1880 National League All-Star Team

P-Jim McCormick, CLV

P-Monte Ward, PRO

P-Lee Richmond, WOR

P-Larry Corcoran, CHC

P-Mickey Welch, TRO

P-Tim Keefe, TRO

P-Will White, CIN

P-Fred Goldsmith, CHC

P-Pud Galvin, BUF

C-John Clapp, CIN

C-Emil Gross, PRO

1B-Cap Anson, CHC

1B-Joe Start, PRO

2B-Fred Dunlap, CLV

2B-Jack Farrell, PRO

3B-George Bradley, PRO

3B-Roger Connor, TRO

3B-Ned Williamson, CHC

SS-Arthur Irwin, WOR

SS-Tom Burns, CHC

LF-Abner Dalrymple, CHC

CF-George Gore, CHC

CF-Paul Hines, PRO

RF-Jim O’Rourke, BSN

RF-Orator Shafer, CLV



P-Jim McCormick, Cleveland Blues, 23 Years Old, MVP

1878 1879

45-28, 1.85 ERA, 260 K, .246, 0 HR, 26 RBI


Led in:


Wins Above Replacement-10.7

WAR for Pitchers-10.4


Games Pitched-74

Innings Pitched-657 2/3

Games Started-74

Complete Games-72

Hits Allowed-585

Batters Faced-2,669

Adj. Pitching Runs-35

Adj. Pitching Wins-3.5

AB per SO-57.8

Def. Games as P-74


3rd Time All-Star-After a season in which he lost 40 games, McCormick stayed with Cleveland and pitched a monster season, finishing first in WAR (10.7) and WAR for Pitchers (10.4). He pitched 500 or more innings for the second consecutive season, throwing 657 2/3 innings with a 1.85 ERA and a 126 ERA+.

With Jim McCormick the pitcher having a great year, Jim McCormick, the manager, led the Blues to a 47-37 third place finish. Surprisingly, it would be his last full season of managing, despite being only 23 years old.

McCormick hasn’t made the Baseball Hall of Fame and it’s yet to be seen whether or not he makes the ONEHOF. A website called Not in the Hall of Fame has this to say about the dominating Scotsman: “Had there been a Cy Young Award in 1880 and 1882, Jim McCormick may very well have won it.  In those two campaigns, he led the National League in every major Pitching Category.  The issue with McCormick is that even though he was a dominant player, it was not for that long and no position more than that on the mound has changed more; those early flame throwers are often to easily overlooked.”

I know it’s a different era of ball and the pitchers are still throwing under-handed and pitching almost every game, but at 23-years-old, McCormick already had some 1,300 innings. Nowadays, it would take over six seasons of regular pitching to get that amount. And McCormick still has three seasons of 500 or more innings left in his career.



P-Monte Ward, Providence Grays, 20 Years Old

1878 1879

39-24, 1.74 ERA, 230 K, .228, 0 HR, 27 RBI


Led in:



Putouts as P-43


3rd Time All-Star-Despite his dominating pitching, this would be the last season Ward would be predominantly a pitcher. He would still be on the mound, but not on a regular basis. This season was Ward’s best season ever, as he finished second in WAR (7.4) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (6.6). He pitched 595 innings with a 1.74 ERA and a 126 ERA+. I’m glad the Grays decided to rest his arm and keep him down to “only” 330 innings in 1881.

Ward was one of three managers that led the Grays to a second place finish with a 52-32 record. Mike McGeary coached the Grays to a an 8-7 record followed by Ward (18-13) and Mike Dorgan (26-12). They finished second, but they were never really in the hunt, as Chicago won the National League by 15 games.

Baseball Reference used to refer to Ward as Monte Ward, but then they switched it to John Ward. Then they switched it again and, as of this writing, it’s back to John. I’m going to continue to call him Monte, because I believe that’s how he’s popularly known.

According to Wikipedia, Ward pitched a perfect game in 1880. It says, “In 1880, he began to play other positions. On June 17, 1880, Ward pitched the second perfect game in baseball history, defeating future Hall of Famer Pud Galvin and the Buffalo Bisons, 5–0. Lee Richmond had thrown baseball’s first perfect game just five days before, on June 12. The next perfect game by a National League pitcher would not happen for 84 years, when Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game in 1964. Ward also expanded his leadership role to include managing when he became a player-manager for the team’s final 32 games, winning 18 of them, as the Grays finished in second place.”



P-Lee Richmond, Worcester Ruby Legs, 23 Years Old

32-32, 2.15 ERA, 243 K, .227, 0 HR, 34 RBI


Led in:


Games Pitched-74


Games Finished-9

Def. Games as P-74

Errors Committed as P-23


1st Time All-Star-J Lee Richmond was born on May 5, 1857 in Sheffield, OH. He had pitched one game for Boston in 1879, but 1880 was considered his rookie year and it would be his best season ever. Richmond was third in WAR (7.2) and second in WAR for Pitchers (8.1) pitching for the newly formed Worcester Ruby Legs. He tossed 590 2/3 innings, with a 2.15 ERA and a 119 ERA+. Richmond did all of this despite his thin frame as he spread 155 pounds over his five-foot-10 height.

Worcester had a pretty good start to its existence, going 40-43, finishing in fifth place. In a rarity, the Ruby Legs were coached by a man who never played Major League baseball, Frank Bancroft. This was the first of nine seasons he would manage and he actually did pretty well, including winning a World Series title in 1884. Yes, you read that right.

