Willie Keeler

William Henry Keeler (March 3, 1872 – January 1, 1923), nicknamed "Wee Willie", was an American right fielder in Major League Baseball who played from 1892 to 1910, primarily for the Baltimore Orioles and Brooklyn Superbas in the National League, and the New York Highlanders in the American League. Keeler, one of the best hitters of his time, was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. One of the greatest contact hitters of all time and notoriously hard to strike out, Keeler has the highest career at bats-per-strikeout ratio in MLB history: throughout his career, on average he went more than 60 at bats between individual strikeouts.[1]

Willie Keeler
Willie Keeler
Keeler circa 1903
Right fielder
Born: March 3, 1872
Brooklyn, New York
Died: January 1, 1923 (aged 50)
Brooklyn, New York
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 30, 1892, for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
September 5, 1910, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.341
Hits2,932
Home runs33
Runs batted in810
Stolen bases495
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1939
Vote75.5% (fourth ballot)

Early life

William Henry O'Kelleher, Jr. (he later Americanized the name to Keeler) was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 3, 1872, the son of William O'Kelleher, Sr., a trolley switch man. He played baseball from an early age, and as a freshman served as captain of his high-school team. He quit school the following year, and played semiprofessional baseball in the New York City area.

Professional baseball career

In 1892, he joined the minor league team in Binghamton, New York, and he was called up to the New York Giants at the end of the season. After a trip back to the minors because of an injury at the start of the 1893 season, he returned to the Giants later that year. Initially a third baseman, he later moved to the outfield. He quickly established himself as a star, and played until retiring in 1910.

Keeler's advice to hitters was "Keep your eye clear, and hit 'em where they ain't"—"they" being the opposing fielders. His .385 career batting average after the 1898 season is the highest average in history at season's end for a player with more than 1,000 hits (1,147 hits).[2] He compiled a .341 batting average over his career, currently 14th all time. He hit over .300 16 times in 19 seasons, and hit over .400 once. He twice led his league in batting average and three times in hits. Keeler had an amazing 206 singles during the 1898 season, a record that stood for more than 100 years until broken by Ichiro Suzuki. Additionally, Keeler had an on-base percentage of greater than .400 for seven straight seasons. When Keeler retired in 1910, he was third all-time in hits with 2,932, behind only Cap Anson and Jake Beckley.

He was one of the smallest players to play the game, standing 5 feet 4½ inches and weighing 140 pounds (64 kg), resulting in his nickname. Keeler was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. He appeared as number 75 on The Sporting News' list of the "100 Greatest Baseball Players".[3] In 1999, he was named as a finalist to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Having played his last game in 1910, he was the most chronologically distant player on both Top 100 lists.

Willie Keeler, New York Highlanders, baseball card portrait LCCN2008676818
1909 baseball card of Keeler

Keeler had the ability to bunt most balls pitched to him, enabling him to avoid striking out; his skill at prolonging at bats by fouling pitches off with this method was the impetus for the rule change that made a foul bunt with two strikes a strikeout. In the 1899 season for the Brooklyn Superbas, in 570 at bats, Keeler struck out only twice, setting an AB-per-K mark of 285, an MLB single-season record.[4] With Ned Hanlon's Baltimore Orioles, he perfected the "Baltimore chop", in which he would chop the ball into the ground hard enough to cause a high bounce, which enabled him to reach first base before a fielder could glove the ball and throw him out. Bill James speculated that Keeler introduced the hit and run strategy to the original Orioles and teammate John McGraw. In James' theory, Boston's Tommy McCarthy was the first manager to make wide use of the hit and run. McCarthy then taught it to John Montgomery Ward, who taught it to Keeler.[5]

In forming the powerful original Baltimore Orioles of the late 19th century, manager Ned Hanlon was given an ownership stake in the team and a free rein to form his team. In one of the most one-sided trades in baseball history, Hanlon obtained Dan Brouthers and Keeler from Brooklyn in exchange for Billy Shindle and George Treadway. Keeler and six of his teammates from the Orioles were eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame.[6]

