Harry Stovey

Harry Duffield Stovey (December 20, 1856 – September 20, 1937), born Harry Duffield Stowe, was a 19th-century Major League Baseball player and the first player in major league history to hit 100 home runs. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Stovey played for 14 seasons in the majors and was appointed player-manager on two separate occasions during his career.[1]

Known today as both a prolific home run hitter and base-stealer, he led the league in both categories multiple times in his career, including a season record of 14 home runs in 1883[2] and a league-leading 97 stolen bases in 1890. From 1880 to 1891 he appeared in the top 10 in home runs every year except 1887, and led the league five times.[3] He was the first to wear sliding pads and among the first to slide feet first.[4]

Harry Stovey
Harry Stovey Athletics
Outfielder / First baseman
Born: December 20, 1856
Died: September 20, 1937 (aged 80)
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 1, 1880, for the Worcester Worcesters
Last MLB appearance
July 29, 1893, for the Brooklyn Grooms
MLB statistics
Batting average.289
Home runs122
Runs batted in908
Stolen bases509
As Player

As Manager

Career highlights and awards
  • National League home run leader (1880 and 1891)
  • American Association home run leader (1883, 1885 and 1889)
  • National League triples leader (1880 and 1891)
  • American Association triples leader (1884 and 1888)

Baseball career


Harry began his career as an outfielder / first baseman in 1880 for the Worcester Worcesters under the surname of Stovey instead of his birth name of Stowe due to his desire to keep his family from discovering he was making his career at baseball, which was seen at the time as not a respectable profession.[5] He made an immediate impact that first season, leading the league with 14 triples and six home runs, while also finishing in the top ten in many other offensive categories.[3] On July 17, he hit his first major league home run off Jim McCormick of the Cleveland Blues.[6]

For the 1881 season, his offensive numbers did not slow down, again finishing in the top ten in several offensive categories, though he did not lead the league in any this time around.[3] On August 17, 1881, Worcester suspended Captain Mike Dorgan‚ and Stovey took over the position for the remainder of the season. Lee Richmond‚ who had quit because of conflicts with Dorgan‚ rejoined the team after this switch.[6]

In 1882, his last season for the Worcesters, his batting average saw an increase, up to .289 from .270 the year before, but his numbers in relation to the rest of the league took a slight dip. He ranked third in the league in runs scored, with 90, and fourth in the league in home runs, with five.[3]


Harry Stovey, Philadelphia Athletics, baseball card portrait LCCN2008675120
Baseball card of Stovey

For the 1883 season, Stovey moved on to play for the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association, and it was during the next seven years when he had his best years, and made his greatest impact on the game. His first season in Philadelphia saw him set the single season record for home runs with 14, breaking the old mark of nine set by Charley Jones in 1879. He kept this record for only one season, as Ned Williamson set a new mark the very next season with 27.[2] Not only did he set the home run record, he batted .306, and led the league in runs scored with 110, doubles with 31, and games played with 112, while also finishing in the top five in most offensive categories.[3]

The offensive explosiveness continued throughout his stay in Philadelphia, leading the league in runs scored four times, doubles once, triples three times, and home runs three times. The accumulation of home runs led to him becoming the career home run leader, overtaking Charley Jones[2] with his 51st career homer on September 28, 1885.[6] He held onto the career lead for a season until he was passed for a short period of time by Dan Brouthers for the 1886 and the 1887 seasons. Stovey regained the lead, and held it until Roger Connor passed him in 1895.[2]

Boston and the Players' League

In 1890, the Players' League, a rival league to the National League and the American Association, began, and it attracted many of the game's star players, including Stovey who "jumped" to the Boston Reds.[1] He had a good season, batting .299, hit 11 triples, and 12 home runs.[3] On September 3, 1890, Stovey became the first player to hit 100 homers for a career, off of Jersey Bakley in a game against Cleveland, a significant milestone in a day when home runs were relatively rare.[6]

Staying in Boston

After the 1890 season, the Players' League folded with many of the players returning to their former ballclubs. Stovey‚ who played with the A's in 1889, was not claimed by that club through a clerical error, so on February 5, 1891, he signed with the Boston Beaneaters of the National League.[6] He led the league that season with 16 home runs and 20 triples, while also hitting .279 with 31 doubles as well. It proved to be last great season of his career.[3]

Baltimore / Brooklyn

Stovey played only 38 games for the Beaneaters in 1892, before he was released on June 20, but he was quickly signed by the Baltimore Orioles. He finished the season with a .272 batting average with the Orioles and hit 11 triples,[3] including three in one game on July 21 in a 10–3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.[6]

