Roger Connor (July 1, 1857 – January 4, 1931) was a 19th-century Major League Baseball (MLB) player. He played for several teams, but his longest tenure was in New York, where he was responsible for the New York Gothams becoming known as the Giants. He was the player whom Babe Ruth succeeded as the all-time home run champion. Connor hit 138 home runs during his 18-year career, and his career home run record stood for 23 years after his retirement in 1897.
Connor owned and managed minor league baseball teams after his playing days. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by its Veterans Committee in 1976. Largely forgotten after his retirement, Connor was buried in an unmarked grave until a group of citizens raised money for a grave marker in 2001.
1888 baseball card of Connor
|Born: July 1, 1857|
|Died: January 4, 1931 (aged 73)|
|May 1, 1880, for the Troy Trojans|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 18, 1897, for the St. Louis Browns|
|Runs batted in||1,322|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Election Method||Veteran's Committee|
Connor was born in Waterbury, Connecticut. He was the son of Irish immigrants Mortimer Connor and Catherine Sullivan Connor. His father had arrived in the United States only five years before Roger's birth. The family lived in the Irish section of Waterbury, known as the Abrigador district, which was separated from the rest of the city by a large granite hill. Connor was the third of eleven children born to the family, though two did not survive childhood. Connor left school around age 12 to work with his father at the local brass works.
Connor entered professional baseball with the Waterbury Monitors of the Eastern League in 1876. Though he was left-handed, Connor was initially a third baseman; in early baseball, left-handed third basemen were more common than they are in modern baseball. He came to the National League (NL) in 1880 as a member of the Troy Trojans.
In Connor's first year with the Troy Trojans, he teamed with future Hall of Fame players Dan Brouthers, Buck Ewing, Tim Keefe and Mickey Welch, all of whom were just starting their careers. Also on that 1880 Trojans team, though much older, was player-manager Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson. Though Connor, Ferguson and Welch were regularly in the lineup, the other future stars each played in only a handful of the team's 83 games that season. The team finished in fourth place with a 41-42 win-loss record. Connor committed 60 errors in 83 games and sustained a shoulder injury, prompting a position change to first baseman for 1881.
He later played for the New York Gothams, and, due to his great stature, gave that team the enduring nickname "Giants". Connor hit baseball's first grand slam on September 10, 1881. His grand slam came with two outs and his team down three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, a situation known today as a walk-off home run. George Vecsey, in The New York Times wrote: "Roger Connor was a complete player — a deft first baseman and an agile base runner who hit 233 triples and stole 244 bases despite his size (6 feet 3 inches and 200 pounds)."
He led the NL with a .371 average in 1885. On September 11, 1886, Connor hit a ball completely out of the Polo Grounds, a very difficult park in which to hit home runs. He hit the pitch from Boston's Old Hoss Radbourn over the right field fence and onto 112th Street. The New York Times reported of the feat, "He met it squarely and it soared up with the speed of a carrier pigeon. All eyes were turned on the tiny sphere as it soared over the head of Charlie Buffinton in right field." A group of fans with the New York Stock Exchange took up a collection for Connor and bought him a $500 gold watch in honor of the home run.
Another New York baseball team, also known as the Giants, emerged with the founding of the Players' League (PL) in 1890. Several players from the NL team left for the new league's Giants team, including future Hall of Famers Connor, Keefe, Jim O'Rourke and Hank O'Day. In 123 games, Connor registered 169 hits, a .349 batting average, 14 home runs, 103 runs batted in (RBI) and 22 stolen bases. His home run total led the league and it represented the only major league single-season home run title that he won. Connor experimented with some changes to his batting style that year. He hit more balls to the opposite field and he sometimes batted right-handed, though he did not have much success from the right side.
Though Connor had success in his season with the PL, the league struggled. Some of the teams ran into financial difficulties. National League teams rescheduled many of their games to conflict with PL games in the same cities, and a high number of PL games were cancelled late in the season due to rainouts. Connor was optimistic that the league would be successful in 1891, but it officially broke up that January.