In 1897, Keeler had a 44-game hitting streak to start the season, breaking the previous single season record of 42 set by Bill Dahlen. Keeler had a hit in his final game of the 1896 season, giving him a National League-record 45-game hitting streak. This mark was surpassed by Joe DiMaggio in 1941, who had a 56-game hitting streak. In 1978, Pete Rose tied Keeler's single season mark of 44 games. No other player in baseball has ever matched this feat. Keeler also had eight consecutive seasons with 200 hits or more, a record broken by Ichiro Suzuki in 2009.[7]

In 1901, when Ban Johnson formed the American League, one of the first acts was to raid the National League and offer their stars big contracts. In 1901, Keeler received offers from six of the eight new American League clubs, including an offer from Chicago for two years at $4,300 a season ($129,499 in current dollar terms). Keeler remained in Brooklyn and did not actually jump to the new league until 1903, when he signed with the New York Highlanders (renamed the Yankees in 1913). In 1905, Keeler set the Yankees team record for most sacrifice hits in a season with 42.[8] He remained with the Highlanders through 1909, and played the 1910 season with the New York Giants. Keeler played in 1911 for the Eastern League's Toronto Maple Leafs, and had 43 hits in 39 games.

Later life

After his retirement, Keeler was a scout and coach for the Superbas and the Boston Braves, as well as Brooklyn's Federal League team, the Tip-Tops. He was wealthy after retiring as a player, and invested in mining companies, real estate, and other ventures. His real estate lost value in the post-World War I economic recession, and by the time of his death, his brothers and he had to sell their childhood home.

Keeler suffered from tuberculosis and endocarditis for the last five years of his life. By late 1922, his condition had worsened and whether he would live into the new year was doubtful. Seriously ill by New Year's Eve, he heard bells and sirens in the streets when the new year arrived. Keeler sat up and said to his brother, "You see, the new year is here and so am I—still."[9] He enjoyed a drink and a smoke, then said that he was ready for a long sleep.[9] A short time later, Keeler died; he was 50.[10] He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Queens, New York.

Keeler is mentioned in the story "Hit 'em where they ain't" by Robert Ruark and as well in the poem "Line-Up for Yesterday" by Ogden Nash.

See also

References

  1. ^ AB per K career
  2. ^ Progressive Leaders &amp Records for Batting average Archived August 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Baseball-Reference.com
  3. ^ 100 Greatest Baseball Players by The Sporting News : A Legendary List by Baseball Almanac
  4. ^ AB per K single season records
  5. ^ Rader, Benjamin G (January 2002). Baseball: A History of America's Game by Benjamin G. Rader. p. 75. ISBN 9780252070136.
  6. ^ Okrent, Daniel (1989). Baseball Anecdotes by Daniel Okrent, Steve Wulf. p. 32. ISBN 9780195043969.
  7. ^ Baseball's Top 100: The Game's Greatest Records, p.46, Kerry Banks, 2010, Greystone Books, Vancouver, BC, ISBN 978-1-55365-507-7
  8. ^ Spatz, Lyle (January 1, 2004). Bad Bill Dahlen: The Rollicking Life and Times of an Early Baseball Star by Lyle Spatz. pp. 102–104. ISBN 9780786484348.
  9. ^ a b Mele, Andrew Paul (ed.) (2005). A Brooklyn Dodgers Reader. McFarland. pp. 14–15. ISBN 078641913X.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Willie Keeler Dies of Heart Disease, The New York Times (January 2, 1923). Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  11. ^ "Baseball Almanac". Retrieved January 23, 2008.

External links

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.

1893 New York Giants season

The 1893 New York Giants season was the franchise's 11th season. The team finished in fifth place in the National League with a 68-64 record, 19.5 games behind the Boston Beaneaters.

1894 Baltimore Orioles season

The Baltimore Orioles won their first National League pennant in 1894. They won 24 of their last 25 games. After the regular season's conclusion, the Orioles participated in the first Temple Cup competition against the second-place New York Giants. The Orioles lost to the Giants in a sweep, four games to none.

The Orioles roster contained six future Hall of Famers: Wilbert Robinson, John McGraw, Dan Brouthers, Hughie Jennings, Wee Willie Keeler and Joe Kelley. Every man in their starting line up hit .300 for the season. They bunted, hit-and-ran, Baltimore chopped, backed up throws, cut off throws, and had pitchers cover first. They also deadened balls by icing them, tilted baselines so bunts would roll fair, and put soap around the mound so opposing pitchers would get slippery fingers if he tried to dry his hands in the dirt.

