Will Calihan

This article was written by Bill Lamb

Will Calihan (COURTESY OF BILL LAMB)The late-19th century pitcher identified by modern baseball reference authority as Will Calihan was the youngest of four ball-playing brothers from Rochester, New York. As a 22-year-old rookie in 1890, he won 18 games for the hometown entry in the major league American Association. The promise of that campaign, however, went unfulfilled, frustrated by control problems and intemperate conduct. By mid-season 1891, Calihan had been consigned to the minors. Naturally athletic and versatile defensively – he played every position on the diamond at one time or other during his professional career – Calihan expanded his skill set and moderated his behavior. But a big league callback never came, and before he turned 30, his time in Organized Baseball was over. Returning to Rochester, Calihan lived and worked out of the spotlight until his death in late 1917. A baseball-centric account of his life follows.

On an undiscovered date in 1868,1 our subject was born William T. Callahan in Oswego, New York, a small port and rail hub on Lake Ontario. He was one of 11 children2 born to tailor Henry Callahan (1825-1886), an Irish Catholic immigrant, and his wife Margaret (née Gaffney, born 1835 in Canada). By 1875, the family had relocated 60 miles southwest to the industrial city of Rochester. Courtesy of misspellings by US and New York census takers, the family surname also changed, evolving over time from Callahan to Callihan to Calihan.3

As soon as he was able, Will – or Billy, as he was often called – followed his older brothers onto the roster of local amateur baseball clubs. In October 1885, shortstop Charlie Calihan, catcher Tom Calihan, and left fielder Jack Calihan each hit a triple in a Ninth Ward All-Stars win over the Excelsiors.4 In addition to ballplaying talent, young Will also shared his brothers’ proclivity for dispute, drinking, and mayhem. And like his older siblings, the junior Calihan was no stranger to the Rochester police and criminal court. Perhaps ironically, it was Jack’s incarceration on an assault charge that opened the vacancy in the Ninth Ward lineup that Will filled in 1886. Later in the year, Tom Calihan was arrested after stabbing someone in a local saloon.5

The following summer, Will Calihan played semipro ball in Elmira.6 That September, he entered the professional ranks, but got off on the wrong foot. Calihan signed as a pitcher with the Buffalo Bisons of the International Association, but then failed to report, pitching instead for a semipro club in Kingston, Ontario, for $50 per win. Upon being discovered, he was at risk of being blacklisted (but was not).7 A month later, Will was home in Rochester, pitching in the city amateur league.8

In spring 1888, Calihan (by then 20 years old) was engaged to pitch for another International Association club, the hometown Rochester Jingoes. Listed by modern reference authority as 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, the right-hander was not an imposing figure in the box; indeed, he was often described in press accounts as “little.”9 He did not possess blazing speed either. Instead, Calihan relied on a variety of breaking pitches, with a drop (sharp overhand curveball) being his out pitch.10 Settling in behind ex-major leaguer Bob Barr (35-13) as the Jingoes’ second starter, Calihan provided reliable, if unspectacular, service (14-16, with a 1.82 ERA in 272 innings) for the fourth-place (62-45, .579) Rochester club.

Late in the campaign, Calihan’s athleticism enhanced his value to the ball club. With the Jingoes shortstop sidelined by injury, Will joined his brother Tom on the left side of Rochester’s infield. His play there soon drew a rave review from the team’s Sporting Life correspondent: “Billy Calihan, our dandy little pitcher, is playing shortstop during Fred Miller’s disability, and to say that he is filling the requirements of the position is stating it mildly. He is playing a great short, batting hard and running the bases like a race horse.”11 Calihan finished his first pro season with a respectable .241 batting average (39-for-162), and his future looked promising.12

Prior to the start of the 1889 season, Will became a father. But the circumstances attending the March birth of daughter Anna, including the name of her mother and whether she and Will were married, have been lost to time. Suffice it to say that Calihan took a wife at some point, but nothing aside from her death in June 1895 has been uncovered about Mrs. Calihan.

