From Alex Remington at Big League Stew on November 2, 2011:
Bobby Wallace may be the greatest shortstop you’ve never heard of. “Perhaps the greatest defensive shortstop of his generation,” as he is called by Scott Schul of the Society for American Baseball Research, Wallace is little-remembered today because he played 20 of his 25 seasons with two defunct teams, the Cleveland Spiders (who folded after 1899) and the St. Louis Browns (who moved to Baltimore in 1954).
Moreover, Wallace played nine of his 25 seasons before the establishment of the modern World Series in 1903. Along with George Sisler and Rick Ferrell, he is one of only three representatives of the St. Louis Browns in the Hall of Fame.
What’s interesting is that Wallace left Cleveland under shady circumstances. The owners of the Spiders also owned the St. Louis Perfectos (who were renamed the Cardinals in 1900), and they decided to shift all their stars to one team. So Wallace was shipped to St. Louis, along with two other future Hall of Famers, Jesse Burkett and Cy Young — yes, the Cy Young. That exodus led to the Spiders’ infamous 20-134 record in 1899, making them perhaps the worst professional sports team in American history. The Spiders folded after that season and a rule was passed prohibiting owners from owning more than one team.
Originally published: November 2, 2011. Last Updated: November 2, 2011.