Harry “Cozy” Dolan was from Cambridge, Massachusetts, just across the Charles River from Boston and in the shadow of MIT and Harvard. The promising left–handed pitcher got the opportunity to pitch for the Boston Beaneaters in 1895–1896. He struggled on the mound, and then bounced around the minors before returning to the majors four years later as an outfielder. His nickname of “Cozy,” according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, came from “his habit of taking things comfortably under all circumstances.”2 Dolan played for four teams in six seasons before returning to Boston. Contracting typhoid fever in 1907 while in spring training, Dolan died at the age of 34
Patrick Henry Dolan was born on December 4, 1872, to John and Ellen Dolan. John was listed as a furniture repairer in the 1880 US census. Patrick had an older brother, John, and a younger sister, Margaret. He began playing baseball in 1890 as a shortstop with the semipro Baldwins of Cambridge, made up of 18–year–olds.3 In 1892 with the amateur Cambridge Reds Dolan played some third base but also “developed into a wonderfully clever pitcher” in the words of the Cambridge Tribune.4 He played the following season with the semipro team in Weymouth, Massachusetts, making about $12 per game.5 “Dolan was very successful last year,” the Boston Post wrote of his 1893 season. “He is left–handed, with good curves and great speed.”6
Dolan started with the Fall River (Massachusetts) club in the spring of 1894,7 but early in the season8 was transferred to Portland, Maine, of the New England League. The Worcester Daily Spy commented, “Dolan, Portland’s little left–handed pitcher, seemed to puzzle the Lewiston (Maine) batsmen” in a Lewiston 10–6 win on May 7.9 Dolan received some major–league attention when the champion Boston Beaneaters paid a visit to Portland on May 11 for an exhibition game. Boston won easily, 9–3, but Dolan had limited the Beaneaters to one or two hits (depending on the account) and one run. “[Tommy] Tucker’s coaching caught the crowd,” the Boston Herald wrote, “and next to Dolan he was the hero of the hour.”10 “Dolan’s work was fine and the crowd was very appreciative,” wrote the Boston Journal, “especially in the second inning, when the youngster struck out Tucker, who had been keeping up a steady stream of comment and humor.”11 Dolan also shined with the bat, going 3–for–4 with a run scored and a steal of third. “Dolan was a puzzle” to Pawtucket batters in a 13–6 win on May 22.12
The Portland club struggled financially and the ownership gave players the option of taking a 20 percent pay cut or being released. Dolan at first refused the cut, but later changed his mind and stayed with the team.13 But as the team limped along, Dolan drew more attention. Manager Mike Garrity “thinks he comes very near to having one of the best pitchers in New England “in young Dolan, the Cambridge boy, who is doing such clever work for the club,” the Herald wrote. “Dolan has been very effective and has shut out both the Lewistons and Fall Rivers this year.”14 Portland did disband in early September, and Dolan finished the season at New Bedford.15 His first start for New Bedford was September 6 when he “had splendid control of the ball and was very effective” in a 7–3 win at Fall River, according to the Boston Journal.16 Dolan also briefly played for the Springfield (Massachusetts) club during the season. The unofficial statistics published in the Boston Globe listed Dolan as having a 20–15 record with a 1.86 ERA in 35 starts with 85 strikeouts, and 16 appearances without allowing a run.17
The Beaneaters signed Dolan in mid–September.18 Boston catcher Jack Ryan, who was loaned to New Bedford for a few games, said Dolan had the best “drop ball” he had ever seen19 and recommended him to manager Frank Selee. The long–armed lefty had some advantages in his windup. “His preliminary swing is high over his head and he gets a great drop to his curves and straight balls,” wrote the Globe. “He watched the bases very closely, and fields his position in beautiful style.”20 Dolan “has great speed and is very accurate,” wrote the Boston Journal, and “has a deceptive delivery, having a great command of the ball for a south paw twirler. He has a puzzling drop and a great change of pace.”21
In a spring–training game in Charleston, South Carolina, Dolan held the Washington Senators to three hits in five innings.22 He caught on with the Beaneaters and made his regular–season debut on April 26, 1895, in New York. Dolan was taking tickets at the gate, but was told to get dressed and get into the game.23 He entered in the fifth inning with Boston trailing 9–0. “His work was superb from the start,” the Globe commented, “and of the six hits made off him in the last four innings three were scratches.”24 Boston lost 14–3. Dolan was later “farmed out” to Portland when Boston went on a Western trip.
