Oyster Burns

Thomas P. "Oyster" Burns (September 6, 1864 – November 11, 1928) was a professional baseball player whose career spanned 15 seasons, 11 of which were spent with the Major League Baseball (MLB) Wilmington Quicksteps (1884), Baltimore Orioles (1884–85, 1887–88), Brooklyn Bridegrooms (1888–95), and New York Giants (1895). Burns, who predominately played as an outfielder, also played as a shortstop, second baseman, third baseman and as a pitcher. Over his career, Burns compiled a career batting average of .300 with 870 runs scored, 1,392 hits, 224 doubles, 129 triples, 65 home runs, and 834 runs batted in (RBI) in 1,188 games played. Although the majority of his career was spent in the major leagues, Burns also played in minor league baseball. He made his MLB debut at the age of 19 and was listed as standing 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm) and weighing 183 pounds (83 kg).[1]

Burns, nicknamed "Oyster" because he sold shellfish in the off-season, was described as a "loudmouth" and having "an irritating voice and personality".[2] Nevertheless, Burns led the Bridegrooms to an American Association championship in 1889 and a National League pennant in 1890. After retiring from baseball, Burns died on November 11, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York.

Oyster Burns
Oyster Burns
Born: September 6, 1864
Philadelphia, PA
Died: November 11, 1928 (aged 64)
Brooklyn, New York
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 18, 1884, for the Wilmington Quicksteps
Last MLB appearance
September 16, 1895, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.300
Home runs65
Runs batted in834
Career highlights and awards


Thomas P. Burns was born on September 6, 1864, in Philadelphia.[3] His parents, Patrick and Mary Burns, were both Irish immigrants.[1]

In 1883, Burns began his professional baseball career as a pitcher with Harrisburg of the minor-league Interstate Association. On the year, Burns posted an earned run average (ERA) of 2.30 over 20 games pitched, 15 of which were starts. When he wasn't pitching, Burns played second and third base.[4]

Oyster Burns baseball card
Burns batting for the Orioles in 1887

Burns began the 1884 season playing for the Wilmington Quicksteps, but left the team after they joined the Union Association,[1] and joined the Baltimore Orioles. Burns—the youngest player on the Orioles and the seventh youngest player in the American Association[5][6]— batted .298. Despite playing in only 35 games on the season, Burns recorded a team-leading six home runs over 141 plate appearances.[5] He continued his career with the Orioles in 1885, batting .231 with five home runs and 37 RBI, and pitching to a 7–4 win–loss record. His offensive struggles led him to be demoted to the Newark Domestics for the 1886 season,[1] where he helped the Domestics win the Eastern League pennant.[1] By 1887, Burns had reentered the majors for the Orioles and became the team captain until he threw a baseball at an opposing pitcher following a groundout;[7] he was later fined $25 ($697 in 2011).[1] On the season, he recorded nine home runs—good for third in the American Association. Burns's 19 triples were enough to tie him with five others for the league lead, and his 140 games played were tied for the league lead with teammate Blondie Purcell.[8]

After playing in 79 games for Baltimore, Burns was transferred to the Brooklyn Bridegrooms by Harry Von der Horst, the owner of both clubs.[9] While he was playing for the Bridegrooms, the New York Clipper described Burns as "the noisiest man that ever played on the Brooklyn team. His voice reminds one of a buzz-saw."[2] Burns remained with the Bridegrooms for the 1889 season. He recorded team highs in on-base percentage, batting average, and home runs hit while the Bridegrooms, with an 89–48 record, became American Association champions.[10] In the World Series, the Bridegrooms played the New York Giants of the National League. Burns hit a three-run home run to win the fourth game of the series, giving Brooklyn a 3–1 series lead. However, the Giants would take the World Series after winning five straight games.[9]

In 1890, the Bridegrooms had moved to the National League. Burns, now 26, led the league in home runs (13) and RBI (128).[11] He hit for the cycle on August 1, 1890—becoming the first Bridegroom to do so.[12] The team won the National League pennant, and faced the Louisville Colonels in the 1890 World Series. The series ended in a 3–3–1 tie: bad weather led to the cancellation of more games.[9] After the 1891 season, Burns's 1892 RBI total was third in the league, and his hits, doubles, triples, and batting average marks were the second highest on the Brooklyn team, now named the Grooms. In 1893, between games of a doubleheader, a teammate of Burns, Tom Daly, was sleeping in center field when Burns stabbed Daly with a penknife. Daly awoke and turned on the knife, leading to a severed tendon which kept Daly out for two weeks.[7][13] Burns' 1894 batting average (.355) was the highest of his career; his hit and run totals were also the second highest in his career. Burns continued to play for the club until 1895, when he played for the New York Giants. In his final MLB year, Burns batted a combined .258 over 25 games.

