John Hatfield (Courtesy of Bill Lamb)

John Hatfield

This article was written by Bill Lamb

John Hatfield (Courtesy of Bill Lamb)Pioneer Era outfielder John Hatfield was “widely regarded as one of the best ballplayers of the 1860s.”1 Thereafter he turned in a pair of first-rate seasons playing in the National Association, the game’s first professional league. Hatfield’s attributes included good hands, a live bat, and the most powerful throwing arm of his generation. At the time of his death in 1909, a long-distance throwing record that he had set some 37 years earlier remained unsurpassed. But Hatfield was also “a lightning rod of controversy,”2 unscrupulously revolving from club to club during the 1860s. Charges of theft and other dishonesties during the time that he spent with the Cincinnati Red Stockings also sullied his reputation. Hatfield’s post-baseball life, particularly the deplorable treatment of his first wife and children, further diminished his memory. A look back at this talented but deeply flawed ballplayer from the early game follows.

John Van Buskirk Hatfield began life swathed in privilege, the favored child of a prominent and affluent family. He was born on July 20, 1847, in Hoboken, New Jersey, a then-bucolic waterfront enclave situated across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan. Johnny (as he was called in his youth) was the second of four children born to well-to-do businessman/politician James Thomas Hatfield (1819-1893), a former Union Army officer known in the community as General Hatfield, and his wife Mary Jane (née Van Buskirk, also spelled Van Buskerck, 1821-1858), descended from Knickerbocker gentry.3 At the time of the 1850 US Census, the Hatfields resided in an elegant brownstone complete with domestic servants. The family’s prosperity derived from grandfather Gilbert T. Hatfield (1791-1880), an enterprising dry goods merchant and shipbuilder originally from White Plains, New York. By the 1850s, Gilbert Hatfield was one of the largest landowners in the county and perhaps Hoboken’s most distinguished (and wealthy) citizen.4

Blessed with natural athletic ability and with the ample leisure time his upper-crust social status afforded him, young Johnny Hatfield gravitated to the sporting plains of nearby Elysian Fields, a cradle of the early game. Yet like future Hall of Famer George Wright and other contemporaries, he spent as much time on the cricket oval as he did the baseball diamond. As a 16-year-old, he and George played for captain Harry Wright and the American side in an October 1863 cricket match against a touring English team. The match was played on the St. George Cricket Grounds in Hoboken. Hatfield’s “good catch” was among the highlights mentioned in press coverage of the contest.5

The following year, Hatfield occasionally suited up for the Manhattan Cricket Club. More often he was on the diamond playing for New York’s Active Base Ball Club. Johnny returned to the Actives in 1865, only to become embroiled in controversy. In the first episode of the revolving that would characterize his pre-National Association playing days, Hatfield violated National Association of Base Ball Players rules by switching to the rival Gotham BBC during the summer. Thereafter he rejoined the Actives for an early September match against the Enterprise Club. Ineligible but allowed to play anyway by the opposition, Hatfield “made a brilliant catch and also starred with his bat” in a 25-18 Actives victory.6

The 1865 season also saw Hatfield commence the other activity (besides revolving) for which he would become noted – long-distance throwing. Modern baseball reference works list Hatfield as “bats and throws: unknown.” But probabilities and circumstantial evidence strongly suggest that he did both right-handed. In any case, the then-18-year-old won his first long-throwing contest with a heave of 349 feet at the Capitoline Grounds in Brooklyn that summer.7

In 1866 Hatfield jumped from the Actives to the Mutual BBC but drew more attention for his exploits on the cricket oval. In August, Hatfield (Manhattan CC) and George Wright (St. George Cricket Club) opposed each other in “the grand match of the season,” won by Wright’s side.8 A month later our subject was the star of Manhattan’s 154-63 victory over the Union Cricket Club of Newark.9 Playing for an eleven called the Young Americans, Hatfield was again on the losing side to the St. George CC in early October. But after the match he had the satisfaction of besting Wright and others in a long-distance cricket ball throwing contest.10

