feats of Pitching; Three Games in Two Days". Detroit Free Press. June 24, 1917. p. 18. Retrieved April 12, 2012. (subscription required)
  7. ^ Schott, Tom; Peters, Nick (2003). The Giants Encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Sports Publishing LLC. p. 235. ISBN 1-58261-693-0.
  8. ^ "War that Crippled National League: Ban Johnson's Campaign Swept Star Players Out of the Old Organization" (PDF). The New York Times. December 7, 1913. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  9. ^ Joe Kelley at the SABR Baseball Biography Project, by Jimmy Keenan, Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  10. ^ Dewey, Donald; Acocella, Nicholas (2005). Total Ballclubs: The Ultimate Book of Baseball Teams. Sportclassic Books. p. 37. ISBN 1-894963-37-7.
  11. ^ Bostrom, Don (July 30, 1999). "Sun King Ogea is More than OK * He Tosses Seven Innings of Six- Hit Ball and Sets Up Phils With Three Sacrifice Bunts". The Morning Call. p. C.01. Retrieved April 10, 2012. (subscription required)
  12. ^ a b "Perez, Seymour in Reds' Hall". Dayton Daily News. August 1, 1998. p. 1D. Retrieved March 22, 2012. (subscription required)
  13. ^ Gold, Eddie (February 6, 1991). "Reds' Batting Records". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on March 16, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2012. (subscription required)
  14. ^ ""Cy" Seymour On Strike: Wants Part of $10,000 Release Money from Cincinnati". The Hartford Courant. August 4, 1906. p. 13. Retrieved March 22, 2012. (subscription required)
  15. ^ "1907 National League Batting Leaders". Retrieved June 8, 2012.
  16. ^ "Seymour Sprains Ankle; New Yorker Slides Into Treacherous Base – Four Giants Chased". The New York Times. September 25, 1907. p. 7. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  17. ^ "Ruth Helps Red Sox to Drive Within One Victory of World's Baseball Title: Wild Toss Gives Red Sox Victory in Fourth Game: Douglas of Cubs Throws, Ball Away in Eighth Inning of Seething Battle. Ruth Still Untamed Hero: Tarzan of Boston Tribe Triples with Two on Bases in Early Effort. Governor McCall Sees Game. Ruth Still Untamed. Cubs Tie Up Contest" (PDF). The New York Times. September 10, 1918. p. 10. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  18. ^ Mathewson, Christy (1912). Pitching in a Pinch: Baseball From the Inside. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska. p. 186.
  19. ^ Mathewson, p. 120
  20. ^ Mathewson, p. 121
  21. ^ "Seymour is Discharged". Chicago Daily Tribune. March 13, 1909. p. 10. Retrieved March 23, 2012. (subscription required)
  22. ^ Tenney, Fred (March 14, 1909). ""Cy" Seymour Repents; Banished Giant May Be Reinstated by Manager McGraw" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  23. ^ "Crippled Giants Beaten By Boston; Doyle and Bridwell Unable to Play and Seymour Hurt in First Inning. New Yorks Weak At Bat: Could Not Hit at the Right Time, While Marquard Keeps Hits Off Him Scattered Well". The New York Times. April 27, 1909. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  24. ^ Mathewson, pp. 135–6
  25. ^ ""Cy" Seymour Sold to Baltimore Team". The Atlanta Constitution. August 25, 1910. p. 1. Retrieved March 23, 2012. (subscription required)
  26. ^ "May Buy Cy Seymour". The Sun. March 13, 1912. p. 10. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  27. ^ a b "Seymour to Play in Boston". The Christian Science Monitor. February 12, 1913. p. 3. Retrieved March 23, 2012. (subscription required)
  28. ^ "Boton Releases Cy Seymour". The New York Times. July 20, 1913. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  29. ^ "Cy Seymour Released: Stallings Forced to Reduce Players to 25—Vctoran Fielder is Let Out Unconditionally". Boston Daily Globe. July 20, 1913. p. 9. Retrieved March 23, 2012. (subscription required)
  30. ^ "Seymour Funeral Today; Body of Noted Outfielder to be interred at Albany" (PDF). The New York Times. September 22, 1919. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  31. ^ James, Bill (1994). The Politics of Glory: How Baseball's Hall of Fame Really Works. New York City: Macmillan. pp. 172–184.