1899 Brooklyn Superbas season

The 1899 Brooklyn Superbas season was the 16th season of the current-day Dodgers franchise and the 9th season in the National League. The team won the National League pennant with a record of 101–47, 8 games ahead of the Boston Beaneaters, after finishing tenth in 1898.

1901 Brooklyn Superbas season

The 1901 Brooklyn Superbas lost several players to the newly official major league, the American League, and fell to third place.

1902 Brooklyn Superbas season

The 1902 Brooklyn Superbas finished in a distant second place in the National League, 27 and 1/2 games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1906 New York Highlanders season

The 1906 New York Highlanders season, its fourth in New York and sixth overall, finished with the team in 2nd place in the American League with a record of 90–61. The team was managed by Clark Griffith and played its home games at Hilltop Park.

1936 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

The first elections to select inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame were held in 1936. Members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) were given authority to select individuals from the 20th century; while a special Veterans Committee, made up of individuals with greater familiarity with the 19th century game, was polled to select deserving individuals from that era. The intent was for 15 honorees to be selected before the 1939 ceremonies – 10 from the 20th century and 5 from the 19th; additional players from both eras would be selected in later years. Voters were given free rein to decide for themselves in which group a candidate belonged, with neither group knowing the outcome of the other election; some candidates had their vote split between the elections as a result – Cy Young, the pitcher with most wins in Major League history, finished 8th in the BBWAA vote and 4th in the Veterans vote. In addition, there was no prohibition on voting for active players, a number of whom received votes. Individuals who had been banned from baseball – such as Shoeless Joe Jackson and Hal Chase – were also not formally excluded, though few voters chose to include them on ballots.

In the BBWAA election, voters were instructed to cast votes for 10 candidates, the same number of desired selections; in the Veterans' election, voters were also instructed to vote for 10, although the desire for only 5 initial selections led to revisions in the way the votes were counted. Any candidate receiving votes on at least 75% of the ballots in either election would be honored with induction to the Hall upon its opening in the sport's supposed centennial year of 1939.

Chronicle-Telegraph Cup

The Chronicle-Telegraph Cup was the trophy awarded to the winner of a postseason competition in American professional baseball in 1900. The series, played only once, was a precursor to the current World Series.

The Pittsburgh Pirates finished in second place, 4.5 games behind the Brooklyn Superbas, in the 1900 National League season (the only Major League in American baseball at the time). Fans of the Pittsburgh club felt their club was every bit the equal of the Brooklyn nine. While Brooklyn led the league in offense, Pirates fans claimed their team, which led the NL in strikeouts and ERA, boasted the pitching to best Brooklyn. A local newspaper, the Pittsburgh Chronicle Telegraph, offered to award a silver cup to the winner of a best-of-five series between the two teams.

Despite the series being held in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, which was annexed into Pittsburgh in 1907, the Superbas prevailed, 3–1. The teams were evenly matched in most statistical categories — both totaled 15 runs apiece, batted about .230 and had comparable numbers of extra-base hits (neither team hit any home runs) and walks. Both teams' ERAs were below 1.30.

However, Pittsburgh committed 14 errors to Brooklyn's 4, letting the Superbas win by comfortable margins. Three unearned runs in the top of the sixth inning of Game 2 allowed the Superbas to break a 1–1 tie, and Pirates pitcher Sam Leever's crucial fourth-inning error in Game 4 broke the game open for Brooklyn. A 10–0 blowout behind Deacon Phillippe's six-hitter in Game 3 gave the Pirates their only win in the series.

Pirates' outfielder Honus Wagner led his team in batting average (.400), hits (6), doubles (1), RBIs (3) and stolen bases (2). Brooklyn's Wee Willie Keeler also cranked out 6 hits to lead his club, posting a .353 average. The Superbas' Fielder Jones had 4 RBIs.

The Pirates won the next three National League pennants and played in the inaugural World Series in 1903. The Brooklyn baseball club did not win another postseason series until 1955, their first World Series championship.

Gene Garber

Henry Eugene Garber (born November 13, 1947) is an American former professional baseball sidearm relief pitcher, who played for four Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations, from 1969 to 1988.

Scholastically, Garber attended Elizabethtown Area High School. He went on to graduate from Elizabethtown College, in 1969.

