P-Jim McCormick, COR
P-Bill Sweeney, BLU
P-Dupee Shaw, BOS
P-Billy Taylor, SLM
P-Hugh Daily, CPI/WHS
P-Charlie Sweeney, SLM
P-Dick Burns, COR
P-Bill Wise, WHS
P-Ed Cushman, MIL
P-The Only Nolan, WIL
C-Fatty Briody, COR
C-Charlie Ganzel, STP
1B-Jumbo Schoeneck, CPI/BLU
1B-Phil Baker, WHS
1B-Thomas Gorman, KCC
2B-Fred Dunlap, SLM
3B-Jack Gleason, SLM
SS-Jack Glasscock, COR
SS-Germany Smith, ALT
LF-Henry Moore, WHS
LF-Buster Hoover, PHK
LF-Buttercup Dickerson, SLM
LF-Emmett Seery, BLU/KCC
CF-Dave Rowe, SLM
RF-Orator Shafer, SLM
(UA Stats Only) 21-3, 1.54 ERA, 161 K, .245, 0 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
Led in (UA Only):
1884 UA Pitching Title (2nd Time)
WAR for Pitchers-7.8 (3rd Time)
Earned Run Average-1.54 (2nd Time)
Walks & Hits per IP-0.786
Hits per 9 IP-6.471 (2nd Time)
Adjusted ERA+-213 (2nd Time)
Adj. Pitching Wins-3.9 (3rd Time)
8th Time All-Star-McCormick proved to be the reason Doc Brown would yell, “Great Scot!” as the Scotsman dominated in two leagues this season, which is enough of a reason to hand him his trophy to the ONEHOF (The One-Inductee-A-Year-Hall-of-Fame). In the Union Association, he finished second in WAR (7.8) and first in WAR for Pitchers (7.8). Coming from a “real” Major League to a “Major League” certainly helped his stats.
What is this Union Association, you ask? Baseball Reference says, “The Union Association was launched by Henry Lucas in 1884. Lucas rigged the schedule to make things easier for his St. Louis Maroons, who dominated the league. Only five of the league’s original eight teams survived the season, while four (or five, depending on how you figure things) others appeared at one point or another. Only two teams survived the season in sound financial shape – Lucas’s Maroons joined the National League, while Justus Thorner‘s Cincinnati Outlaw Reds failed in an attempt to replace Detroit in the NL. When the league failed to set up for a second season, two teams, the Milwaukee Cream Citys and Kansas City Cowboys formed a new Western League out of its ashes, but it failed to complete the 1885 season.
“The UA has often been included in lists of major leagues, but Bill James devoted several pages in his Historical Baseball Abstract to argue otherwise.” Sorry, Bill, I don’t have time to read “several pages,” so I’m counting it.
As for the Outlaw Reds, they finished third in the league by winning percentage, but number two was the Milwaukee Brewers, who only played 12 games. Man, this was a fun league! The Outlaw Reds, coached by Dan O’Leary (20-15) and Sam Crane (49-21), finished 21 games out of first.
40-21, 2.59 ERA, 374 K, .240, 0 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
Home Runs Allowed-13
Def. Games as P-62
Assists as P-133
Errors Committed as P-34
1st Time All-Star-William J. “Bill” Sweeney was born in 1858 in Philadelphia, PA and had his best season ever….then left Major League baseball for good. In this season, the lanky five-foot-11, 160 pound pitched finished third in WAR (7.7) and second in WAR for Pitchers (7.7). His season in Baltimore was monumental.
Oh, and speaking of monumental (you gotta love that segue!), the Monumentals finished fourth in the league (technically, third) with a 58-47 record. Coached by Bill Henderson, they were only 32 games out of first. Just a break here or there and they’re right back in this thing!
Here’s some info on Sweeney from Baseball Reference: “Bill Sweeney was a star in the 1884 Union Association, winning 40 games as a pitcher. He had previously pitched for the 1882 Philadelphia Athletics in the first season of the American Association.
“In 2009 at a SABR regional meeting there was a presentation on Sweeney’s 18-strikeout game in 1884.
“Sweeney’s 374 strikeouts in 1884 put him in the top ten of all time for single-season strikeouts, although several of the pitchers above him on the list also achieved their totals in 1884.”
The year 1884 was unusual in that six of the highest pitchers’ strikeout totals of all-time occurred that year. They are Hugh Daily, UA, 483; Dupee Shaw, NL/UA, 451; Old Hoss Radbourn, NL, 441; Charlie Buffinton, NL, 417; Guy Hecker, AA, 385; and Sweeney, UA, 374. Also unusual is that Charlie Sweeney of the NL Providence Grays struck out 19 batters in one game, while Bill Sweeney of the UA had 18 in one game.