Richmond pitched the first ever perfect game. Wikipedia says, “Worcester joined the National League in 1880, and Richmond signed with the team for $2,400 that season. Before a game against Cleveland on June 12, Richmond was up all night taking part in college graduation events, and he went to bed at 6:30 AM. He caught the 11:30 AM train for Worcester so he could pitch in the afternoon contest and then pitched a perfect game to beat Cleveland, 1–0. According to the Chicago Tribune, ‘The Clevelands were utterly helpless before Richmond’s puzzling curves, retiring in every inning in one, two, three order, without a base hit. The Worcesters played a perfect fielding game.’ Cleveland pitcher Jim McCormick allowed three hits, and the only run was scored on a double error by Fred Dunlap.”



P-Larry Corcoran, Chicago White Stockings, 20 Years Old

43-14, 1.95 ERA, 268 K, .231, 0 HR, 25 RBI


Led in:


Strikeouts per 9 IP-4.497


Bases on Balls-99


1st Time All-Star-Lawrence J. Corcoran was born on August 10, 1859 in Brooklyn, NY. As a rookie, he was the main man for the Chicago league-winning team. He was fourth in WAR (6.9) and third in WAR for Pitchers (7.1), throwing 536 1/3 innings with a 1.95 ERA and a 123 ERA+. Manager Cap Anson found his star pitcher. Corcoran would have many great seasons, but this was probably his best year ever.

Judging by his numbers, Corcoran threw some heat. He set the record for strikeouts in a season with 268 and for walks in a season with 99. That would eventually take its toll, as Corcoran would have five great seasons with 350 or more innings pitched before his arm was dead by 1885. Still, he’ll be around these All-Star teams for a while.

Baseball Reference writes a little about Corcoran’s rookie season: “Larry Corcoran was an ambidextrous pitcher who alternated arms for two innings of a game on May 9, 1889. Larry Corcoran was one of four major league pitchers to throw a no-hitter in 1880, his rookie season. He was the first major-leaguer to throw more than one no-hitter, and he was also the first pitcher to have thrown three no-hitters in a career (in 1880, 1882, and 1884). He started his career 22-3 – this was the MLB record for wins in someone’s first 25 decisions until Alfredo Aceves broke the mark 131 years later.” It helps to pitch for a good team and Corcoran would be a big part of the White Stockings’ many championships.



P-Mickey Welch, Troy Trojans, 20 Years Old

34-30, 2.54 ERA, 123 K, .287, 0 HR, 27 RBI


Led in:


Earned Runs Allowed-162


1st Time All-Star-Michael Francis “Smiling Mickey” Welch was born on Independence Day, 1859 in Brooklyn, NY as the Welch family’s way of celebrating the United States turning 83 years old. The five-foot-eight inch, 160 pound future Hall of Famer started out with a bang, finishing fifth in the league in WAR (6.5) and fifth in WAR for Pitchers (5.4). As a pitcher, he pitched 574 innings (as a 20-year-old rookie (!)…paging Dusty Baker) with a 2.54 ERA and a 98 ERA+. As a hitter, he had his best year ever at the plate, slashing .287/.301/.390 for an OPS+ of 128. He wasn’t a bad hitter for the rest of his career, certainly better than Will White, but he never reached the peak of his rookie season. He does have some outstanding pitching seasons ahead.

After finishing eighth in 1879, Troy improved to 41-42 under the leadership of Bob “Death to Flying Things” Ferguson. Even with the pitching of Welch and Tim Keefe, it was their hitting, led by third baseman Roger Connor, that helped them into the upper half of the National League standings.

Wikipedia has this to say about Welch’s early life: “Welch was born Michael Francis Walsh in Brooklyn, New York, to Irish immigrant parents John and Mary Walsh. He later adopted the last name Welch. The name change may have been spurred by a sportswriter’s mistaken recording of the name in a box score. The new last name may have distinguished him from the high number of men in Brooklyn at the time named Michael Walsh. Off the baseball field, Welch used his birth name throughout his life.”



P-Tim Keefe, Troy Trojans, 23 Years Old

6-6, 0.86 ERA, 39 K, .233, 0 HR, 3 RBI


Led in:


1880 NL Pitching Title

Earned Run Average-0.86

Walks & Hits per IP-0.800

Hits per 9 IP-5.829

Home Runs per 9 IP-0.000

Adjusted ERA+-293

Fielding % as P-1.000


1st Time All-Star-Timothy John “Smiling Tim” or “Sir Timothy” Keefe was born on New Year’s Day, 1857 in Cambridge, MA, which ticked off his parents to no end that they had to miss the Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve telecast the day before. The five-foot-10, 185 pound pitcher would also eventually go to the Hall of Fame like his teammate, Mickey Welch. Keefe pitched in only 12 games but he made the most of them, finishing eighth in WAR (4.6) and seventh in WAR for Pitchers (4.7). He pitched 105 innings with a National League leading 0.86 ERA and 293 ERA+. If we count the 1800s stats, these are still records. While his ERA would never be that low again, he has some better seasons ahead. It’s worth noting 1880 was the last season the mound stood at 45 feet, it would be moved to 50 feet in 1881. It’s also worth pointing out that both of the star pitchers for Troy had the nickname, “Smiling.” It must have been a happy clubhouse.

