Historians in England have uncovered evidence that baseball may not be as American as apple pie. The BBC reports that baseball was played in England in 1755, more than twenty years before America’s independence in 1776. This may come as a shock for lovers of America’s national game, who believe baseball is an American creation. A recently discovered diary is “proof” that Englishmen were hitting home runs long before their cousins across the Atlantic. The diarist was a man called William Bray, who wrote about the game being played in the county of Surrey, south of London. The Surrey History Cen .
Share Tweet Copy Link Copied Professional baseball was a much different game over a century ago than it is today. While hardcore baseball fans are aware of the “dead-ball era” that benefited pitchers, the “barehanded era” is often forgotten. It was during that time that fielders commonly made mistakes in infields and in outfields. This list contains a wide variety of names.
There will be some players who are completely anonymous to casual fans. There are also Hall-of-Famers who made records for more than just the positive things they did at the plate and in the field.
Note: Stats were taken from Here are the top 10 players with the most errors committed in professional baseball history. Via vintagecardprices.com McKean, who spent most of his playing days in Cleveland with the Blues/Spiders, often doesn't get recognized for what a presence he was at the plate during his best years. He finished fourth in the American Association in home runs in 1888 (6), and he was twice in the top-five in homers while in the National League.
McKean belted 67 home runs and he had over 1,124 RBI during his career, both solid numbers for a hitter during the dead-ball era. He also struggled with playing defense while in the infield. McKean tied for first for most errors committed in the AA with 105 in 1887. He committed a NL-high 91 errors in 1891.
McKean remains fifth all-time in most errors committed at the shortstop position with 857. Comparison: has, as of the posting of this piece, made 247 errors as a pro SS. Via en.wikipedia.org Glasscock was, despite the amount of miscues he made in 17 seasons, one of the best shortstops of the 1880s.
He led the NL in most putouts as a shortstop in both 1881 (105) and 1889 (246). He, on six occasions, led the league in assists as a shortstop. Glasscock was in the top five for most double plays turned as a shortstop twelve seasons during his career. He once led the NL in most errors for a shortstop in a single season with 73 in 1887.
Glasscock also had a decent bat for his time. He led the NL in batting average in 1890, and he twice led the league in hits (1889-90). Via nydailynews.com Ward, a member of the Hall of Fame, was to be “the model ballplayer of the century” during his time. He played a major part in the New York Giants winning their first two pennants (1888 and 1889). Ward also has a place in history for helping to create pro baseball's first ever union, and also for the creation of the short-lived Players League.
As for his place in this list, Ward, primarily as a shortstop, led the NL in errors committed in 1888 (86). He was in the top five in that list three times from 1886 through 1889. Ward was third in errors committed in the Players League in 1890. Via commons.wikimedia.org Anson, like Ward, is rightfully in the Hall of Fame.
A true superstar for his time who played in 27 consecutive professional seasons, Anson was one of the greatest hitters of his era. He twice led the NL in batting average (1881 and 1888). Anson led the league in on-base percentage on four occasions. His career hits total of 3,435 is good for sixth-best all-time.
Anson dabbled in multiple defensive positions throughout his storied career. His 658 errors committed as a first baseman is good for first all-time at that position. Anson also committed 196 errors as a third baseman. Via loc.gov Pfeffer, in 16 seasons, had stints with the Troy Trojans, Chicago White Stockings, Chicago Pirates, Chicago Colts, Louisville Colonels and New York Giants.
He was hardly a terrible second baseman. Pfeffer led the NL in most putouts as a second baseman every season from 1884 through 1891. Only twelve second basemen in history are credited with having more putouts than Pfeffer. Shortstop was not as kind to Pfeffer in 1882, when he led the NL for most errors committed by an SS with 73. He was, for what it's worth, second in double plays turned among shortstops with 35 in that same season. Via commons.wikimedia.org Corcoran played pro baseball for 18 seasons, and he was, despite his being part of this list, more known for his fielding than for his hitting.
He hit .300 in 1894, the only time he achieved that feat. He never, outside of that single year, managed to hit even .290 in a season. Corcoran retired with a career batting average of .256. Corcoran never led the NL in total errors committed or errors committed as a shortstop, but he did find himself in the top five of both lists in multiple years.