(UA Stats Only) 21-15, 1.77 ERA, 309 K, .242, 0 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
Led in (UA Only):
Strikeouts per 9 IP-8.810
Fielding Independent Pitching-1.71
Adj. Pitching Runs-42
Adj. Pitching Wins-3.9
1st Time All-Star-Frederick Lander “Dupee” Shaw was born on May 31, 1859 in Charlestown, MA. The little man, five-foot-eight and 165 pounds, started his career with the National League Detroit Wolverines in 1883 and began 1884 with them also, before being coaxed to the Union Association by the opportunity to face Little Leaguers at the plate. It helped, too! He had his best season ever (if we only count the UA and we do), finishing fourth in WAR (6.9) and third in WAR for Pitchers (6.6). Shaw pitched 315 2/3 innings for the Reds with a 1.77 ERA and a 171 ERA+. He has a couple of good seasons left in the National League.
Boston, coached by Tim Murnane, finished fifth (technically fourth) with a 58-51 record, 34 games out of first place. But only it was led by a pitcher named Dupee, so there’s that.
As mentioned in Bill Sweeney’s write-up, Shaw had the second highest total of pitcher strikeouts of all time, combining in the NL and UA to throw 451 Ks. Or as Wikipedia puts it, “Shaw had an unusual windmill delivery and claimed to have been the first pitcher to use a wind-up before throwing the ball. Some attributed his success in striking out batters to his confusing delivery. He once struck out the great slugger, Orator Shafer, five times in a single game, and in 1884, he struck out 451 batters, a total that remains the fourth highest total in major league history. He also holds the major league record for the most strikeouts, 18, in a game as the losing pitcher.”
(UA Stats Only) 25-4, 1.68 ERA, 154 K, .366, 3 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
Led in (UA Only):
3rd Time All-Star-Unlike many players we’ve encountered who started in a better league, like the National League or the American Association, and then went onto the lesser Union Association, Taylor did the reverse. He started with the Maroons, the dominant UA team, but would depart before the season ended. For St. Louis, Bollicky Bill finished fifth in WAR (6.2), eighth in WAR for Pitchers (3.5), fifth in WAR Position Players (2.4), and fifth in Offensive WAR (2.7). Taylor could always hit. He pitched 263 innings for St. Louis with a 1.68 ERA and a 180 ERA+. At the plate, he slashed .366/.389/.548 for an OPS+ of 212(!). Maybe the UA isn’t a major league.
As for his nickname Bollicky, I can’t find how he got it. According to the slang dictionary, bollicky means completely naked. Did he pitch naked? My guess, no.
Nicknames have toned down nowadays. They aren’t as mean-spirited as they used to be. I’d say they’re pretty lame to tell you the truth. Nicknames formed by taking the first letter of the player’s first name and first three letters of the last name aren’t that creative. I’m looking at you, A-Rod! They’re no Bollicky, that’s for sure. According to Baseball Reference, Mike Trout’s nickname is the Millville Meteor. I live in the Southern California area and watch almost every game Trout plays and I’ll guarantee you I’ve never heard this nickname. But he should really have one. Hammerin’ Hank had one. The Say Hey Kid had one. Why doesn’t the greatest player of our time?
28-28, 2.43 ERA, 483 K, .214, 0 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
2nd Time All-Star-I remember when Nolan Ryan threw 383 strikeouts and being so impressed. That’s because I didn’t know about One Arm Daily and his record-setting 1884 season. We’ve already talked about a lot of pitchers who threw a record number of strikeouts, but Daily tops them all and no one would (or will) ever beat him. In the season, Daily finished seventh in WAR (4.7) and fourth in WAR for Pitchers (4.5). Those 483 strikeouts came over 500 2/3 innings. Daily’s ERA was 2.43 and his ERA+ was 126. Oh, and all of this when he was 36 years old.
Daily did most of this pitching for Chicago/Pittsburgh team, which finished 41-50, 42 games out of first. Ed Hengel (34-39), Joe Battin (1-5), and Joe Ellick (6-6) managed the team. Here’s the story of the team’s season from Geni: “The Chicago Browns/Pittsburgh Stogies (also known as Chicago/Pittsburgh) were a short-lived professional baseball team in the Union Association of 1884. They were to battle the Chicago White Stockings, of the National League, for the Chicago baseball market, however the Browns lost that battle to the White Stockings. After a Baltimore mattress maker gave the club a degree of financial support, the Browns then tried to entice the White Stockings’ Larry Corcoran, one of the 1880s top pitchers, to join the team. However the club did not succeed in doing so. The Chicago Browns disbanded after a game on August 22, 1884. The club then moved to Pittsburgh and became the Stogies, which disbanded after a game played on September 18, 1884. Many of the club’s players then joined the Baltimore Monumentals. Altogether, they won 41 games, lost 50 (including one forfeit), and tied 2, finishing sixth in the twelve-team league.”