Hatfield spent the entire 1867 baseball season with the Mutuals but was mostly stationed at second or third base rather than his usual outfield post. At season’s end he was among those selected to represent New York in a benefit match against an all-star nine from Brooklyn.11 After the game Hatfield was awarded a gold medal as the year’s outstanding third baseman.12

Blond, handsome, and fully grown to 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, Johnny Hatfield reached the pinnacle of his baseball career in 1868. That spring he and teammate Fred Waterman abandoned the Mutuals to join the juggernaut that Harry Wright had begun to assemble in Cincinnati. Although facially an amateur club, the Red Stockings induced the pair – as well as Pioneer Era standouts Asa Brainard, Charlie Gould, and Doug Allison – to come to Cincinnati via under-the-table payments and no-show jobs.13 To take advantage of Hatfield’s sure hands and rifle arm, Wright placed him at catcher, a position that Hatfield had occasionally handled while with the Mutuals. He later played around the field before settling in as the club’s left fielder.

That July he set a new long-distance record with a toss measured at 382 feet, six inches.14 Following a thrashing of the Baltic club of West Virginia, “Johnny Hatfield astonished the folks with an exhibition of his throwing powers.”15 But the season nearly closed on a sour note for the Cincinnati club’s “most talented and least trustworthy member.”16 The evening prior to a crucial early September game against the cross-town Cincinnati Buckeyes, Hatfield was taken to a saloon and liquored up by financial backers of the Buckeyes. He was then offered $200 to jump the Red Stockings and captain their arch-rivals. A cushy job at the local Internal Revenue Service office was another part of the inducement.17 The next day a report of these events preceded the arrival of a sobered-up Hatfield at the ballpark. Confronted by suspicious teammates, Hatfield insisted that he had rejected the Buckeyes’ proposition. Notwithstanding his denials, Hatfield was suspended by the club and saw no action in the Reds’ 20-12 victory.18

The suspension proved brief, and Hatfield finished the campaign in good standing with the 36-7 (.837) Cincinnati Red Stockings. Appearing in all but one of the club’s official ball games, he was inarguably the Reds’ top performer. “John Hatfield has the best average and has played the most positions, having been at every position except first base,” reported the New York Clipper.19 He also led the club in runs scored (202), home runs (31), and fewest outs made per game (2.119).20 In October Hatfield played for a picked nine in a postseason game against the Buckeyes and “made a home run on a big hit to left field” that helped send his erstwhile suitors to a 31-16 defeat.21 In recognition of his outstanding work, Hatfield was selected as one of the season’s nine “champion players” by the Clipper.22

For the 1869 season the Cincinnati Reds jettisoned the pretense of being an amateur club and became the game’s first openly professional team. Among their new pros was John Hatfield, who inked a $1,500 contract with Cincinnati on January 22. But soon thereafter it was reported that Hatfield had secretly joined his old club, the New York Mutuals.23 When Hatfield failed to report for spring practice with the Reds, the club instituted disciplinary proceedings against him.

In due course, Hatfield was formally charged with: (1) violation of contract, and (2) dishonesty and ungentlemanly conduct. The first citation was simple and straightforward, predicated on the accused’s failure to report for spring practice as required by his pact with the Reds. The second, however, was multi-faceted, encompassing a litany of damning allegations. Among other things, Hatfield was accused of pocketing $24 in admissions fees paid by those using the ice skating rink owned by the ballclub; retaining a $1,389 advance on his salary; skipping out on a $45 bill for hotel room and board and $85 owed a local jewelry store; and stiffing teammates who had loaned him money, repaying them with bad checks or bogus money orders.24

In response to the breach of contract complaint, Hatfield’s attorney offered the harebrained defense that while his client had admittedly been in negotiation with the Mutuals, he had not actually committed to joining the New York club until after Cincinnati initiated proceedings against him. In other words, the Reds had forced Hatfield to jump their club. The other charges against him went unanswered. At the conclusion of a club membership meeting and to no great surprise, John V.B. Hatfield was expelled from the Cincinnati Red Stockings.25

