Harry Wright

William Henry "Harry" Wright (January 10, 1835 – October 3, 1895) was an English-born American professional baseball player, manager, and developer. He assembled, managed, and played center field for baseball's first fully professional team, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. It was there where he is credited with introducing innovations such as backing up infield plays from the outfield and shifting defensive alignments based on hitters' tendencies. For his contributions as a manager and developer of the game, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1952 by the Veterans Committee. Wright was also the first to make baseball into a business by paying his players up to seven times the pay of the average working man.

Harry Wright
Harry Wright Baseball Card
Center fielder/Manager
Born: January 10, 1835
Sheffield, England
Died: October 3, 1895 (aged 60)
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 5, 1871, for the Boston Red Stockings
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1877, for the Boston Red Caps
MLB statistics
Batting average.272
  National Association of Base Ball Players
  League player
  League manager
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
VoteVeteran's Committee

Early life

1863 Harry Wright
Wright in 1863

Born in Sheffield, England, he was the eldest of five children of professional cricketer Samuel Wright and his wife, Annie Tone Wright.[1] His family emigrated to the U.S. when he was nearly three years old, and his father found work as a bowler, coach, and groundskeeper at the St George's Cricket Club in New York. Harry dropped out of school at age 14 to work for a jewelry manufacturer, and worked at Tiffany's for several years.[2]

Both Harry and George, twelve years younger, assisted their father, effectively apprenticing as cricket "club pros". Harry played against the first English cricket team to tour overseas in 1859.[3]

Both brothers played baseball for some of the leading clubs during the amateur era of the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP). Harry was already twenty-two when the baseball fraternity convened for the first time in 1857, at which time he joined the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club. He did not play in a game with the Knickerbockers until July 8, 1858, playing the outfield against Excelsior of Brooklyn. The Knickerbockers lost the game, 31–13.[4]

In 1863, the Knickerbocker club all but withdrew from official competition, and Wright joined Gotham of New York, primarily playing shortstop.[5] Here, he joined his brother George, who had become a member of the team the previous year.[6] During the winter of 1864/65, the Wrights played the curious game of "ice base ball".[7]


Wright left New York on March 8, 1865, bound for Cincinnati, where he had been hired on salary at the Union Cricket Club.[8] When baseball boomed less than a year later in 1866, the first full peacetime season, he became, in effect, club pro at the Cincinnati Base Ball Club, although he is commonly called simply a baseball "manager" from that time. By now, Wright was 31, probably past his athletic prime.

Cincinnati fielded a strong regional club in 1867. With Wright working as the regular pitcher, and still a superior player at that level, the team won 16 matches and lost only to the Nationals of Washington, D.C. on their historic tour. For 1868 he added four players from the East and one from the crosstown Buckeye club, a vanquished rival. The easterners, at least, must have been compensated by club members if not by the club.

When the NABBP permitted professionalism for 1869, Harry augmented his 1868 imports (retaining four of five) with five new men, including three more originally from the East. No one but Harry Wright himself remained from 1867; one local man and one other westerner joined seven easterners on the famous First Nine. The most important of the new men was brother George, probably the best player in the game for a few years, the highest paid man in Cincinnati at $1400 for nine months. George at shortstop remained a cornerstone of Harry's teams for ten seasons.

The Red Stockings toured the continent undefeated in 1869 and may have been the strongest team in 1870, but the club dropped professional base ball after the second season, its fourth in the game. As it turned out, the Association also passed from the scene.


During this early era, the rules of the sport for many years prohibited substitution during games except by mutual agreement with opponents, and the role of a team manager was not as specifically geared toward game strategy as in the modern era; instead, managers of the period combined the role of a field manager with that of a modern general manager in that they were primarily responsible for signing talented players and forming a versatile roster, as well as establishing a team approach through practice and game fundamentals.

Seventh-Inning Stretch Report

In 1869 Wright became the first to make written mention of the Seventh-inning stretch in a game he watched.


The National Association years

1872 Harry Wright card
Wright in 1872

From an invitation in 1870 by Ivers Whitney Adams, the founder and President of the Boston Red Stockings, Wright moved from managing the "Cincinnati Red Stockings" to work professionally with the first-ever base ball team in Boston, the "Boston Red Stockings". The team was to play in the newly formed National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, now known more often as simply the National Association.

The Red Stockings finished third in the NA's inaugural season. Wright, now 36 years old and the second-oldest player in the league, was the team's regular center fielder, playing 30 of the team's 31 games at that position.[9] He also pitched in nine games in relief of Albert Spalding, notching one win.