(UA Stats Only) 24-7, 1.83 ERA, 192 K, .316, 1 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
Led in (UA Only):
Bases on Balls per 9 IP-0.432
Strikeouts/Base on Balls-14.769
Fielding % as P-.943
2nd Time All-Star-Sweeney made two All-Star teams in one year and he pitched for two teams that both won their league crown. I’m sure Sweeney would take the credit. We talked about Sweeney’s National League season in that write-up, so we’ll focus here on the Union Association. He finished sixth in WAR (4.2), seventh in WAR for Pitchers (2.5), and 10th in Offensive WAR (1.5). He was an all-around good player, in the UA, at least. On the mound, he pitched 271 innings with a 1.83 ERA and a 165 ERA+ and at bat, he slashed .316/.354/.439 for an OPS+ of 165.
Wikipedia has a long story on Sweeney’s grudge with teammate Old Hoss Radbourn, which needs to be read, but since this is his last All-Star team, I wanted to tell you about his life after 1884, also from Wikipedia. “On 12 June 1886, Sweeney gave up seven home runs in one game, which still stands as the MLB record.
“As with his old teammate Radbourn, Sweeney’s life was meteoric. In 1894, he killed a man in a saloon and was convicted of manslaughter. In 1898, he was pardoned by the Governor of California, James Budd. Shortly after being released from prison, he died from tuberculosis in his hometown San Francisco, California, nine days short of his 39th birthday. He is interred at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California.”
So incredibly, Sweeney had the record for strikeouts in a game for many years, until Roger Clemens came along, and also still holds the record for dingers allowed in a game.
23-15, 2.46 ERA, 167 K, .306, 4 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
Putouts as P-34
1st Time All-Star-Richard Simon Burns was born the day after Christmas, 1863 in Holyoke, MA. The dimuntive Burns (five-foot-seven, 140 pounds) did well in the haphazard Union Association, finishing ninth in WAR (4.0) and sixth in WAR for Pitchers (2.7), having his best season ever. He pitched 329 2/3 innings with a 2.46 ERA and a 134 ERA+.
Burns had started his career in 1883 with the National League Detroit Wolverines (Wolverines!), going 2-12 with a 4.51 ERA. Fortunately for him, the UA came along in 1884 to give him one shot of glory, before he played just 14 games for the NL St. Louis Maroons in 1885 and was out of Major League baseball.
For a man who pitched just one good season and only played in three total, Wikipedia sure has a long article on him. Here are some excepts: “Baseball historian Bill James in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract has cited Burns as one of the players supporting his view that the UA was not a true major league. James noted that Burns did not make the grade with Detroit in 1883, became ‘one of the best players’ in the UA, earning him ‘another look’ in the National League, lasting only 14 games. In support of his contention that Burns was not able to compete at a major league level, James asserts that Burns was ‘released by Detroit in mid-summer, 1883.’ The latter statement by James is erroneous. An account published in the Detroit Free Press on October 1, 1883, reports that Burns was Detroit’s right fielder in the final game of the season. Other game accounts show him playing in games for Detroit in August 1883 (right field on August 7 and 8, 1883; right and center field on August 9, 1883) and September 1883 (right field on September 5, 1883).”
23-18, 3.04 ERA, 268 K, .233, 2 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
Double Plays Turned as OF-5
2nd Time All-Star-After squeaking onto the American Association All-Star team in 1882, Wise had his only decent season, in the Union Association, finishing eighth in WAR for Pitchers (2.3). He pitched 364 1/3 innings with a 3.04 ERA and a 99 ERA+. He might be the only pitcher to make two All-Star teams who never even had a 100 ERA+.
As for the Nationals, Mike Scanlon managed the team to a 47-65 seventh place finish, 46-and-a-half games out of first place. Despite their terrible record, they will end up with three full-time All-Stars on the team, along with a short stint from Hugh Daily.
I mentioned this in Wise’s 1882 blurb, but he had a strange career, playing with three teams over five years, only in even-numbered years. All three teams he played on were in three different leagues and all three were in the Maryland area.
So Wise would be born in the nation’s capital, play all three of his seasons in the Beltway, and then die on May 5, 1940 in Washington, DC. Some people don’t like to move. In my life, I’ve lived in California, Iowa, and Guam (for one year). My dad was in the Navy so there was a lot of moving around early in my life, but there were also long stretches of time in the same location. However, I was born in California and lived most of my life (45 out of my 51 years) here. The place of my demise is TBD.
4-0, 1.00 ERA, 47 K, .091, 0 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
1st Time All-Star-Edgar Leander “Ed” Cushman was born on March 27, 1852 in Eagleville, OH. I’m the first to admit he wouldn’t have made the Union Association All-Star team without the fluke of every team needing a representative, but that doesn’t mean the four games he pitched weren’t awesome. We’ll get to that in a minute. Cushman’s career began with the National League Buffalo Bisons in 1883, before pitching for the Brewers this season. In those four games, he completed them all, allowing just four runs in 36 innings, all earned, and striking out 47 batters . He has another All-Star team left in him.
The Brewers technically finished in second place in the UA with an 8-4 record. Tom Loftus held the reins for the team, which was a replacement team that started playing on September 27.