The 1893 season was Stovey's last season in the majors. He was released by the Orioles on May 22 after only eight games, and was signed three days later on May 15 by the Brooklyn Grooms. He finished the season with Grooms and retired after the season was over.[3]


After his career, Stovey became a police officer in New Bedford, Massachusetts.[7] Stovey died at the age of 80 in New Bedford, and is interred at Oak Grove Cemetery.[1]

The Nineteenth Century Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research named Stovey the Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend for 2011 — a 19th-century player, manager, executive or other baseball personality not yet inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Harry Stovey's career stats". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  2. ^ a b c d "Progressive Leaders & Records for Home Runs". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Harry Stovey's career stats". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  4. ^ "Harry Stovey's Biography". baseballlibrary.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  5. ^ "This annotated week in baseball history: July 22-July 28, 1890". by Richard Barbieri, July 27, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Harry Stovey Chronology". baseballlibrary.com. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  7. ^ "Home run expert is always on the fence". by Mel Antonen, USA TODAY, July 24, 2007. July 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  • The Editors of Total Baseball, ed. (2000). Baseball:The Biographical Encyclopedia. Sports Illustrated. pp. 1093–1094. ISBN 1-892129-34-5.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Mike Dorgan
Worcester Worcesters Manager
Succeeded by
Freeman Brown
Preceded by
Lon Knight
Philadelphia Athletics (AA) Manager
Succeeded by
Lew Simmons
1880 Worcester Worcesters season

The 1880 season was the first for the Worcester Worcesters franchise in the National League, having played 1879 in the National Association. The team finished its initial season with a 40–43 record, good for fifth place. Lee Richmond threw a perfect game on June 12, 1880, the first ever perfect game in Major League Baseball history in a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Blues. On August 20, they were the first team to ever be no-hit at home after Pud Galvin of the Buffalo Bisons defeated them 1-0.

1881 Worcester Worcesters season

The 1881 Worcester Worcesters finished with a 32–50 record, last place in the National League.

1883 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1883 Philadelphia Athletics finished with a 66–32 record and won the championship of the American Association.

1885 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1885 Philadelphia Athletics finished with a 55–57 record and finished in fourth place in the American Association.

1886 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1886 Philadelphia Athletics finished with a 63–72 record and finished in sixth place in the American Association.

1888 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1888 Philadelphia Athletics finished with an 81–52 record and finished in third place in the American Association.

Bid McPhee

John Alexander "Bid" McPhee (November 1, 1859 – January 3, 1943) was an American 19th-century Major League Baseball second baseman. He played 18 seasons in the majors, from 1882 until 1899, all for the Cincinnati Reds franchise. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. Known more for his fielding than his hitting, McPhee was the last second baseman to play without a glove.

Boston Reds (1890–1891) all-time roster

The Boston Reds were a Major League Baseball franchise that played in the Players' League (PL) in 1890, and one season in the American Association (AA) in 1891. In both seasons, the Reds were their league's champion, making them the second team to win back-to-back championships in two different leagues. The first franchise to accomplish this feat was the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, who won the AA championship in 1889 and the National League (NL) championship in 1890. The Reds played their home games at the Congress Street Grounds.The Reds were an instant success on the field and in the public's opinion. The team signed several top-level players, and they played in a larger, more comfortable and modern ballpark than the Boston Beaneaters, the popular and well established cross-town rival. Player signings that first year included future Hall of Famers King Kelly, Dan Brouthers, and Charles Radbourn, along with other veterans such as Hardy Richardson, Matt Kilroy, Harry Stovey, and Tom Brown. The PL ended after one season, leaving most of its teams without a league.After the dissolution of the PL, the AA voted to allow the Reds into the new combined league. This was based on the condition that all players be returned to their former clubs via the reserve clause. Although the team's on-field captain, Kelly, became the player-manager for a new AA club, the Cincinnati Kelly's Killers, the Reds stayed intact by keeping several of their top players. Of the club's key players from the previous year's team, Brouthers, Richardson, and Brown were retained. To fill the void of the departing players, the team brought in future Hall of Famers Hugh Duffy and Clark Griffith, along with solid veterans Paul Radford, Charlie Buffinton, and George Haddock. When the 1891 season ended, the AA folded as well, leaving the NL as the sole major league, and the Reds were bought out by the surviving NL clubs.

Charley Jones

Charles Wesley Jones (born Benjamin Wesley Rippay on April 30, 1852 – June 6, 1911) was an American left fielder in the National Association and Major League Baseball who hit 56 home runs and batted .298 during his twelve-year career. He was born in Alamance County, North Carolina.