Dolan returned shortly, and in his first appearance before a Boston crowd, he scattered nine hits and defeated Pittsburgh 3–1 as old Cambridge friends cheered him on.25 “[F]ull of ginger, both in fielding his position and while dancing them around the rubber,” Dolan shut out St. Louis on three hits in a 6–0 win on September 9.26 On September 18, with Baltimore in a pennant fight with Cleveland, the Orioles met Boston, which had fallen out of the race. Dolan shut out the eventual champions 8–0, allowing only three hits.27 He finished the season 11–7 with a 4.27 ERA and three shutouts in 25 games.
In 1896 Dolan pitched in only six games, going 1–4 with a 4.83 ERA, and at the end of July was “farmed out” to Providence of the Eastern League.28 J.C. Morse wrote in Sporting Life that Dolan was “useless about the whole of the season on account of overexertion with an unseasoned arm.”29 Still, Providence won the Eastern League pennant with Dolan and fellow Boston pitcher Ted Lewis contributing.
Released by Boston just before Opening Day in 1897,30 Dolan was upset because major–league clubs had already finalized their rosters.31 He bounced around the minor–league level for the rest of the season. He played briefly for the Reading (Pennsylvania) club, then was laid off without pay, and appealed to the National Board and National League President Nick Young. “He asks President Young to assist him in securing his release, as he is deprived of a means of livelihood.”32 Dolan then pitched exhibition games for Philadelphia of the Atlantic League, as management saw no reason to put him into championship games.33 He also pitched for Millville of the South New Jersey League, and then went back to Springfield.
Dolan “is anxious to get a place in the [Springfield] outfield,” wrote Sporting Life just before the 1898 season. “He says he has had enough of pitching, and would like to quit the box for good, and is of the opinion that he could hold his own.”34 He became the regular right fielder and team captain.35 Dolan had two solid seasons at the plate with Springfield in 1897–98, batting .283 and .309, while going 9–4 and 9–8 on the mound. Sporting Life also noted that Dolan kept busy in the winter of 1898–99 by running Roughan’s bowling alley in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston.36
Dolan wanted to be solely an outfielder.37 His wish was granted and he had a successful 1899 season in which he batted .295 for Springfield and pitched in only two games. He had a two–home–run game at Worcester on Labor Day.38 He also played a few games for New Haven of the Connecticut League.
As 1900 dawned, Dolan found himself in Springfield once again. He was improving as an outfielder and at the plate. He batted .333 in 126 games, with 86 runs scored and 7 triples. His season included a 4–for–5 performance at Toronto in September.39 His perseverance paid off as after four seasons he got another crack at the major leagues. In late September, the Chicago National League club, then referred to as the Orphans instead of the Cubs because of Cap Anson’s departure, purchased Dolan’s contract for the remainder of the season. He was given $250 down with $250 more in incentives, mainly if the management felt he was satisfactory. “Dolan has been regarded all through the season as the Springfield player most likely to graduate into the big league,” wrote the Springfield Republican. “He has improved in all departments of the game. He is the most scientific hitter on the team and probably in the Eastern League. He has improved in judging fly balls and his throwing in from right–field could hardly be improved upon.”40 The Chicago Tribune said Dolan was “regarded as the best player in that [Eastern] league from the standpoint of brains. He is a tricky batter and baserunner, gets down to first base fast, beating out bunts, and is a fair batter, ranking over the .300 mark.”41 Unofficially, Dolan finished fourth in hitting in the Eastern League with a .329 average.42
Dolan debuted for Chicago on September 29, batting second and going 1–for–5 as the right fielder in a 10–7 loss to St. Louis.43 In his 13 games in the outfield for the sixth–place club, Dolan made four errors, three of them in one game on October 8 in a 13–4 loss. He batted .271 for his brief stint.