Whatever his domestic situation, Calihan returned to the Rochester Jingoes in 1889, but the season proved tumultuous. Before signing, he and club management haggled over salary.13 Whether the parties settled on Calihan’s figure ($1,250), management’s ($1,000), or somewhere in between “is not known, and as a matter of fact is nobody’s business,” a Rochester newspaper pronounced.14 Financial difficulty, however, plagued the club throughout the season. The Jingoes were also wracked by dissension, with various players, including third baseman Tom Calihan, at odds with manager Henry Leonard. Will Calihan, however, was not yet a problem, posting solid numbers (12-8, with a 1.95 ERA in 189 innings) into early July. The highlight was a one-hit shutout of the Buffalo Bisons a week earlier.15

After a particularly wretched performance by Tom in a July 4 doubleheader against the Toronto Canucks, manager Leonard fined the older Calihan, who then walked out on the club.16 In sympathy, brother Will refused to board the train for a road trip to Buffalo. As trenchantly noted by the Buffalo Express, “Tom was fined $100 for [poor] play and is mad. Will is mad because Tom is.”17 Management thereupon upped the ante, threatening Will with a $100 fine for every day that he stayed out of uniform.18

To no effect. Will remained defiant. Reorganization and the infusion of cash from new stockholders, meanwhile, saved the Rochester club from financial collapse.19 But incoming club leadership was no more disposed to tolerate player insubordination than its predecessor had been. Accordingly, Will Calihan was jettisoned via trade to Buffalo.20 Pitching for a weak Bisons club headed for a seventh-place finish (41-65, .387), Calihan posted numbers (8-11, .429) slightly above the club norm. But he remained immature and temperamental, with one local commentator observing that “Calihan seems to be something of a quitter.”21 Nevertheless, the young hurler figured prominently in the plans of those about to assume control of the professional baseball scene in Buffalo: the leaders of the city’s entry in a newly formed third major league circuit, the Players League.22

In early December, Jack Rowe, the shortstop-manager of the PL Buffalo Bisons, trekked to Rochester “to sign Willie Calihan for the Buffalo Brotherhood team. Terms were agreed upon and Rowe gave Calihan a blank contract which the latter promised to return in three or four days.”23 Except he never did. Meanwhile, the family was dealing with its latest problem with Rochester authorities: the arrest of Charlie Calihan on a complaint charging him with abandonment of his mentally ill wife and non-support of his children.24

Much to the chagrin of Buffalo partisans, Will Calihan did not sign with its Players League club. Instead, he joined the Rochester Broncos, a newly organized nine that had been accepted into the major league American Association for the 1890 season.25 The Buffalo Express disdained Calihan for breaking faith with the Brotherhood club. “Calihan had promised to sign here, but his [signing elsewhere] was not entirely unexpected. Promises by baseball players are to be kept only in heaven,” the newspaper lamented. As for Calihan himself, the Express sneered, “Willie is all right except that he has to be fed with a stick of candy before he goes in to pitch a game. He couldn’t get along in Rochester last year, but with the absence of his incorrigible brother [Tom] he will likely succeed.”26

Although the American Association had not been as thoroughly stripped of playing talent as the National League had been by Players League defections, the AA was still a decidedly degraded circuit. Its 1889 champion Brooklyn Bridegrooms club and the Cincinnati Red Stockings had jumped to the National League, while two other AA franchises (Baltimore and Kansas City) had opted for affiliation with a minor league in 1890. The Rochester Broncos were assembled to serve as one of four needed replacement clubs. However expedient the club’s genesis, Calihan’s signing with Rochester elevated him to the status of major league ballplayer before he had reached age 22.

Will Calihan and the Rochester Broncos made their major league debuts on April 17, 1890, playing an away game against the Philadelphia Athletics. The outcome: an 11-8 setback that the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle attributed largely to Calihan’s “nervousness.”27 Thereafter, the young hurler gathered himself and strung together six consecutive complete-game victories. As he had for Rochester’s 1888 club, Calihan eventually settled in behind Bob Barr (28-24) as the club’s second starter. Will got along well with Broncos manager Pat Powers. His relations with club ownership, however, were another matter entirely.