That said, he was also responsible for some impressive defensive statistics. He is fifth all-time in career putouts as a shortstop (4,553). Corcoran is ninth all-time in assists (7,509). Via arslongaartcards.com Germany Smith is the subject of what is, long after the fact, a rather humorous baseball story.
Smith was playing for the Brooklyn Bridegrooms on June 17, 1885 when John Francis “Phenomenal” Smith, a rather cocky individual, took the mound for Brooklyn. Germany and his teammates were less than fond of the Phenomenal One. In fact, they couldn't stand Smith, something they made clear in the pitcher's Brooklyn debut. Smith's teammates betrayed him in the field, dropping pop-ups, refusing to play grounders, and throwing the ball away on multiple occasions. Germany had seven recorded errors that day, and Brooklyn was, in total, charged with 14 errors.
Watching the team play in the first half of the , I'm starting to wonder if the Cleveland Indians aren't a terrible team. Perhaps the players just don't like the pitchers who are on the roster. Via commons.wikimedia.org White was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013. He won two batting titles in the 1870s (1875 and 1877), and no player in the NL had a higher slugging percentage than did White in 1877 (.545).
White led his league in RBI in 1873, 1876 and 1877. Credited for being arguably the best catcher of the barehanded era, White is sixth all-time for most errors committed by catchers.
He also led the league in most putouts for all catchers three separate times. Only ten players committed more errors when playing third base than did White (444) during his pro career.
Via notinhalloffame.com First, some positive numbers put up by the shortstop who was, in his day, known as “Bad Bill.” Only one shortstop in history had more career putouts than did Dahlen (4,856).
Dahlen is fourth all-time in most assists among shortstops. While Dahlen did bat over .350 in 1894 (.359) and in 1896 (.352), it was his play in the field that had him for the Baseball Hall of Fame a couple of years ago. Now, for why he is on this list. Dahlen is second all-time for most errors committed by shortstops with 975. He was in the top-five in errors committed by NL shortstops ten times from 1895 through 1908.
Dahlen also led the NL in total errors committed in 1895 with 86. Via en.wikipedia.org There is an old saying in sports: “Records were made to be broken.” That doesn't apply here.
Not even close, in fact. No active player in MLB has, as of June 2014, recorded even 500 errors during his career. Not even total elimination of the designated hitter would put Long's record in jeopardy. Long, like others on this list, was an above-average fielder in his time.
He led the AA in most putouts for shortstops in 1889 (335), and he then led the NL in that same stat two seasons later (345). That said, 1,070 of his 1,09 errors came when Long was playing shortstop. That's another mark that Long will probably hold from now until forevermore.
best dating baseball players in history by number of combatants - Baseball History: 19th Century Baseball
Ah, the crack of the bat. The smell of fresh-cut grass. Munching on Cracker Jack while trying to avoid being splashed by the massive beer barely clung onto by the inebriated fan sitting behind you.
Nothing says summer quite like baseball, the American national pastime. Baseball’s place in the American zeitgeist comes, at least in part, from its long history and the general consistency of the game over decades—it’s quite likely that your great-great-grandfather would be able to easily follow a modern game if he were magically plopped into the stands.
This history and consistency make it a bit easier to compare players from much different eras than it is to do so for other sports, which is what I’ll be attempting here.
Let’s see how it goes! • Roger Clemens Clemens, Roger Roger Clemens, 2007. © D. Silva/Shutterstock.com Over the course of his illustrious 24-year career, amassed a record seven Cy Young Awards as the best pitcher of the year in either the or and threw 4,672 strikeouts, the third most of all time. In 1986 he became one of the rare starting pitchers to win a league MVP award after he posted a 24–4 record with a 2.48 earned run average (ERA) and 238 strikeouts for the . Moreover, he did all this while a number of opposing batters were taking steroids, which resulted in offensive statistics going through the roof at the time.
So why isn’t he higher? Well, it’s very likely that Clemens himself took steroids, so his accomplishments aren’t quite as stunning for the era as they appear. Plus he’s quite possibly the player I’ve hated the most during my baseball fandom, so he gets a deserved place here but can’t go any higher lest I render this list incomplete by tossing my keyboard out a window in a tizzy.