The Boston Herald on March 5 noted that Dolan was coming back to the city for the 1901 season.44 He would not be playing for the Beaneaters, but for the new Boston team in the newly formed American League. Teams were making a mad dash to either snatch talent or hold onto their own. The Chicago Tribune reported that Dolan was already under contract for the Orphans and “is the first player to actually jump a contract in the present war.”45 A few days later, however, Dolan acknowledged that he had not signed with Boston but “put his name to an agreement to sign” as a negotiating tactic. Chicago had still not paid him the back salary due from his Springfield contract, so Dolan was ready to jump leagues and return to Boston.46
With his contract settled, Dolan batted cleanup for Chicago on Opening Day and stroked three hits in the team’s 8–7 win over St. Louis.47 He had two triples in a game on May 3 against Pittsburgh,48 and batting leaders published in the Chicago Inter–Ocean on May 5 showed Dolan batting .308 in nine games (12–for–39).49 But he still struggled in the outfield, in one instance muffing a fly ball that led to an inside–the–park home run on June 4.50 The Tribune said Dolan “made his usual error” in a June 10 game.51
Dolan’s time in Chicago grew short as his 10 errors in 82 chances gave him a ticket out of town, but the Brooklyn Superbas were quick to sign him.52 Brooklyn had won the pennant in 1900 and was hanging around the .500 mark in 1901. Dolan played much better in the outfield for Brooklyn, having a .967 fielding percentage compared with his .878 for Chicago. He batted .261 in 66 games. He even demanded a higher salary at the end of the season. “Dolan made his request with the easy grace and nonchalance which have earned him his sobriquet of ‘Cosey,’” wrote the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, “and he upheld that nickname by expressing no surprise whatever when the management refused to accede to his demands.”53
At spring training in 1902, Dolan was asked to fill in at first base due to an injury. “Dolan is looking splendidly,” the Eagle wrote. “He is not unacquainted with first base, as he played the position in Springfield two years ago.”54 Dolan became the regular center fielder and had a strong season, leading the National League in games played (141), at–bats (592), and plate appearances (640). He was fourth in singles (142) of his 166 total hits. He also had 24 stolen bases to go along with his .280 batting average and.324 on–base percentage. He patrolled the outside, mostly in center, with Wee Willie Keeler in right. Brooklyn was a good second–place team but was still 27½ games behind dominating Pittsburgh.
On the morning of August 24, 1902, Dolan married Frances M. Duffy of Chicago. The Superbas had a doubleheader that day and Dolan, perhaps inspired by wedding bliss, went 4–for–5 in their 7–2 win in the first game, a repeat of his performance at Pittsburgh the previous day. “The bride witnessed the two games from the grandstand and accompanied her husband to Pittsburgh,”55 where the Superbas had a makeup game.
Dolan moved to Chicago, since Frances was there, and signed a contract to play for the American League’s Chicago White Sox, owned by Charles Comiskey.56 A reserve, he played 19 games at first base and four games in the outfield for the White Sox before being traded with second baseman Tom Daly to the Cincinnati Reds for second baseman George Magoon. “When we can get two such good men as Daly and Dolan in exchange for one, I believe in making the deal,” said Reds President Garry Herrmann.57 “I will be willing to be a party to the trade,” Dolan said by “the long–distanced telephone” with Cincinnati manager Joe Kelley, “although I regret to leave Chicago for business reasons. If the terms I submitted to the Cincinnati Club are acceptable, there will be more money for me, and I hope to be given a regular position on the Reds.”58 Dolan was “prospering on the West Side [Chicago] as a restaurateur,” at 600 Madison, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.59
Dolan’s batting average jumped 28 points with the Reds (.288) and he found a home as the regular right fielder. The Palace of the Fans had a 450–foot right field in which the blazing sun caused problems. “Well, I got along pretty well with the sun out there,” Dolan told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “But I’m ready to turn the field over to anybody else who wants it and take another.”60
Before the 1904 season began, the Dolans celebrated the birth of their only child, John.61 “I have been quite busy during the past week,” Dolan wrote to the Cincinnati Enquirer, “and you know baseball was off my mind.” He went on to jokingly write, “Both mother and son are doing fine, and I expect to send him to work next week. I am getting just a bit anxious for starting time to come.”62 Frances would bring young John to home games, “the youngest rooter in the Palace of the Fans,” Ren Mulford Jr. wrote in Sporting Life.63 Dolan batted.284 for Cincinnati with a .342 on–base percentage in 129 games, mostly in the outfield but with 24 games at first base. His six home runs ranked him third in the league.
Dolan’s 1905 season fell apart in Cincinnati. Batting .234 in 22 games, he was released on June 2. Dolan blamed the Cincinnati sportswriters for his release and on that very night met Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Jack Ryder at the Grand Central Depot. Dolan attacked Ryder, who gave Dolan “an artistic trimming.” Because this occurred on railroad property, there was an immediate warrant for Dolan’s arrest. He paid his fine, and a few days later signed with the Beaneaters. He was going back to where his career began a decade earlier.64 This was a much different Boston team, on its way to a horrible 51–103 season.