Duke Esper

Charles H. "Duke" Esper (July 28, 1868 in Salem, New Jersey – August 31, 1910 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was a professional baseball player who played pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1890–1898. He would play for the Philadelphia Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Senators, and St. Louis Browns. He gave up Roger Connor's 100th home run, the second player to do so after Harry Stovey.

Jim O'Rourke (baseball)

James Henry O'Rourke (September 1, 1850 – January 8, 1919), nicknamed "Orator Jim", was an American professional baseball player in the National Association and Major League Baseball who played primarily as a left fielder. For the period 1876–1892, he ranks behind only Cap Anson in career major league games played (1644), hits (2146), at-bats (6884), doubles (392) and total bases (2936), and behind only Harry Stovey in runs scored (1370) (Stovey was a younger player; Anson played five seasons and O'Rourke four prior to 1876.).

John Reilly (baseball)

John Good Reilly [Long John] (October 5, 1858 – May 31, 1937) was an American first baseman in Major League Baseball who hit 69 home runs and batted .289 during his ten-year career. In 1888, he hit 13 home runs with 103 RBI and a .321 batting average.

List of Major League Baseball annual home run leaders

In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit so far that the batter is able to circle all the bases ending at home plate, scoring himself plus any runners already on base, with no errors by the defensive team on the play. An automatic home run is achieved by hitting the ball on the fly over the outfield fence in fair territory. More rarely, an inside-the-park home run occurs when the hitter reaches home plate while the baseball remains in play on the field. In Major League Baseball (MLB), a player in each league wins the home run title each season by hitting the most home runs that year. Only home runs hit in a particular league count towards that league's seasonal lead. Mark McGwire, for example, hit 58 home runs in 1997, more than any other player that year. However, McGwire was traded from the American League's (AL) Oakland Athletics to the National League's (NL) St. Louis Cardinals midway through the season and his individual AL and NL home run totals (34 and 24, respectively) did not qualify to lead either league.The first home run champion in the National League was George Hall. In the league's inaugural 1876 season, Hall hit five home runs for the short-lived National League Philadelphia Athletics. In 1901, the American League was established and Hall of Fame second baseman Nap Lajoie led it with 14 home runs for the American League Philadelphia Athletics. Over the course of his 22-season career, Babe Ruth led the American League in home runs 12 times. Mike Schmidt and Ralph Kiner have the second and third most home run titles respectively, Schmidt with eight and Kiner with seven, all won in the National League. Kiner's seven consecutive titles from 1946 to 1952 are also the most consecutive home run titles by any player.

Ruth set the Major League Baseball single-season home run record four times, first at 29 (1919), then 54 (1920), 59 (1921), and finally 60 (1927). Ruth's 1920 and 1921 seasons are tied for the widest margin of victory for a home run champion as he topped the next highest total by 35 home runs in each season. The single season mark of 60 stood for 34 years until Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961. Maris' mark was broken 37 years later by both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during the 1998 home run record chase, with McGwire ultimately setting the mark at 70. Barry Bonds, who also has the most career home runs, set the current single season record of 73 in 2001. The 1998 and 2001 seasons each had 4 players hit 50 or more home runs – Greg Vaughn, Ken Griffey, Jr., Sosa, and McGwire in 1998 and Alex Rodriguez, Luis Gonzalez, Sosa, and Bonds in 2001. A player has hit 50 or more home runs 42 times, 25 times since 1990. The lowest home run total to lead a major league was four, recorded in the NL by Lip Pike in 1877 and Paul Hines in 1878.

List of Major League Baseball annual runs scored leaders

Major League Baseball recognizes runs scored leaders in the American League and National League each season. In baseball, a run is scored when a player advances safely around first, second and third base and returns safely to home plate, touching the bases in that order, before three outs are recorded. A player may score by hitting a home run or by any combination of plays that puts him safely "on base" (that is, on first, second, or third) as a runner and subsequently brings him home. The object of the game is for a team to score more runs than its opponent.

In baseball statistics, a player who advances around all the bases to score is credited with a run (R), sometimes referred to as a "run scored." While runs scored is considered an important individual batting statistic, it is regarded as less significant than runs batted in (RBIs)—superiority in the latter, for instance, is one of the elements of the exceptional batting achievement known as the Triple Crown. Both individual runs scored and runs batted in are heavily context-dependent; for a more sophisticated assessment of a player's contribution toward producing runs for his team, see runs created.

