Sliding Billy Hamilton: The First Great Run Producer

Sliding Bill Hamilton

During the 1890s, “Sliding Billy” Hamilton drew fans by the thousands to watch his exploits on the baseball field. Hugh Nicol and Jim Fogarty, brilliant base runners, were about to retire, and along comes Hamilton to inject the next level of base running into the game. On offense, he was a one-man wrecking crew, wreaking […]

Big Ed Delahanty: The First Five-Tool Player

Big Ed Delahanty

A sportswriter once called “Big Ed” Delahanty “a holy terror” at the plate. As 1890s pitcher Crazy Schmit once said, “When you pitch to Delahanty, you just want to shut your eyes, say a prayer and chuck the ball. The Lord only knows what’ll happen after that” (quoted from Louis P. Masur’s book, “Autumn Glory”). […]

400 Hitters Don’t Always Win Titles

Ed Delahanty

In 1894, the Philadelphia Phillies claimed four .400 hitters, yet Boston’s Hugh Duffy won the batting title with a .440 clip. The four Phillies .400 hitters were batting race runner-up Tuck Turner at .418, followed by right fielder Sam Thompson and left fielder Ed Delahanty, each with .407, and center fielder Billy Hamilton with .404. […]

Mike “King” Kelly: First of the American Baseball Legends

King Kelly

Mike “King” Kelly was the most popular player of the 19th century. In fact, he was the best known American of his time. He was handsome, projected charisma, and played the game with a natural flair for the dramatic. He was the single most important reason that women became attracted to baseball. Before Kelly, very […]

Nap Lajoie: First Among AL Legends Of The Game

Napoleon Lajoie (1905)

“He glides to every ball–no one can hit anything past him,” exclaimed an opposing manager. Nap Lajoie was indeed one of the smoothest-fielding second basemen in history, as supremely proficient on defense as he was overpowering on offense. There has never been an American League second baseman rated higher than Lajoie. He was one of […]

Season-high OBP For Right-Handed Hitters

RogersHornsby

Only 4 right-handed hitters have ever recorded an on-base percentage of .500+ for a single season. Rogers Hornsby, the greatest right-handed hitter in history, achieved a .507 OBP in 1924. Joe Kelley chalked up a .502 OBP figure in 1894, as did the remarkable Hugh Duffy in 1894. Ed Delahanty, one of only 3 hitters […]

The Greatest Players: Total Offense #1 through #45

Papa-Bell-620

This post ranks the 45 greatest players in the history of baseball based on their offensive performance. Forty of the players are described in previous posts covering Total Player Ratings; here, here, here and here. Five players not mentioned in those posts are described in further detail below.   #44 (two players are tied) Roger […]

History of Baseball: Greatest Players of All-Time Series (15 to 27)

Joseph Jefferson Jackson (1887–1951)

The following post is part of an ongoing series taken from Paul Gillespie’s book, ALL-TIME GREATS OF BASEBALL: My Top Picks At Each Position. These lists include the greatest offensive and defensive players in the history of baseball, extracted from a database Paul developed for the lifetime composite ratings and skill sets of players from […]

History of Baseball: The Greatest Players of All-time Series

Cy Williams (1887-1974) was one of only three players born before 1900 to hit 200 homers in his career (Babe Ruth and Rogers Hornsby are the other two).

The philosopher Jacques Barzun had it right. He pointed out the necessity of learning baseball if one was to understand the essence of American culture. My grandfather once said that when America is excavated by archaeologists two thousand years in the future, it will be known for three main contributions to civilization… our form of […]