Dolan took over as Boston’s starting right fielder, playing in 112 games and batting .275. A highlight of his season was getting five hits and seven RBIs in a doubleheader sweep of Brooklyn on September 18.65 But he had an awful .931 fielding percentage for the season. He also took the mound for the first time in nine seasons at the major–league level, pitching four innings of relief. In 1906, Dolan was again Boston’s starting right fielder. His batting average dropped to .248 but he played in all of Boston’s 152 games, and pitched two games in relief. While statistics weren’t compiled on a game–by–game basis, the Globe wrote that Dolan batted near .400 for the second half of the season.66 His fielding percentage as an outfielder didn’t improve, falling to .928, the worst in the league among outfielders. Off the field, Dolan moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts, where he opened a hotel and restaurant.67
In 1907 the Beaneaters were renamed the Doves, after new owner George Dovey. At the 1907 spring training in West Baden Springs, Indiana, Dolan developed severe chills. On March 16 he was hospitalized at the Norton Infirmary in Louisville with malarial fever. The team traveled on to Georgia. Dolan didn’t respond to treatment, and then it was discovered that he had developed typhoid fever.68 His wife, Frances, and his sister came to be with him, as did close friend Frank Chance of the Chicago Cubs. Dolan died in Louisville on March 29. Frances complained that he was being treated by surgeons instead of physicians and that her husband died of neglect.69
Boston canceled its remaining spring games and came home for the funeral. The Boston baseball community was already in a state of shock and grief; 24 hours earlier manager Chick Stahl of the Boston Americans had committed suicide.70
Beaneaters President George Dovey addressed the team, saying “the duty that devolves on us is to pay the last sad token of respect and esteem to our departed comrade.”71 “He was not only a model ball player,” manager Fred Tenney said, “but a most lovable companion. It was a genuine pleasure to have such a one as he in the club, and I feel every one of us has sustained a deep personal loss in his death.”72 Tenney and other Boston players served as pallbearers, and the streets near the Dolans’ home on Prospect Street in Somerville, outside Boston, “were crowded with people, most of them lovers of the national game to whom the face of ‘Cozy’ Dolan was long familiar,” wrote the Cambridge Sentinel. As the procession moved toward St. Joseph Church in Somerville “the crowd stood with reverently bared heads, and tears dimmed many an eye.”73 Dolan was buried at St. Paul’s cemetery in nearby Arlington.
1 Not to be confused with another Cozy Dolan in baseball history. Albert James Dolan was also referred to as Cozy. He played from 1909 to 1922.
2 “A Billet Doux From ‘Cozy’; Harry Dolan We Should Say,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 17, 1902: 17.
3 “Base–Ball,” Cambridge Tribune, May 17, 1890: 8, May 17, 1890: 8.
4 “Sporting. Base–Ball,” Cambridge Tribune, May 20, 1893: 1.
6 “They Want a Pitcher,” Boston Post, January 21, 1894: 13.
7 “Fall River Nine for ’94,” Boston Herald, March 12, 1894: 8.
8 “New England League,” Boston Post, August 28, 1894: 3; “Dolan Signed,” Boston Globe, October 28, 1894: 14.
9 “Lewiston 10, Portland 6,” Worcester (Massachusetts) Daily Spy, May 8, 1894: 7.
10 “The Bostons Visit Portland,” Boston Herald, May 12, 1894: 2.
11 “Only Three Times,” Boston Journal, May 12, 1894: 3.
12 “Portland 13, Pawtucket 6,” Worcester Daily Spy, May 23, 1894: 7.
13 “Portland Players Cut Down,” Boston Herald, August 3, 1894: 2.
14 Boston Herald, August 13, 1894: 8.
15 “Base Ball Notes,” Boston Journal, September 5, 1894: 3.
16 “New Bedford 7; Fall River 3,” Boston Journal, September 7, 1894: 3.
17 “Wins and Losses,” Boston Globe, September 17, 1894: 2; “Fielding,” Boston Globe, September 23, 1894: 15; “Dolan Signed.”
18 “Put Outs,” Boston Herald, September 15, 1894: 2.
19 “Dolan Signed.”
21 “Will Pitch for Boston,” Boston Journal, October 29, 1894: 3.
22 “Wins First Game,” Boston Globe, March 22, 1895: 2.
23 Players took turns working the gate at the ballpark.
24 “Wipe Out Wilson,” Boston Globe, April 27, 1895: 1.
25 “Good for Dolan,” Boston Globe, June 8, 1995: 4.
26 “Due to Dolan,” Boston Globe, September 10, 1895: 4.
27 “Dolan’s Glory,” Boston Journal, September 19, 1895: 3.
28 “Diamond Dust,” Springfield Republican, July 29, 1896: 3.
29 J.C. Morse, “Hub Happenings,” Sporting Life, March 13, 1897: 9.
30 “Dolan Released,” Boston Daily Advertiser, April 20, 1897: 5.
31 “News and Comment,” Sporting Life, May 1, 1897: 5.
32 “News and Comment,” Sporting Life, June 26, 1897: 5.