The other incredible stat is that in 29 chances on the mound, he never made an error. This was in an era where the average pitcher fielding percentage was .912 and gloves were a rarity.

Here’s a bit from Wikipedia on Smiling Tim’s early life: “Keefe was born on January 1, 1857 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father Patrick was an Irish immigrant. When Tim Keefe was a child, Patrick served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Patrick was a prisoner of war for several years. All four of Patrick’s brothers were killed in the war; Tim had been named after two of them. Tim’s brother became a major and fought in the Spanish–American War.”


P-Will White, Cincinnati Reds, 25 Years Old

1877 1878 1879

18-42, 2.14 ERA, 161 K, .169, 0 HR, 14 RBI


Led in:


Home Runs Allowed-9


Wild Pitches-35 (3rd Time)


4th Time All-Star-White pitched his third consecutive season with the Reds and made his fourth straight All-Star team. Surprisingly, his brother, Deacon, who has made seven of these teams so far, didn’t make it. My guess is he was injured as he only played in 35 games. As for brother Will, he finished 10th in WAR (4.3) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (5.2), his pathetic hitting hurting him once again. Hey, pathetic’s not bad, it used to be crappy. White pitched 517 1/3 innings with a 2.14 ERA and a 114 ERA+. He still has some good seasons left. He’s borderline for making the ONEHOF.

I decided to try this thing called “research” to see if I could find out why Deacon only played 35 games in 1880. This is what I found in a SABR archive by using this tool called “Google.” It really is incredible, you should all give it a try. The article said, “It was late that season that Jim White shocked the Cincinnati baseball public by announcing he was retiring from the game.  He told the Enquirer ‘he was positively retiring to his farm and that nothing could induce him to play ball again.’ The paper editorialized as follows:  ‘Mr. White has few peers as a ballplayer and he has always been a gentleman in his professional and private life. Such men are sorry losses from baseball when they retire.’”

Deacon would return to Cincinnati in 1880, so my guess is that he returned mid-season. Wow, “research” is hard, let’s hope I don’t have to do that again.



P-Fred Goldsmith, Chicago White Stockings, 24 Years Old

21-3, 1.75 ERA, 90 K, .261, 0 HR, 15 RBI


Led in:


Win-Loss %-.875

Fielding Independent Pitching-2.06


1st Time All-Star-Fredrick Ernest Goldsmith was born on May 15, 1856 in New Haven, CT, which was so much better than the Old Haven. Goldsmith started in 1875 playing one game for his birthplace in the National Association and going two-for-four as a second baseman. He didn’t play again until 1879 when he pitched 63 innings for Troy as a rookie. In this, his second season, he got more of a chance, finishing ninth in WAR for Pitchers with a 3.3 mark. He pitched 210 1/3 innings as the second pitcher on the team behind Larry Corcoran with a 1.75 ERA and a 137 ERA+, which was third in the league. His hitting was decent, but it would constantly get worse over the years. He also had his first of three straight championships.

There is a long Wikipedia statement on whether or not Goldsmith, and not Candy Cummings, invented the curveball. I’m going to print part of it, but there doesn’t seem to be much mention that when Goldsmith allegedly did this, he was 14 years old. Here it is: “The two strongest candidates for inventing the curveball are Fred Goldsmith and Candy Cummings, Goldsmith’s old rival when the two played in the International Association for Professional Base Ball Players in 1877-78—Goldsmith with the pennant-winning London Tecumsehs and Cummings with the Lynn, Massachusetts, Live Oaks. Cummings was also the first president of the International Association when he pitched for the Lynn Live Oaks.

“Fred Goldsmith is credited with giving the first publicly recorded demonstration of a curveball to sportswriter-baseball historian Henry Chadwick on August 16, 1870, at the Capitoline Grounds in Brooklyn, New York. {Brooklyn Eagle newspaper, August 17, 1870.}”



P-Pud Galvin, Buffalo Bisons, 23 Years Old


20-35, 2.71 ERA, 128 K, .212, 0 HR, 12 RBI


Led in:


Strikeouts (as batter)-57 (2nd Time)


2nd Time All-Star-Galvin pitched his second of seven straight seasons with the Bisons and he has some monster seasons ahead. This season was 1880 All-Star quality, but he’ll have better. He finished eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.8), pitching 458 2/3 innings with a 2.71 ERA and a 90 ERA+. One thing about the Hall of Famer Galvin is he pitched a lot of innings leading to a lot of wins and his eventual induction into Cooperstown, but his Adjusted ERA+ was rarely great. He has an outstanding season coming up in the future, but for the most part, he was a numbers accumulator.

Buffalo, after finishing third in 1879, got rid of manager John Clapp and replaced him with Sam Crane, who oversaw the Bisons fall to seventh place with a 24-58 record. Neither their pitching or hitting was too good, as shown by Galvin being the only Bison to make the All-Star team.

Galvin was part of the no-hitter crew in 1880, according to Wikipedia, which says, “On August 20, 1880, Galvin became the first major-league pitcher to throw a no-hitter on the road, leading his Buffalo Bisons to a 1-0 victory over the Worcester Ruby Legs.”

Galvin actually started 1880 in San Francisco, before coming back to Buffalo, all of this due to a contract dispute. Buffalo was glad to have him back, as noted in the poem from the Buffalo Express, as noted in SABR:

Could we let our pitcher stay

In the Golden City?