Returning to the NL Giants for a season in 1891, Connor hit .294. In the offseason before 1892, Connor signed with the Philadelphia Athletics. The team broke up shortly after Connor signed, and his contract was awarded to the Philadelphia Phillies for that year. He returned to the Giants in 1893, raising his average to .322 and hitting 11 home runs. During the 1894 season, the Giants looked toward the team's youth and Connor lost his starting position to Jack Doyle. He was released that year and picked up by the St. Louis Browns. The next year, his brother Joe Connor made his major league debut with the same team. Joe played two games with St. Louis before being sent back down to the minor leagues. That year's St. Louis team finished with a 39-92 record, 48 1⁄2 games out of first place.
Connor was released by the Browns in May 1897 after starting the season with a .227 batting average. His major league playing career was over. While a major league player, Connor was regularly among the league leaders in batting average and home runs. Connor's career mark of 138 was a benchmark not surpassed until 1921 by Babe Ruth. He finished his career with a .317 batting average. Connor finished in the top ten in batting average ten times, all between 1880 and 1891. Over an 18-year career, Connor finished in the top ten for doubles ten times, finished in the top three for triples seven times and remains fifth all-time in triples with 233. He also established his power credentials by finishing in the top ten in RBI ten times and top ten in homers twelve times.
In 1886, Connor and his wife Angeline had a daughter named Lulu. She died as an infant. Connor interpreted the baby's death as God's punishment for marrying Angeline, who was not Catholic. Angeline had secretly begun receiving Catholic education and was planning to surprise Connor by getting baptized on the day that Lulu would have turned a year old. The couple later adopted a girl named Cecelia from a Catholic orphanage in New York City.
Roger and Angeline Connor lived in Waterbury, Connecticut, for many years, even while Roger played in New York. Every winter, a banquet was held in Waterbury in Connor's honor. Near the end of the 19th century, Angeline gave Roger a weather vane which had been constructed from two of his baseball bats. The weather vane served as a well-known landmark in Waterbury even after the couple moved away.
Connor signed with the Fall River Indians of the New England League in June 1897. Connor attracted some attention by wearing eyeglasses on the field. He hit cleanup, played first base and was popular among fans. In 1898, Connor moved back to his hometown of Waterbury and purchased the local minor league team. He served as president, manager and played first base on the side. Connor's wife Angeline kept the team's books and his daughter helped by collecting tickets. Joe Connor was the team's catcher; he later returned to the major leagues for several seasons. After the 1899 season, Connor expressed satisfaction with his Waterbury team, saying that the team played well and did not lose money despite not getting strong attendance numbers at their games.
In 1901, Connor became interested in purchasing the minor league franchise in Hartford, Connecticut. The team had been dropped from the Eastern League and had suffered financial losses related to traveling as far away as Canada for games. Connor proposed that he might purchase the team and attempt to have it admitted to the State Baseball League, decreasing its travel requirements. However, upon selling the Waterbury club at the end of that season, he bought the Springfield franchise in the same league.
In September 1903, Connor announced his retirement from baseball and placed his team up for sale. He had made a similar statement the year before and apparently on a frequent basis before that. In June 1902, the local newspaper said, "Roger bobs up every summer and makes his farewell to the baseball public." His 1903 retirement was earnest though; he attended a 1904 Springfield-Norwich game as a retired spectator.
Connor worked as a school inspector in Waterbury until 1920. He lived to see his career home run record bested by Babe Ruth, although if it was celebrated, it might have been on the wrong day. At one time, Connor's record was thought to be 131, per the Sporting News book Daguerreotypes. As late as the 1980s, in the MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia, it was thought to be 136. However, John Tattersall's 1975 Home Run Handbook, a publication of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), credited Connor with 138. Both MLB.com and the independent Baseball-Reference.com now consider Connor's total to be 138.