Once the 1869 season began, Hatfield’s absence was barely noticed in Cincinnati. The capable Andy Leonard was recruited for his left field spot, while George Wright and budding star Cal McVey were added to the Cincinnati roster. The retooled Reds then went on to post their legendary 57-0 record. Meanwhile, back in New York, jumping Johnny Hatfield unexpectedly set down roots. He would play for various incarnations of the Mutuals for the remainder of his professional career. And during his first season back with New York, he also continued to make the occasional appearance on the cricket oval.26

In 1871 the New York Mutuals became a charter member of the National Association, the game’s first professional league. Appearing in all 33 of the club’s contests, Hatfield alternated between left field and the infield with mixed defensive results, dependable out in the pasture but shaky elsewhere. And his hitting proved a disappointment, as he registered a powerless .256 batting average, with only five extra-base hits despite leading the league in at-bats. The Mutuals finished in fourth-place at 16-17 (.485). In a postseason review, Hatfield’s attitude and play were panned by the formerly admiring New York Clipper: “Hatfield and [New York second baseman Dick] Higham ought to be brothers for their mutual fondness for growling and fault finding,” declared an unidentified Clipper correspondent. As for Hatfield’s defensive abilities, “it is almost needless to remark that his forte is not infielding. He is far too swift a thrower, too hasty in action and possesses too little judgment to play an infield position. … In critical points in a close contest, he is not reliable, his faulty temper working against him. As an outfielder, however, he ranks with the most noted, and it is in the outfield alone that he has excelled.”27

Hatfield’s bat sprang back to life in 1872. His .323/.343/.399 slash line was second-best on the Mutuals, bettered only slightly by teammate Dave Eggler (.334/.352/.403). Johnny also placed second on the team in runs scored (76), RBIs (47), OPS (.743), extra-base hits (18), and stolen bases (12). His offensive stats also placed well in the NA, as he was fourth in hits (93), fifth in runs (76), doubles (15) and steals (12), and sixth in RBIs (47). During the season, he exercised leadership responsibilities as well, taking over the managerial reins from shortstop Dickey Pearce and guiding the Mutuals to a 34-20-2 third-place finish in final NA standings.

The personal highlight of the year for Hatfield occurred during a three-club postseason tournament held at the Mutuals’ home ballpark, the Union Grounds in Brooklyn. To boost flagging gate receipts, tourney promotor/ballpark owner William Cammeyer staged a long-distance throwing contest, with $50 in total prize money, $25 of which to be awarded the winner. Entrants included George Wright, young Cap Anson, and Andy Leonard. The prize, however, went to reigning distance-throwing champion John Hatfield, who uncorked a prodigious throw measured at 400 feet, seven inches, breaking his own record of 396 feet set in Cincinnati.28 Although the ensuing years would bring claims of longer throws being made by major leaguers Ed Crane, Larry Twitchell, and Tony Mullane, none were officially recognized. The Hatfield heave remained the long-distance throwing record for almost 40 years.29

Notwithstanding the upgrade in his performance, the Clipper’s year-end review of 1872 again harped on Hatfield’s shortcomings, particularly in temperament. “Hatfield [is] a player who only lacks certain important essentials to be a model member of the fraternity, for he is a natural-born ballplayer. The champion thrower of the world, we may say – for there is no ballplayer in America or cricketeer in England who can equal him in throwing the ball – a sure catcher, a fine fielder and a strong batsman, he possesses the fielding skill to excel either in the infield or outfield. But he lacks, among other requisites, control of temper, also nerve in critical positions. … [He is] deficient in qualifications which are requisite for an able general of a field and captain of a nine.”30

Hatfield returned to the Mutuals helm in 1873. But when the club got off to a poor 11-17 start, he was replaced as manager by first baseman Joe Start. Hatfield also struggled at third base, making an unsightly 65 errors in only 45 appearances at the hot corner. His work with the stick, however, remained solid. He batted .306 with a team-leading 46 RBIs.