More on Cushman from Wikipedia: “[In 1884], He completed all four starts and pitched two shutouts, one of which was a no-hitter thrown on September 28, 1884, vs. the Washington Nationals, a 5-0 victory. It was the second and last no-hitter thrown in the Union Association, and was the second game the Brewers had played since joining the league as a late season replacement. He followed up his no-hitter with eight more hitless innings on October 4, against the Boston Reds, when he finally surrendered a hit, a ninth inning bloop single, but holds on for the 2-0 shutout victory.” He almost did a Vander Meer. Those four games would get the 32-year-old more work in the future.
1-4, 2.93 ERA, 52 K, .273, 0 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
1st Time All-Star-Edward Sylvester “The Only” Nolan was born on November 7, 1857 in Canada. Sure, there might be those out there (I like to pretend I have readers) who are saying, “Because of your terrible rule about every team having an All-Star, The Only Nolan is keeping out someone more deserving.” I would say, “Yeah, but now I get to right about someone named The Only Nolan!” I have actually written about this man before, in Jim McCormick’s 1878 write-up. You can look that up.
The Only Nolan started in 1878 with the National League Indianapolis Blues, played again with the NL Cleveland Blues in 1881, lost seven straight games for the American Association Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1883, before trying his luck with Wilmington this season. He pitched 40 innings with them and had a 2.93 ERA and a 116 ERA+. Not terrible and certainly the best player on Wilmington.
Wilimington started in August and lasted 18 games, going 2-16. They were coached by Joe Simmons, who on two teams, this one and the 1875 National Association Keokuk Westerns, had a total record of 3-28 as a manager. Needless to say, he never managed again.
Wikipedia talks about Wilmington’s short history: “Late into the season, Henry Lucas, the Union Association founder and owner of the St. Louis Maroons, convinced Simmons and the Quicksteps to cross over into his league when the Philadelphia Keystones folded due to lack of attendance. After winning their first game 4-3 over Washington, it was all downhill for the Quicksteps. Many Wilmington players no longer felt bound by their contracts and signed for more money with other teams in their new league; shortstop and team Captain Oyster Burns jumped to the Baltimore Monumentals for $900 a month, and outfielder Dennis Casey also jumped to Baltimore for $700 a month; each had been making about $150 a month in Wilmington. Catcher Andy Cusick went to the Philadelphia Phillies for $375 a month, and the only star player to remain in Wilmington was pitcher Ed “The Only” Nolan, who went on to beat Washington for Wilmington’s second and last victory. But the Quicksteps could not survive the loss of Burns, Casey and Cusick; the team finished with a batting average of only .175 in the Union Association.”
(UA Stats Only) .337, 0 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
1st Time All-Star-Charles F. “Fatty” or “Alderman” Briody was born on August 13, 1858 in Lansingburgh, NY. This nickname wouldn’t fly nowadays. Right, Pudge? He was probably a little chunky, being five-foot-eight, 190 pounds, but he wasn’t Engelberg. I mean, he could button his uniform up, so that’s good. Anyway, Briody had started in 1880 playing one game for the National League Troy Trojans, took a year off and then went to the Blues in 1882. He jumped midseason to go to the easier-to-hit-in Union Association, where he went from slashing .169/201/.230 in the NL to .337/.344/.404 with the Outlaw Reds. He also finished second in Defensive WAR (1.5).
Briody was more proof for Bill James’ vitriolic crusade against the UA being a major league. He never hit above .258 in his stints in the NL or American Association, ending up with a .220 lifetime average in those leagues. However, it seems his success in the UA will get him a few more seasons of ball.
According to Wikipedia, and his nickname “Alderman,” it seems Briody went into politics. “After his playing career was over, Briody returned to Lansinburgh, New York, where he was the Committeeman for the Seventeenth Ward for many years. He also conducted a trucking business, doing work for various companies. He died in 1903 at age 44 of dilation of the heart.”
Interestingly, in the obituary shown for Briody on The Deadball Era, they call him Frank, which must be what the F stands for, and they never mention his Major League career.
.217, 0 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
1st Time All-Star-Charles William “Charlie” Ganzel was born on June 18, 1862 in Waterford, WI. He’s on the team because the White Caps need a representative. He only played seven of St. Paul’s nine games, slashing .217/.217/.217 for an OPS+ of 81. However, it should be noted, after this rookie season, Ganzel would play for 13 more years, having a steady, if not noteworthy career.
Here’s a recap of St. Paul’s season from Wikipedia: “The St. Paul Saints, also known as the Apostles or the White Caps, were a replacement Major League Baseball team that represented St. Paul, Minnesota in the short-lived Union Association, which existed for the 1884 season only. The team began the 1884 season in the Northwestern League as the Apostles. In September of that year, after compiling a 24-48 record, the team jumped to the Union Association along with the Milwaukee Brewers. The club finished its short stint in the Association with a 2-6-1 record in nine road games, earning the distinction of being the only major league team not to play a single home game. The team was managed by Andrew Thompson. They played their home games at Fort Street Grounds.”