External links

1872 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1872 throughout the world.

1900 New York Giants season

The 1900 New York Giants season was the franchise's 18th season. The team finished in eighth place, last, in the National League with a 60-78 record, 23 games behind the Brooklyn Superbas.

1901 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1901 Baltimore Orioles season finished with the Orioles in 5th in the American League with a record of 68–65. The team was managed by John McGraw and played at Oriole Park.

1902 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1902 Baltimore Orioles season finished with the Orioles in 8th in the American League (AL) with a record of 50–88. The team was managed by John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson. The team played at Oriole Park in Baltimore, Maryland.

During the season, Andrew Freedman, principal owner of the National League's (NL) New York Giants, with the financial backing of John T. Brush, principal owner of the NL's Cincinnati Reds, purchased the Orioles from John Mahon, who was deeply in debt. They raided the Orioles roster, releasing several of Baltimore's better players so that they could sign them to the Giants and Reds. AL president Ban Johnson seized control of the Orioles the next day and restocked their roster with players received on loan from other AL teams.

The Orioles' second season in Baltimore would ultimately prove to be their last, as the team was moved to New York after the season, where they became known as the New York Highlanders.

1902 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1902 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fourth in the National League with a record of 70–70, 33.5 games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1903 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1903 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fourth in the National League with a record of 74–65, 16½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1904 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1904 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The team finished third in the National League with a record of 88–65, 18 games behind the New York Giants.

1905 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1905 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fifth in the National League with a record of 79 wins and 74 losses, 26 games behind the New York Giants.

1905 Major League Baseball season

The 1905 Major League Baseball season, had the second modern World Series. The New York Giants defeated the Philadelphia Athletics to win the World Series.

1905 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1905 throughout the world.

1906 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1906 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The team finished sixth in the National League with a record of 64–87, 51½ games behind the Chicago Cubs.

1907 New York Giants season

The 1907 New York Giants season was the franchise's 25th season. The team finished in fourth place in the National League with an 82-71 record, 25½ games behind the Chicago Cubs.

1908 New York Giants season

The 1908 New York Giants season was the franchise's 26th season. The team finished in second place in the National League with a 98–56 record, one game behind the Chicago Cubs.

Paced by Turkey Mike Donlin, the offense scored the most runs in the league. Donlin led the team in nearly all batting categories and was second in batting to Honus Wagner.

Future Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson earned the pitching triple crown with 37 wins, 259 strikeouts, and a 1.43 ERA. However, he lost the last game of the season to Three Finger Brown of the Chicago Cubs, and the Giants finished one game back in the pennant race.

That one-game playoff became necessary after Giants rookie Fred Merkle failed to touch second base at the end of a previous contest, costing them a win. In addition, they were beaten by another rookie, Phillies pitcher Harry Coveleski, three times in five days late in the season. Coveleski was subsequently nicknamed "The Giant Killer".

1913 Boston Braves season

The 1913 Boston Braves season was the 43rd season of the franchise. The Braves finished fifth in the National League with a record of 69 wins and 82 losses.

Cincinnati Reds award winners and league leaders

This article is a list of baseball players who are Cincinnati Reds players that are winners of Major League Baseball awards and recognitions, Reds awards and recognitions, and/or are league leaders in various statistical areas.

Fred Odwell

Frederick William Odwell (September 25, 1872 – August 19, 1948) was a professional baseball player. He was an outfielder over parts of four seasons with the Cincinnati Reds. In 1905, he led the National League in home runs. He was born in and later died at the age of 75 in Downsville, New York.

List of Cincinnati Reds team records

This is a list of team records for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. (The Reds do not recognize records set before 1900.)

Moose McCormick

Harry Elwood "Moose" McCormick (February 28, 1881 – July 9, 1962), was a professional baseball outfielder. He played all or part of five seasons in Major League Baseball between 1904 and 1913 for the New York Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Philadelphia Phillies. McCormick also served in the United States Army during World War first. and as a civilian director of the United States Army Air Forces during World War second.

