Roger Philip Bresnahan (June 11, 1879 – December 4, 1944), nicknamed "The Duke of Tralee", was an American player and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB). As a player, Bresnahan competed in MLB for the Washington Senators (1897), Chicago Orphans (1900), Baltimore Orioles (1901–02), New York Giants (1902–08), St. Louis Cardinals (1909–12) and Chicago Cubs (1913–15). Bresnahan also managed the Cardinals (1909–12) and Cubs (1915). He was a member of the 1905 World Series champions.
Bresnahan began his MLB career as a pitcher. He also served as an outfielder, before becoming a regular catcher. For his MLB career, Bresnahan had a .279 batting average in 4,480 at bats and a 328–432 managerial win-loss record. Bresnahan popularized the use of protective equipment in baseball by introducing shin guards, to be worn by catchers, in 1907. He also developed the first batting helmet.
After retiring as a player, Bresnahan remained active in professional baseball. He owned the minor league Toledo Mud Hens and coached for the Giants and Detroit Tigers. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945 by the Veterans Committee.
|Catcher / Manager|
|Born: June 11, 1879|
|Died: December 4, 1944 (aged 65)|
|August 27, 1897, for the Washington Senators|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 3, 1915, for the Chicago Cubs|
|Runs batted in||530|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Election Method||Veterans Committee|
Bresnahan was born on June 11, 1879, in Toledo, Ohio. He was the seventh child of Michael and Mary Bresnahan, who had immigrated to the United States from Tralee, Ireland. Bresnahan used to claim that he was also from Tralee, and early in his life, he earned the nickname "The Duke of Tralee".
At 16, Bresnahan signed with a semi-professional team from Manistee, Michigan. After he graduated high school, Bresnahan signed with Lima of the Ohio State League, where he played primarily as a pitcher, but also as a catcher in 1895 and 1896.
On August 10, 1897, the Washington Senators of the National League (NL) in Major League Baseball (MLB) purchased Bresnahan from Lima. He began his MLB career as a pitcher, throwing a six-hit shutout in his MLB debut against the St. Louis Browns on August 27, 1897, recording three strikeouts and walking two batters. He had six hits in 16 at bats (a .375 batting average) and had a 4–0 win–loss record for the 1897 Senators. However, the Senators released Bresnahan after the season over a salary dispute, when he attempted to hold out for more money. The Senators offered Bresnahan $2,000 ($60,232 in current dollar terms), but Bresnahan wanted $2,400 ($72,278 in current dollar terms).
Bresnahan played for the Toledo Mud Hens of the Interstate League and the Minneapolis Millers of the Western League in 1898, and the Millers and Buffalo Bisons of the Western League in 1899. Bresnahan appeared in two games at catcher for the Chicago Orphans of the NL in 1900, which served as a tryout.
With the formation of the American League (AL) as a competitor to the NL, Bresnahan, among others, jumped to the AL from the NL. John McGraw, manager of the Baltimore Orioles of the AL saw Bresnahan pitch for Chicago, and decided to sign him for the Orioles before the 1901 season. For the Orioles, Bresnahan filled in at catcher behind Wilbert Robinson, and also appeared in the outfield. A faster baserunner than the average catcher, Bresnahan had two inside-the-park home runs on May 30, 1902.
With the Orioles reportedly in significant debt, part-owner John Mahon purchased shares of the team from star players Joe Kelley and John McGraw, who had resigned from the team and signed with the New York Giants of the NL, becoming the majority shareholder. On July 17, 1902, he 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 Bresnahan, Kelley, Joe McGinnity, Jack Cronin, Cy Seymour, and Dan McGann from their contracts. Brush then signed Kelley and Seymour to the Reds, while Freedman signed McGinnity, Bresnahan, Cronin, Gilbert, and McGann, joining McGraw, his new player-manager, on the Giants.
With Frank Bowerman and Jack Warner established as the Giants' catchers, McGraw played Bresnahan as the center fielder for the Giants. In 1903, Bresnahan batted .350, trailing Honus Wagner's .355 average atop the NL. Bresnahan batted .284 in the 1904 season, playing 96 games in the outfield, ten games at first base, four games at shortstop, and one game apiece at second base and third base, as the Giants were champions of the NL.