Hurrah for subjectivity! • Honus Wagner Wagner, Honus Honus Wagner. Culver Pictures A number of modern fans probably know best as the subject of the most-valuable baseball card in history, the rare 1909–11 T206 Wagner card that was produced by the . The scarcity of the card is a big reason why it can fetch upwards of $2 million in a sale, but it wouldn’t be nearly as valuable if the person depicted on it was just a run-of-the-mill player and not one of the best to have ever stepped on a diamond.
“The Flying Dutchman” (god, they came up with such good nicknames back in the day) led the National League in batting average eight times over the course of his career and retired with a stellar .328 average despite having played during the offense-killing “dead-ball era.” At the time of his retirement in 1917, he had tallied the second most hits (3,420), doubles (643), triples (252), and runs batted in (1,732) in major-league history, and all of these totals still rank among the top 25 of all time.
A measure of Wagner’s greatness is found in the 1936 balloting for the inaugural class of the , where he was one of the five players selected for that honor among the thousands who had played the game up to that point. • Stan Musial Musial, Stan Stan Musial, 1964. AP Images Quite possibly the greatest person on this list, “Stan the Man” was a historically good player as well as a model citizen.
The beloved icon played his entire 22-season career with the city’s franchise and is as inextricably linked with his town as an athlete ever has been. led the Cardinals to three World Series titles (1942, 1944, and 1946) while racking up just as many MVP awards (1943, 1946, and 1948) and amassing a lifetime .331 batting average.
As evidence that he was a man with a keen eye for the ball, Musial’s highest single-season strikeout total was a paltry 46 (in 505 plate appearances) as a 41-year-old who started in the Cardinals’ outfield.
(He still hit .330 that year.) His hitting was so consistently good that opponents often resigned themselves to their fate, as noted by pitcher Carl Erskine: “I've had pretty good success with Stan by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third.” • Ty Cobb Cobb, Ty Ty Cobb.
Pictorial Parade And now here’s possibly the greatest humanity drop-off in list-item history. If Musial was a fairy-tale prince when it came to comportment, was the evil troll under the bridge chucking boulders at passing children. An unrepentant racist who routinely sharpened his spikes to maximize potential injury to opponents on hard slides and who once fought a fan in the stands, Cobb was nevertheless a supremely talented player who has the greatest lifetime batting average in major-league history (.366).
He led the American League (AL) in batting average a ridiculous 12 times in his 24-year career but was by no means merely a singles hitter, as he also led the AL in slugging percentage (a statistic that measures a hitter's power production) on eight occasions.
He batted over .400 in three seasons (1911, .420; 1912, .409; and 1922, .401) and, in addition to his batting-average record, he retired in 1928 as the all-time leader in hits (4,189), runs scored (2,246), and stolen bases (892), all of which were broken only late in the 20th or early in the 21st centuries.
Johnson, Walter Walter Johnson. UPI/Bettmann Archive The flame-throwing was a generational talent who defined dominant pitching for decades.
He was so great that he led the AL in strikeouts more often than not, topping the league 12 times over the course of his 21-year career.
Pitching his entire professional life for the , “Big Train” threw 110 career complete-game shutouts, still the most in major-league history and a record that will never be broken. (As of this writing, the current active leader, , has 15 over eight and a half seasons.) In 1913 he won 36 games with a 1.14 ERA and an eye-popping 0.78 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched; a WHIP below 1.00 is considered stellar) to win the Chalmers Award, the equivalent of the modern MVP.
He took a second MVP in 1924 as he led the Senators to their first World Series championship. Johnson’s 3,509 career strikeouts set a record that lasted 56 years, and his win total of 417 is second only to ’s 511. • Hank Aaron Hank Aaron. Pictorial Parade As the owner of the title Home Run King for a generation, is often thought of as simply a tremendous power hitter, albeit arguably one of the best ever.
However, his 755 career homers (a record for 33 years) are just the tip of the iceberg for “Hammerin’ Hank.” His all-time-best 2,297 runs batted in and 6,856 total bases are, of course, indicative of his legendary power, but he also put up a solid career .305 batting average and won three Gold Gloves for his play in the outfield. The consistently great Aaron was selected to the All-Star Game 21 straight years and hit at least 30 home runs in 15 seasons.
