Ned Williamson

Edward Nagle "Ned" Williamson (October 24, 1857 – March 3, 1894) was a professional baseball infielder in Major League Baseball. He played for three teams: the Indianapolis Blues of the National League (NL) for one season, the Chicago White Stockings (NL) for 11 seasons, and the Chicago Pirates of the Players' League for one season.

From 1883 and 1887, Williamson held the single-season record for both doubles and home runs. Although his record for doubles was surpassed in 1887, he held the home run record until 1919, when it was topped by Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox. Statistically, he was one of the best fielders of his era. During the first eight years of his career, he led the league at his position in both fielding percentage and double plays five times, and he also led his position in assists six times. Later, when he moved to shortstop, he again led the league in both assists and double plays.

His career was shortened by a knee injury that he suffered in Paris during a world-tour organized by Albert Spalding. After he left organized baseball, his health declined rapidly. He contracted tuberculosis and ultimately died at the age of 36 of dropsy.

Ned Williamson
Ned Williamson Baseball Card
Third baseman / Shortstop
Born: October 24, 1857
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: March 3, 1894 (aged 36)
Willow Springs, Arkansas
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 1, 1878, for the Indianapolis Blues
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1890, for the Chicago Pirates
MLB statistics
Batting average.255
Home runs64
Runs batted in667
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Career

Born in Philadelphia, Williamson began his major league career on May 1, 1878 for the Indianapolis Blues of the National League.[1] That season he played in all 63 of the team's games as the starting third baseman, leading the league in that category.[2] He umpired his only game on August 12, calling a game between the Chicago White Stockings and the Providence Grays.[3] His season-ending statistics included a .232 batting average, one home run, and 31 runs scored.[1]

The Blues were only a major league team for the 1878 season,[4] resulting in Williamson joining the Chicago White Stockings for the 1879 season.[1] He was their regular third baseman, leading the league in multiple fielding categories for his position, including fielding percentage, assists, putouts, and double plays.[1] As a hitter, his numbers improved. He finished second in the league with 13 triples, and eighth in doubles with 20, while also raising his batting average to .294.[2] During the next three seasons, his batting statistics fluctuated from year to year. His batting average rose from .251 in 1880 to .282 in 1882; likewise, his 20 doubles in 1880 were good for seventh in the league, but dropped to 12 in 1881. He followed that season with 27 in 1882, which was fourth in the league.[2] During this time period, when his level of hitting had dropped, his play in the field did not. He led the league in fielding percentage from 1880 to 1882, and in assists in 1881 and 1882.[1]

In 1883, Williamson set the major league record for doubles in a single season by hitting 49, surpassing King Kelly's 37 set the previous year.[5] Williamson's record for doubles stood until Tip O'Neill of the St. Louis Browns hit 52 in 1887.[5] Williamson's doubles achievement was attributed to the short dimensions of Chicago's Lakeshore Park; the distances were 186 feet (57 m) in left field, 300 feet (91 m) in center field, and 190 feet (58 m) in right field. Balls that were hit over the fence were counted as doubles until 1884, when they became home runs.[6] On September 6, Chicago scored a record 18 runs in one inning during a 26–6 victory over the Detroit Wolverines. Williamson contributed three hits, and scored three runs in that inning, setting individual records in both categories. Other than runs scored, the other team records set that day included the most hits and total bases in one inning.[7]

During this time period, the establishment of the ground rules of each park rested with the home team. In 1884, team captain and on-field manager Cap Anson decided that balls hit over the fence were to be home runs.[6] Williamson used these short dimensions and new ground rules to set the single-season home run record by hitting 27 in a 112-game season, surpassing the record of 14 set by Harry Stovey the previous year. Of the 27 home runs he hit that year, 25 of them were hit at home.[8] This record stood for 35 years until it was broken in 1919 by Babe Ruth, who hit 29 for the Boston Red Sox in a 140-game schedule. The first three of Williamson's 27 home runs came on May 30, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Wolverines. Williamson became the first major league baseball player to hit three home runs in one game.[8] During these two record-breaking seasons, his fielding prowess did not recede. He did not lead the league in fielding percentage in either 1883 or 1884, but did lead in assists, capping off a streak of five consecutive years in which he did so, while also leading the league in double plays for the second and third consecutive years.[1]