Bresnahan shifted to catcher full-time in 1905, as Bowerman became less effective and Warner left the Giants. Christy Mathewson preferred pitching to Bresnahan. Bresnahan caught all five games in the 1905 World Series, including three shutouts by Mathewson, and one shutout thrown by Joe McGinnity. Bresnahan led the Giants with a .313 batting average in the World Series.
On Opening Day in 1907, Bresnahan began to experiment with protective gear. Though Negro league catcher Chappie Johnson wore protective gear and Nig Clarke wore similar gear in MLB in 1905, most catchers did not wear any protective equipment. Bresnahan practiced in shin guards that are worn in cricket during spring training, and debuted them on April 11, 1907. Fans, used to seeing catchers play without protective equipment, threw snowballs on the field, and without police at the game, umpire Bill Klem called off the game, with the Giants forfeiting to the Philadelphia Phillies. The press also criticized the use of shin guards. However, other catchers began to adopt Bresnahan's idea. Though Pittsburgh Pirates manager Fred Clarke protested Bresnahan's gear to the league, the protest was denied and the equipment was approved. Bresnahan caught a career-high 138 games in 1908, batting .283 and leading the NL in walks.
Bresnahan also developed the first batting helmet. He was hit in the head with a pitch by Andy Coakley of the Cincinnati Reds on June 18, 1907. Bresnahan was unconscious, and a Catholic priest read him his last rites. Bresnahan was hospitalized for ten days, during which time he developed schematics for a plastic batting helmet, though this piece of equipment did not become commonplace until the 1940s. Bresnahan was also the first catcher to wear a padded facemask while catching.
The Giants obtained younger and faster players in 1909; McGraw had Chief Meyers ready to succeed Bresnahan at catcher. Stanley Robison of the St. Louis Cardinals became interested in hiring Bresnahan to be a player-manager. As McGraw did not want to block Bresnahan from the opportunity, the Giants traded Bresnahan to the Cardinals for Red Murray, Bugs Raymond and Admiral Schlei after the 1908 season. Bresnahan led the Cardinals, who won only 49 games in 1908, to 54 wins in 1909 and 63 wins in 1910. Attendance increased from 205,000 fans in 1908 to 299,000 fans in 1909, and 355,000 fans in 1910.
Grateful for the improvement at the box office, Robison signed Bresnahan to a five-year contract to manage the team for a salary of $10,000 per season ($268,893 in current dollar terms), plus ten percent of the club's profits. Robison died in March 1911, and ownership of the team transferred to Helene Hathaway Britton, his niece.
On July 11, 1911, with the Cardinals only three games out of first place, the team was involved in a train wreck while riding the Federal Express from Philadelphia to Boston. Fourteen passengers were killed after the train derailed and plunged down an 18-foot (5.5 m) embankment outside Bridgeport, Connecticut. None of the Cardinals were seriously injured, due to a fortuitous pre-trip change in the location of their Pullman car, requested by Bresnahan. The Cardinals helped remove bodies and rescue the injured.
Bresnahan and Britton feuded publicly in 1912, as the Cardinals fell to sixth place in the NL. The Cardinals fired Bresnahan after the 1912 season due to various arguments Bresnahan had with Britton, including over Bresnahan's desire to sell Miller Huggins to another franchise. Britton cited decreased profits as a sign that Bresnahan was uninterested in the job. Huggins succeeded Bresnahan as Cardinals' manager, as she preferred Huggins' "gentlemanly" manner, as opposed to Bresnahan's rougher personality. Brenahan hired an attorney to obtain the remainder of his salary. He eventually settled the lawsuit against Britton for $20,000 ($519,241 in current dollar terms).
Following his termination by the Cardinals, the NL declared Bresnahan a free agent. He signed a three-year contract with the Cubs, receiving $10,000 ($253,502 in current dollar terms) per season with a $25,000 signing bonus ($633,754 in current dollar terms). He served as player-manager for the Cubs in 1915, but was released when his batting average slipped. As the rival Federal League collapsed and the Cubs merged with the Chicago Whales of the Federal League, the Cubs decided to replace Bresnahan with Whales manager Joe Tinker.