Could our boys without him play?

No, ’twould be a pity.

So we pressed our rightful claims

And we won back our Gentle James.”



C-John Clapp, Cincinnati Reds, 28 Years Old

1876 1877 1878 1879

.282, 1 HR, 20 RBI


5th Time All-Star-When Willie Nelson sang “On the Road Again,” was he talking about Clapp? He’s now in a stretch of his career where he is going to play for six teams in six seasons. Most of those teams bring him in as a catcher, which is a good move because he’s the one of the best catchers in the league and a manager, which isn’t as good of move, because his teams aren’t very successful. On the field, Clapp finished fifth in WAR Position Players (3.6) and fifth in Offensive WAR (3.1). He slashed .282/.326/.365 for an OPS+ of 136.

Manager Clapp, on the other hand, led the Reds to a last place finish with a 21-59 record, this coming after a 43-37 mark in 1879. Clapp has two more seasons of managing left but will never be over .500 again, meaning his 1879 season with Buffalo was his only winning season from the bench.

Wikipedia reports on the Reds folding after this season: “The Cincinnati team was banned from the National League because it was expected to eventually violate two recently adopted rules: the team’s ballpark, the Bank Street Grounds, marketed beer, and the Reds did not close their ballpark on Sundays. Though the team was banned months before these rules came into effect, the Reds did not contest the legality of their expulsion.”

From an article on Clapp, also in Wikipedia, it says, “After retiring from baseball, Clapp served as a night sergeant in his hometown of Ithaca, New York. He died at midnight on December 18, 1904, of apoplexy. Clapp was interred at Lake View Cemetery in Ithaca.”



C-Emil Gross, Providence Grays, 22 Years Old

.259, 1 HR, 34 RBI


Led in:


Games Played-87

Def. Games as C-87

Putouts as C-429

Assists as C-126

Errors Committed as C-86

Passed Balls-73


1st Time All-Star-Emil Michael Gross was born on March 4, 1858 in Chicago, IL and through extensive research (by which I mean, I’m guessing), was found not to be related to Michael Gross, who would play Steven Keaton on Family Ties. In these early years of baseball, we’ve marveled at the pitchers who pitch every game for their teams, but Gross actually caught every game for the Grays, this in an era where gloves are rare. Not only every game, but every pitch. Gross is a tough guy.

The Iron Man finished 10th in WAR Position Players (3.0) and 10th in Offensive WAR (2.7). Gross slashed .259/.292/.337 for an OPS+ of 116. This was actually his worse year hitting by OPS+ of all five of his seasons, but it’s also the only time he played an entire season. His other years, he played only about two-thirds of the teams’ games.

Gross started out in 1879 for the Grays, playing only 30 games, but was great with the bat, slashing .348/.368/.492 for an OPS+ of 180. He would finish his career for Chicago/Pittsburgh of the 1884 Union Association, where in 23 games he would slash .358/.396/.598 for an OPS+ of 228. The irony is he made his only All-Star team, I’m guessing, in the year he hit the worst but played the most.

Wikipedia says, “By 1889, Gross was described as ‘an extensive property owner in Chicago.’ His mother had recently left him a sum in excess of $100,000. In 1909, Gross was reported to be a businessman in Chicago. Gross died in 1921 at age 63 in Eagle River, Wisconsin. He was buried in Chicago at Graceland Cemetery.”



1B-Cap Anson, Chicago White Stockings, 28 Years Old, 1880 ONEHOF Inductee

1872 1873 1874 1876 1877 1878

.337, 1 HR, 74 RBI


Led in:


WAR Position Players-5.0

Runs Batted In-74


Fielding % as 1B-.978


7th Time All-Star-And Anson makes the ONEHOF and the moral heads of baseball’s gatekeepers explode. Oh, sure, he made the real Hall of Fame, but we didn’t realize racism was so bad then and aren’t we going to keep the losers out of the prestigious One-a-Year Hall of Fame.

As a Christian, I know much about black and white morality. There are certain things the Bible says are wrong and are right. Yet it’s important to note the Bible is clear all of us fail. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23. Over the years I’ve seen many Christians judgmentally point the finger at others, without including themselves in their judging.

My point is this, Cap Anson, despite his gaudy stats, would never make the Hall of Fame if today’s writers had anything to do with it. His racist attitude helped lead to blacks being out of baseball for many decades and that is indeed horrible.

But the Hall of Fame needs Cap Anson. And the Hall of Fame needs Barry Bonds. And the Hall of Fame needs Roger Clemens. It does! They are part of baseball. And yes, as much as it pains me to say it, the Hall of Fame needs Pete Rose.

Anson coached the White Stockings to their second championship and first since 1876. They have quite a few more coming.

On the field, Anson finished sixth in WAR (5.0), first in WAR Position Players (5.0), fourth in Offensive WAR (3.6), and second in Defensive WAR (1.6). It was a great season.

