SABR’s Nineteenth Century Research Committee will be holding its fourth annual vote for the 19th Century Overlooked Baseball Legend in 2012. Our past winners were Pete Browning in 2009, Deacon White in 2010 and Harry Stovey last year.
The 2012 ballot consists of ten names. We have seven returning candidates from last year, one returning from the 2009 and 2010 ballot and two newcomers. One newcomer was the leading vote-getter from last year’s write-in votes and the other was selected by the subcommittee while being among the leaders of the write-in votes.
Without further ado, the 2012 candidates are:
- Doc Adams
Born: November 1, 1814. Died: January 3, 1899. Played: 1839-1862. Position: Pioneer.
The title “Father of Baseball” has been bestowed on a handful of gentlemen since the early days of our national pastime. Daniel Lucius Adams is among them. A graduate of both Yale and Harvard, Adams helped shape the game as we know it today.
- Ross Barnes
Born: May 8, 1850. Died: February 5, 1915. Played: 1866-77,79,81. Position: Second Base.
Ross Barnes may have been the most exciting all around player of the 1860s and 1870s.
- Bob Caruthers
Born: January 5, 1864. Died: August 5, 1911. Played: 1884-93. Position: Pitcher and Outfield.
Robert Lee Caruthers was among the greatest all-around players of his day. He was an outstanding pitcher with a deceptive right-handed delivery and a hard-hitting outfielder who had a solid reputation as a defensive player and a base runner.
- Jim Creighton
Born: April 15, 1841. Died: October 18, 1862. Played: 1857-62. Position: Pitcher.
James Creighton was baseball’s first superstar and possibly its first professional. His life came to a tragic end just six months after his twenty-first birthday, making the young ballplayer a baseball legend and fueling the lore that makes baseball our national pastime.
- Bill Dahlen
Born: January 5, 1870. Died: December 5, 1950. Played: 1891-1911. Position: Shortstop.
Known as “Bad Bill” for his extreme temper, Dahlen played for 21 seasons and is considered one of the great defensive shortstops in baseball history.
- Jack Glasscock
Born: July 22, 1857. Died: February 24, 1947. Played: 1879-95. Position: Shortstop.
Considered by many historians as the greatest defensive shortstop of the Nineteenth Century, “Pebbly Jack” played the majority of his career without a glove.
- Paul Hines
Born: March 1, 1855. Died: July 10, 1935. Played: 1872-91. Position: Outfield.
Hines, an outstanding defensive center fielder, was among the best all-around players in the game for 20 seasons.
- Bobby Mathews
Born: November 21, 1851. Died: April 17, 1898. Played: 1869-77,79,81-87. Position: Pitcher.
Mathews, a pioneer pitcher in the development of both the spitball and the curveball, won 297 games, including the National Association’s first game in 1871.
- Tony Mullane
Born: January 20, 1859. Died: April 25, 1944. Played: 1881-84,86-94. Position: Pitcher.
Born in Ireland, Mullane won 284 games in thirteen major league seasons.
- Joe Start
Born: October 14, 1842. Died: March 27, 1927. Played: 1859-86. Position: First Base.
Start had one of the longest playing careers in baseball history, playing in 1859 with the Enterprise Club of Brooklyn to 1886 with the Washington Nationals of the National League. In between, he would earn the nickname “Old Reliable” for his play on the field and for his honesty and personal integrity.
Others receiving consideration but who did not make our top ten include: Bud Fowler, Mike Griffin, Dummy Hoy, Cal McVey, Lip Pike, Al Reach, Jack Stivetts, George Van Haltren, Chris Von der Ahe and Ned Williamson.
To read more extensive biographies of these overlooked legends, and for details on the voting process, download the Nineteenth Century Committee’s Spring 2012 newsletter (PDF). Ballots will be sent out electronically or by mail in May and the winner will be announced during the Nineteenth Century Committee’s annual meeting during SABR 42 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The 19th Century Legends Project Committee consists of Charles Faber, Bob Gregory, Ralph Peluso and Joe Williams. For information or questions, contact Joe Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Related link: To learn more about the annual Frederick Ivor-Campbell 19th Century Base Ball Conference, scheduled for April 20-21, 2012, in Cooperstown, New York, visit SABR.org/ivor-campbell19c.
Originally published: April 13, 2012. Last Updated: April 13, 2012.