After the 1895 season, Burns's contract was purchased by the minor-league Newark Colts. The Colts would win the Atlantic League division with an 82–61 record, two games above the Hartford Bluebirds.[14] The next season, Burns served as a player-coach for the Bluebirds, where he led the team in doubles and batting average. In his final managerial year, Burns coached Portland, Maine of the New England League.

After retiring from baseball, Burns lived in Brooklyn until his death on November 11, 1928.[9] He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington, New Jersey.

See also


  • "Oyster Burns Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  • "Oyster Burns Minor League Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  1. ^ a b c d e f Porter, David L. G. (2000). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: A-F. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 186–187. ISBN 0-313-31174-9.
  2. ^ a b c Shafer, Ronald G. (2011). When the Dodgers Were Bridegrooms: Gunner McGunnigle and Brooklyn's Back-to-Back Pennants of 1889 and 1890. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 84. ISBN 0-7864-5899-2.
  3. ^ Gammons, Peter (2006). Pete Palmer; Gary Gillette; Stuart Shea (eds.). The 2006 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. Sterling. p. 822. ISBN 1-4027-3625-8.
  4. ^ "1883 Harrisburg". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "1884 Baltimore Orioles Batting, Pitching, & Fielding Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  6. ^ "1884 American Association Awards, All-Stars and Other Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Westcott, Rich; Campbell, Bill (2003). Native sons: Philadelphia baseball players who made the major leagues. Temple University Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-59213-215-7.
  8. ^ "1887 American Association Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d McNeil, William F. (2000). The Dodgers Encyclopedia. Champaign, Illionios: Sports Publishing LLC. p. 30. ISBN 1-58261-316-8.
  10. ^ "1889 Brooklyn Bridegrooms Batting, Pitching, & Fielding Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  11. ^ "1890 National League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  12. ^ "Dodgers Rare Feats". MLB.com. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  13. ^ Nemec, David (2006). The great encyclopedia of nineteenth century major league baseball. University of Alabama Press. p. 572. ISBN 978-0-8173-1499-6.
  14. ^ "1896 Atlantic League". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 10, 2011.

External links

Preceded by
Roger Connor
Hitting for the cycle
August 1, 1890
Succeeded by
John Reilly
1888 Brooklyn Bridegrooms season

With the 1888 season, the Brooklyn Grays underwent a name change to the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, a nickname that resulted from several team members getting married around the same time. Also, owner Charles Byrne decided to withdraw from managing the team's on field activities and turned the reins over to more experienced baseball manager Bill McGunnigle. That, along with the Bridegrooms' purchase of several top players from the defunct New York Metropolitans, led to a dramatic on field improvement as the team finished in second place in the American Association.

1889 Brooklyn Bridegrooms season

The 1889 Brooklyn Bridegrooms won the American Association championship by two games over the St. Louis Browns.

1890 Brooklyn Bridegrooms season

The 1890 Brooklyn Bridegrooms left behind the American Association and joined the National League. They were able to win the league championship, becoming one of a select few teams to win championships in different leagues in back-to-back seasons.

1890 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1890 throughout the world.

1891 Brooklyn Grooms season

The 1891 Brooklyn Grooms (the name was shortened from "Bridegrooms" this season) started the year with real estate mogul George Chauncey purchasing a controlling interest in the ballclub to join Ferdinand Abell and Charles Byrne in the ownership group. The former owner of the Brooklyn Ward's Wonders in the now defunct Players' League, Chauncey organized a merger of his team with the Grooms, forcing the firing of manager Bill McGunnigle (despite his winning two league championships) and replacing him with former Wonders manager and shortstop, John Montgomery Ward. The new owner also thought the team could generate larger revenue from a bigger stadium, so they decided to move the team to his stadium, Eastern Park. Games would be split between the new facility and old Washington Park during the 1891 season and the team would move full-time in 1892. With all the turmoil, the team fell back into the pack, finishing the season in sixth place.

1892 Brooklyn Grooms season

The 1892 Brooklyn Grooms season was a season in American baseball. The team finished the first half of the split season in second place, just 2.5 games behind the Boston Beaneaters. However, they faded in the second half, finishing 9.5 games behind the second-half champion Cleveland Spiders and missing out on the postseason playoff. Their combined record was 95–59, third best overall in the league.

The season was a tragic one, as outfielder Hub Collins left a game on May 14 because he was feeling ill. A week later he was dead, the victim of typhoid fever. The team put on a benefit game to raise money for his widow on May 29. One bright spot, however, was first baseman Dan Brouthers, who won the batting title with a .335 average.