In 1872, the Red Stockings won its first championship, beating the Baltimore Canaries by 7½ games. They won again the next season, finishing four games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics.

1874 turned out to be Wright's last year as the team's regular center fielder. He had been the oldest player in the NA for three years running. It was also his third straight championship as manager. That year, he organized what turned out to be a fairly disastrous attempt to take baseball back home to the British Isles.[10]

In 1875, the final year of the NA, the Red Stockings were an amazing 71-8, finishing a full 15 games ahead of the Athletics. Wright, now the oldest player in the league, continued to play regularly in center field for Boston until 1874. After that, he played in just three more games, one in each of the next three seasons.

The National League years

In 1876, the Boston club joined the new National League. They became the "Red Caps" now, in deference to the resurrected Red Stockings name for the new Cincinnati Club.[10] Although they once again stumbled in their first year in a new league, finishing fourth in 1876, they went on to win two more pennants in the following two seasons with Wright at the helm. The team finished second in 1879, but then slipped badly, finishing sixth in the next two seasons, which wound up being Wright's last two seasons in Boston.

After Boston


After leaving the Red Caps, Wright quickly picked up with the Providence Grays, one of the stronger NL teams of the era. In 1882, his first season as Grays manager, the team finished in second place, just three games behind the powerful Chicago White Stockings led by Cap Anson. The team dropped to third the following year, and Wright moved on again.

While in Providence, Wright instituted the concept of a farm team. Wright assembled a team of amateurs, which would play at Messer Street Grounds while the Grays were on the road, with the intention that if one of the senior members was injured, he could be easily replaced from among these players.[10]


Harry Wright Seated
Harry Wright

In 1884, Wright was brought in to manage the Philadelphia Quakers. The Quakers had joined the National League the previous year, finishing dead last with an abysmal record of 17-81. Under Wright, they improved enough to finish in sixth place in 1884. In 1885, the team finished above .500 for the first time, going 56-54 and finishing in third place, a distant 30 games behind the White Stockings and 28 games behind second-place New York Giants.

The Quakers continued to improve under Wright in 1886, finishing with a record of 71-43, although their position in the league fell to fourth. In 1887, the team finished in second place, just 3½ games behind the champion Detroit Wolverines. Unfortunately, that was to be the high-water mark of Wright's tenure in Philadelphia, as the team hovered in the middle of the pack, finishing between third and fifth every year from 1888 until 1893 (although he missed a large portion of the 1890 season due to problems with his eyesight[10]).

During Wright's tenure in Philadelphia, he often clashed with team owners Al Reach and Colonel John I. Rogers. After the 1893 season, his contract was not renewed. The National League, in recognition of Wright's standing, offered him the position of Chief of Umpires. During his career, Wright had often served as umpire, even for games involving rival teams, due to his high ethical standards.[10]

Managerial overview

In 23 seasons of managing in the National Association and National League, Wright's teams won six league championships (1872–75, 1877, 1878). They finished second on three other occasions, and never finished lower than sixth. Wright finished his managerial career with 1225 wins and 885 losses for a .581 winning percentage.


Wright died of a lung ailment on October 3, 1895 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, He is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

Wright was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953. He was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2005. His brother George Wright is also a member of both Halls; a third brother, Sam, also played professionally.

2009 auction controversy

In July 2009, Hunt Auctions stopped bidding on several lots of 19th-century letters sent to Wright and removed them from the auction. This was in response to an FBI investigation regarding the possibility that they were stolen from the New York Public Library sometime prior to 1986. The library was once in possession of four scrapbooks of letters that had been sent to Wright between 1865 and 1894, but in an assessment of the collection conducted during 1986 and 1987, three of the four volumes were discovered missing. FBI investigators are trying to determine "whether those items were among the items apparently stolen from the public library collection". The lots, over 20 in total, were part of a live auction Hunt Auctions was conducting during the Major League Baseball FanFest on July 14, 2009.[11]