On a late July evening and with manager Powers away on a brief scouting trip, Rochester club boss Henry Brinker assigned a club lackey named Albrecht to tail Calihan, suspected of routinely breaking training. While imbibing in a local saloon, Calihan made out the spy, lured him to an isolated location, and gave Albrecht a sound thrashing. The following afternoon, Calihan turned in a poor performance, dropping an 8-3 decision to the Louisville Colonels that the Democrat and Chronicle blamed on the pitcher’s penchant for bar-hopping. “Calihan has a brighter future before him than any man in the base ball profession, but he is spoiling his chances as rapidly as he can,” the newspaper declared, calling for a hefty fine and/or suspension to be imposed on the errant hurler. “He is very popular in Rochester but he can’t fill himself with beer every night and play ball the next day, and the sooner he finds that out the better it will be for him in every way.”28

When manager Powers returned, Calihan was suspended at ownership’s insistence. Then club boss Brinker raised the stakes, bringing Albrecht before a local magistrate so that a warrant could be issued for Calihan’s arrest on an assault charge.29 An unabashed Calihan promptly pled not guilty to the charge, and when Albrecht failed to appear in court to testify, the charge was dismissed.30 According to club secretary Edward Bohachek, the charge was not prosecuted because in view of a fine and suspension, “the directors think that is punishment enough for the pugilistic pitcher.”31 In early September, Calihan returned to action, but after two well-pitched defeats, he was suspended again, bringing his season to a premature close.

In between periods of imposed idleness, Calihan pitched creditably for the fifth-place Broncos (63-63-7, .500). In 37 appearances, he went 18-15 (.545), with a respectable 3.28 ERA in 296 1/3 innings. On the minus side, control lapses yielded a combined walks/HBP figure (141) that exceeded his strikeouts (127), and he threw 13 wild pitches as well. But Calihan’s versatility – he also played 12 games in the Rochester outfield capably – proved a benefit to the club, even if his batting stats (.145 BA, with only seven extra-base hits in 159 at-bats) were underwhelming.32

Calihan obtained a degree of monetary recompense shortly after the season ended. He filed suit in Rochester Municipal Court against Brinker and the Rochester Base Ball Association for $1,000 in salary withheld from him while under suspension.33 At the close of proceedings, the court entered judgment in plaintiff Calihan’s favor, and awarded him $717 in damages.34 Elsewhere in the courthouse, elder brother Jack was not so fortunate. He was convicted of assault and attempted robbery35 and later sentenced to a term in the state prison in Auburn.

During the winter of 1890-1891, the employment landscape for professional baseball players was far less expansive than it had been the year before. The demise of the Players League and the fragile health of the American Association made secure jobs hard to come by for all but well-established players. As for Will Calihan, the disbanding of the Rochester Broncos after the 1890 season made him a free agent, available for signing by any club.36 In the estimation of a Buffalo observer, the unattached Calihan was a potential star. “His one drawback is an ill-temper and were it not for that [Calihan] would be the equal of any pitcher in the country.”37 Happily for Will, another AA club, the Philadelphia Athletics, shared that estimation and tendered him a contract.38 But Calihan’s time in the City of Brotherly Love proved brief and disappointing.

He got off well with his new ball club, posting a 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles in his initial start. But from there, his performance went into a tailspin. Despite splitting 12 decisions as an Athletic, his pitching was lousy. In 112 innings, Calihan allowed 210 base runners and 103 runs scored, and his 6.43 ERA and .312 opponents’ batting average were among the American Association’s worst. His versatility – errorless defensive work as an emergency third baseman and shortstop – provided small compensation. On June 23, Calihan was released.