After the 1884 season, the White Stockings moved to West Side Park, and Williamson's power numbers dropped. Without the short fences, his home run total dropped to three, his doubles went down to 16, and his batting average dropped to .238, his lowest average since he became a White Stocking. Despite his low hitting numbers, he did lead the league in games played with 116, bases on balls with 75,[2] and yet again, led his position in assists, double plays, and for the fifth and last time, fielding percentage.[1] Chicago won the National League championship that season, and agreed to play the American Association champions, the St. Louis Browns in a seven-game "World Series". Before game one began, the players of both teams held a field day which included contests of skill, and Williamson won the long throw with a toss that traveled 400 feet, four inches.[9] The 1885 series ended in a tie when each team won three games, and one game ended in a tie.[10] Williamson collected two base hits in 23 at bats, for a .087 batting average, and scored one run.[10]

Beginning in 1886, Williamson switched his fielding position to shortstop, while the Chicago White Stockings again won the National League championship, their fifth in seven years.[11] The team's success did not coincide with Williamson's slide in seasonal numbers. His batting average dropped to his career low of .216, and his strikeouts jumped up to a career high of 71, in 430 at bats, although he did finish third in bases on balls.[2] The White Stockings met the St. Louis Browns following the season and agreed to play a best of seven "World Series" for the second consecutive year.[12] The Browns won the series, four games to two, and Williamson's statistics for the series did not improve. In fact, they were worse than in 1885. He gathered one base hit in 18 at bats, for a .056 batting average, and scored two runs.[12]

1887 was Williamson's second season at shortstop, his last full season in the majors, and his numbers began to climb back to what they were during the early part of his career. His batting average jumped back up to .267, hit 20 doubles, 14 triples, 73 base on balls, and nine home runs.[2] In 1888, his batting average dipped again, this time to .250, but he did finish fourth in the league in both RBIs with 73, and base on balls with 65.[2] In the field, he led the league in assists and double plays.[1]

Spalding's world tour

At the completion of the 1888 baseball season, Albert Spalding organized an around-the-world tour to promote the game of baseball. The two teams Spalding selected were the White Stockings and a collection of players from other National League teams.[13] The tour departed on October 20, 1888 to play exhibition games throughout the western United States for a month, before departing to Hawaii. The tour visited several foreign countries, such as Australia, Egypt, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), France, Italy, and England.[13] It was during a game played on at the Parc Aristotique in Paris,[8] France on March 8, 1889, when Williamson suffered a torn knee cap which forced him to be bedridden in England on doctor's orders,[13] missing the tour through Britain.[14] Though players in the 19th century were responsible for their own medical care, Williamson asked Spalding to help him financially with the mounting medical costs. Spalding refused, citing that he was not obligated to assist, and Williamson never forgave him for this.[14] Williamson, among his baseball contemporaries, wrote the most colorful articles to newspapers as the tour was unfolding. Williamson, an 1880s teammate of Anson in Chicago, had a knack for roasting—poking fun at—his teammates while always coming across as good-natured. A testament to the letters' significance is that they are a dominant source of one recent book's World Tour presentation.[15] Williamson is portrayed by Charlie Crabtree in the 2015 movie "Deadball" which depicts his life and journaling of the world tour.[16]

Late career and death

The injury to Williamson's knee caused his career to suffer, as he played in 47 games during the 1889 season. He batted .237, and of his 41 hits that season, only five of them were extra base hits.[1] He joined the Chicago Pirates of the Players' League for the 1890 season, his final major league season, and played in 73 games, hitting .195.[1]