Connor died on January 4, 1931, following a lengthy stomach illness. He was 73. A news article after his death said that his "likeable personality and his colorful action made him an idol." He was buried in an unmarked grave at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Waterbury. Connor was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976. Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem had long campaigned on behalf of Connor's inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Decades after his death, Waterbury citizens and baseball fans raised enough money to purchase a headstone at his grave, which was dedicated in a 2001 ceremony.
| Career home run record holder
| Hitting for the cycle
July 21, 1890
The 1883 New York Gothams season was the franchise's first season. The team replaced the Troy Trojans when the National League awarded its franchise rights to John B. Day. The team went 46–50, finishing in sixth place.1888 New York Giants season
The 1888 New York Giants season was the franchise's 6th season.
Claiming six future Hall of Famers (Roger Connor, Mickey Welch, Buck Ewing, Tim Keefe, Jim O'Rourke, and John Montgomery Ward), the team won the National League pennant by nine games and defeated the St. Louis Browns in the "World's Championship."
Keefe led the league in several major statistical categories, including wins, winning percentage, strikeouts, and earned run average.1889 New York Giants season
The 1889 New York Giants season was the franchise's 7th season. The team finished first in the National League with a record of 83–43. They beat the Boston Beneaters by just one game. The Beaneaters won the same number of games as the Giants, but lost two more games, giving the pennant to the Giants. The Giants went on to face the American Association champion Brooklyn Bridegrooms in the 1889 World Series, winning six games to three. The series marked the very first meeting between the Giants and the team that would become the Dodgers, a rivalry that continues to this day.1890 in baseball
The following are the baseball events of the year 1890 throughout the world.1892 Philadelphia Phillies season
The 1892 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in American baseball. The team finished with an overall record of 87–66, fourth-best in the National League. They finished in third place in the first half of the season, and in fifth place in the second half.1894 New York Giants season
The 1894 New York Giants season was the franchise's 12th season. The team finished second in the National League pennant race with an 88-44 record, 3 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. After the regular season's conclusion, they participated in the first Temple Cup competition against the first-place Baltimore Orioles. The Giants won in a sweep, four games to none.1896 St. Louis Browns season
The 1896 St. Louis Browns season was the team's 15th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 5th season in the National League. The Browns went 40–90 during the season and finished 11th in the National League.1976 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1976 followed the system in place since 1971.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and
elected two, Bob Lemon and Robin Roberts.
The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.
It selected three players: Roger Connor, Cal Hubbard, and Freddie Lindstrom.
The Negro Leagues Committee also met in person and selected Oscar Charleston.Billy O'Brien (baseball)
William Smith O'Brien (March 14, 1860 – May 26, 1911) was a Major League Baseball first baseman. He was a native of Albany, New York.
O'Brien played for the St. Paul Saints and Kansas City Cowboys, both of the Union Association, in 1884. He also played for the National League Washington Senators (1887–1889) and the Brooklyn Gladiators (American Association) (1890). His best season was 1887 when he led the National League in home runs with 19. (Hall of Fame first baseman Roger Connor finished second with 17.) He also led his own team that year in runs batted in with 73.
O'Brien's career totals include 356 games played, 364 hits, 32 home runs, 206 RBI, and a lifetime batting average of .256. He even had a 1–0 record as a pitcher, appearing twice in relief for the Saints during his rookie season.
He died in 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri.Jim Mutrie
James J. Mutrie (June 13, 1851 – January 24, 1938) was an American baseball pioneer who was the co-founder and first manager of both the original New York Metropolitans and the New York Giants. His career winning percentage of .611 was a 19th-century record, and remains the second highest by any major league manager with at least 500 wins, trailing only Joe McCarthy's mark of .615.