Wikipedia says this about Ganzel’s later years: “After retiring from baseball in 1897, Ganzel managed a shirt factory in Boston. He also remained active in coaching and organizing baseball teams around New England. He married Alice Maude Cartee of Dubuque, Iowa, in 1885. They had two daughters and six sons. Ganzel lived in Quincy, Massachusetts, for many years. He died from cancer in 1914 at the home of his daughter in the Norfolk Downs section of Quincy. He was buried at Mount Wollaston Cemetery in Quincy.”
.308, 2 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
Def. Games as 1B-106
Putouts as 1B-1,063
Fielding % as 1B-.957
1st Time All-Star-Louis W. “Jumbo” Schoeneck was born on March 3, 1862 in Chicago, IL. This was his rookie season and he wouldn’t play Major League ball again until 1888-89 with the National League Indianapolis Hoosiers. Well, if nothing else, he has the honor of being the Union Association’s best first baseman, finishing sixth in WAR Position Players (2.6) and seventh in Defensive WAR (1.1). He slashed .308/.320/.387 for an OPS+ of 136 between his two teams. He hit much better for Chicago/Pittsburgh (.317/.332/.404/146) than he did in his 16 games with Baltimore (.250/.250/.283/71).
Was Jumbo jumbo? Yes, certainly when compared to his contemporaries. He was tall at six-foot-two and weighed in at 223 pounds. He was two inches taller than Cap Anson, but four pounds lighter. Those two were definitely big for their time.
Baseball Reference says, “His 1884 season split between two teams, Schoeneck posted a batting average, OBP and SLG that were all in the top ten in the Union Association. Later, when he came back to the majors to play in 1888 and 1889 with the Indianapolis Hoosiers his stats were not as impressive. Bill James in his New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract mentions Shoeneck in his essay about the Union Association not being as high-quality a league as other major leagues.”
There’s that Bill James again! Always picking on the poor UA. Of course, he’s right. I’m going to end up spending over 6,000 words on this league and most of the time, I’ll be writing about players that will never make another All-Star team, but it was a fun league. Teams that came-and-went, a team, the St. Louis Maroons, that was purposely set up to dominate the league. Jumbo. The Only Nolan. Come on, Bill, at least embrace the quirkiness!
.288, 1 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
1st Time All-Star-Philip “Phil” Baker was born on September 19, 1856 in Philadelphia, PA. He started with the American Association Baltimore Orioles in 1883, before seeing if he could be a star in the Union Association, and he was! He slashed .288/.309/.356 for an OPS+ of 125. He would play one more season, in 1886, for the National League Washington Nationals.
“For reasons unknown, he was blacklisted but reinstated at the 1882 meetings of the American Association.
“Even though he caught only 50 games, he is tenth on the all-time list of ‘most games caught by a left-handed catcher.’
“He died at age 83 at his daughter’s home in Washington, DC after a long illness and is buried at Glenwood cemetery in Washington.”
That was the great thing about 1800s baseball is that there were still experiments going on. Rules changed frequently, left-handers were put at positions like third base and catcher. Today’s game seems so static.
Baseball is unusual in that your dominant hand can determine which position you’re playing. Yes, in hockey, they might use a left-hander at a certain forward position, but left and right handers can play forward. Quarterbacks and every other football position can be either hand. Only in baseball does being left-handed banish you to only a, um, handful of positions. Just think, if third base was first base, then left-handers would be valuable because you would need them at catcher, shortstop, third base, and second base.
.321, 0 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
1st Time All-Star-Thomas Gorman was born in St. Louis, MO and very little is known about him. We’re sure he was born and that he died, but we don’t know the dates of either. We also know that he played only one season of Major League baseball and that he made the All-Star team as the Kansas City Cowboys’ best player. Gorman slashed .321/.345/.396 for an OPS+ of 162 and surprisingly wasn’t ever given another chance, despite the fact his OPS+ would have been fourth in the league if he had more at-bats.
As for the Cowboys, they were the worst team of a bunch of bad teams in this only season of the Union Association. They went 16-63, 61 games out of first. Harry Wheeler (0-4), Matthew Porter (3-13), and Ted Sullivan (13-46) were the managers. Here’s the strange thing about Sullivan. He actually started this year as St. Louis’ manager and had led that team to a 28-3 record, before coming over to Kansas City. Why? Apparently, just because he wanted to.
More on the Cowboys from Wikipedia: “They began play as a replacement for the Altoona Mountain City, which collapsed in May, and played out the remainder of the season. Despite a 16-63 (.203 WL percentage) finish, the franchise was one of only two (the St. Louis club being the other) in the league to make a profit. In contemporary newspaper reports, the team had Altoona’s record (6-19) combined with their own and were considered to have finished last in an eight-team league. The Unions disbanded shortly after the Union Association voted to dissolve.”
