Bob Hogan

This article was written by Paul Winter


Robert Edward (Bob) Hogan was a one-game major-leaguer in 1882. He is credited with starting one game for the St. Louis Brown Stockings, against the Louisville Eclipse. It took place in St. Louis that July 5. He pitched a complete game (eight innings).1 He allowed seven runs on ten hits, striking out four and walking no one. His entire major league career lasted one hour and thirty-five minutes.2

How did he get his fleeting opportunity? According to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the Browns’ regular pitcher, Jumbo McGinnis, had a sprained ankle, and John Schappert had a lame arm.

However, if all you did was read the game reports in some of the St. Louis papers the next morning, you might not know that it was actually Hogan — he was billed as “Williams” instead. The Globe-Democrat reported that “Williams, a semi-professional, entered the box.” Another St. Louis paper, the Post-Dispatch, stated that “Williams, a new pitcher, tossed the ball for the Browns.” The box score in the Louisville Courier-Journal also identified “Williams” as the pitcher. The Globe-Democrat stated that Williams did “splendid work, but the Browns failed to support him, the Eclipse getting seven runs when only one of them was earned.” The Browns lost, 7-4.

So why is Williams identified in many papers covering the game, yet Robert Hogan is credited in the record books? The answer can be found in the game report in the Times of Philadelphia from July 6, 1882. The Times stated that “the Browns had to swear in Hogan, of the Standard, to do the twirling.”3 For whatever reason, the local papers used the name Williams to ‘hide’ the identity of the player, but even at the time of the game it was known the player was in fact Hogan. Ultimately, the Globe-Democrat, in discussing the state of the Browns pitching staff in 1882, noted that “Shappert gave way to Bob Hogan and afterwards to Morrie] Critchley.”4

So Williams was really Bob Hogan, but who was Hogan? Al Spink, founder and editor of The Sporting News, was involved in the formation of the St. Louis Browns and knew who Hogan was. Spink included a photo of him in his book The National Game, identifying him: “Robert Hogan. The pitcher of the Standards of St. Louis, when they beat the St. Louis Browns in the opening game of the season on April 2, 1882.”5 Spink clearly knew who Hogan was; the book was published almost 30 years after that game took place.

Bob Hogan was born on April 6, 1860, to Irish immigrants Edmund and Honorah Hogan. According to the obituary for Edmund,6 the family came to St. Louis in 1846, at which point Edmund took a job at the Samuel C. Davis Company, a dry goods business. He worked there for 34 years, until his death on August 12, 1880. Census records from 1860 indicate that Edmund and Honorah had eight children, of which Bob was the youngest, just three months old at the time of the Census.7 The oldest three children were born in Ireland, while the others were born in St. Louis. At the time of his father’s death, Bob likely was also working for S.C. Davis. His occupation on the 1880 Census is listed as Drygoods Clerk, and there is a Hogan listed as playing for a baseball club sponsored by S.C. Davis, which was playing other company teams in St. Louis during the summer of 1880.8

A right-handed pitcher of slightly below average size (5-foot-7, 153 pounds), Hogan’s baseball career started in 1878 as an 18-year-old. A box score on page 3 of the St. Louis Globe Democrat on August 19, 1878, for a game between Athletic and the Grand Avenues includes a Hogan playing first base for the Athletics and R. Hogan pitching. The accompanying story says:9

“…the playing of the Athletics being first class, especially that of Barnidge, Leaman, Cunningham and R. Hogan, the latter a rising young amateur who has succeeded Levis in the pitcher’s position for the Athletics. His pitching yesterday was a first-class exhibition, no less than ten men striking out on him, among them the best batters of the Grands.”

He played with the St. Louis Red Stockings in 1880 and 1881. In 1882, when the Standard Club was organized, the Globe-Democrat noted that “Hogan pitched well for the Reds last year, and with good support will prove very effective.”10 The game Spink referred to occurred as the St. Louis Brown Stockings were preparing for the inaugural season of the American Association in the spring of 1882. Their first game was on April 2, 1882, against the new amateur club, the St. Louis Standards. Playing for the Browns that day were Bill Gleason, Charlie Comiskey, Bill Smiley, George Seward, Ned Cuthbert, Walker, McGinnis, Schappert, and a player named Jim Davis. All of these players except Davis were regulars for the Brown Stockings in 1882.11 For the Standards that day were Pidgey Morgan, Frank Decker, Art Croft, John Magner, Packy Dillon, Charlie Houtz, Simpson, Cunningham, and Hogan. The Standards won by a score of 4-2, with Hogan allowing only seven hits while walking three. None of the runs by either side was earned.12

To quickly recap Hogan’s one appearance with St. Louis, leading off for Louisville was one of the hitting stars of the day: Pete Browning. Browning, who would hit .378 in his debut season, went 1-4 against Hogan. The game was tied at 2-2 after five innings. Louisville scored an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth, but the Browns tied it up in the top of the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, Dan Sullivan tripled with the bases loaded as Louisville scored four unearned runs to open up the score. The Browns got one run back in the top of the eighth, when Williams singled and scored on a hit by Oscar Walker, but that was it.