List of Major League Baseball annual triples leaders

In baseball, a triple is recorded when the ball is hit so that the batter is able to advance all the way to third base, scoring any runners who were already on base, with no errors by the defensive team on the play. In Major League Baseball (MLB), a player in each league is recognized for leading the league in triples. Only triples hit in a particular league count toward that league's seasonal lead.

The first triples champion in the National League was Ross Barnes; in the league's inaugural 1876 season, Barnes hit fourteen triples for the Chicago White Stockings. In 1901, the American League was established and led by two members of the Baltimore Orioles: Bill Keister and Jimmy Williams each had 21.

List of Major League Baseball progressive single-season home run leaders

The Major League Baseball single-season record for the number of home runs hit by a batter has changed many times over the years.

List of Major League Baseball single-season triples leaders

Below is the list of 112 instances in which Major League Baseball players have hit 20 or more triples in a single season. Active players are in bold.

List of Major League Baseball triples records

There are various Major League Baseball records for triples.

Worcester Worcesters all-time roster

The Worcester Worcesters, sometimes referred to as the Brown Stockings or the Ruby Legs, were a Major League Baseball team based in Worcester, Massachusetts. Though the team's alternate names appear in many modern sources, no contemporary records from the time exist that support the use of names other than "Worcester". They existed in the National League (NL) from 1880 to 1882, and played their home games at the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds.The team was organized in 1879 as the Worcester Baseball Association, and joined the minor league National Association. The team was profitable, successful against rival teams, and did well against NL teams in exhibition games. After the season, team management turned their attention on the NL, and pursued the slot vacated by the departing Syracuse Stars. The team was voted into the NL by a majority of the owners, and in 1880, the team began their first season. The manager of the team, Frank Bancroft, and many of the players stayed with the team when it joined the NL, including pitchers Lee Richmond and Tricky Nichols, and position players Arthur Irwin, Doc Bushong, Charlie Bennett, and Chub Sullivan. On June 12, Richmond threw the first perfect game in major league history, against the Cleveland Blues. Harry Stovey, in his first major league season, led the league in triples and home runs. However, the Ruby Legs were, in turn, no-hit on August 20 by Pud Galvin of the Buffalo Bisons, becoming the first team to be no-hit at home. They played 85 games in their first season, and had a win–loss record of 40 wins, 43 losses, with 2 ties, finishing fifth in the league.Before the 1881 season, the Worcester team experienced several setbacks. Bancroft departed as their manager, and many of the players also left the team. Mike Dorgan replaced Bancroft and served as player-manager, while Hick Carpenter and Pete Hotaling were brought in as player replacements. Further complications arose during the season: the popular Sullivan was sick with tuberculosis, and on August 19, shortstop Irwin broke his leg. This presented a problem for that day's game, because his backup, Buttercup Dickerson, was also injured at the time. As a solution, local sports equipment dealer Martin "Flip" Flaherty was used to help field a full team. Matters did not improve the following month: Lip Pike was accused of conspiring to throw baseball games, and was later expelled by the NL, and Sullivan succumbed to tuberculosis. To commemorate their teammate, the team wore a black crape on their sleeve, which began baseball's tradition of honoring the recently deceased in this manner. Dorgan departed the team before the season ended, and Stovey took over the on-field managerial duties, while also continuing his playing role. The team finished with a record of 32 wins, 50 losses, with 1 tie, finishing last among the eight teams in the league.In 1882, the team's decline continued, and the pitchers began to complain of exhaustion and accused management of overuse. A second consecutive last-place finish, along with declining talent, their fans stopped attending home games, with attendance numbers averaging 50 paid spectators. John Clarkson, who went on to win 328 games in a 12-season career, and was the only Hall of Famer to have played for the franchise, began his career for the 1881 Ruby Legs. When the season ended, the NL decided to drop the team from the league, replacing them with the Philadelphia Quakers, who later became the Phillies.

Preceded by
Oscar Walker
American Association Home Run Champion
Succeeded by
Long John Reilly
Preceded by
Long John Reilly
American Association Home Run Champion
Succeeded by
Bid McPhee
Preceded by
Long John Reilly
American Association Home Run Champion
(with Bug Holliday)
Succeeded by
Count Campau
Preceded by
Charley Jones
Career home run record holder
Succeeded by
Dan Brouthers
Preceded by
Dan Brouthers
Career home run record holder
Succeeded by
Roger Connor
Preceded by
Charley Jones
Single season home run record holder
Succeeded by
Ned Williamson
Preceded by
Bid McPhee
Hitting for the cycle
May 15, 1888
Succeeded by
Sam Barkley

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