Garber was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 20th round of the 1965 amateur draft. Over the course of his MLB career, he pitched for the Pirates, Kansas City Royals (on two separate occasions), Philadelphia Phillies, and Atlanta Braves.

In 1977, Garber won his only postseason game. By doing so, he became the first Phillies pitcher to win a postseason game for 62 years: This is a MLB record for any team.

While pitching for the Braves against the Cincinnati Reds, on August 1, 1978, Garber faced Pete Rose, who was looking to break the National League (NL) record of 44 consecutive games with a base hit. With the Braves winning 16–4 in the top of the 9th inning, and Rose was 0 for 4 when he came to bat with two outs, Rose struck out swinging, on a 2–2 change-up, thereby ending the consecutive game-streak with Rose still in a tie with Willie Keeler.While pitching for the 1979 Braves, Garber recorded 25 saves, but also 16 losses, an unusually high number for a closer. His best season came for the 1982 Braves' NL West division-winning team. That year, Garber recorded a career-high 30 saves, along with a 9–10 won-lost record, and finished seventh in the NL Cy Young Award balloting.

Garber’s most effective pitch was a change-up, which he effectively delivered from an unusual, herky-jerky motion, turning his back to the batter before delivering the ball in a side-arm, "submarine-style" manner.

With 141 games saved for the Braves, Garber ranks third on the team’s all-time saves list, behind only Craig Kimbrel (186) and John Smoltz (154), respectively.Upon his retirement following the 1988 season, Garber’s 931 career pitching appearances ranked 5th in MLB history, trailing Hoyt Wilhelm (1070), Kent Tekulve (1013), Lindy McDaniel (987), and Rollie Fingers (944).

Garber is a farmer in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, where he and his sons raise poultry for eggs, Emu for "Emu Oil," and grow corn, wheat, soybeans, and barley. Prior to the 2009 season, he was invited by the Braves to be a guest instructor for a week during spring training, working with fellow side-armer Peter Moylan.Garber is the Chairman of the Lancaster County Agricultural Preservation Board and is a member of the Lancaster Farmland Trust, which combined have protected more than 1,000 farms and 75,000 acres (300 km2) of farmland from development, more than any other county in the United States.

Jay Hughes

James Jay Hughes (January 22, 1874 – June 2, 1924) was an American Major League Baseball pitcher, who played four seasons from 1898 to 1902.

Hughes was born in Sacramento, California. He attracted attention in 1897 when he threw a three hit shutout during a west coast exhibition game against the famed Baltimore Orioles, a team featuring such notable baseball stars as Wilbert Robinson, John McGraw, Hughie Jennings, Willie Keeler, and Joe Kelley. Orioles Manager Ned Hanlon hired him and brought him east, where he had four excellent seasons, including a league-leading 28-6 mark with the 1899 Brooklyn Superbas.

He pitched a no-hitter on April 22, 1898 (another no-hitter, by Cincinnati's Ted Breitenstein, was thrown the same day, marking the first time that two no-hitters were thrown on the same day). Hughes was transferred to the Brooklyn Superbas in 1899; the Orioles and Superbas were both owned by the same group of individuals. Jennings, Keeler, and several other key Orioles were transferred, including manager Ned Hanlon, who had an ownership stake. The owners wanted to transfer McGraw and Robinson as well, but they refused to leave due to their business interests and family in Baltimore.

Preferring to play on the west coast, he joined the Pacific Coast League in 1903. As a Sacramento native, he hated pitching in the East, and on several occasions refused to sign contracts with eastern clubs so he could remain on the west coast. In 1903, playing for the Seattle Rainiers, he tied Doc Newton for the lead in wins with 34, including 12 in a row from September 8 through November 4. He pitched there until a back injury ended his career.

He died when he fell from a train in Sacramento, fracturing his skull. He was laid to rest at St. Joseph Cemetery in Sacramento. His older brother, Mickey Hughes, won 25 games for the 1888 Brooklyn Bridegrooms.