Returned to a more congenial left field in 1874, Hatfield turned in good numbers for a barehanded outfielder, placing second among NA gardeners in putouts (171) and third in fielding average (.874). His hitting was another matter. After two first-rate offensive seasons, Hatfield’s hitting went into precipitous decline. His .226 BA was drastically below the previous season’s mark and the lowest compiled by a Mutuals regular, as was his puny .274 slugging percentage.

The causes for the still only 27-year-old’s sudden hitting decline – injury, dissipation, improved NA pitching, or something else – are lost to time. What is clear, however, is that John Hatfield no longer fit into New York Mutuals plans. One offseason report had him signing with the NA’s Philadelphia Athletics.31 Another said that “Mr. John Hatfield, late of the Mutual Club of New York, who has retired from the professional field, will play for the Argyle, a new [amateur] club of New York City next season.”32 But whatever his intentions, a broken left wrist sidelined Hatfield for most of 1875.33 He made only one appearance on the diamond that entire season, playing an errorless left field and going 2-for-4 at the plate for the Mutuals in an early September game against Boston.34

Prior to the new season, the Clipper again reported that “the Argyle Club is to place a nine in the field this season with John Hatfield as captain and third baseman.”35 It never happened. But on May 5, 1876, Hatfield got his name into the National League record book, playing an emergency second base and stroking an RBI-single for the New York Mutuals of the newly formed NL in a 4-3 loss to the Hartford Dark Blues.36 By the middle of the month, Hatfield was out of the game and reportedly working as a clerk at the Centennial Exhibition in St. Louis.37 But on June 10, he was in Philadelphia serving as umpire for a Chicago White Stockings-Philadelphia Athletics game. That contest marked the final appearance of the name John Hatfield in a major league box score.38

Hatfield returned to Manhattan in late March 1877 for the annual convention of the national amateur baseball association and was appointed to the rules committee.39 Long a bachelor, John V.B. Hatfield married Irish immigrant Rose Quinn Kennedy in Manhattan on July 29, 1877.40 The bride brought an eight-year-old daughter (also named Rose) to the union, while John contributed a six-year-old girl (Bertinette, mother unknown) of his own. In relatively short order, the couple then had four more children, John G. (born 1878), Jennie (1879), James (1880), and Edward (1884).

The 1880 US Census placed the blended Hatfield family in Manhattan, where John was reportedly employed as a bookkeeper.41 The following July he was among the old-timers playing a benefit game at the Polo Grounds for former Mutuals teammate Dickey Pearce.42 Hatfield spent most of his time, however, in St. Louis, where he served as head racetrack bookmaker for Roche’s Turf Exchange.43 He continued in that employment for several years. In late 1888 Hatfield was described as “a very handsome man, nearly six feet high, with a decidedly blond beard combed in the English style. John is a fashion plate for the sporting fraternity of St. Louis. He makes a good income and knows how to dress.”44

Given Hatfield’s apparent prosperity, the arrest of his nine-year-old daughter Jennie in September 1889 was shocking. The child had been taken into custody by an agent of the New York City Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children after she was found begging outside a Manhattan tavern. Agency follow-up located mother Rose Hatfield living “in a poverty stricken condition” within an eastside hovel.45 Her husband “had abandoned his family and gone to Chicago, taking only his daughter ‘Birdie’ [Bertinette] and leaving the rest of them in misery and destitution.”46 Begging by the children was the family’s only means of obtaining sustenance. Young brothers John and James had already been removed from the home and placed with Catholic protective services.47 Their sister Jennie was “sent to the care of the Sisters of Saint Dominic.”48 Meanwhile, Hatfield, “said to be worth $60,000,”49 disowned his offspring, claiming that “his only legitimate child” was Birdie, currently in residence at a posh boarding school in St. Louis.”50