The Cubs paid Bresnahan for the remaining two years on his contract and aided Bresnahan in purchasing the Toledo Mud Hens, then in the American Association, in 1916. The club had moved to Cleveland to block the Federal League from placing a team there, but returned to Toledo under Bresnahan's control. Bresnahan played for the team until 1918, when he announced his retirement. He played for a semi-professional team in 1919, and appeared in five games for the Mud Hens in 1921. Bresnahan worked to add lights to Toledo's stadium, so that they could play night games.
Bresnahan sold the Mud Hens before the 1924 season. McGraw then hired Bresnahan as a coach for the Giants, a position he held from 1925 through 1928. He coached for the Detroit Tigers in 1930 and 1931.
During the offseasons, Bresnahan returned to Toledo. He worked as a hotel detective at the Boody House, which he later purchased. Bresnahan lost much of his money in the stock market crash of 1929. He worked as a manual laborer, as a guard at the Toledo Workhouse, and as a salesman for Toledo's Buckeye Brewing Company.
Bresnahan ran for sheriff of Lucas County as a member of the Democratic Party in 1932. He lost, and endorsed the victorious candidate in his reelection bid two years later. Bresnahan ran for county commissioner in 1944, winning the Democratic Party nomination, but losing in the general election by a few hundred votes out of 140,000 votes cast.
Bresnahan died of a heart attack at his home in Toledo on December 4, 1944 at the age of 65. He was survived by his wife, Gertrude, and his daughter, Marian. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Toledo.
In 1,446 games, he had a batting average of .279 with 26 home runs and 530 RBI in 4,480 at-bats. His overall managerial record was 328–432. Miller Huggins named Bresnahan the catcher on his all-time team.
Bresnahan stood approximately 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m). He was described as "highly strung and almost abnormally emotional" by a reporter. Bill James wrote that Bresnahan "was one of those guys that if you were on his team and played hard he was as nice to you as could be, but if you got on his bad side you'd think he was the Breath of Hell."
Bresnahan was known for baiting umpires. He and McGraw were often ejected from games, suspended, and on a few occasions escorted from the field by police. A 1911 directive by NL president Thomas Lynch, compelling umpires to prevent catchers from antagonizing batters with verbal abuse, mentioned only Bresnahan by name.
Bresnahan was elected to the Hall of Fame the year after his death. He had received 47 votes of the 226 electors in the 1936 Hall of Fame balloting, and between 43 and 67 votes each time from 1937 through 1942. In the 1945 balloting, occurring one month after Bresnahan's death, he received 133 votes, still falling short of enshrinement. However, the Permanent Committee noticed the surge in votes and elected him in April 1945.
Regarding his Hall of Fame induction, James has criticized the election, saying that Bresnahan "wandered in the Hall of Fame on a series of miscalculations", and regarding his election, that "the Hall of Fame had, for the first time, selected a player who clearly had no damn business being there".
A pair of his shin guards is ... part of the Hall of Fame's collection . ...
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.1903 New York Giants season
The 1903 New York Giants season was the franchise's 21st season. The team finished in second place in the National League with an 84–55 record, 6.5 games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.1904 New York Giants season
The 1904 New York Giants season was the 22nd season in franchise history. They led the National League in both runs scored and fewest runs allowed, on their way to 106 wins and the pennant.
The first modern World Series had been played the previous year, but manager John McGraw and owner John T. Brush refused to play the American League champion Boston Americans in a 1904 World Series. They would change their position the following year.1905 New York Giants season
The 1905 New York Giants season was the franchise's 23rd season, and the team won their second consecutive National League pennant. They beat the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series.1905 World Series
The 1905 World Series matched the National League (NL) champion New York Giants against the American League (AL) champion Philadelphia Athletics, with the Giants winning four games to one. Four of the five games featured duels between future Hall of Fame pitchers.