Joe Kelley

Joseph James Kelley (December 9, 1871 – August 14, 1943) was an American left fielder in Major League Baseball (MLB) who starred in the outfield of the Baltimore Orioles teams of the 1890s. Making up the nucleus of the Orioles along with John McGraw, Willie Keeler, and Hughie Jennings, Kelley received the nickname "Kingpin of the Orioles".In his MLB career, Kelley played in the National League (NL) for the Boston Beaneaters (1891), Pittsburgh Pirates (1892), Baltimore Orioles (1892–1898), and Brooklyn Superbas (1899–1901), before he jumped to the upstart American League to play for the Baltimore Orioles (1902). He returned to the NL with Cincinnati Reds (1902–1906) and Boston Doves (1908). Kelley served as player-manager of the Reds (1902–1905) and Doves (1908). After extending his career in the minor leagues, he coached the Brooklyn Robins (1926), and scouted for the New York Yankees (1915–1916).

Kelley was regarded as an excellent batter, a good base runner, and a great leader. Over his seventeen-season MLB career, Kelley had a .317 batting average, and batted over .300 in eleven consecutive seasons. Kelley stole a career-high 87 bases in the 1896 season, which led MLB. He finished in the league's top ten in categories such as batting average, home runs, runs batted in (RBI), and stolen bases numerous times. He served as team captain of the Orioles and the Superbas. In recognition of his career achievements, Kelley was elected a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1971.

List of Los Angeles Dodgers team records

This is a list of team records for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

List of New York Yankees captains

There have been 15 captains of the New York Yankees, an American professional baseball franchise also known previously as the New York Highlanders. The position is currently vacant after the most recent captain, Derek Jeter, retired after the 2014 season, after 12 seasons as team captain. Jeter was named as the 11th officially recognized captain of the Yankees in 2003. In baseball, the captain formerly served as the on-field leader of the team, while the manager operated the team from the dugout. Today, the captain is a clubhouse leader.

The first captain officially recognized by the Yankees was Hal Chase, who served in the role from 1910 through 1912. Roger Peckinpaugh served as captain from 1914 through 1922, until he was traded to the Boston Red Sox. He was succeeded by Babe Ruth, who was quickly deposed as captain for climbing into the stands to confront a heckler. Everett Scott served as captain from 1922 through 1925. Ten years later, Lou Gehrig was named captain, serving for the remainder of his career. After the death of Gehrig, then manager Joe McCarthy declared that the Yankees would never have another captain. The position remained vacant until team owner George Steinbrenner named Thurman Munson as captain in 1976. Following Munson's death, Graig Nettles served as captain. Willie Randolph and Ron Guidry were named co-captains in 1986. Don Mattingly followed them as captain in 1991, serving until his retirement in 1995. Gehrig, Munson, Guidry, Mattingly and Jeter are the only team captains who spent their entire career with the Yankees. Jeter is the longest tenured captain in franchise history, the 2014 season being his 12th as team captain.

There is, however, some controversy over the official list. Howard W. Rosenberg, a baseball historian, found that the official count of Yankees captains failed to include Clark Griffith, the captain from 1903–1905, and Kid Elberfeld, the captain from 1906–1907, while manager Frank Chance may have served as captain in 1913.In addition, right after The New York Times reported Rosenberg's research in 2007, Society for American Baseball Research member Clifford Blau contacted him to say he had found Willie Keeler being called the team's captain in 1908 and 1909, research that Rosenberg has confirmed.

Ned Hanlon (baseball)

Edward Hugh Hanlon (August 22, 1857 – April 14, 1937), also known as "Foxy Ned", and sometimes referred to as "The Father of Modern Baseball," was an American professional baseball player and manager whose career spanned from 1876 to 1914. He was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996 by vote of the Veterans Committee.

Hanlon was a manager in Major League Baseball from 1889 to 1907, compiling a 1,313–1,164 (.530) record with five different clubs. He is best remembered as the manager of the Baltimore Orioles (1892–1898) and Brooklyn Superbas (1899–1905). In the seven seasons from 1894 to 1900, Hanlon compiled a 635–315 (.668) record, and his teams won five National League pennants. During his years with the Orioles, Hanlon was also credited with inventing and perfecting the "inside baseball" strategy, including the "hit and run" play and the Baltimore chop.

Hanlon also played 13 seasons in Major League Baseball, principally as a center fielder. He played in over 800 games as an outfielder for the Detroit Wolverines, remaining with the team during all eight years of its existence from 1881 to 1888. He compiled a career batting average of .260 and an on-base percentage of .325 with 930 runs scored and 1,317 hits. Although stolen base records are not available for the early portion of his playing career, Hanlon stole 329 bases (an average of 55 per year) in his last six years as a full-time player.