See also


  • Alvarez, Mark (1996). Frederick Ivor-Campbell; et al. (eds.). William Henry Wright (Harry): Baseball's First Stars. Cleveland, Ohio: Society for American Baseball Research. ISBN 0-910137-58-7.
  • Devine, Christopher (2003). Harry Wright: The Father of Professional Base Ball. McFarland. ISBN 9780786415618.
  • Reeves, Scott (2014). The Champion Band: The First English Cricket Tour. Chequered Flag Publishing. ISBN 9780956946089.
  • Wright, Marshall (2000). The National Association of Base Ball Players, 1857–1870. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-0779-4.
In-line citations
  1. ^ Devine, p. 14
  2. ^ Devine, p. 16
  3. ^ Reeves, pp.123-124
  4. ^ Devine, p. 21
  5. ^ Devine, p. 25
  6. ^ Devine, p. 26
  7. ^ Devine, p. 27
  8. ^ Devine, p. 29
  9. ^ 1871 Red Stockings fielding from Baseball-Reference
  10. ^ a b c d e SABR BioProject: Harry Wright
  11. ^ "Hunt Stops Bidding on Wright Letters", Sports Collectors Digest, July 31, 2009.

External links

Preceded by
Bill Lennon
Oldest recognized verified living baseball player
May 5, 1871 – October 30, 1871
Succeeded by
Nate Berkenstock
1871 Boston Red Stockings season

The 1871 Boston Red Stockings season was the inaugural season of the franchise. They were formed in 1871 by Boston businessman and Ashburnham native Ivers Whitney Adams. The team was composed of former players of the defunct Cincinnati Red Stockings franchise, who were brought to Boston and kept the name with them. Led and managed by baseball pioneer Harry Wright, the new Boston team would join the newly formed National Association of Professional Base Ball Players for the 1871 season and finish the year in third place with a record of 20–10.

Pitcher Al Spalding started all 31 of the Red Stockings' games and led the NA with 19 wins. Catcher Cal McVey finished second in the league batting race with a .431 average. From this team, Harry Wright, Al Spalding, and shortstop George Wright have all been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1872 Boston Red Stockings season

The 1872 Boston Red Stockings season was the second season of the franchise. They won the National Association championship.

Managed by Harry Wright, Boston finished with a record of 39–8 to win the pennant by 7.5 games. Pitcher Al Spalding started all 48 of the Red Stockings' games and led the NA with 38 wins. Second baseman Ross Barnes won the league batting title with a .430 batting average. Harry Wright, Al Spalding, and shortstop George Wright have all been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1873 Boston Red Stockings season

The 1873 Boston Red Stockings season was the third season of the franchise. They won their second consecutive National Association championship.

Managed by Harry Wright, Boston finished with a record of 43–16 to win the pennant by 4 games. Pitcher Al Spalding started 54 of the Red Stockings' games and led the NA with 41 wins. Second baseman Ross Barnes won the league batting title with a .431 batting average, and catcher Deacon White topped the circuit with 77 runs batted in.

Harry Wright, Al Spalding, first baseman Jim O'Rourke, and shortstop George Wright have all been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1874 Boston Red Stockings season

The 1874 Boston Red Stockings season was the fourth season of the franchise. They won their third consecutive National Association championship.

Managed by Harry Wright, Boston finished with a record of 52–18 to win the pennant by 7.5 games. Pitcher Al Spalding started 69 of the Red Stockings' games and led the NA with 52 wins. Outfielder Cal McVey led the league with 71 runs batted in, and he paced the Boston offense which scored more runs than any other team.

Harry Wright, Al Spalding, first baseman Jim O'Rourke, catcher Deacon White, and shortstop George Wright have all been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1875 Boston Red Stockings season

The 1875 Boston Red Stockings season was the fifth season of the Boston Red Stockings franchise. They won their fourth consecutive National Association championship.

Managed by Harry Wright, Boston finished with a record of 71–8 to win the pennant by 15 games. Pitcher Al Spalding started 62 of the Red Stockings' games and led the NA with 54 wins. Catcher Deacon White (.367), second baseman Ross Barnes (.364), and first baseman Cal McVey (.355) finished 1–2–3 in the league's batting race. McVey paced the circuit with 87 runs batted in, and outfielder Jim O'Rourke had the most home runs, with 6. The Boston offense scored more runs than any other team in the NA. According to the FiveThirtyEight ELO rating system, they are the greatest team of all time. [1]

Harry Wright, Al Spalding, Jim O'Rourke, and shortstop George Wright have all been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

This was the last season of the Association, which dissolved at the end of the year. The Red Stockings club would join the new National League in 1876.

1876 Boston Red Caps season

The 1876 Boston Red Caps season was the sixth season of the franchise. With the dissolution of the National Association, the Boston team joined the brand new National League. The team name was changed to the Boston Red Caps to avoid confusion with the new Cincinnati Red Stockings team. Some of the players from the previous year's team defected to other ballclubs, so the team finished further down in the standings this season.

