Heller: John L. Sullivan, base-ball player

From SABR member Dave Heller at Seamheads.com on May 28, 2013:

John L. Sullivan was largely considered the first heavyweight champion of the bare-knuckle variety and a greatly popular boxer of his era.

But Sullivan also played some semi-pro baseball growing up in Boston and had, according to the New York Times, “always been identified with base-ball, and at one time was a promising player.”

On May 28, 1883, Sullivan got a chance to perhaps live out a dream – pitching and playing for a major-league team.

Just two weeks prior, on May 14, Sullivan had fought Englishman Charlie Mitchell at Madison Square Garden. Knocked down in the first round, Sullivan rallied and sent Mitchell to the canvas five times in the third round before the fight was called.

Shortly thereafter, it was announced that Sullivan would pitch in a game with the New York Metropolitans of the American Association (then a major league in competition with the National League) against a “picked nine” of his choosing.

Read the full article here: http://seamheads.com/2013/05/28/john-l-sullivan-base-ball-player/

Originally published: May 28, 2013. Last Updated: May 28, 2013.