It is curious, given the success Hogan had in this game, as well as in his start for the Browns in July, that he did not pitch more for the club, which used nine different starters that season. It may simply be that he didn’t want to be a professional pitcher. The Globe-Democrat reported in November 1882 that “Bob Hogan, who pitched so well for the Standards this season, has received letters from a dozen different managers, but he prefers stopping at home to entering upon a professional career.”13 He married Honorah (Nora) Regan on September 20, 1882; his mother died in February 1883, and he became the father of twin daughters Norinne (Nora) and Maud in June 1883.14 Another daughter, Gertrude, was born in 1890.

Between 1883 and 1885, the name Hogan appears in box scores for various local clubs in St. Louis. In February 1883, Chris Von der Ahe and Ted Sullivan organized a club called the Grand Avenue. At first, Bob Hogan was identified as being on the club, and then it was reported he was not going to be on the club. The name Hogan appears playing for a club called the Rumsey Mohawks in April 1883, for the Grand Avenues in August 1883, and the Nationals from East St. Louis in October 1883, all at first base.

There is no evidence one way or the other as to whether these are all Bob Hogan. However, in 1884, “Bob Hogan, an old-time St. Louis player” signed to play right field for Baltimore in the new Union Association, along with Jack Shields, a local catcher.15 Both went to Baltimore in the spring, but they returned to St. Louis after a dispute with the Baltimore manager. An article reporting their return specified “R. E. Hogan” as one of the returning players and indicated “his services would be valuable as a first baseman with any club.”16

In 1885, R. Hogan was identified as a change pitcher and first baseman for a club called the Drummonds in St. Louis. This all suggests that Bob Hogan was transitioning from pitcher to position player during this time while still playing for amateur clubs in St. Louis.

On July 19, 1886, the St. Joseph News-Press reported that “Leavenworth has signed Bob Hogan of St. Louis to play first.”17 Baseball Reference identifies two Hogans — Bob Hogan and Mortimer “Eddie” Hogan — as playing with the Leavenworth Soldiers of the Western League in 1886. However, Mortimer Hogan was playing with Augusta and Atlanta in 1886. 18 In reality it was a pitcher named Tom Hogan who played for Leavenworth along with Bob. The box score for a game between Leavenworth and Denver from the Leavenworth Times on August 5, 1886 lists R. Hogan at first base and T. Hogan pitching.19 Pitcher Hogan was sold to Denver about one week later. 20 R. Hogan continues to appear in box scores playing first base with Leavenworth.21

It’s likely that the Baseball Reference Leavenworth stats attributed to Mortimer really belong to Bob, who played first base, while the Leavenworth pitching and hitting stats attributed to Bob probably belong to Tom.22 For Bob Hogan, 1886 was his last professional season.

The Sporting News maintained an extensive file of index cards for major and minor league players. In their records is a card for Robert Edward Hogan, indicating that he played for St. Louis in 1882, Milwaukee in 1884, New York’s Metropolitans in 1887, and Cleveland in 1888.23 It is now known that the record for Robert Edward Hogan was long confused with and combined with that for Mortimer Edward Hogan.24 Bob Hogan pitched one game for the Browns in 1882. Mortimer played in the majors for the Milwaukee Brewers of the Union Association in 1884, the New York Metropolitans in the American Association in 1887, and the Cleveland Blues in the American Association in 1888. It is likely that the source of the confusion was the record for Robert Edward Hogan kept by the Sporting News all those years ago.

The 1900 Census lists Bob and his brother Edward (living with Bob’s family, along with Edward’s son Daniel) as “Com’l Traveler.” Bob and Edward are listed as tobacco salesmen in the 1910 Census.25 By 1920, Bob and wife Nora were living in California, where his occupation was hotel manager.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted on January 24, 1932, the death two days earlier of Robert E. Hogan, husband of Nora E. Hogan, father of Maud Covert and Gertrude H. Fox, in Yucaipa, California.26 Bob was just shy of 72 years old. He is buried at Hillside Memorial Park in Redlands, California.27

 

Acknowledgments

This biography was reviewed by Bill Lamb, Norman Macht, and Rory Costello. It was fact-checked by Chris Rainey.