.412, 13 HR, (No RBI Recorded), 0-0, 13.50 ERA, 1 K
1884 UA Batting Title
Wins Above Replacement-7.8
WAR Position Players-7.9
On-Base Plus Slugging-1.069
Adj. Batting Runs-77
Adj. Batting Wins-8.4
Extra Base Hits-60
Times on Base-214
Offensive Win %-.918
AB per HR-34.5
Putouts as 2B-341 (2nd Time)
Assists as 2B-300 (3rd Time)
Double Plays Turned as 2B-54 (3rd Time)
Range Factor/9 Inn as 2B-6.61
Range Factor/Game as 2B-6.41 (2nd Time)
Fielding % as 2B-.926
5th Time All-Star-Here’s one formula for a monster season. Take a player who was a star in a high quality league. Move that man to a much lower level league. Then watch him go nuts. And Dunlap did. It was an outstanding season for Sure Shot, as he became the first position player ever to lead a league in WAR. Nowadays, it happens all the time, of course. Dunlap finished first in WAR (7.8), first in WAR Position Players (7.9), first in Offensive WAR (6.6), and third in Defensive WAR (1.4). He slashed .412/.448/.621 for an OPS+ of 256. Wow! Yes, he was facing mediocre pitching in a mediocre league, but it does show us how great of player Dunlap was.
He also managed the first place Maroons, taking over for Ted Sullivan, who went 28-3 and then just left the team to go to the Kansas City Cowboys. Dunlap was 66-16 as a manager and St. Louis finished 94-19 altogether, 21 games ahead of the second place Cincinnati Outlaw Reds.
Here’s Wikipedia on the Union Association’s best team: “The St. Louis Maroons debuted on April 20, 1884, at the Union Base Ball Park, defeating the UA Chicago club, 7-2. Henry Van Noye Lucas, the founder of the Union Association and owner of the Maroons, stocked his team with most of the league’s best talent. They started the season 20-0, a mark that would not be topped in major American professional sports until the Golden State Warriors of the NBA surpassed it 131 years later in the 2015–16 season.”
.324, 4 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
1st Time All-Star-John Day “Jack” Gleason was born on July 14, 1854 in St. Louis, MO and would end up playing most of his career around his birthplace. He started by playing one game for the National League St. Louis Brown Stockings in 1877 and then moved to the American Association where he played for St. Louis in 1882 and 1883. During the 1883 season, Gleason moved on to the Louisville Eclipse. This year, he was part of the Maroons’ plan to dominate the newly-formed Union Association. He had his best season ever, finishing 10th in WAR (3.1), third in WAR Position Players (3.1), and third in Offensive WAR (2.9). He slashed .324/.361/.441 for an OPS+ of 174.
At a website krispaulw.com, it says, “Opening Day for the American Association was May 2, 1882; the Browns started the season home at Sportsman’s Park with a 9-7 win over Louisville. The lineup featured Bill and Jack Gleason, the first brothers to play together on the same infield in the major leagues, and Jumbo McGinnis, the starting pitcher who was reportedly eighteen years old in 1882.”
Jack’s brother, Bill, actually made the All-Star team with the American Association in 1883. They’re not the first brother combo to do so. Deacon and Will White have both made multiple All-Star teams.
Spoiler Alert! There are still three Maroons that will make this All-Star team and all three play in the outfield. It really was a dominating team. We don’t have a team like that nowadays, at least in baseball.
(UA Stats Only) .419, 2 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
4th Time All-Star-In Fred Dunlap’s blurb, we talked about a formula to have a monster year. You start by already being a great player, and Glasscock was a three-time National League All-Star, and then go to a weak league. Pebbly Jack’s Union Association season would’ve been more impressive if he didn’t play just 38 games there. He started with the Cleveland Blues (NL), where he wasn’t having his typical great season before coming down the road to Cincinnati. For the Outlaw Reds, Glasscock, in just a third of a season, mind you, finished seventh in WAR Position Players (2.5) and seventh in Offensive WAR (2.1). He slashed .419/.444/.464 for an OPS+ of 221 in the UA and .313/.360/.402 for an OPS+ of 139 altogether.
For Glasscock, 1884 was the season of “Show me the money!” From SABR: “When the short-lived Union Association claimed major league status in 1884, first Dunlap and then Glasscock jumped to the new league. Robert L. Tiemann quotes Glasscock as saying ‘I have played long enough for glory, now it is a matter of dollars and cents.’ (Tiemann, 51) Tiemann claimed the Cincinnati Unions paid him $2,000 for the remainder of the season, a big jump from his $1,800 Cleveland salary, but Glasscock remembered his Cincinnati salary was $1,600 for the part of the season he played there. (Glasscock, 2) He batted .419 against inferior pitching. While with Cincinnati, sportswriter Harry Weldon gave Glasscock the nickname ‘Pebbly Jack’ for his habit of picking up stones in the infield and tossing them away. (Lanigan)”
(UA Stats Only) .315, 0 HR, (No RBI Recorded), 0-0, 9.00 ERA, 1 K
1st Time All-Star-George J. “Germany” Smith was born on April 20, 1859 in Pittsburgh, PA. He had a memorable rookie year, starting out in the newly-formed Union Association for Altoona and looking like a great hitter, slashing .315/.321/.407 for an OPS+ of 142 in 25 games, before going to the National League Blues, where his hitting diminished as he slashed .254/.259/.371 for an OPS+ of 94. As it will turn out, Smith will have a long career, 15 years, but would stay in baseball due to his hands, not his bat.