I’m going go long on this write-up, but I promised in 1878’s Anson blurb I would give Bill James’ explanation for how Cap Anson saved the game of baseball during this era and then, to my surprise, Anson didn’t make the 1879 All-Star team. So read the 1878 blurb and then come back and read this from capanson.com, which was written by James: “Cap Anson took over as player/manager of the Chicago franchise in 1879, and immediately did two things which ‘saved’ or created major league baseball. First, he trolled the other leagues which were operating at the same time, struggling for survival as the National was, and began stealing their best players. This wasn’t totally unprecedented–players had switched teams frequently since before baseball became professional–but teams before Anson tended to focus on stealing the best players from their league competitors. Anson organized the process of identifying and acquiring the best players from other leagues. When Anson did this successfully, that forced the other National League teams to do the same, and it was this process – the organized theft of the best players from other leagues – which caused the National League to emerge as the ‘major’ league, the best professional league.

“And second, Anson made baseball immensely popular in Chicago, which was the league’s largest and most important city. In the National League’s first years, the schedule was getting shorter, the league was getting smaller, and the cities in the league were growing more remote. The game was dying. Cap Anson is the man who really changed that – not all by himself, but more than anyone else.”



1B-Joe Start, Providence Grays, 37 Years Old

1871 1874 1877 1878 1879

.278, 0 HR, 27 RBI


Led in:


Putouts-954 (3rd Time)

Putouts as 1B-954 (3rd Time)

Range Factor/9 Inn as 1B-11.66 (2nd Time)

Range Factor/Game as 1B-11.76 (3rd Time)

Oldest Player in League-37 (3rd Time)


6th Time All-Star-The National League’s old man continues to make All-Star teams. Start slashed .278/.304/.354 for an OPS+ of 126. Providence’s Messer Street Grounds was a tough hitter’s park, which makes it all the more incredible that six of the eight positions, not counting pitcher, will have a Providence Gray All-Star.

There is a chance, though slight, that Start is going to make the ONEHOF. Certainly historically he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but there wasn’t even a major league until he was 28. He had a batting average of .299 for his career and an OPS+ of 121, so his stats certainly could qualify him for Cooperstown. I’m not as sold on Start, but I do admire this late in life run he’s having for the Grays.

It’s interesting to me that Start was born in New York and played for New York for six consecutive seasons at the beginning of his career. He then played for Providence seven of his last eight seasons and then died in Providence. Start did not like to move, did he!

I didn’t touch on this much in 1879, but baseball had a major change that year with the inception of the reserve clause. From Wikipedia, “The Reserve Clause’s inception was in 1879, when it was proposed as an unofficial rule known as ‘the Five Man Rule.’ It would allow teams to reserve players for each season, unless a player opted out of his contract and did not play in the league for a year. While the rule was not secret, teams started to sign other teams’ ‘reserved players,’ thus encroaching the rule. These controversies caused the National League to instate the rule officially on December 6, 1879.”



2B-Fred Dunlap, Cleveland Blues, 21 Years Old

.276, 4 HR, 30 RBI


Led in:



Assists as 2B-290

Double Plays Turned as 2B-44


1st Time All-Star-Frederick C. “Sure Shot” Dunlap was born on May 21, 1859 in Philadelphia, PA and would eventually die exactly 62 years before I was born. Way to ruin my birthday, Dunlap! He had a great rookie season, finishing fourth in WAR Position Players (3.8), sixth in Offensive WAR (3.1), and ninth in Defensive WAR (1.0). He slashed .276/.289/.429 for an OPS+ of 142.

So why the nickname Sure Shot? As usual, Wikipedia has the answer: “Dunlap was known during his baseball career by the nicknames ‘Sure Shot’ and ‘King of Second Basemen’. Most accounts indicate that the ‘Sure Shot’ nickname arose from Dunlap’s powerful and accurate throws to first base. King Kelly reportedly gave Dunlap the ‘Sure Shot’ nickname after watching him throw. One account described Dunlap’s throwing prowess as follows: ‘[E]ndless practice made him adept as a monkey at grabbing a sizzling ground ball in either hand and firing it off from the very spot he seized it. His whistling throws, which seemed to clear the grass by no more than half a foot, never seemed to lose more than an inch or two.’

Alfred Henry Spink, who saw Dunlap play, wrote that Dunlap could chase down a ball in the outfield and throw it to home plate ‘with such fearful speed and accuracy that the ball seemed to sing as it flew.’ Dunlap was known for his range in getting to balls that others of his era could not, and he was reportedly able to dive for a ball and throw while lying on the ground with enough velocity to sting the first baseman’s hand. Dunlap was ambidextrous and was able to catch and throw a baseball with the same skill and accuracy with either hand. Moreover, Dunlap reportedly never wore a glove.”



2B-Jack Farrell, Providence Grays, 22 Years Old

.271, 3 HR, 36 RBI


1st Time All-Star-John A. “Moose” Farrell was born on Independence Day+1, 1857 in Newark, NJ. He started his career in 1879 with Syracuse before coming to the Grays later in the year. Now on the Grays, he was ninth in the National League in WAR Position Players with a 3.1 mark. He slashed .271/.292/.363 with an OPS+ of 124, his second highest OPS+ in his career. He’s going to end up with a decent career if not a great one.

I’m not sure exactly how Farrell got the nickname Moose, which you would usually associate with a big man. Farrell was five-foot-nine, 165 pounds. He’s among the smallest of all of those Baseball Reference lists that have the nickname of Moose.