1893 Brooklyn Grooms season

The 1893 Brooklyn Grooms finished a disappointing seventh in the National League race under new player/manager Dave Foutz. The highlight of the year was when pitcher Brickyard Kennedy became the first major leaguer to pitch and win two games on the same day since the mound was moved back to 60 feet. He allowed just eight hits in beating the Louisville Colonels 3–0 and 6–2 in a doubleheader on May 30, 1893.

1894 Brooklyn Grooms season

The 1894 Brooklyn Grooms finished in fifth place in a crowded National League pennant race.

1895 Brooklyn Grooms season

The 1895 Brooklyn Grooms finished the season in fifth place in the National League.

1895 New York Giants season

The 1895 New York Giants season was the franchise's 13th season. The team finished in ninth place in the National League with a 66-65 record, 21.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles.

Baltimore Orioles (19th century) all-time roster

The following is a list of players and who appeared in at least one game for the Baltimore Orioles franchise of Major League Baseball, which played in the American Association from 1882 until 1891 and in the National League from 1892 until 1899. Players in bold are in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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 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.

Walt Wilmot

Walter Robert Wilmot (October 18, 1863 – February 1, 1929) was a professional baseball player. He played all or part of 10 seasons in Major League Baseball with the Washington Nationals (1888–89), Chicago Colts (1890-95) and New York Giants (1897–98), primarily as an outfielder. Listed at 5 ft 9 in, 165 lb., Wilmot was a switch-hitter and threw right-handed. He was born in Plover, Wisconsin.

While playing for the Nationals in 1889, Wilmot led the league with 19 triples and 139 games played. The following season, he tied with Oyster Burns and Mike Tiernan for the National League lead in home runs with 13, also a career-high. He also set a career best with 76 stolen bases while driving in 99 runs in 1890. On August 22, 1891, he became the first player in major league history to be walked 6 times in 1 game.

Wilmot's most productive season came in 1894, when he posted career-highs in batting average (.330), runs scored (134), hits (197), RBI (130), doubles (45) and extra-base hits (62) in 133 games.

Overall in his ten-season career, Wilmot was a .276 hitter with 58 home runs and 594 RBI in 962 games, including 727 runs, 152 doubles, 92 triples, 381 stolen bases and a .337 on-base percentage.

Wilmot died in Chicago, at the age of 65.

Wilmington Quicksteps

The Wilmington Quicksteps (also known as the Quickstep Club of Wilmington) were an 1884 late-season replacement baseball team in the Union Association. They finished with a 2-16 record and were managed by Joe Simmons. The team played their home games in Union Street Park in Wilmington, Delaware.

In 1883, the Inter-State Association of Professional Baseball Clubs was founded, and local capital was invested for a franchise in Wilmington.

In 1884, The Interstate Association re-organized under the name "Eastern League" (not to be confused with the double A Eastern League of today); this was one of the very first "minor leagues" and is considered a forerunner of today's AAA International League.The Wilmington Quicksteps quickly began to dominate the league, and were so highly regarded was the club that major league clubs began to show up to play exhibition games; they defeated both the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Monumentals during the season.

By August, the Quicksteps had already sewed up the league championship with a 50-12 record; unfortunately, their dominance nearly destroyed fan interest in the Eastern League, and even in Wilmington, attendance averaged only 400 per game.

Late into the season, Henry Lucas, the Union Association founder and owner of the St. Louis Maroons, convinced Simmons and the Quicksteps to cross over into his league after the Philadelphia Keystones folded. After winning their first game 4-3 over Washington, it was all downhill for the Quicksteps.

Many Wilmington players no longer felt bound by their contracts and signed for more money with other teams in their new league. Shortstop and team captain Oyster Burns jumped to the Baltimore Monumentals for $900 a month, followed by outfielder Dennis Casey for $700 a month, while Catcher Andy Cusick jumped to the Philadelphia Phillies for $375 a month; each had been making about $150 a month in Wilmington.

The only star player to remain in Wilmington was pitcher Ed "The Only" Nolan, who went on to beat Washington for Wilmington's second and last victory. But the Quicksteps could not survive the loss of Burns, Casey and Cusick, and the team finished with a meagre batting average of .175 in the Union Association. By this time, however, St. Louis had already won the pennant, so Wilmington's only perceiveable purpose being to fill in the last month of the season.

Simmons pulled his team from the field during warm-ups prior to a game against the Kansas City Cowboys on September 21, 1884, having discovered that he would be unable to pay the $60 gate fee to the visiting Cowboys as the attendance was zero.

Wilmington subsequently dropped out of the Association and folded, being replaced in the Union Association by the Milwaukee Brewers.

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