Altoona lasted only to the end of May, where they would go defunct after compiling a 6-19 record. Ed Curtis managed Mountain City and, like so many UA managers, would never coach a Major League team again.
Here’s more on Altoona from Wikipedia, which says, “The Altoona Mountain Citys were a professional baseball franchise that played in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1884. The Mountain Citys were a charter member of the Union Association, but folded after 25 games with a 6–19 record. They were alternately known as the Ottawas, after the local history of the Ottawa people in the 17th and 18th centuries. At the start of the season, they were also known by the nickname Altoona Pride, and were advertised as the Famous Altoonas. By the season’s end, they were known as the Altoona Unfortunates.
“The Mountain Citys began the 1884 season by playing the top teams in the league, the St. Louis Maroons and the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds, and losing 11 straight. The Altoona teams performance against the Maroons was especially hideous; they gave up 92 runs and made 53 errors. After finally winning their first game on May 10, the Mountain Citys went 6–8 before folding. The team’s final game was on May 31, 1884. The team was a disaster – attendance was as low as 200 on some games, and averaged slightly more than 1,000 per home game, low figures even for those times.”
.336, 1 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
Def. Games as OF-105
1st Time All-Star-Henry Scott Moore was born in 1862 in San Francisco, CA and in his first Major League season ever, he was sensational, finishing eighth in WAR Position Players (2.2) and sixth in Offensive WAR (2.3). He slashed .336/.363/.414 for an OPS+ of 163 and was off to a great career! Except, he wasn’t. He was never given another chance in the Major Leagues after the Union Association folded. Why?
Well, according to Wikipedia, “Moore had a quick temper, and was blacklisted by multiple major and minor leagues during his career for unsportsmanlike conduct, including refusing to field balls hit to his position, and refusing to run the bases after hits.”
John Thorn, baseball historian, has a long article on Moore that fills in many details. I’ll just borrow a smidge: “The last press mention of him alive may have come on May 26, 1905, when his 78-year-old mother, a dressmaker, was thrown out of a window by her 50-year-old female friend of two decades, in a dispute over a missing $15. Mrs. Moore ‘told her pitiful tale at the hospital, and said Mrs. Collins inflicted the wounds with her hands. Dr. Hill, who attended her, expresses but little hope for her recovery on account of her age…. Mrs. Moore is the mother of ‘Hen’ Moore, once a noted baseball player.’ San Francisco death records were incinerated in the fires following the great earthquake of 1906, but Mrs. Moore never again appeared in a city directory listing, nor did her son.”
(UA Stats Only) .364, 0 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
1st Time All-Star-William James “Buster” Hoover was born on April 12, 1863 in Philadelphia, PA and was another player thankful for the Union Association. He finished ninth in WAR Position Players (2.1) and fourth in Offensive WAR (2.7), slashing .364/.390/.495 with an OPS+ of 207 for the Keystones and .190/.261/.286 for an OPS+ of 77 for the Quakers. Hoover has a couple of partial seasons left, but he’d never have the success he had in the UA.
The Keystones were yet another UA team which didn’t last the full season. Coached by Fergy Malone, they finished 21-46 and were out of the league by August 7, already 37-and-a-half games out of first. Hoover was their best player.
Wikipedia says of Hoover, “The following season, Hoover joined the Union Association‘s Philadelphia Keystones and made his major league debut on April 17, 1884. The Keystones played 67 games, and Hoover appeared in 63 of them, mostly in left field. Hoover was one of the best players in the Union Association that year. He hit .364 to finish second in the league batting race and also ranked third in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage. However, he was the only player on the Keystones ‘who was any offensive threat’. The team folded in August, before the end of the season.
“In late 1892, Hoover received his final shot in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds. He lasted 14 games and batted .176. In 1893, Hoover batted .322 in the Southern Association. He ended his professional baseball career in 1894 in the Eastern League.”
(UA Stats Only) .365, 0 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
1st Time All-Star-Lewis Pessano Dickerson was born on October 11, 1858 in Tyaskin, MD and actually had a long and decent career before 1884. I’m surprised he hasn’t already made an All-Star team, but it’s mainly because of his fielding. The diminutive Buttercup, standing at five-foot-six, 140 pounds, started in 1878 with the Cincinnati Reds, moved to Troy at the beginning of 1880, before moving to Worcester. He took 1882 off and then played for Pittsburgh in the American Association in 1883. Dickerson started with the Maroons at the beginning of 1884 and finished ninth in WAR Position Players (2.1). In the Union Association, Dickerson slashed .365/.388/.445 for an OPS+ of 180. He then played for Baltimore and Louisville in the AA, where he did much worse. He’d be out of the Major Leagues after 1885.