It seems Providence had good hitting and great pitching, so I’m wondering if they just had problems in the field. That might be the case. Their team range factor was 3.44, which was easily last in the league. I don’t pretend to think that means anything. For one thing, they had some great pitching which might have led to a lot of strikeouts, meaning not a lot of balls got hit to the field. Still, it seems abnormally low.

If Chicago didn’t have such a dominant team, Providence could have many more championships during this time. They had a lot of great players and some good pitching, but the White Stockings, with players snagged by Cap Anson, was just a juggernaut during this time. Providence has six All-Stars, but Chicago would end up with seven.



3B-George Bradley, Providence Grays, 27 Years Old

1875 1876 1877

227, 0 HR, 23 RBI, 13-8, 1.38 ERA, 54 K


Led in:


Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.276

Strikeouts/Base on Balls-9

Assists as 3B-165

Range Factor/9 Inn as 3B-4.46

Range Factor/Game as 3B-4.23


4th Time All-Star-After three years away from the All-Star team, Bradley is back as a third baseman, but he’s here because of his pitching. He didn’t play in 1878, played in Troy in 1879, and then came to the Grays for this one season. He finished seventh in WAR (4.9), 10th in WAR for Pitchers (3.2), and fourth in Defensive War (1.3). If he could have only hit – his Offensive WAR was an okay, but not outstanding 0.6 – he could have had a magical year.

On the mound, Bradley was not the same pitcher who could pitch every game for 500 or more innings, but in his 196 innings, he had a 1.38 ERA and a 159 ERA+. At bat, he slashed .227/.239/.288 for an OPS+ of 80. As mentioned before, Providence played in a tough hitters’ park.

Most likely, Bradley has another All-Star team left in him. He hasn’t completely given up pitching. His bat was never his strong suit, so teams that used him as a position player were putting a liability in the lineup. Also, even though this season was outstanding in terms of fielding, he’d never get close to that mark again and would usually be worse than a replacement player in the field.

Here, at the beginning of the history of baseball, there were plenty of position switches. For the most part, there weren’t a lot of backups. The nine you brought were the nine who played. If they didn’t pitch, they were on the field somewhere. Still, it’s good to see teams get whatever use they can out of Bradley, even though he wasn’t the superstar he was before.



3B-Roger Connor, Troy Trojans, 22 Years Old

.332, 3 HR, 47 RBI


Led in:


Offensive WAR-3.9

Def. Games as 3B-83

Errors Committed as 3B-60

Double Plays Turned as 3B-10


1st Time All-Star-Roger Connor was born on July 1, 1857 in Waterbury, CT. If you’re wondering what his middle name is, he doesn’t have one, at least according to Baseball Reference. He’s eventually going to end up in the Hall of Fame and be the greatest home run hitter before a man named Babe Ruth came around. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Connor, at six-foot-three, 220 pounds, had a sensational rookie season, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (3.2) and first in Offensive WAR (3.9). He would eventually become better defensively once he moved to first base. He slashed .332/.357/.459 for an OPS+ of 169 and he has much better seasons ahead.

According to Wikipedia, Connor “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.”



3B-Ned Williamson, Chicago White Stockings, 22 Years Old


.251, 0 HR, 31 RBI


Led in:


Fielding % as 3B-.893 (2nd Time)


2nd Time All-Star-Williamson is the third third baseman to make the All-Star team and all of them were genuine stars. Playing his second consecutive season for Chicago, Williamson finished third in Defensive War (1.3) and had a decent, if not great, season with the bat. He slashed .251/.285/328 for an OPS+ of 102. He also had his first ever championship. It would not be his last.

It seems to me some people with mediocre stats are making the All-Star team this season and part of it is it wasn’t a great hitting season in the National League. Altogether, the league slashed .245/.267/.320. Compare that to 1879 when the NL slashed .255/.271/.329 or even the next season, 1881, in which the league as a whole slashed .260/.290/.338. A lot of things are happening. The “fair-foul” rule which stated if a ball landed fair at any time was considered fair was gone. Fielding was getting better as there were more gloves being worn. The average teams now scored 4.69 runs a game, over half a run a game under the 5.31 in 1879. Also, the mound will be moved back five feet in 1881.

Hitting will improve again and as mentioned in Cap Anson’s blurb, the rise of the White Stockings into a league juggernaut will save the game. People sometimes don’t like dynasties, they get tired of the same teams winning every year. We don’t want to see the Yankees continue to dominate year after year, we got tired of the Chicago Bulls winning all of those championships, or the Lakers, for that matter. But they usually draw a lot of fans, either jumping on the bandwagon or watching them just to see if they lose.



SS-Arthur Irwin, Worcester Ruby Legs, 22 Years Old

.259, 1 HR, 35 RBI


Led in:


Defensive WAR (2.2)


Assists as SS-339

Errors Committed as SS-51

Double Plays Turned as SS-27

Range Factor/9 Inn as SS-5.28

Range Factor/Game as SS-5.29


1st Time All-Star-Arthur Albert “Doc” or “Sandy” Irwin was born on Valentine’s Day, 1858 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Wait, do they celebrate Valentine’s Day in Canada? It was Doc’s best season ever, though it’s possible his good defense may lead him to another All-Star team. Shortstop doesn’t seem to be the strongest position in the league at this time. He finished fifth in WAR Position Players (3.6) and first in Defensive WAR (2.2). Irwin slashed .259/.281/.344 for an OPS+ of 104. That OPS+ would be the highest in his 13 year career. He was the typical All Glove, No Bat shortstop.