Each of the five games was a shutout. Three of those, over a six-day span, were pitched and won by Christy Mathewson.1906 New York Giants season
The 1906 New York Giants season was the franchise's 24th season. The team finished in second place in the National League with a 96-56 record, 20 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.1909 St. Louis Cardinals season
The 1909 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 28th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 18th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 54–98 during the season and finished 7th in the National League.1910 St. Louis Cardinals season
The 1910 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 29th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 19th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 63–90 during the season and finished 7th in the National League.1911 St. Louis Cardinals season
The 1911 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 30th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 20th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 75–74 during the season and finished 5th in the National League.1912 St. Louis Cardinals season
The 1912 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 31st season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 21st season in the National League. The Cardinals went 63–90 during the season and finished 6th out of eight teams in the National League.1914 Chicago Cubs season
The 1914 Chicago Cubs season was the 43rd season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 39th in the National League and the 22nd at West Side Park. The Cubs finished fourth in the National League with a record of 78–76.1915 Chicago Cubs season
The 1915 Chicago Cubs season was the 44th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 40th in the National League and the 23rd and final at West Side Park. The Cubs finished fourth in the National League with a record of 73–80.1945 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1945 included the first regular election conducted in three years and a strong response to criticism of the slow pace of honors.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent players and elected no one. The Old Timers Committee responded by electing the biggest class yet, ten people: Roger Bresnahan, Dan Brouthers, Fred Clarke, Jimmy Collins, Ed Delahanty, Hugh Duffy, Hughie Jennings, King Kelly, Jim O'Rourke, and Wilbert Robinson.
After the baseball centennial and grand opening of the Hall of Fame in 1939, the BBWAA had determined to vote only every third year. After electing three players that year, it elected one in 1942 and none in 1945. New rules now provided that the writers would return to voting on recent players annually.Bresnahan
Bresnahan is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Chuck Bresnahan (born 1960), American football coach
Patrick Francis Bresnahan (1872–1940), U.S. Navy sailor
Roger Bresnahan (1879–1944), American baseball player
Tom Bresnahan, American football playerFrank Bowerman
Frank Eugene Bowerman (December 5, 1868 – November 30, 1948) was an American catcher and manager in Major League Baseball with the Baltimore Orioles, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Giants, and the Boston Doves, as well as a player-manager for the Doves in his last season in professional baseball. While always playing in the shadows of Wilbert Robinson and Roger Bresnahan, he was a solid player who could play any position in the diamond, and he even pitched an inning for the Giants in 1904. He was also the first to catch Hall-of-Famer Christy Mathewson.
Bowerman was known for having a short fuse, as he repeatedly got into fights with players, umpires, and fans. In one such case in 1903, he punched a heckler in the face and got arrested. He also started a fight with manager Fred Clarke while with the Pirates and gave him a black eye.
The Doves hired him as manager during the 1909 season, but his fiery temper did not go well with his team, and he was relegated to player-only status after only 76 games.
Bowerman died in his birthplace of Romeo, Michigan five days shy of his 80th birthday.Harry Curtis (baseball)
Harry Albert Curtis (February 19, 1883 – August 1, 1951) was a catcher in Major League Baseball who played briefly for the New York Giants during the 1907 season. He threw right-handed (batting side unknown). A native of Portland, Maine, he attended University of Notre Dame and Syracuse University.Little is known about this player on a Giants uniform. Curtis was 23 years old when he entered the majors on September 27, 1899, appearing in 11 games as a backup for the team's regular catcher Roger Bresnahan. Parker posted a .222 batting average (2-for-9) with two runs, one RBI, two stolen bases, and a .364 on-base percentage. He played his final game on October 5, and never appeared in a major-league game again.