1877 Boston Red Caps season

The 1877 Boston Red Caps season was the seventh season of the franchise. Arthur Soden became the new owner of the franchise, who won their first ever National League pennant.

1879 Boston Red Caps season

The 1879 Boston Red Caps season was the ninth season of the franchise.

1882 Boston Red Caps season

The 1882 Boston Red Caps season was the twelfth season of the franchise. The Red Caps were a team in transition, as co-founder and longtime manager Harry Wright left the team and was replaced by John Morrill.

1886 Philadelphia Quakers season

The 1886 Philadelphia Quakers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished in fourth place in the National League with a record of 71–43, 14 games behind the Chicago White Stockings.

Cincinnati Red Stockings

The Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869 were baseball's first openly all-professional team, with ten salaried players. The Cincinnati Base Ball Club formed in 1866 and fielded competitive teams in the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) 1867–1870, a time of a transition that ambitious Cincinnati, Ohio businessmen and English-born ballplayer Harry Wright shaped as much as anyone. Major League Baseball recognized those events officially by sponsoring a centennial of professional baseball in 1969.

Thanks partly to their on-field success and the continental scope of their tours, the Red Stockings established styles in team uniforms and team nicknames that have some currency even in the 21st century. They also established a particular color, red, as the color of Cincinnati, and they provide the ultimate origin for the use of "Red Sox" in Boston.

George Wright (sportsman)

George Wright (January 28, 1847 – August 21, 1937) was an American shortstop in professional baseball. He played for the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first fully professional team, when he was the game's best player. He then played for the Boston Red Stockings, helping the team win six league championships from 1871 to 1878. His older brother Harry Wright managed both Red Stockings teams and made George his cornerstone. George was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937. After arriving in Boston, he also entered the sporting goods business. There he continued in the industry, assisting in the development of golf.

Harry Wallace

Harry Wright Wallace (11 September 1885 – 30 April 1973) was a British Labour Party politician.

He was Assistant Secretary of the Union of Post Office Workers.

At the 1924 general election, he was unsuccessful Labour candidate at Bury in Lancashire.

At the 1929 general election, he was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Walthamstow East. He lost the seat two years later, as Labour's vote collapsed in the 1931 election when party split over its leader Ramsay MacDonald's formation of a National Government.

Wallace regained his seat in the Labour landslide at the 1945 general election, and held the seat until his defeat at the 1955 general election by the Conservative John Harvey.

Harry Wright (American football)

Harry Charles Wright (October 4, 1919 – March 9, 1993) was an American football player and coach. He played college football at the University of Notre Dame, quarterbacking the 1941 Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team to an undefeated record. Wright served as the head football coach at the University of Portland in 1949 and the United States Merchant Marine Academy from 1958 to 1963, compiling a career college football coaching record of 1958–1963. He also worked an assistant coach for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) from 1964 to 1966 under head coach Allie Sherman. Wright was later the mayor of Sparta Township, New Jersey.

Harry Wright (Australian footballer)

Herbert Lovegrove Wright (13 April 1870 – 19 March 1950) was an Australian rules footballer who played for the Essendon Football Club around and during the years following the formation of the Victorian Football League (VFL).

Wright made his debut in 1894, and was part of the team that won the premiership, winning his second in the 1897 and also playing in the first ever VFL Grand Final the following year. A centreman, Wright finished on the losing team on that occasion but took part in a winning Grand Final in 1901.

As a cricketer Wright was a wicket-keeper and one of the three first-class matches that he played was a Sheffield Shield encounter, against South Australia in the 1904/05 season. He finished his career with three catches and five stumpings to go with his 49 runs at 24.50.

Harry Wright (disambiguation)

Harry Wright (1835–1895) was an English-born American baseball player, manager and developer.

Harry Wright may also refer to:

Harry Wright (footballer, born 1888) (1888–1950), English footballer best known for playing for West Bromwich Albion, see 1912 FA Cup Final

Harry Wright (footballer, born 1900) (1900–?), English footballer best known for playing for Gillingham

Harry Wright (Australian footballer) (1870–1950), Australian rules footballer

Harry Wright (footballer, born 1909) (1909–1994), English football coach

Harry Wright (Canadian politician) (1875–?), politician in British Columbia, Canada

Harry Wright (Queensland politician) (1890–1963), member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly

Harry N. Wright (1881–1969), president of the City College of New York

Harry Wright (American football) (1919–1993), American football player and coach

Harry Wright (footballer, born 1909)

Harold Edward "Harry" Wright (3 June 1909 – April 1994) was an English professional footballer and manager who played as a goalkeeper in the Football League for Charlton Athletic, Aldershot and Derby County, and managed the India national team between 1963 and 1964.