Wikipedia talks about his life before the Major Leagues: “Arthur Irwin was born in 1858 in Toronto, Ontario to an Irish blacksmith and a Canadian mother. As a child, he moved with his family to Boston and attended school there. He played local amateur baseball from 1873 until he was recruited by the Worcester Ruby Legs of the National Association in 1879. In late 1879, manager Frank Bancroft took Irwin and most of the other Worcester players on a baseball tour that included visits to New Orleans and Cuba. The team, which traveled under the name of the Hop Bitters, returned to the United States after only a few days due to financial and contractual difficulties. The team may have played as few as two games in Cuba.”

He also was responsible for the proliferation of gloves in baseball. Wikipedia says, “While playing with Providence in 1883, Irwin broke the third and fourth fingers of his left hand. Not wanting to miss any games, he obtained an oversized buckskin driving glove, padded it and sewed the third and fourth fingers together to allow space for bandages. He used the glove even after his fingers healed. John Montgomery Ward of New York soon took the field with a similar glove. By the following season, almost every professional player was using the ‘Irwin glove.’ Prior to 1884, use of gloves was limited to first basemen and catchers.”



SS-Tom Burns, Chicago White Stockings, 23 Years Old

.309, 0 HR, 43 RBI, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 K


1st Time All-Star-Thomas Everett Burns was born on March 30, 1857 in Honesdale, PA. He was one of those “right place, right time” guys, being the shortstop for the White Stockings during their championship run. He had a good rookie season, probably his best year ever, finishing eighth in Offensive WAR (3.0) and slashing .309/.333/.378 for an OPS+ of 135, his best ever. He didn’t add much defensively, though that would be his strength in upcoming years.

Burns was one of three White Stockings infielders to make the All-Star team. He took over for John Peters, who has made three All-Star teams, but was one of those “wrong place, wrong time” guys, leaving the White Stockings for Providence at a time Chicago was about to start dominating the league.

From the very beginning of baseball history, teams have seen the importance of having someone with a good glove at the shortstop position. Many times they are willing to sacrifice offense just to put a good fielder there. It seems to me that has been a solid strategy, as there have been many good teams who have great fielding shortstops, even if they couldn’t hit. Of course, if you have someone that can do both, that’s even better.

It must have looked to the White Stockings as if they were going to have a great hitting, decent fielding shortstop for many years to come after seeing Burns’ rookie season. They would have the opposite most of the time, a decent hitting, great fielding shortstop. He’d never again hit at the level of his 1880 season, but he has some good fielding years left.



LF-Abner Dalrymple, Chicago White Stockings, 22 Years Old


.330, 0 HR, 36 RBI


Led in:


At Bats-382

Runs Scored-91


Total Bases-175

Def. Games as OF-86


2nd Time All-Star-After taking 1879 off from the All-Star team, Dalrymple is back, having had his best season ever. He finished seventh in WAR Position Players (3.4) and sixth in Offensive WAR (3.1). Dalrymple slashed .330/.335/.458 for an OPS+ of 160. He also had his first of what would eventually be five championships. He would have better numbers in the future, but none in such a pitchers’ year like 1880.

Here’s a recap of the rest of Dalrymple’s career, according to Wikipedia: “In 1881, he became the first batter known to be given an intentional walk with the bases loaded. He hit four doubles in a game in 1883, which still ties him for the major league record. In 1884, aided by the short right field fence at his home park, Dalrymple hit a career-high 22 home runs and moved into sixth place on the all-time home run list. On the strength of 11 home runs for the 1885 champions, he moved up one place. For the remainder of his career, he hit only six home runs. His hitting declined in 1886, and his major league career ended five years later.”

That fluke year of 1884 is going to come up a lot as it warped a lot of home run records. It’s like the Chicago team of 1884 all took steroids at the same time.

I put all that information because as good as Dalrymple’s stats are in the future, it doesn’t look like there’s an All-Star team in his future. I could be wrong. Anyway, to conclude his life, Dalrymple died in Warren, Illinois at 81 years old.



CF-George Gore, Chicago White Stockings, 26 Years Old

.360, 2 HR, 47 RBI


Led in:


1880 NL Batting Title

Batting Average-.360

On-Base %-.399

Slugging %-.463

On-Base Plus Slugging-.862

Adjusted OPS+-185

Runs Created-60

Adj. Batting Runs-30

Adj. Batting Wins-3.5

Times on Base-137

Offensive Win %-.838


1st Time All-Star-George F. “Piano Legs” Gore was born on May 3, 1854 in Saccarappa, ME. He started with Chicago in 1879 with a pretty average season as the team’s centerfielder, but came back strong in his sophomore season with his best year ever. Gore has an argument as the league’s best hitter, with only Roger Connor challenging him in that category. He finished ninth in WAR (4.6), second in WAR Position Players (4.6), and second in Offensive WAR (3.7). Gore slashed .360/.399/.463 for an OPS+ of 185. He’d never have a season like this again, but he would always be good with the bat. He also had his first championship.

Most teams want a centerfielder who also has a good glove, but that wasn’t Piano Legs. He never got above the 0.5 dWAR of 1880 and would spend a good majority of his time being below replacement players in the field. Gore had a good enough bat to get away with lackluster fielding.