Although he played high minor league ball for the next six seasons, Calihan was never recalled to the majors, his time as a big leaguer over at age 23. In two seasons as an AA pitcher, he posted a 24-21 (.533) record. He completed 42 of his 47 starting assignments but never threw a shutout. His 4.14 ERA in 408 1/3 innings pitched encompassed 427 base hits and 172 walks. He also hit 28 batters and threw 17 wild pitches, while striking out 155. Calihan played competent defense when stationed in the field – only two errors in 14 games as a position player – but his hitting was weak: a .158 batting average with but eight extra-base hits in 215 at-bats.

Cast adrift by Philadelphia, Calihan was soon reunited with former Rochester manager Pat Powers, now the skipper of the Buffalo club in the newly launched Eastern Association.39 Under the supervision of his old mentor, Calihan’s performance underwent a remarkable turnaround. In 25 outings, he went 16-6 (.727) with a sparkling 1.25 ERA in 216 innings. The only negatives were completion of just eight of his starts and a substandard ratio of walks (106) to strikeouts (66). With Calihan supporting the stalwart work of frontliners Lester German (35-11) and Bob Barr (25-8), Buffalo (89-35, .718) cruised to the EA pennant.

Over the ensuing winter, Buffalo and other New York clubs in the EA became members of a more broadly-based circuit that took the name of Eastern League. Rather than re-up with Buffalo, Calihan signed with the new league’s Rochester Flour Cities.40 Injuries required the defensively capable pitcher to begin the season as the Rochester shortstop, but in time he returned to the box. Statistically speaking, Calihan had another first-rate season. He went 14-9 (.609), with a 1.63 ERA in 209 2/3 innings pitched for the Flour Cities. Nevertheless, he was released in mid-July. The hometown Democrat and Chronicle commented that “Billy Calihan … has pitched good ball for Rochester this season, but he is not considered a reliable man by the management.”41 This was likely a veiled reference to excessive drinking by the hurler. An Eastern League rival, the Albany Senators, swiftly offered a contract to Calihan but he declined, saying that he was “not over anxious to play ball any more this season.”42 By year-end, however, the erstwhile major leaguer was pitching for the amateur Rochester Athletic Club.43

The following spring, Calihan took up the offer from Albany. Rule changes introduced in 1893 eliminated the pitcher’s box and elongated the pitching distance to the modern 60 feet, six inches – proving ruinous to the careers of Bill Hutchison and others of his contemporaries. Yet they had no appreciable effect on Calihan. Toiling for a non-competitive fifth-place Albany club, he registered a team-leading 18 victories and threw well over 300 innings. He also filled in on the infield on occasion and hit .234 in 158 at-bats. At season’s end, Calihan was placed on the Albany reserve list for the coming season.44

When Albany failed to field a team for the 1894 season, Calihan hooked on with the Eastern League’s Syracuse Stars. But after winning only two of 10 starts, he was released. A late-August audition with the Lancaster Chicks of the Pennsylvania State League went for naught, and by summer’s end Calihan was back home pitching for the Rochester Locals, champions of the city’s semipro loop.45

At this point and despite his relative youth, our subject’s baseball future appeared dim. But the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association decided to take a chance on him, signing Calihan in March 1895.46 Once he arrived south, two noteworthy things happened. First, the pitcher identified in the press by the surname Calihan reverted to being Callahan in the reportage of the Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta Journal, and the other newspapers that covered the association.47 Second and more important, Billy Callahan revived his professional prospects once again, leading Southern Association pitchers in victories (23) and winning percentage (.812).48 And this despite losing a month’s work in June and July to return home to Rochester to deal with tragedy in his personal life: the unexpected death of his wife and serious illness of six-year-old daughter Anna.49

Callahan returned to Atlanta for the 1896 season, but necessity dictated his use in the field more often than as a pitcher. “Short will be covered by that quick, reliable, somewhat phenomenal player, Billy Callahan,” the Atlanta Constitution informed readers.50 But he also made 12 pitching appearances, going 4-5 with a 3.64 ERA in 89 innings. Otherwise, he played all over the field, handling second base frequently (35 games), shortstop sporadically (16 games), and the outfield occasionally (four games).51 Callahan even pulled emergency duty behind the plate, all the while batting a solid .280 (78-for-279). His season ended prematurely, however, when the financially strapped Atlanta club could not make payroll. Unlike teammates willing to soldier on in hope of future payment, Callahan promptly left the Crackers in early July.52

