Schechter: George Moriarty: A half-dozen roles in a half-century in baseball

From SABR member Gabriel Schechter at The National Pastime Museum on February 2, 2017:

When Hank O’Day was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2013, he was ballyhooed as the first Hall of Famer who played, managed, and umpired (full-time) in the Major Leagues. That’s an impressive trifecta, but it represents only half the baseball roles performed by one baseball lifer in more than 50 years in the game. Add columnist/poet, goodwill ambassador, and scout, and now we’re talking about George Joseph Moriarty.

Born in Chicago in 1884, Moriarty was one of seven children; his brother Bill played six games with the 1909 Reds. Only 16 when he turned pro in 1901, George spent three seasons in the Three-I League before making his Major League debut with the Cubs late in 1903. Hitless in one game and 0 for 13 in four games for the 1904 Cubs, back to the minors he went. He got a break from Tim Hurst, an ex-umpire scouting for the New York Highlanders. As Moriarty put it, “Tim liked players who could argue both vocally and physically,” and the next thing he knew, he was playing full-time in the American League.

Well, not exactly full-time. In three years with New York, he played every infield and outfield position but never nailed down a regular post. He did record a career-high batting average of .277 in 1907, but the following season dropped to .236. That winter, he was sold to the Detroit Tigers and his life changed forever. When he retired a half-century later, he was working for the Tigers.

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Originally published: February 2, 2017. Last Updated: February 2, 2017.