News of the situation was circulated nationwide under censorious newsprint headlines such as “Heartless John Hatfield,”51 “John Hatfield’s Starving Wife,”52 “Ball Player Hatfield’s Abandoned Family,”53 “A Heartless Wretch,”54 and “An Unnatural Parent.”55 There is no evidence, however, that Hatfield was affected by the bad press or that he took any steps to rescue his wife or children from their distress. Agreeably for him, the matter proved little more than a quickly forgotten one-day news story. Indeed, within months the press was regaling readers with amusing tales of dandified “Apollo Belvedere” Hatfield, “a full-fledged book-maker” now employed as “blockman for Gunn & Company’s book.”56

In 1893, the death of father James T. Hatfield significantly amplified our subject’s fortune. Pursuant to the blue blood tradition of primogeniture, James bequeathed virtually his entire estate to his eldest son John.57 The following year John remarried, taking Olive DuPont, the 18-year-old daughter of French immigrants, as his second wife.58 Their nuptials, however, are something of a curiosity: there is no discovered evidence that John’s previous marriage to his still-living first wife was ever legally dissolved.59 In any event, the union with Olive was childless and ended in divorce. In the meantime, “a long losing streak” temporarily emptied the Hatfield exchequer.60 He “subsequently regrouped,” however, and continued bookmaking for the remainder of his life.61

Sometime in the early 1900s, Hatfield married wife number three, a northern New Jersey matron named Magdalena (last name unknown), and relocated to Long Island City in Queens, New York. On February 18, 1909, he suffered a stroke and died at home two days later. John Van Buskirk Hatfield was 61. Following funeral services conducted by an Episcopal clergyman, his remains were interred at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens.62 In a will dated August 17, 1906, the deceased acknowledged the paternity of daughters Bertinette Hatfield Cartier and Jennie Hatfield Donnelly but left them nothing. His three sons went unmentioned. The entirety of his estate, dwindled to an estimated $2,000, was left to third wife Magdalena.63

In a Sporting Life obituary, John Hatfield was remembered as once “known from Atlantic to Pacific as one of the greatest base ball players of the day.”64 Left unmentioned was the fact that away from the diamond, he had been among the 19th century game’s least admirable figures.


This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and Rick Zucker and fact-checked by Jeff Findley.


Sources for the biographical info imparted above include the John Hatfield file maintained at the Giamatti Research Center, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, New York; Hatfield profiles in Base Ball Founders: The Clubs, Players and Cities of the Northeast That Established the Game (McFarland, 2013) and Major League Baseball Profiles, 1871-1900, Vol. 1 (University of Nebraska Press, 2011); US Census and other government records accessed via; and certain of the newspaper articles cited in the endnotes. Unless otherwise specified, stats have been taken from Baseball-Reference.


1 John Thorn, “New York Base Ball Club” in Peter Morris, William J. Ryczek, Jan Finkel, Leonard Levin and Richard Malatzky, eds., Base Ball Founders: The Clubs, Players and Cities of the Northeast That Established the Game, (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2013), 57.

2 Gregory Christiano, “Active Base Ball Club of New York,” Base Ball Founders, 66.

3 The other Hatfield children were daughters Bertinette (born 1844) and Eleanor (1850), and son Gilbert (1855), a seven-season major league utilityman-pitcher. Later, widower James’s second marriage to Laura Rogers Hatfield (1842-1924) produced Jennie (1864) and Junior (James, 1873).

4 Mention of grandfather Gilbert T. Hatfield’s commercial and civic achievements was included in his obituary. “Obituary Note,” New York Times, April 10, 1880: 5.

5 “Cricket: American vs. English,” New York Clipper, October 24, 1863: 218. Inclement weather prevented the match from being completed. Note: The St. George Grounds in Hoboken was a cricket oval and not to be confused with the St. George Grounds on Staten Island, the baseball park that served as home field for the 1886-1887 New York Metropolitans of the major league American Association.