In the spring of 1894, Williamson traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas, in hopes that he could recover from a liver ailment and lose some weight as well, but the treatments did not work.[17] Williamson died on March 3 of that year, at the age of 36 in Willow Springs, Arkansas, of dropsy (edema) complicated by consumption (tuberculosis).[18] He is interred in an unmarked grave at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Ned Williamson's career statistics". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Ned Williamson's career statistics". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  3. ^ "Ned Williamson's umpire log". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  4. ^ "Indianapolis Blues 1878 franchise". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  5. ^ a b "Progressive Leaders & Records for Doubles". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  6. ^ a b Koppett, Leonard; David Koppett (2004). Koppett's Concise History of Major League Baseball. Carroll & Graf Publishers. p. 44. ISBN 0-7867-1286-4.
  7. ^ Snyder, John (2005). Cubs Journal: Year by Year and Day by Day with the Chicago Cubs Since 1876. Emmis Books. p. 38. ISBN 1-57860-192-4. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  8. ^ a b c "Ned Williamson from the Chronology". baseballlibrary.com. 2006. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  9. ^ Snyder, John (2005). Cubs Journal: Year by Year and Day by Day with the Chicago Cubs Since 1876. Emmis Books. p. 47. ISBN 0-7867-1286-4. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  10. ^ a b "1885 World Series". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  11. ^ "Chicago Cubs History & Encyclopedia". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  12. ^ a b "1886 World Series". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  13. ^ a b c McMahon, Bill. "The Biography Project – Albert Spalding". bioproj.sabr.org. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  14. ^ a b Lamster, Mark (2006). Spalding's World Tour. PublicAffairs. p. 228. ISBN 1-58648-311-0. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  15. ^ Rosenberg, Howard W. (2006). Cap Anson 4: Bigger Than Babe Ruth: Captain Anson of Chicago. Tile Books. p. 560. ISBN 978-0-9725574-3-6., pp. 168–171, 178–180, 182–186, 188. Besides having Williamson World Tour letter content on 13 pages of its 34 pages devoted to the tour, Cap Anson 4 also contains a 12-page biography of Williamson, focusing on his personality, including his letter-writing talents at other times.
  16. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4531902/?ref_=fn_al_tt_3
  17. ^ Lamster, Mark (2006). Spalding's World Tour. PublicAffairs. p. 266. ISBN 1-58648-311-0. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  18. ^ "Too Young To Die". thedeadballera.com. Retrieved 2008-10-08.

External links

Preceded by
King Kelly
Single season doubles record holder
1883–1886
Succeeded by
Tip O'Neill
Preceded by
Harry Stovey
Single season home run record holder
1884–1919
Succeeded by
Babe Ruth
1878 Indianapolis Blues season

The Indianapolis Blues were in the National League for only the 1878 season, after playing as an independent team in 1877. They finished in fifth place, one of just two teams to finish below .500.

1879 Chicago White Stockings season

The 1879 Chicago White Stockings season was the 8th season of the Chicago White Stockings franchise, the 4th in the National League and the 2nd at Lakefront Park. The White Stockings finished fourth in the National League with a record of 46–33.

1880 Chicago White Stockings season

The 1880 Chicago White Stockings season was the 9th season of the Chicago White Stockings franchise, the 5th in the National League and the 3rd at Lakefront Park. The White Stockings won the National League championship with a record of 67–17.

1881 Chicago White Stockings season

The 1881 Chicago White Stockings season was the 10th season of the Chicago White Stockings franchise, the 6th in the National League and the 4th at Lakefront Park. The White Stockings won the National League championship with a record of 56–28.

1882 Chicago White Stockings season

The 1882 Chicago White Stockings season was the 11th season of the Chicago White Stockings franchise, the 7th in the National League and the 5th at Lakefront Park. The White Stockings won the National League championship with a record of 55–29, 3 games ahead of the second place Providence Grays.

1883 Chicago White Stockings season

The 1883 Chicago White Stockings season was the 12th season of the Chicago White Stockings franchise, the 8th in the National League and the 6th at Lakefront Park. The White Stockings finished second in the National League with a record of 59–39.

1884 Chicago White Stockings season

The 1884 Chicago White Stockings season was the 13th season of the Chicago White Stockings franchise, the 9th in the National League and the 7th at Lakefront Park. The White Stockings finished fifth in the National League with a record of 62–50. White Stocking 3rd baseman, Ned Williamson set the then major league single season home run record with 27 home runs.

1884 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1884 throughout the world.