Single (baseball)

In baseball, a single is the most common type of base hit, accomplished through the act of a batter safely reaching first base by hitting a fair ball (thus becoming a runner) and getting to first base before a fielder puts him out. As an exception, a batter-runner reaching first base safely is not credited with a single when an infielder attempts to put out another runner on the first play; this is one type of a fielder's choice. Also, a batter-runner reaching first base on a play due to a fielder's error trying to put him out at first base or another runner out (as a fielder's choice) is not credited with a single.

On a single hit to the outfield, any runners on second base or third base normally score, and sometimes the runner from first base is able to advance to third base. Depending on the location of the hit, a quick recovery by the outfielder can prevent such an advance or create a play on the advancing runner.

Hitters who focus on hitting singles rather than doubles or home runs are often called "contact hitters". Contact hitters who rely on positioning their hits well and having fast running speed to achieve singles are often called "slap hitters". Ty Cobb, Pete Rose, Tony Gwynn, and Ichiro Suzuki are examples of contact hitters; of these, Rose and Suzuki might be called slap hitters.

Temple Cup

The Temple Cup was a cup awarded to the winner of a best-of-seven, post-season play-offs championship tournament for American professional baseball for the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs (known as the National League - established earlier in 1876) and awarded four times from 1894 to 1897. The 30-inch-high (76.2 centimeters high) silver cup cost $800, ($22.3 thousand in 2018 dollars) and was donated by coal, citrus, and lumber baron William Chase Temple (1862-1917), a part-owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time. Much like the long running Stanley Cup of ice hockey in the National Hockey League and the Temple Cup's predecessor to the professional baseball team champions, the Dauvray Cup (1887-1893), (awarded seven times in the name of the donor, famed stage actress of the day, Helen Dauvray (1859-1923)), there was only one actual Temple Cup passed along to each baseball season's winning team and city.

Since there was only one major league at the time with the folding of the previous American Association 1882-1891, so the series was later played between the first and second-place teams of the surviving NL. The second-place team defeated the first-place team for the Cup in three of the four series that were played. The Temple Cup was also known as the World's Championship Series. If one team won three titles, that team would have permanent possession of the Cup, later given to the city of Baltimore for their .

Having moved over with several other AA strong franchises to join the senior National League after the 1891 folding of the American Association after ten seasons in the AA since 1882, the frequent champions and powerful scrappy teams of the Baltimore Orioles continued their winning ways from the old AA, capturing three NL pennants in a row (1894-1895-1896), and winning the Temple Cup also. Owner/manager Ned Hanlon (1857-1937), a Baltimorean and one of the most talented baseball men of the sport's early era ran the "Birds" with talented players like "Wee Willie" Keeler (1872-1923), Wilbert Robinson (1863-1934), and John McGraw (1873-1934). McGraw was later player/manager/owner with the early American League charter member team (and third to carry the Orioles name) of the new Baltimore Orioles of 1901-1902, one of the 8 original franchises in the new AL when reorganized in 1901, from the former Western League (on the minor level, 1885-1899) under activist first president Ban Johnson (1864-1931).

After the 1903 "peace pact" between the two major leagues, ending the "war" between them, recognizing each other as equal in stature, accepting a joint policy on player contracts and beginning a "best-of-seven" tournament of champions between them resulting in the modern inter-league World Series for the next century whose championship trophy replaced the old Temple Cup and soon exceeded its esteem. Also each league was allowed a franchise in the nation's largest city, so McGraw was responsible for the new AL Orioles team to move that year of 1903, after only two seasons in Baltimore to New York City to represent the AL, becoming the New York Highlanders, renamed a decade later as the New York Yankees. McGraw went on and later returned to the NL as owner/manager of the famous opposing New York team in the borough of The Bronx with the legendary New York Giants competitive in the early 20th century.

Tommy Holmes

Thomas Francis Holmes (March 29, 1917 – April 14, 2008) was an American right and center fielder and manager in Major League Baseball who played nearly his entire career for the Boston Braves. He hit over .300 lifetime (.302) and every year from 1944 through 1948, peaking with a .352 mark in 1945 when he finished second in the National League batting race and was runner-up for the NL's Most Valuable Player Award.