Mutrie, nicknamed "Smilin' Jeems" and "Truthful Jim", was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and grew up playing cricket, first playing baseball at age 16. He played in the minor leagues from 1877 to 1879. In 1880 he moved from New England to New York, where he obtained financial backing from August Belmont and John B. Day to start the independent New York Metropolitans. At the end of the 1882 season, Day and Mutrie accepted offers from both the American Association and the National League to enter a New York team; they met their double commitment by entering the Mets in the American Association, and acquiring most of the players from the Troy Trojans to form the New York Gothams for the National League.
Mutrie managed the Metropolitans in 1883 and 1884, leading them to the 1884 World Series the latter year. In 1885, he switched to managing the Gothams, and is credited with giving them their nickname, the Giants. With star players such as Buck Ewing, Tim Keefe and Roger Connor, the Giants won National League pennants and World Series titles under Mutrie in 1888 and 1889. Ewing, Keefe and many other players defected to the Players' League's New York Giants in 1890, and the National League Giants under Mutrie slumped to sixth and then third place. When the Giants were reorganized after the 1891 season under new ownership, Mutrie was not retained as manager.
After leaving baseball, Mutrie operated a hotel in Elmira, New York and a newsstand on Staten Island. He died of cancer on Roosevelt Island in New York City at age 86.List of Major League Baseball career triples leaders
In baseball, a triple is a hit in which the batter advances to third base in one play, with neither the benefit of a fielding error nor another runner being put out on a fielder's choice. Triples were more common in baseball's dead-ball era, when teams relied more on stolen bases and hit and run plays than on the home run. More distant fences in old ballparks, such as Pittsburgh's Forbes Field and Detroit's Tiger Stadium, also produced fewer home runs and more triples on well-hit balls. As a result, most of the players on this list have been retired for decades. In 2006, the Hardball Times lamented the decline of the 100-triple player, although three have joined the list since that time. Fangraphs, a statistical website, likewise noted the lack of modern 100-triple hitters in 2013. Of the 162 Major League Baseball players who have hit 100 or more triples, 69 are members of Baseball's Hall of Fame.Hall of Famer Sam Crawford of the Detroit Tigers holds the Major League Baseball triples record, with 309. Second to him is his Tigers teammate, Ty Cobb, with 297, the American League record. Honus Wagner is third with 252, the National League record. Jake Beckley (243), Roger Connor (233), Tris Speaker (222), Fred Clarke (220), and Dan Brouthers (205) are the only other players to have hit at least 200 triples. Only triples hit during the regular season are included in the totals (George Brett, Rafael Furcal, and Derek Jeter are tied for the record in post-season triples, with five).Jim O'Rourke was the first player to reach the 100-triple mark, doing so with the New York Giants in 1886. With Kenny Lofton's retirement after the 2007 season, 2008 was the first season since 1885 in which no active player had more than 100 triples. Carl Crawford hit his 100th triple in 2010, becoming the only active player on the list at that time. José Reyes became the latest player to reach the 100 triple plateau, doing so on April 8, 2012.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.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.New York Giants (PL)
In 1890, the short-lived Players' League included a team called the New York Giants. This baseball team was managed by Hall of Famer Buck Ewing, and they finished third with a record of 74-57. Besides Ewing, who was also a catcher on this team, the roster several former members of the National League New York Giants, such as Hall of Famers Roger Connor, Jim O'Rourke, Hank O'Day, and Tim Keefe. The team played its home games at the Polo Grounds.After the season, their owner, Edward Talcott, bought a minority stake in the National League Giants—in effect, merging the two clubs.Philadelphia Phillies all-time roster (C)
The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The team has played officially under two names since beginning play in 1883: the current moniker, as well as the "Quakers", which was used in conjunction with "Phillies" during the team's early history. The team was also known unofficially as the "Blue Jays" during the World War II era. Since the franchise's inception, 2,006 players have made an appearance in a competitive game for the team, whether as an offensive player (batting and baserunning) or a defensive player (fielding, pitching, or both).