In addition to his standing records, Aaron finished his career in 1976 with what were then the second most hits (3,771) and runs scored (2,174) in major-league history.
has long been called “the greatest pure hitter who ever lived.” His .482 lifetime on-base percentage is the highest of all time, and he ranks in the top 20 in total runs scored, home runs, runs batted in, and walks despite having missed almost five full seasons of his prime to military service.
”The Splendid Splinter” (see what I mean about the nicknames?) was renowned for his uncanny eye, which helped him post the last major-league season with a .400 batting average (.406 in 1941). Overall, the icon led the AL in batting average 6 times, slugging percentage 9 times, and on-base percentage 12 times in his 19-year career.
Not content with simply being the best hitter ever, Williams has also been called both the best fisherman and best fighter pilot ever. Despite all the accolades (or perhaps because of them), he had a notoriously prickly relationship with the public.
But as famed author put it when Williams refused to come out for a curtain call after hitting a home run in his final career at bat: “Gods do not answer letters.” • Barry Bonds Bonds, Barry Breaking Hank Aaron's home run record, Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants rounds the bases as his son, a batboy, celebrates at home plate, August 7, 2007.
Andrew Gombert—EPA/REX/Shutterstock.com Yeah, I get it. He was cantankerous, preening, and almost assuredly a steroid user—not exactly the kind of guy who should get the benefit of the doubt and earn spot number three on this list.
is, in the eyes of many baseball fans, the poster boy for the steroid era and its supposed illegitimacy. But, well, he was already a surefire Hall of Famer before he allegedly began juicing, and steroids would have had no effect on the unparalleled eye-hand coordination that produced an all-time high 2,558 career walks and staggering .444 lifetime on-base percentage.
And that’s the thing about steroids—you can never definitively say exactly what impact they have on a baseball player’s performance. So let’s just appreciate the incredible statistics Bonds piled up: an unsurpassed 762 home runs (including a single-season record 73 in 2001), a record seven career MVP awards, and 688 intentional walks, which is more than double the amount given to the player with the second most of all time and a striking testament to the unparalleled fear Bonds instilled in opposing pitchers.
• Willie Mays Willie Mays. UPI/Bettmann Archive Unlike his godson Bonds (whose father, Bobby, was Willie Mays’s teammate from 1968 to 1972), needs to be subjected to no mental gymnastics to justify his place on this list.
Not only did Mays rack up astounding totals at the plate—including 3,283 hits, 660 home runs, and 1,903 runs batted in—but his outstanding play in the outfield produced 12 consecutive Gold Glove Awards (1957–68) and led many observers to call him the greatest all-around player the game has ever seen.
In fact, the most-iconic moment in Mays’s career (and one of the most iconic in baseball history) came on defense: his over-the-shoulder catch at the warning track in the eighth inning of a tied 1954 World Series game that helped the win that contest and, eventually, the championship. That was the only title of his career, but a relative lack of team success does nothing to tarnish the reputation of the 20-time All-Star and two-time MVP (1954 and 1965).
• Babe Ruth Ruth, Babe Babe Ruth. UPI/Bettmann Archive Well, here’s a no-brainer if there ever was one. Yes, he played among an artificially limited talent pool before broke the color barrier in 1947 and decades before advanced training regimens produced athletes who looked like, well, athletes, but was such a historic talent that he transcends these qualifiers. In fact, his arrival in the major leagues was so seismic that it marked the end of the dead-ball era.
When he joined the majors in 1914, the all-time record for home runs in a season was 27. Within seven years he had more than doubled it with 59, and he eventually produced a personal-high 60 dingers in 1927. All told, he led the AL in home runs 12 times. He was such a prodigious power hitter that his astounding .690 career slugging percentage remains the best of all time, and the gap between his mark and second place is larger than the one between second place and ninth.
Oh, and he also was a great pitcher during his early years, leading the AL with a 1.75 ERA in 1921 and pitching 29 and two-thirds consecutive scoreless innings across two —because when you dominate the game as much as the Babe did, you may as well do so in all facets, right?
Moreover, the charismatic Ruth was the first transcendent American sports superstar, routinely garnering headlines across the country for both his on-field exploits and his off-field celebrity. His play with the storied teams of the 1920s catapulted baseball to the prominence in the national consciousness that it still enjoys today. Not only was Ruth the greatest baseball player of all time, but he was the most important one too.