6 Christiano, Base Ball Founders, 66. See also, “Sports and Pastimes: Base Ball,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 4, 1865: 2.

7 The feat was later recalled in “Base Ball, Cricket, etc.,” New York Clipper, June 1, 1901: 218.

8 “The Grand Match of the Season,” New York Clipper, August 18, 1866: 148.

9 “Union of Newark vs. New York,” New York Clipper, September 15, 1866: 179.

10 “Grand Match in Hoboken,” New York Clipper, October 6, 1866: 203: “Hatfield threw 112 yards and two feet, taking the palm of victory.”

11 “The National Game,” New York Herald, September 3, 1867: 8.

12 “The National Game,” New York Herald, September 4, 1867: 8.

13 Christopher Devine, Harry Wright: The Father of Professional Baseball (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2003), 34-35.

14 “When Baseball Was in Swaddling Clothes,” Baseball History Daily, posted January 4, 2022.

15 “Tour of the Cincinnati Club,” New York Clipper, August 22, 1868: 155.

16 Devine, Harry Wright: The Father of Professional Baseball, 35.

17 “Cincinnati Ball Items,” New York Clipper, September 19, 1868: 186.

18 “Cincinnati Ball Items,” above. William J. Ryczek, When Johnny Came Sliding Home: The Post-Civil War Baseball Boom, 1865-1870 (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1998), 141, which states that Hatfield watched the game in tears from the sidelines and protested that he was being slandered.

19 “Club Averages: Cincinnati Club of Cincinnati,” New York Clipper, December 5, 1868: 275.

20 Per club stats published in the Cincinnati Daily Gazette, October 23, 1868: 1.

21 “Buckeyes vs. Picked Nine,” New York Clipper, October 31, 1868: 234.

22 “Base-Ball,” Cincinnati Daily Enquirer, January 31, 1869: 4. Teammates Fred Waterman and Bill Johnson were similarly honored.

23 “Latest Base Ball Gossip,” New York Clipper, February 13, 1869: 354.

24 “The Cincinnati Base-Ball Club vs. John V.B. Hatfield,” Cincinnati Daily Enquirer, March 21, 1869: 3; “Base Ball: The Cincinnati Club vs. John Hatfield,” New York Clipper, March 20, 1869: 395. See also, “Sports and Pastimes: Base Ball,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 18, 1869: 4.

25 “Meeting of the Cincinnati Base Ball Club,” Cincinnati Commercial, April 7, 1869: 8; “Cincinnati Base Ball Club,” Cincinnati Daily Gazette, April 7, 1869: 2. “Cincinnati Base Ball Items,” New York Clipper, April 17, 1869: 11.

26 See e.g., “Cricket: St. George vs. New Yok,” New York Clipper, August 7, 1869: 140: “Young Hatfield, the well known base ball player, was in the St. George eleven and proved to be of material assistance.”

27 “Base Ball: The Professionals of 1871,” New York Clipper, November 11, 1871: 252.

28 “Sports and Pastimes: Base Ball,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 16, 1872: 2; “Base Ball Throwing,” Chicago Tribune, October 16, 1872: 8; “New York,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, October 16, 1872: 1. The best throw of second-place finisher Andy Leonard was more than 40 feet short of the winning Hatfield heave.

29 The Hatfield mark was finally bettered by minor league outfielder Larry Lejeune in August 1910. For more on the long-distance throwing record, see The J.G. Preston Experience, “The History of the Record of Baseball’s Longest Throw,” posted December 4, 2009.

30 “Base Ball: The Players of 1872,” New York Clipper, January 25, 1873: 341.

31 “Base Ball Notes,” New York Clipper, January 23, 1875: 339.

32 “The Amateur Convention,” New York Clipper, December 26, 1874: 309. See also, “To Correspondents,” New York Clipper, December 26, 1874: 306.