1885 Chicago White Stockings season

The 1885 Chicago White Stockings season was the 14th season of the Chicago White Stockings franchise, the 10th in the National League and the 1st at the first West Side Park. The White Stockings won the National League pennant for the first time since 1882, beating the New York Giants by two games. They went on to face the St. Louis Browns in the 1885 World Series. The series ended without a champion, with both teams winning three games with one tie.

1886 World Series

The 1886 World Series was won by the St. Louis Browns (later the Cardinals) of the American Association over the Chicago White Stockings (later the Cubs) of the National League, four games to two. The series was played on six consecutive days running from October 18 to October 23 in Chicago and St. Louis.

The teams were judged to be approximately equal going into the series, with gamblers betting on the teams at even odds. However, Chicago pitcher Jim McCormick was sidelined by a chronic foot ailment after game 2, and third Chicago pitcher Jocko Flynn had already been lost for the season due to an arm ailment. An effort to use a substitute pitcher was protested by St. Louis, with the board of umpires flipping a coin to decide the matter in favor of the Browns. With his team unable to field a competent second starter, Chicagos ace John Clarkson proved unable to carry the full pitching load, tipping the series to St. Louis.

The series was decided in extra innings of game 6 by Curt Welch's so-called "$15,000 slide" following a passed ball. The decisive run scored by Welch became one of the most famous plays in the history of baseball in that era.

1887 Chicago White Stockings season

The 1887 Chicago White Stockings season was the 16th season of the Chicago White Stockings franchise, the 12th in the National League and the 3rd at the first West Side Park. The White Stockings finished third in the National League with a record of 71–50.

1888 Chicago White Stockings season

The 1888 Chicago White Stockings season was the 17th season of the Chicago White Stockings franchise, the 13th in the National League and the 4th at the first West Side Park. The White Stockings finished second in the National League with a record of 77–58, 9 games behind the New York Giants.

1889 Chicago White Stockings season

The 1889 Chicago White Stockings season was the 18th season of the Chicago White Stockings franchise, the 14th in the National League and the 5th at the first West Side Park. The White Stockings finished third in the National League with a record of 67–65.

1890 Chicago Pirates season

The 1890 Chicago Pirates baseball team was a member of the short lived Players' League. They compiled a 75–62 record, good for fourth place, ten games behind the league champion Boston Reds. After the season, the league folded, and the Pirates were bought out by the Chicago Colts.

Chicago Pirates all-time roster

The Chicago Pirates were a professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois, that played in the Players' League for one season in 1890. The franchise used South Side Park as their home field. During their only season in existence, the team finished fourth in the PL with a record of 75-62.

Indianapolis Blues

The Indianapolis Blues were a baseball team in the National League for one season (1878), in which they finished fifth in the six-team league with a 24-36 record. They were managed by outfielder/first baseman/catcher John Clapp, and played their home games at South Street Park. They had been brought into the League from the League Alliance following their 1877 season.[1]

Their top-hitting regular was right fielder Orator Shafer, who batted .338 with a slugging percentage of .455. Their most successful pitcher was The Only Nolan (13-22, 2.57), but had two other starters with better ERAs: Jim McCormick (5-8, 1.69) and Tom Healey (6-4, 2.22).

Indianapolis Blues all-time roster

The Indianapolis Blues were a professional baseball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana, that played in the National League for one season in 1878. The franchise used South Street Park as their home field. During their only season in existence, the team finished fifth in the NL with a record of 24-36.

Jack Manning (baseball)

John E. "Jack" Manning (December 20, 1853 – August 15, 1929) was an American Major League Baseball player. Born in Braintree, Massachusetts, United States, he broke into the National Association in 1873 at the age of 19. His career covered 12 seasons, eight teams, and 3 leagues. He was a primarily a right fielder who also played many games as a pitcher, and would play the infield positions on occasion as well.

On October 9, 1884, when his Philadelphia Quakers ballclub were visiting the Chicago White Stockings in Lakeshore Park, he hit three home runs in the same game, becoming the third player to do so. The first occasions were done by Ned Williamson and Cap Anson. All three had their big game in that hitter-friendly park in 1884.Manning died in Boston, Massachusetts, and was interred at New Calvary Cemetery in Boston.

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.

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