Morris: Quebec’s first big-leaguer, Eugene Vadaboncoeur, 1884 Philadelphia Quakers

From SABR member Peter Morris at the Canadian Baseball Network on November 14, 2018:

Eugene Vadeboncoeur became the first native of Quebec to play major league baseball when he took the field for Harry Wright’s Philadelphia team in a National League game at the Polo Grounds on July 11, 1884.

Although his big-league career lasted only four games, as is often the case, that brief tenure as a major leaguer was only the tip of the iceberg of a pro playing career that lasted for most of the 1880s.

Eugene was born on Sept. 5, 1859, in the town of Rivière-du-Loup – renamed Louiseville in 1879 – in Quebec’s beautiful Mauricie region. There is some confusion about his birth name, beginning with the order of his given names, which were either Onésime Eugène or Eugène Onésime.

There is a particularly good story behind his picturesque family name. According to family historian Roger Verboncoeur, Vadeboncoeur was not used as a surname in France until the 17th century when the French Army began requiring soldiers to have distinct names in order to avoid confusion.

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Originally published: November 14, 2018. Last Updated: November 14, 2018.