33 “The Argyle Club,” New York Clipper, January 30, 1875: 349. “To Correspondents,” New York Clipper, June 5, 1875: 74, and June 12, 1875: 82.

34 “Mutual vs. Boston,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 2, 1875: 3. Boston won, 13-7.

35 “Short Stops,” New York Clipper, May 6, 1876: 43.

36 “Base Ball,” Boston Evening Transcript, May 6, 1876: 2; “The National Game,” New York Herald, May 2, 1876: 8. The unavailability of Nat Hicks necessitated a reshuffle of the Mutuals lineup. Note: Unlike most 19th century baseball historians and, Major League Baseball does not recognize the 1871-1875 National Association as a major league.

37 “Short Stops,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 18, 1876: 8.

38 “Base Ball: White Stockings vs. Athletics,” Chicago Tribune, June 11, 1876: 5; “Base Ball,” Philadelphia Sunday Dispatch, June 11, 1876: 3.

39 New York Clipper, April 7, 1877: 10.

40 Per State of New York marriage records, accessed via

41 1880 New York City directory.

42 “Pearce’s Complimentary Benefit,” New York Clipper, July 23, 1881: 282.

43 “Quarter Stretch Gossip,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 12, 1884: 1; “The Turf,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 2, 1882: 6; “The Pool Rooms,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 23, 1881: 9.

44 “Diamond Dust,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, December 12, 1888: 8, citing the Philadelphia Press.

45 “John Hatfield’s Deserted Children,” Chicago Tribune, September 23, 1889: 5.

46 “John Hatfield’s Deserted Children.” Bertinette was presumably named for her Aunt Bertinette Hatfield, John’s older sister. The unusual first name was originally fashioned from the maiden surname of John’s grandmother, Elizabeth Bertine (1797-1879).

47 “A Father’s Heartlessness,” (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal, September 23, 1889: 1.

48 “Deserted and Destitute,” New York Times, September 23, 1889: 2.

49 “A Child Arrested for Begging,” Bayonne (New Jersey) Times, September 26, 1889: 4. See also, “John Hatfield’s Child Begging,” Kansas City Times, September 23, 1889: 2; “A Pitiable Case,” (Nashville) Daily American, September 23, 1889: 1.

50 “Deserted and Destitute,” above.

51 “Heartless John Hatfield,” Buffalo Morning Express, September 23, 1889: 1.

52 New York Herald, September 23, 1889: 8.

53 Lebanon (Pennsylvania) Daily News, September 23, 1889: 1.

54 “A Heartless Wretch,” St. Joseph (Missouri) Daily Gazette, September 23, 1889: 3.

55 (Lincoln) Nebraska Daily Journal, September 23, 1889: 1.

56 “Irrepressible Dan O’Leary,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 4, 1890: 3. “Was Under Suspicion,” Sporting Life, December 25, 1897.

57 Last Will and Testament of James T. Hatfield, admitted to probate on July 1, 1893, and accessed via Ancestry.

58 According to New York State marriage records, the couple was married in Manhattan on June 30, 1894.

59 Rose Hatfield outlived her husband by two years, dying in April 1911 at age 51.

60 “Baseball Notes,” Boston Globe, September 3, 1896: 3.

61 John Hatfield entry in Major League Baseball Profiles, 1871-1900, Vol. 1, David Nemec, ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011), 553.

62 “Hatfield Laid to Rest,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 24, 1909: 20; “Death of a Noted Ball Player,” (Long Island City, New York) Long Island Daily Star, February 23, 1909: 1.

63 Last Will and Testament of John V.B. Hatfield, admitted to probate on April 15, 1909, and accessed via Ancestry.

64 “Hatfield Dead,” Sporting Life, February 27, 1909: 18.

Full Name

John Van Buskirk Hatfield


July 20, 1847 at Hoboken, NJ (USA)


February 20, 1909 at Long Island City, NY (USA)

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