Back home, Callahan became Calihan again in reportage on his latest ball club, the Rochester Browns of the Eastern League.53 He pitched well, but was often victimized by shoddy fielding, as illustrated by a 10-7 loss to the Springfield (Massachusetts) Ponies on July 23. All 10 Springfield runs were unearned.54 He finished the season with a record in the neighborhood of 8-10.55 Calihan returned to the Rochester club for the 1897 campaign but was released in mid-May.56 The Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Maroons of the Atlantic League provided his final stop in Organized Baseball. There, he became Billy Callahan once more. He dropped all four decisions recorded as a Lancaster hurler and registered only two base hits in 12 at-bats. But the reason for his release was monetary. “Callahan has been here several weeks but the salary he was receiving was more than management could afford to pay and he was let go,” reported the Lancaster News.57 He then returned to Rochester, his professional playing days at an end.58

Will Calihan spent the final 20 years of his life in almost complete obscurity. His name, once so often in local newsprint, vanished entirely. The 1900 US Census placed him under his mother’s roof and living with family members including his daughter Anna. His occupation was listed as “ball player,” and he played and managed local nines into the new century. By 1905, he was living alone in a Rochester rooming house and working in a paper-making factory.59 Thereafter, he worked at a local hotel.60

As he reached middle age, Calihan developed heart disease.61 On December 22, 1917, the Democrat and Chronicle revealed that he had died from pneumonia at St. Mary’s Hospital two days earlier. The two-column obituary was captioned: “Billy Callahan Noted as One of the Best Fielding Pitchers in Game.”62 The deceased was 49. Following funeral services, his remains were interred in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Rochester. Survivors included daughter Anna Davis, his brothers Charlie and Tom, and three married sisters.



This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and Norman Macht and fact-checked by Larry DeFillipo.



Sources for the biographical information imparted above include the Will Calihan file at the Giamatti Research Center, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, New York: the Calihan profile in Major League Baseball Profiles, 1871-1900, Vol. 1, David Nemec, ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011); US and New York State Census data accessed via Ancestry.com; and certain of the newspaper articles cited in the endnotes. Unless otherwise specified, statistics herein have been taken from Baseball-Reference.com.



1 Baseball-Reference, Retrosheet, and other modern reference authority place Calihan’s birth in May 1868. Like other biographical data published for our subject, the source of this birth month was undiscovered by the writer.

2 Will’s twin brother Lawrence did not survive childhood. Oldest brother Francis and three other Callahan siblings also died young.

3 Father Henry Callahan and family are identified as Callihan in the 1870 US Census, although Henry’s surname remained Callahan in the Oswego city directories of 1870 and 1873. Calihan made its debut in the 1875 New York Census and became the surname variant thereafter utilized by the press in reporting on the ball playing and law-breaking of Henry’s sons. Henry, however, retained the surname Callahan until his death in June 1886. See “Mortuary Matters,” (Rochester) Democrat and Chronicle, June 14, 1886: 7.

4 As memorialized in the published game account and box score, Democrat and Chronicle, October 25, 1885: 7. A fourth Calihan, likely Will, played second and went hitless.

5 See “Cut in the Neck,” Democrat and Chronicle, September 12, 1886: 6. The victim survived his injuries.

6 As noted in “Joe Creegan’s Nine Won,” (Batavia, New York) News, August 20, 1887: 1, and our subject’s obituaries.

7 Per “Base-Ball Notes,” Indianapolis Journal, September 6, 1887: 3. See also, Democrat and Chronicle, September 6, 1887: 7.