Gerald Early 1952–, American Author Baseball History oday a multi-billion dollar industry, Baseball has come a long way from its crude and humble beginnings in the fields of 19th century America.
More than a game, Baseball remains an inseparable part of the American heritage and an intrinsic part of our national psyche. For many of us, notions of team, fair play, and athletic excellence first occurred on a red clay diamond cut from a grassy field. Referred to as "America's Pastime" since 1856, Baseball today is played by men and women of all ages and skill levels all around the world.
Despite its recurrent scandals and woes, Baseball remains synonymous with the best that America has to offer. 19th Century Baseball: The Beginning Contrary to popular belief, Baseball was not invented by a single individual, but evolved from various European "bat and ball" games.
Russia had a version of Baseball called Lapta, which dates back to the fourteenth century. It consisted of two teams (five to ten members) with a pitcher and batter. The ball would be thrown to the batter who would attempt to hit it with a short stick and then run to the opposite side and back before being hit by the ball.
Cricket and Rounders England has played Cricket and Rounders for several centuries. The first recorded cricket match took place in Sussex, England in 1697. Cricket is played in a large open circular field and has two sides of eleven players that attempt to "put out" a "batsman" who tries to prevent a ball thrown by a "bowler" from knocking over "bails" placed on "wickets," or three upright sticks. If the batsman makes contact with the ball, he runs to the opposite side of the "pitch" and continues running back and forth until the ball is retrieved by the opposing team.
Rounders, which shares more technical similarities to Baseball, dates back to Tudor times in England. This game consisted of two teams, six to fifteen players, including a pitcher, batter, "bowling square," "hitting square" and four posts, similar to bases used in Baseball. Each player had to bat in each "inning" and the game lasted two innings. The pitcher tossed the ball to the batter who attempted to hit it.
If contact was made the batter ran to the first post. Points were awarded depending on what post was reached by the batter and the manner in which the post was reached. Town Ball Germany played a game called Schlagball, which was similar to Rounders.
The ball was tossed by the "bowler" to the "striker," who struck it with a club and attempted to complete the circuit of bases without being hit by the ball. Americans played a version of Rounders called "Town Ball," which dates back to the early 1800's. In this game, the first team to score one hundred "talleys" won the game. In 1858 the rules were formalized as the "Rules of the Massachusetts Game of Town Ball." “Base Ball” Occasionally, early 19th century American newspapers would mention games listed as "Bass-Ball," "Base," "Base Ball," "Base-Ball," "Goal Ball" and "Town Ball." The first known printed record of a game that was slightly different from Rounders and resembled a game closer to Baseball, is from an 1829 book called The Boy's Own Book, in which the game is referred to as "Round Ball," "Base" and "Goal Ball." A crude field diagram was included with specific locations for four stones or stakes (bases), that were arranged in a diamond.
The article described how to "make an out" as well as how to get "home." The word "party" was used to describe a team, and the team at bat was called the "in-party." Each party pitched to themselves, bases were run in a clockwise direction and players could be put out by swinging and missing three pitched balls or by being hit with the ball while moving between bases. The Olympic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia Perhaps the first town ball club to adopt a constitution was the , founded in 1833.
It was formed by combining two associations of Town Ball players. One of the Town Ball associations may have begun play in the spring of 1831, in Camden, NJ on Market Street. The original group included only four players, playing "Cat Ball," but eventually the number of players increased and the Saturday afternoon gathering usually included between fifteen to twenty players. With the increased interest the game changed to Town Ball and then to Base Ball.
The other association called itself the Olympic Ball Club, favored Town Ball and played on Wednesdays. As they did not meet as regularly as the group in Camden, some of the members of the Olympic Ball Club began playing in Camden. Ultimately a match was proposed and played between the two associations.
No record of this match exists, but the two groups did eventually combine into one and played on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The constitution was first published in 1838 and consisted of 15 Articles. Duties of the Board of Directors, Members, and Captains were described.
Practice days and a fine structure were also outlined. "19cBaseball.com is truly a one-of-a-kind resource for in-depth information related to the history of our great sport. I encourage all baseball enthusiasts to visit the site to learn more about how the game really began."
Check out the top 100 plays from 2017