Of those 2,006 Phillies, 143 have had surnames beginning with the letter C. Two of those players have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: pitcher Steve Carlton, who pitched for Philadelphia from 1972 to 1986; and first baseman Roger Connor, who appeared for the Phillies in the 1892 season. The Hall of Fame lists the Phillies as Carlton's primary team, and he is a member of the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame, as are right fielders Johnny Callison and Gavvy Cravath. The Phillies have also retired Carlton's number 32, the only player on this list so honored. Carlton holds two franchise records, leading all Phillies pitchers with 241 victories and 3,031 strikeouts.Among the 78 batters in this list, catcher Harry Cheek and shortstop Todd Cruz have the highest batting average, at .500; each recorded two hits in four career at-bats. Other players with an average above .300 include Ben Chapman (.308 in two seasons), Billy Consolo (.400 in one season), Duff Cooley (.308 in four seasons), Ed Cotter (.308 in one season), and Midre Cummings (.303 in one season). Callison's 185 home runs lead all players on this list, as do Cravath's 676 runs batted in.Of this list's 66 pitchers, two—Milo Candini and Steve Comer—have undefeated win–loss records: Candini with a 2–0 mark; and Comer with one victory and no defeats. Carlton's franchise-record 241 wins lead all pitchers on this list, as do his 161 losses. Mitch Chetkovich is the only member of this list with an earned run average (ERA) of 0.00, allowing no runs in three innings pitched. Among pitchers who have allowed earned runs, Harry Coveleski has the best average (2.09). Carlton's strikeout total of 3,031 is the most among all Phillies pitchers.One player, Bert Conn, has made 30% or more of his Phillies appearances as a pitcher and a position player. He amassed an 0–3 pitching record with a 7.77 ERA while batting .267 with three extra-base hits and seven runs scored.Roger Connor (judge)
Roger David Connor DL (born 8 June 1939) is a British judge.Troy Trojans (MLB team)
The Troy Trojans were a Major League Baseball team in the National League for four seasons from 1879 to 1882. Their home games were played at Putnam Grounds (1879) and Haymakers' Grounds (1880–1881) in the upstate New York city of Troy, and at Troy Ball Clubs Grounds (1882) across the Hudson in Watervliet, or "West Troy" as it was known at the time.
Overall, the franchise won 131 games and lost 194. The Trojans, along with the Worcester NL team, were expelled from the league shortly before the end of the 1882 season, as Troy and Worcester were seen as too small for the league's ambitions, but were encouraged to play out the rest of their seasons as lame-duck teams.
On September 28, 1882, only six fans appeared to watch Worcester host the Trojans in the second-to-last game of the season, then only 25 arrived for the last game between the two teams. Among games that have had at least one paying attendee, the attendance figure of six is the lowest attendance ever recorded at a Major League baseball game. In 1883 the New York Gothams, later known as the Giants, took the Trojans' former slot in the National League. Four of the original Gotham players were former members of the disbanded Trojans, including three Hall of Famers: Buck Ewing, Roger Connor and Mickey Welch.
A previous team named the Union Base Ball Club Lansingburgh was organized in 1860, the successor to the Victories of Troy, and was a member of the National Association of Base Ball Players. That team was given the nickname Haymakers by a defeated New York City team.Notable players for the Trojans included Hall of Famers Dan Brouthers, Connor, Ewing, Tim Keefe, and Welch.
Another Troy Trojans minor league team continued play until at least 1916.Troy Trojans all-time roster
The Troy Trojans were a professional baseball team that played in the National League from 1879 to 1882. During their four seasons in existence, the team had a record of 134-191.
|Negro League Committee|
|J. G. Taylor Spink Award|
Italics denotes players who have been voted in but not yet inducted.
|Inducted as a Giant|
|Inductees who played|
for the Giants
|Inducted as a Phillie|
|Inductees who played for the Phillies|