Donlin Best of 1878 Entries

This article was written by L. Robert Davids

This article was published in the 1978 Baseball Research Journal


Each year the Society selects a person born 100 years ago (1878) who has made the most significant contribution to baseball. This year, for the first time, there are no Hall of Famers from which to choose.  In fact, only three persons born in 1 878 had the qualifications even to be considered for the Hall of Fame. These were Mike Donlin, Bill Bradley, and Jimmy Sheckard. In a SABR poll taken nearly two years ago to consider oldtime candidates who were eligible for the Hall of Fame, Donlin finished 14th, Bradley 33rd, and Sheckard 37th. That appears to be sufficient basis for designating Donlin as the centennial celebrity for 1978.   

The colorful outfielder had a sparkling .333 lifetime batting mark for 12 seasons, and ranked right up there with Nap Lajoie and Hans Wagner as a hitter in the first years of this century. In contrast, Bradley, who played a solid third base for Cleveland 190 1-10, batted only .271 for his career, and Sheckard, a good base stealer and run producer who played the outfield for the Dodgers and Cubs, batted only .275.

Donlin, born in Erie, Pennsylvania on May 30, 1878, died in Hollywood, California in 1933.

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