Wright began his playing career with Harwich & Parkeston, but by 1932 he was on the books at Charlton, where he remained for three years. He spent time with Aldershot and then Derby County before the outbreak of World War II. He also appeared for Southern League sides Chelmsford City and Colchester United. He represented an England XI once in 1935 against an Anglo-Scot team in a friendly game for the King George V Jubilee Trust Fund.Wright took up a coaching role at Guildford City following his retirement in 1949, before holding similar positions at Walsall and Luton Town. He was named as head coach at Everton in 1956, and later coached the India youth team between 1961 and 1963 in preparation for the 1963 AFC Youth Championship. In 1963, he inherited Syed Abdul Rahim's India national team, where Wright led the side to the runners-up spot in the 1964 Asian Cup, which remains the most notable triumph in professional football for India.

List of Major League Baseball annual saves leaders

The following is a list of annual leaders in saves in Major League Baseball (MLB), with separate lists for the American League and the National League. The list also includes several professional leagues and associations that were never part of MLB.

In baseball, a save is credited to a pitcher who finishes a game for the winning team under prescribed circumstances. Most commonly a relief pitcher ("reliever") earns a save by entering in the ninth inning of a game in which his team is winning by three or fewer runs and finishing the game by pitching one inning without losing the lead. The statistic was created by Jerome Holtzman in 1959 to "measure the effectiveness of relief pitchers" and was adopted as an MLB official statistic in 1969. The save has been retroactively measured for pitchers before that date.

MLB recognizes the player or players in each league with the most saves each season. In retrospect, the five saves by Jack Manning meant he led the National League in its inaugural year, while Bill Hoffer was the American League's first saves champion with three. Mordecai Brown was the first pitcher to record at least 10 saves in a season. Dan Quisenberry, Bruce Sutter, Firpo Marberry, and Ed Walsh are the only pitchers to lead the league in saves five times (though Marberry and Walsh did so before 1969). Sutter is also tied with Harry Wright, Dan Quisenberry and Craig Kimbrel for the most consecutive seasons leading the league in saves with four.

List of Providence Grays managers

The Providence Grays were a Major League Baseball team that played in Providence, Rhode Island. They played in the National League from 1878 through 1885. During their time as a Major League team, the Grays employed eight different managers. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field.The Grays' first manager was left fielder Tom York. York managed the team in 1878 and led them to a record of 33 wins and 27 losses. York also managed the Grays for part of the 1881 season, and in total managed the Grays for 96 games, with 56 wins and 37 losses, for a winning percentage of .602. In their second season, the Grays were managed by shortstop and Baseball Hall of Fameer George Wright. Wright led the team to a record of 59 wins and 25 losses for a winning percentage of .702 in 1879, winning the National League pennant. Wright left the team to join the Boston Red Caps, managed by his brother Harry Wright in 1880. In 1880 and 1881 the Grays employed a total of five different managers, including York's second term and 32 games managed by Hall of Famer John Montgomery Ward.In 1882, Hall of Famer Harry Wright, George Wright's brother, became the Grays manager, and George Wright rejoined the team as their shortstop. Harry Wright managed the team for two seasons, winning 110 games and losing 72. Frank Bancroft became the Grays' manager in 1884 and managed the team to record of 84 wins and 28 losses and a winning percentage of .750, winning the Grays' second National League pennant behind the strength of Charles Radbourn's record 59 pitching victories. The Grays also won the World Series in 1884; however the 19th century World Series was a very different event from the current World Series, which began in 1903. The 19th century World Series was considered an exhibition contest between the champion of the National League and the champion of the American Association. The Grays defeated the American Association champion New York Metropolitans in the 1884 World Series winning three games and losing none. Bancroft managed the team again for their final season as a Major League team in 1885 with less success. Bancroft finished with an overall managerial record with the Grays of 137 wins and 85 losses, for a winning percentage of .617.Bancroft managed the most games in Grays' history, 224, and his 137 wins and 85 losses are also the most in Grays' history. George Wright has the highest winning percentage of any Grays' manager, with .702. Three Grays' managers, Ward and the Wright brothers, were elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame.

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