8 See “Sparkles from the Diamond,” Democrat and Chronicle, October 17, 1887: 7: “Calihan of the Elmiras pitched for the Mascots and pitched a good game” in a 9-1 loss to his former club, the Ninth Ward All-Stars.

9 Although applied to Calihan throughout his career, the descriptive little is a curious one, as his 5’8”/150 lb. size was unremarkable for a late-19th century ballplayer and an 1894 photograph of Calihan standing among teammates depicts him as about the same size as the others. That photo was re-published in the Democrat and Chronicle, October 27, 1912: 31.

10 Calihan’s pitching repertoire was subsequently noted in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 5, 1895: 8; and Atlanta Journal, June 13, 1895: 8.

11 “Rochester Ripples,” Sporting Life, September 19, 1888: 1.

12 Tom Calihan got into 42 games for Rochester that season, but his batting average has been lost.

13 As reported in the Democrat and Chronicle, April 14, 1889: 2; April 7, 1889: 2; and March 26, 1889: 6.

14 See “The Team Is Completed,” Democrat and Chronicle, April 19, 1889: 7.

15 See “At the Wizard’s Mercy,” Democrat and Chronicle, June 28, 1889: 6.

16 “A Bad Mess in Rochester,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, July 11, 1889: 5.

17 “Basehits,” Buffalo Express, July 7, 1889: 14.

18 Per “The Calihans Kick Out,” Democrat and Chronicle, July 6, 1889: 6. See also, “A Bad Mess in Rochester,” above.

19 See “They Will Finish the Season,” Democrat and Chronicle, July 13, 1989: 3.

20 “Calihan and Collins Here Tomorrow,” Buffalo Express, July 21, 1889: 14. See also, “Base Hits,” Buffalo Courier, August 4, 1889: 3. Malcontent second baseman Chub Collins was also dispatched to Buffalo. In return, Rochester received infielder Joe Lufberry and $1,000 cash. AWOL Tom Calihan was released outright by Rochester and finished the season playing for the Canandaigua club in the New York State League.

21 “Sporting Notes,” Buffalo Express, September 20, 1889: 6.

22 At the conclusion of the 1889 season, the International Association dissolved, making its players free agents.

23 “General Sporting,” Buffalo Times, December 6, 1889: 2.

24 See “Destitute and Insane,” Democrat and Chronicle, November 24, 1889: 6.

25 As reported in “Calihan Goes Back to Rochester,” Buffalo Express, February 27, 1890: 6; “Will Calihan Signed,” Democrat and Chronicle, February 27, 1890: 7.

26 “The World of Sport,” Buffalo Express, March 2, 1890: 14.

27 “Calihan Was Nervous,” Democrat and Chronicle, April 18, 1890: 7.

28 “Calihan’s Foolishness,” Democrat and Chronicle, August 2, 1890: 7.

29 Per “Calihan in Trouble,” Democrat and Chronicle, August 5, 1890: 5.

30 “Calihan Discharged,” Democrat and Chronicle, August 6, 1890: 7.

31 Same as above.

32 Modern baseball reference works list Calihan as bats unknown, and no explicit mention of which side he batted from was discovered in vintage reportage. Circumstantial evidence, however, strongly suggests that Calihan was a righty batter.

33 Per “Calihan Sues for Salary,” Democrat and Chronicle, October 21, 1890: 7.

34 As reported in “Pitcher Calihan Wins His Suit,” Elmira (New York) Telegram, January 11, 1891: 3; “General Sporting Notes,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 1, 1891: 4; “Judgment for Calihan,” Democrat and Chronicle, December 11, 1890: 7.

35 See “Calihan Convicted,” Democrat and Chronicle, November 26, 1890: 6.

36 A collateral consequence of the American Association’s abrogation of the National Agreement was that stockholders in the Rochester franchise were unentitled to compensation for former Bronco players signed by another ball club for the 1891 season. See “Sport in All Styles,” Chicago Inter Ocean, March 10, 1891: 2.

37 “Buffalo Budget,” Sporting Life, January 17, 1891: 6.