Under manager John McGraw of the Giants, he was one of the first pinch hitters in the history's game and was considered one of the best pinch hitters in the game.

Seymour (surname)

Seymour (see Surname Database) is an English toponymic surname of Norman origin (de Saint-Maur). Notable individuals with this surname include:

A. J. Seymour (1914–1989), Guyanese poet, essayist, memoirist and editor

Alan Seymour (1927–2015), Australian playwright and writer

Algernon Seymour (disambiguation)

Archibald Seymour, 13th Duke of Somerset (1810–1891)

Beauchamp Seymour, 1st Baron Alcester (1821–1895), British admiral

Benjamin Seymour (c. 1806–1880), Canadian politician

Brett Seymour (born 1984), Australian rugby league player

Cara Seymour, English actress

Carolyn Seymour (born 1947), English actress

Charles Seymour (disambiguation)

Cy Seymour (1872–1919), American Major League Baseball player

David Seymour (disambiguation)

Edward Seymour (disambiguation)

Elizabeth Seymour (disambiguation)

Evelyn Seymour, 17th Duke of Somerset (1882–1954)

Felipe Seymour (born 1987), Chilean football player

Forrest W. Seymour (1905–1983), American journalist

Frances Seymour (disambiguation)

Francis Seymour (disambiguation)

Frederick Seymour (1820–1869), Irish-born colonial administrator, Governor of the Colony of British Columbia

George Seymour (disambiguation)

Gerald Seymour (born 1941), British writer

Gordon Seymour, pseudonym of Charles Waldstein (1856–1927), Anglo-American archaeologist and short story writer

Henry Seymour (disambiguation)

Hezekiah C. Seymour (1811–1853), American civil engineer, New York State Engineer and Surveyor

Horatio Seymour (disambiguation)

Hugh Seymour (disambiguation)

James Seymour (disambiguation)

Jane Seymour (disambiguation)

John Seymour (disambiguation)

Katie Seymour (1870–1903), British burlesque and vaudeville entertainer

Kelly Seymour (born 1936), South African cricketer

Ken Seymour (born 1930), Australian rules footballer

Kevon Seymour (born 1993), American football player

Lynn Seymour (born 1939), Canadian ballerina and choreographer

Mark Seymour (born 1956), Australian musician

Mary Seymour (1548–1550?), daughter of Catherine Parr and Thomas, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley

Mary Foot Seymour (1846–1893), American law reporter, business woman, school founder, journalist

Matthew Seymour (1669–1735), member of the Connecticut House of Representatives from Norwalk, Connecticut, and founding settler of Ridgefield, Connecticut

Michel Seymour (born 1954), Canadian philosopher and professor

Michael Seymour (disambiguation)

Miranda Seymour (born 1948), English literary critic, novelist, and biographer

Nick Seymour (born 1958), Australian bass guitarist

Paul Seymour (American football) (born 1950), American footballer

Paul Seymour (mathematician) (born 1950), mathematician

Paul Seymour (basketball) (1928–1988), American basketball player and coach

Percy Seymour, 18th Duke of Somerset (1910–1984)

Phil Seymour (1952–1993), American power pop musician

Richard Seymour (born 1979), American National Football League player

Richard Seymour (writer) (born 1977), British Marxist writer

Ruth Seymour, American retired public radio station manager

Ryan Seymour (born 1990), American National Football League player

Sebastian Seymour, Lord Seymour (born 1982), heir apparent to the title of Duke of Somerset

Silas Seymour (1817–1890), American engineer, New York State Engineer and Surveyor

Silas J. Seymour (1824–?), American politician

Stephanie Kulp Seymour (born 1940), U.S. court of appeals judge

Stephanie Seymour (born 1968), supermodel

Terri Seymour (born 1973), British television presenter and sometime actress

Thomas Seymour (disambiguation)

Truman Seymour (1824–1891), American Civil War general and painter

Webb Seymour, 10th Duke of Somerset (1718–1793)

William Seymour (disambiguation)

1901 Baltimore Orioles Inaugural Season Roster

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