 

Sources

General references consulted for this biography include game reports and box scores from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat from 1880-1885, as accessed through Newspapers.com and Geneology.com. US Census data was accessed through Geneology.com and Ancestry.com other family information was found at FindaGrave.com. Stats and records were collected from Baseball-Reference. Al Spink’s The National Game (St. Louis: National Game Publishing Co., 1910) also provided background on baseball in St. Louis in the early 1880s.

 

Notes

1 The home team often batted first at that time, so the visitors (Louisville) would not have had to bat in the ninth inning.

2 Game details from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and Louisville Journal-Courier articles from July 6, 1882.

3 “A Cold Day in St. Louis,The Times (Philadelphia), July 6, 1882: 3.

4 “Brown Stocking Changes,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 24, 1882: 7.

5 The National Game, Al Spink (St. Louis: National Game Publishing Co., 1910), 379. A score for the April 2, 1882 game is provided on page 50.

6 “The Late Edmund Hogan,St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 14, 1880: 7.

7 Baseball-Reference lists Bob Hogan’s birthdate as April 6, 1862. Given the age of three months at the time of the 1860 Census, a birth date of April 1860 in the 1900 Census, and the date on his gravestone, it is likely that this should be April 6, 1860.

8 For example, a box score in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on July 18, 1880: 6 (“The Davis Team Beaten”) has Hogan playing second base for S.C. Davis & Co. This could be his brother Dennis, also listed as a clerk in the 1880 Census, and 35 years old at the time.

9 “Athletics vs. Grand Avenues,” St. Louis Globe Democrat, August 19, 1878: 3.

10 Hogan shows up in a box score for the St. Louis Red Stockings in “Rah for the Reds,St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 19, 1880: 5, for example. The quote is from an article “Base Ball. The New Standard Club,Globe-Democrat, February 28, 1882: 6.

11 Jim Davis was engaged just a few days prior to fill in for Jack Gleason, who was hurt. “Saturday’s Base Ball,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 31, 1882: 8.

12 Game details from “The Standards Successful,St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 3, 1882: 3.

13 “Base Ball. Diamond Dust,St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 14, 1882: 8.

14 The date of their marriage comes from FindaGrave.com entry for Hanora “Nora” Regan Hogan, who died in 1960. Other family details here and elsewhere were traced through Census records from 1870 — 1930.

15 “Diamond Dust,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 25, 1884: 8.

16 “Freezing Out,St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 7, 1884: 8.

17 “Gossip of the Game,St. Joseph (Missouri) News-Press, July 19, 1886: 1.

18 In early July the Atlanta Constitution reported that “Eddie Hogan, who is one of the best out fielders in the country, and an excellent base runner, has been signed by Atlanta.” “Diamond Dust,Atlanta Constitution, July 7, 1886: 8.

19 “Leavenworth Defeats Denver and Scores a Splendid Victory,Leavenworth Times, August 5, 1886: 8.

20 “Hot Pick-Ups,”, Topeka (Kansas) Daily Press, August 12, 1886: 4. T. Hogan re-signed with Denver for 1887 (“Tuesday’s Daily,Leavenworth Weekly Standard, December 10, 1886: 4.), and was then sold to St. Joseph in July 1887 (“Hastings Wins the First Game,St. Joseph Gazette-Herald, July 27, 1887: 5.). His first name was revealed when The St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported in August 1887 that “Tom Hogan, the St. Louis pitcher, late of Denver and St. Joseph, is at home, and will take a needed rest. He is not in the best of health.” “Diamond Dust,St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 7, 1887: 9.

21 “Base Ball,” Leavenworth Standard, August 21, 1886: 4.

22 Bob Hogan is also credited with stats for Denver in 1886, and Denver and St. Joseph in 1887. These also likely should be attributed to hitherto unrecognized Tom Hogan.

23 The Sporting News Baseball Players Contract Cards Collection was accessed online through the Digital Library Collection hosted by the LA84 Foundation.

24 This confusion is why Bob Hogan is identified as “Eddie” on his Baseball-Reference page, while Mortimer Edward Hogan, referred to as “Eddie” during his playing days, is identified as Mortimer Hogan.

25 An “Application for License to Marry” was filed with the County of St. Louis for Harry F. Fox and Gertrude H. Hogan on August 12, 1912.

26 “Deaths,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 24, 1932: 40.

27 Census records for Robert and Nora Hogan in 1920 and 1930 give a birth year of 1862 for both. However, the gravestone for Robert Hogan has a birth year of 1860, and the FindaGrave.com website lists Nora’s birth date as December 31, 1860, which agree with the 1900 and 1910 Census records.

Full Name

Robert Edward Hogan

Born

April 6, 1862 at St. Louis, MO (USA)

Died

January 22, 1932 at Yucaipa, CA (USA)

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