Holmes was born in Brooklyn, New York. He attended and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School. Holmes, one of the most popular Boston Braves especially in the twilight of his career, finished second in MVP voting in the National League in 1945 after leading the NL in hits (224), home runs (28) and doubles (47). That season, he set a modern NL record by hitting safely in 37 consecutive games from June 6 through July 8 (Bill Dahlen and Willie Keeler had longer streaks in the 1890s), a mark surpassed 33 years later in 1978 by Pete Rose with a 44-game streak that tied Keeler's and came the closest to Joe DiMaggio's MLB record 56 in 1941. Holmes struck out just 9 times in 1945, and his ratio of home runs (28) to strikeouts that season is one of the best in baseball history.

Holmes, who batted and threw left-handed, signed his first professional contract with the New York Yankees, but could not break into their outfield of Joe DiMaggio, Tommy Henrich and Charlie Keller. After three over-.300 seasons with the Yanks' top farm team, the Newark Bears, he was traded to the Braves in February 1942. Given a regular major league job at last, he hit over .300 for five consecutive seasons (1944–48). In 1948, his .325 in 139 games as the Braves' leadoff hitter help lead Boston to the NL pennant (together with slugging MVP third baseman Bob Elliott and the oft-satirized starting rotation of Spahn, Sain and pray for rain; or Spahn, Sain and a day of rain; or Spahn, Sain, Bickford and rain).

After the 1950 season Holmes, at 33, was named player-manager of the team's Class A Hartford Chiefs farm club. On June 19, 1951, with the injury-ridden parent club Braves floundering in fifth place under manager Billy Southworth, he was called back to Boston to manage his old team and serve as a pinch-hitter. It was hoped he could arouse the club and bring fans back to Braves Field. The team went 48–47 under Holmes for the remainder of 1951, finishing fourth as they did in 1949 and 1950, but when they began 1952 with a mark of 13–22 he was fired on May 31 and replaced by Charlie Grimm. The Braves finished seventh, drew only 281,000 fans, and left Boston for Milwaukee the following spring. That 61–69 stretch (.469) was Holmes' only major league managing stint.

Holmes finished the regular 1952 season pinch-hitting for the Brooklyn Dodgers and playing left field in the final inning of game 7 in the World Series against the New York Yankees, after which he managed in the Braves' and Dodgers' farm systems from 1953 to 1957. He retired with a .302 lifetime batting average with 88 home runs and 581 RBIs in his 1,320-game, eleven-year major league career. He posted a fine .989 fielding percentage in the majors, executing more double plays (37) than errors (33). Later (in 1973) he returned to the game as director of amateur baseball relations for the New York Mets, a post he held for three decades until retiring at 86.

Holmes died of natural causes at the age of 91 in an assisted-living facility in Boca Raton, Florida. He was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in that city.

Union Park (Baltimore)

Union Park is a former baseball ground located in Baltimore, Maryland. The ground was home to the Baltimore Orioles during their first "glory years" in the 1890s. It was located in area bounded by East 25th Street to the north, 24th Street to the south Hunter Hunter Street to the west and Barclay Street to the east.

The Orioles opened this park during the 1891 season, abandoning Oriole Park. Their first game there was on May 11, 1891, an 8-4 victory over the St. Louis Browns in front of over 10,000 fans (https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=rJFDAAAAIBAJ&sjid=grkMAAAAIBAJ&pg=7081%2C3981859). At that time they were playing in the then-major American Association. After that season, the Association folded, and four of its teams were absorbed into the National League, including the Orioles. The Orioles became a perennial contender during that time. Despite that success, they were dropped when the National League contracted after the 1899 season. The legacy of those Orioles lived on through the later achievements of their many Hall of Fame players, such as John McGraw, Wilbert Robinson, Hughie Jennings and Willie Keeler.

There was a destructive fire on January 14, 1895, which destroyed the grandstand and a clubhouse. The structure was rebuilt and the Orioles were able to continue to use ballpark for their remaining seasons.

Today the site is a residential area of Barclay with 321 East 25th Street once located next to the grandstand. That and other buildings visible in the background of the 1890s photo of the ballpark's exterior still stand today.

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