Wikipedia has information about his early baseball career: “Gore was born into a poor, country family. As a young man, he grew up playing baseball in and around his hometown of Hartland. While working for, and playing for the S.D. Warren Paper Mill in Westbrook, Maine, his skills caught the attention of pro scouts and in 1877 he signed a contract with a team in Fall River, Massachusetts of the New England League. He showed up to his first professional baseball tryout without shoes.” He caught the eye of Cap Anson in an exhibition game and the rest is history.



CF-Paul Hines, Providence Grays, 25 Years Old

1873 1875 1876 1878 1879

.307, 3 HR, 35 RBI            


Led in:


Plate Appearances-387 (2nd Time)

Double Plays Turned as OF-7

Fielding % as OF-.927 (2nd Time)


6th Time All-Star-It’s amazing to me Hines didn’t make the Hall of Fame, because if you’re just basing it on how well he did amongst his peers, he’s one of the greats. This season, he finished third in WAR Position Players (4.2) and ninth in Offensive WAR (2.9). Hines also had his best defensive season ever, according to dWAR, though he’d go into a tailspin in that category starting next season. He slashed .307/.331/.396 for an OPS+ of 149. It was a downgrade from his wonderful 1879 year, but as a whole, the league’s hitting wasn’t as good. Hines is never going to match the 177 OPS+ he had in 1878 and 1879, but he’s still going to be one of the league’s great hitters.

To show you Hines’ greatness, look at this from Wikipedia: “During the first five NL seasons, from 1876 through 1880, Hines had more base hits than any other player, and he retired third to Cap Anson and Jim O’Rourke with 1,884 career hits in the majors.” Hines is in his ninth season and just now turned 25!

Nobody thinks of the 1870s and ‘80s Providence Grays anymore and that’s too bad, because during their existence, they were always good. They would end up with two National League pennants in their eight years of existence and never finish below fourth place. It was only in their last season, 1885, that they finished below .500 and that was a 53-57 season. Hines would be on the team every one of their seasons.



RF-Jim O’Rourke, Boston Red Stockings, 29 Years Old

1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1879

.275, 6 HR, 45 RBI


Led in:


Home Runs-6 (3rd Time)


7th Time All-Star-As mentioned in O’Rourke’s 1879 write-up, he moved to Boston to play with his brother, John, who had a great previous year and looked like he was on his way to big things. However, John ran into a fence in late May and, while he continued playing, was never the same. John would be out of Major League baseball for two years, play with the American Association New York Metropolitans in 1883 and then be out of pro baseball forever.

Jim, on the other hand, continued his stellar play. He finished third in Offensive WAR with a 3.7 mark, but, as always, was dreadful defensively. At the bat, he slashed .275/.315/.441 with an OPS+ of 157. Again, it seemed like quite a drop from his 1879 season, but 1880 was definitely not a hitters’ year.

Believe it or not from a team with the Red Stockings’ history, but Jim O’Rourke is the team’s only All-Star. Still managed by Harry Wright, the team went from a second place finish in 1879 to a sixth place finish in 1880, with a record of 40-44. It was the first time Boston ever finished below .500 in its 10 years of existence, counting the Red Stockings’ five National Association seasons.

O’Rourke will be moving to Buffalo in 1881. Seeing all of these teams that lasted just a few seasons, teams like Buffalo and Providence, it’s incredible the run the Red Stockings had. As a Reds’ fan, I hear year-after-year they were the first professional baseball team and that’s true, but then they folded. Only the Atlanta Braves, from Boston in the National Association to Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta in the National League have been around in some form since 1871.



RF-Orator Shafer, Cleveland Blues, 28 Years Old

1877 1878

.266, 0 HR, 21 RBI


Led in:


Assists as OF-35 (3rd Time)


3rd Time All-Star-If I was going to give Shafer a nickname, it would be Bob Seger, but he is certainly a Travelin’ Man. He started in 1874 with Hartford and New York, then moved to Philadelphia in 1875. After taking 1876 off, he played 1877 in Louisville, 1878 in Indianapolis, 1879 in Chicago, and 1880 in Cleveland. In 1881, he’s going to play in…just kidding, he’s actually going to remain in Cleveland for a few seasons.

Many times, when we think of good fielding outfielders, especially rightfielders, we think of those with rocket arms and Shafer certainly had that. He would end up leading the National League in assists four times and, even now, is 10th all-time in outfield assists. In 1879, he set the all-time record for outfield assists with 50. Wikipedia says, “Shafer was an outstanding fielder. Fellow major league right fielder Paul Radford, when writing about how to play the position, said: ‘I always considered “Orator” Shaffer a splendid right fielder, because of his skill in throwing out men at the initial bag. I know he threw me out thus in two successive games at Buffalo.’ According to The Sporting Life, Shafer ‘was for years considered the best man in his position.’ In 2001, statistician Bill James ranked Shafer as the 99th greatest right fielder of all-time.”

All of that may be true, but it isn’t reflected in dWAR. He never had above a 0.9 dWAR and that was in 1877. In 1879, when he set the assist record, his dWAR was 0.2. Over 13 seasons, his total dWAR was 0.4. It’s possible, and I’ve heard this with Yoenis Cespedes also, that he wasn’t that good at getting to balls, so the high assists numbers came because baserunners took advantage of that to try and get the extra base.

21 thoughts on “1880 National League All-Star Team

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