Wikipedia says, “Dickerson was born in 1858. He is sometimes thought to be of Italian ancestry, but at least one historian and one family member dispute this notion. According to one of his granddaughters, he was born to William Porter Dickerson and Mary Larmore, who came to the United States from England, but who may have lived in Scotland before that. His granddaughter said that his middle name, Pessano, was given to him in honor of the physician who delivered him. She said that she was not aware of any Italian ancestry in the family.”
Despite the fact he may not have been Italian, Wikipedia continues, “Dickerson died at the age of 61 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was interred at Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore. In 1979, he was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.”
.313, 2 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
Putouts as OF-157
Assists as OF-26
Range Factor/Game as OF-1.76
1st Time All-Star-John Emmett Seery was born on February 13, 1861 in Princeville, IL. As a rookie in 1884, the tiny lefty (five-foot-seven, 145 pounds) was one of the many good leftfielders in the Union Association. He slashed .313/.342/.411 for an OPS+ of 142 combined on his two UA teams. It was the beginning of a fairly decent career, though I’m doubting he will make any more All-Star teams.
Seery played on two of the most interestingly named teams in all of baseball, according to Wikipedia, which says, “The following year, Seery joined the Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders of the Players’ League, and his batting average fell to .223. In 1891, he went to the American Association. He batted .285 for the Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers, and his .423 on-base percentage was fourth-best in the circuit. In 1892, Seery went back to the National League to play for the Louisville Colonels. He batted just .201 in 42 games, and the last Major League appearance of his career was on June 10. Seery also had short stints that year in the Southern Association and the Western League. His minor league and professional baseball career ended in 1895.”
Wikipedia also shows us that people have never appreciated those who took a lot of walks, as Seery did. “Seery was a patient hitter during his at bats. In 1887, the Detroit Free Press wrote that he was ‘a good enough waiter to preside at a restaurant.’ He finished in his league’s top 10 in bases on balls five times, and he finished in the top 10 in strikeouts four times.”
.293, 4 HR, (No RBI Recorded), 1-0, 2.00 ERA, 2 K
Double Plays Turned as OF-5
Range Factor/9 Inn as OF-1.87
Fielding % as OF-.947
1st Time All-Star-David Elwood “Dave” Rowe was born on October 9, 1854 in Harrisburg, PA. He had the benefit of playing on the best Union Association team in the season he had his best season ever. Rowe had started by playing two games for the Chicago White Stockings in 1877, then didn’t play Major League ball again until 1882 when he played for the National League Cleveland Blues. His travels didn’t stop as he ended up on the 1883 American Association Baltimore Orioles. This season, for the Maroons, he slashed .293/.307/.429 for an OPS+ of 145. This helped him finish fourth in WAR Position Players (2.7) and ninth in Offensive WAR (1.6).
After this season, Rowe would follow the Maroons to the National League in 1885, playing only 16 games, then go to the NL Kansas City Cowboys as a fulltime outfielder in 1886. After one more year off from the Major Leagues, he was back for his final season, playing 32 games for the 1888 AA Kansas City Cowboys.
He had one of the worst pitching performances ever in 1882. According to Wikipedia, “He appeared in four games as a pitcher during his career, and in a game on July 24, 1882, Rowe allowed 35 runs to score, although only 12 of them were earned; it remains the record for most runs scored against a pitcher in major league history.
.360, 2 HR, (No RBI Recorded)
4th Time All-Star-The strong-armed Shafer hasn’t been on an All-Star team in a while and it took playing in the Union Association to get him another one (and probably his last). He had played for the National League Cleveland Blues from 1880-82, moved to Buffalo the next season, and now won his first (and last) championship with the Maroons. For St. Louis, he finished sixth in WAR (4.8), second in WAR Position Players (4.8), and second in Offensive WAR (4.0). He slashed .360/.398/.501 for an OPS+ of 201. Thanks, UA!
And goodbye, UA. Here are some final remarks about the league from Wikipedia: “The lopsided competition, the revolving-door nature of the franchises and the poorly drafted schedule was also a major problem; four franchises folded during the season, forcing the league to scramble to replace them with three teams from lower classification leagues and one new team, and the league was derisively dubbed ‘The Onion League’ by its detractors in the two established leagues.
“Of the 272 players in the Association, 107 (39.34%) never played in another major league, while 72 (26.47%) played very briefly (less than 300 at bats and/or 50 hits) in other major leagues, and 79 (29.04%) had longer careers but little success in other major leagues.
“A relatively modern comparison could be the World Football League of the early 1970s contrasted with the National Football League. The WFL similarly resorted to putting clubs in small cities or cities with established teams, and collapsed in the middle of a season.”