33 Francis C. Richter, “Phillies’ Per Cent,” Sporting Life, July 24, 1897: 6.
34 “Hub Happenings,” Sporting Life, February 5, 1898: 6.
35 “Another Change in the Team,” Springfield Republican, August 19, 1898: 9.
36 Ibid.; The Boston Post frequently mentioned the Roughans and other bowling teams of the area, such as in the March 22, 1897, edition.
37 Jacob C. Morse, “Hub Happenings,” Sporting Life, March 18, 1899: 9.
38 Jacob C. Morse, “Boston Blue,” Sporting Life, September 16, 1899: 10.
39 “Items of Interest,” Sporting Life, September 22, 1900: 7.
40 “Chicago Buys Harry Dolan,” Springfield Republican, September 18, 1900: 12.
41 Chicago Tribune, September 27, 1900: 8.
42 “Eastern League Averages,” Washington Evening Star, November 29, 1900: 10; other statistics list his average as .333.
43 “Cardinals Win One,” Chicago Tribune, September 30, 1900: 11.
44 “Parent to Play Here,” Boston Herald, March 5, 1901: 8.
45 “Is Dolan a Contract Jumper?” Chicago Tribune, March 6, 1901: 9.
46 “Case of Harry Dolan,” Boston Journal, March 9, 1901: 7.
47 “Orphans Begin With Victory,” Chicago Tribune, April 20, 1901: 4.
48 “Loftus’ Men Lose Again,” Chicago Tribune, May 4, 1901: 4.
49 “National League Records for April,” Chicago Inter–Ocean, May 5, 1901: 10.
50 “Orphans Win at Last,” Chicago Tribune, June 5, 1901: 8.
51 “Spider and Fly Game,” Chicago Tribune, June 11, 1901: 8.
52 “Remnants Arrive in Boston,” Chicago Tribune, June 19, 1901: 6.
53 “Two California Players Added to the Brooklyn Roster,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 15, 1901: 13.
54 “Keeler Gives Players First Hard Practice,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 3, 1902: 13.
55 “Dolan Married,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 25, 1902: 2; “Win and Lose With Chicago Orphans,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 25, 1902: 11; “Harry Dolan Dead,” Cambridge Chronicle, March 30, 1907: 4.
56 “Cozy Dolan a White Stocking,” Chicago Tribune, January 13, 1903: 8.
57 “Trade Daly and Dolan for Magoon,” Inter–Ocean, June 12, 1903: 13.
58 “Dolan and Daly,” Cincinnati Enquirer, June 13, 1903: 3.
59 “Disarmed,” Cincinnati Enquirer, December 20, 1903: 10; “National League News,” Sporting Life , October 17, 1903: 3.
61 “Harry Dolan’s First Born,” Cincinnati Enquirer, January 30, 1904: 3.
62 “‘Cozy’ Dolan’s New Role,” Cincinnati Enquirer, February 4, 1904: 4.
63 Ren Mulford Jr., “East’s Big Guns,” Sporting Life, July 4, 1904: 5.
64 “Harry Dolan Released,” Louisville Courier–Journal, June 3, 1905: 9; “Arrested,” Cincinnati Enquirer, June 4, 1905: 10; “Dolan Joins Boston and Street Comes as Loan,” Boston Journal, June 6, 1905: 8; “Warrant for ‘Cosy’ Dolan,” Courier–Journal, June 4, 1905: 20.
65 “Superbas Beaten in Both Games of Doubleheader,” Boston Journal, September 19, 1905: 4.
66 “News of All Branches of Sport,” Boston Globe, March 30, 1907: 6.
67 “Harry Dolan Dead.”
68 “‘Cozy’ Dolan in Hospital,” Boston Globe, March 18, 1907: 7; “Dolan’s Death Follows Close Upon the Suicide of Captain Chick Stahl,” Boston Journal, Match 30, 1907: 5.
69 “Outfielder Harry Dolan,” Sporting Life, April 6, 1907: 5; “National League News,” Sporting Life, September 7, 1907: 9.
70 The Boston Journal published an article that would be of interest for fans of the paranormal. While Dolan had been delirious and incoherent in his last days, he spent his last hours telling those at his bedside that Stahl was dead. The family and friends at Dolan’s bedside had no knowledge of Stahl’s suicide, and no one was there to tell this news to Dolan. They thought this was simply part of his delirium and did not realize until a day later that Stahl had indeed died. See “Talked in Delirium About the Death of Stahl,” Boston Journal, April 6, 1907: 1.
71 “Team Starts for Home,” Boston Globe, March 30, 1907: 6.
73 “Harry Dolan Buried,” Cambridge Sentinel, April 6, 1907: 5.