In 1908, Curtis served as the first bench coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball team.Curtis died in Evanston, Illinois, at the age of 68.List of St. Louis Cardinals managers
The St. Louis Cardinals, a professional baseball franchise based in St. Louis, Missouri, compete in the National League (NL) of Major League Baseball (MLB). Prior to entering the NL in 1892, they were also a member of the American Association (AA) from 1882 to 1891. They have won 11 World Series titles as an NL team, one pre-World Series championship and tied another against the NL. Since 1900, the team has been known as the Cardinals. They were originally named the Perfectos. Baseball teams like St. Louis employ a manager to make on-field decisions for the team during the game, similar to the head coach position of other sports. A number of coaches report to the manager, including the bench coach, first and third base coaches, and pitching and hitting coaches, among other coaches and instructors. Mike Matheny, a former catcher for the Cardinals from 2000 to 2004, was the manager from 2012-2018, when he was relieved following a series of disputes, including allegations that he would not speak with Dexter Fowler. He was signed through 2017 and extended to the 2018 season when he was fired. The Cardinals hired bench coach Mike Shildt as interim manager.Matheny is one of 63 total individuals who have managed the Cardinals, more than any other Major League franchise. Between 1882 and 1918 – 37 total seasons – 37 different managers stayed the helm. Ned Cuthbert became the first manager of the then-Brown Stockings in 1882, serving for one season. Also an outfielder for a former St. Louis Brown Stockings club, he was directly responsible for bringing professional baseball back to St. Louis after a game-fixing scandal expelled the earlier team from the NL in 1877. He rallied a barnstorming team that attracted the attention of eventual owner Chris von der Ahe, who directly negotiated for the team to be a charter member of a new league, the AA, in 1882. Charles Comiskey was the first manager in franchise history to hold the position for multiple seasons. He also owns the highest career winning percentage in franchise history at .673, four American Association pennants (1885–1888) and one interleague championship (before the official World Series existed). He also held the record for most career wins in team history with from 1884 to 1945 (563 total) and games managed (852) until 1924. However, von der Ahe changed managers more than any other owner in team history – a total of 27 in 19 season oversaw the team on the field. After the Robison era began, stability marginally improved: nine managers in 20 years from 1899 to 1918. Jack McCloskey, Roger Bresnahan, and Miller Huggins each managed three or more seasons from 1906 to 1917, becoming the first group to manage multiple seasons in succession.
Branch Rickey, known mainly as a general manager, surpassed Comiskey's record for games managed in 1924, totaling 947 in seven seasons. His replacement, Rogers Hornsby – also the second baseman who won two Triple Crowns and six consecutive batting titles – finally guided the Cardinals to their first modern World Series championship against the formidable New York Yankees, their first interleague championship in exactly 40 years. Sam Breadon, the Cardinals' owner, also frequently changed managers (although Frankie Frisch and Gabby Street both managed at least five seasons and won one World Series title apiece in the 1930s out of nine total managers in 30 seasons) until settling on Hall of Famer Billy Southworth from 1940 to 1945.
Southworth set new team records for games managed (981), wins (620) and World Series championships (two). His Cardinals teams won 105 or more games each year from 1942 to 1944, winning the NL pennants in each of those three seasons. His .642 winning percentage is second-highest in team history, and the highest since the Cardinals joined the National League. Southworth was also awarded the Sporting News Manager of the Year Award in 1941 and 1942. Starting in 1953 with the Gussie Busch/Anheuser-Busch era, thirteen managers captained the club in 43 seasons. After Southworth, Eddie Dyer, Eddie Stanky, Fred Hutchinson and Johnny Keane also each took home a Sporting News Manager of the Year award. Keane's 1964 team that year's World Series. Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst took over from 1965 to 1977 and won one World Series and two NL pennants. Schoendienst then broke Southworth's team records for games (1,999 total) and wins (1,041). He also held records of 14 seasons managed and 955 losses.
In the 1980s, Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog's style of play known as Whiteyball pushed the Cardinals to three NL pennants and a World Series championship in 1982. He was named the Sporting News Sportsman of the Year and Manager of the Year in 1982. In 1990, Joe Torre took over and Tony La Russa succeeded him when the William DeWitt, Jr. ownership – still the current ownership – commenced in 1996. La Russa finished with the longest tenure in franchise history (16 seasons), and leads Cardinals managers in wins (1,408), losses (1,182), playoff appearances (nine) and is tied for most World Series championships (two). He also won three NL pennants. Matheny took over from La Russa. With DeWitt ‘s era, the Cardinals have seen their greatest period of managerial stability with just two managers.
Besides La Russa, eight Cardinals managers have won a modern World Series: Hornsby, Frisch, Street, Dyer, Southworth, Keane, Schoendienst and Herzog; Southworth and La Russa are the only ones to win two each. Comiskey won one pre-World Series title and tied for another. Cardinals managers inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame include Comiskey, Tommy McCarthy, Roger Connor, Kid Nichols, Bresnahan, Huggins, Rickey, Hornsby, Bill McKechnie, Southworth, Frisch, Schoendienst, Herzog, Torre and La Russa.
Italics denotes players who have been voted in but not yet inducted.
|Inducted as a Cardinal|
|Inductees who played|
for the Cardinals
|Inductees in Yankees cap|
|Inductees who played|
for the Yankees
1901 Baltimore Orioles Inaugural Season Roster