38 Per “Result of Sharsig’s Labors,” Sporting Life, February 14, 1891: 3.

39 The Calihan signing by Buffalo was noted in the Buffalo Commercial, July 3, 1891: 12.

40 As reported in “On the Line,” Boston Herald, April 30, 1892: 5; “Baseball Notes,” New Haven (Connecticut) Morning Journal and Courier, April 27, 1892: 2.

41 “Base Ball Brevities,” Democrat and Chronicle, July 21, 1892: 9.

42 “Base Ball Brevities,” Democrat and Chronicle, July 30, 1892: 10.

43 As reported in the Democrat and Chronicle, October 3, 1892: 9.

44 Per “Reserve List of Eastern Clubs,” Chicago Tribune, October 2, 1893: 7; “Eastern League Reserved Players,” Meriden (Connecticut) Journal, September 22, 1893: 8.

45 Years later, a photo of the club with Calihan standing alongside teammates was republished in the Democrat and Chronicle, October 27, 1912: 31.

46 Per “Rochester Ripples,” Sporting Life, March 16, 1895: 4; “Calihan Goes to Atlanta,” Democrat and Chronicle, March 4, 1895: 9.

47 See e.g., “The Atlanta Pitchers,” Atlanta Journal, April 6, 1895: 11: “Of the pitchers there is William Callahan, who has been playing ball for six years,” followed by our subject’s professional resume.

48 Per The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, Lloyd Johnson and Miles Wolff, eds. (Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, Inc., 3d ed. 2007), 168, which identifies him as William Calihan. Baseball-Reference provides no info on our subject’s 1895 season.

49 As reported in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, June 17, 1895: 5; Atlanta Constitution, June 13, 1895: 11; Atlanta Journal, June 13, 1895: 8; and elsewhere.

50 “Now Give ‘Em a Good Chance,” Atlanta Constitution, May 25, 1896: 2.

51 According to the Atlanta Constitution, June 12, 1896: 8, Callahan “made a great second baseman … Callahan the second baseman is far superior to Callahan the shortstop.”

52 As reported in the Atlanta Constitution, July 9, 1896: 6. Second baseman Jimmy McDade and pitcher-outfielder Fred Walker also refused to play without being paid and left the club. The Atlanta Crackers folded a month later.

53 See e.g., “May Sign Calihan,” Democrat and Chronicle, July 10, 1896: 15.

54 See “Lost Through Errors,” Democrat and Chronicle, July 24, 1896: 10.

55 As extrapolated from contemporary reportage and Eastern League stats published in the Democrat and Chronicle. Baseball-Reference provides no Rochester stats for Calihan in 1896.

56 Per “Condensed Dispatches,” Sporting Life, May 22, 1897: 4.

57 As reprinted in the Norfolk Virginian, June 20, 1897: 7.

58 Baseball-Reference lists Calihan with the Canandaigua Rustlers of the New York State League in 1897, but that was likely his brother Tom. And the B-R placement of Will with Atlanta the following year confuses him with John Callahan, a two-game pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. See “This Is a Star Battery of the Atlanta Baseball Club,” Atlanta Journal, March 8, 1898: 8, complete with ink drawing of “Pitcher John Callahan” (who does not look anything like our subject).

59 Per the 1905 New York State Census which lists him as William Callihan.

60 As noted in an unidentified December 27, 1917 wire service obituary contained in the Calihan file at the GRC.

61 Noted in the death record contained in the Calihan file. The official cause of death was lobar pneumonia, with acute dilation of the heart as an underlying factor.

62 Democrat and Chronicle, December 22, 1917: 17. The obituaries in the Rochester Herald, December 21, 1917: 8, and Rochester Union and Advertiser, December 21, 1917: 12, are simply captioned: “William Callahan,” while the Rochester Post Express, December 22, 1917: 7, identified the deceased as “William Calihan.”

Full Name

William T. Callahan


, 1868 at Oswego, NY (USA)


December 20, 1917 at Rochester, NY (USA)

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