Thorn: Kid Nichols, in his own words

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on July 10, 2012:

This document, never before published and largely unknown even to exist, may not contain startling revelations and indeed may be a mere historical curiosity. And yet … it is new, and the voice is that of Hall of Fame pitcher Charles Augustus “Kid” Nichols (1869-1953). It is appropriate to publish this thirty-page handwritten fragment on this day, as the All-Star Game is about to be played in Kansas City. That where the Kid lived from 1881 until his death, excluding the years of his professional ballplaying career. 

The Nichols fragment resided in the files of the Baseball Hall of Fame since the 1950s. It was first published in Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game, in the Fall 2010 issue, and is reprinted here with the permission of the publisher, McFarland and Company. The annotations in italics are the work of Bill Felber, estimable scholar and old friend. Typographical and orthographic oddities have been preserved.


As a fielder my record always stood out.

I consider Billy Keeler, Mike Tiernan, Ed Delihanty and Larrie La Joie the toughest hitters I had to pitch to, but I did not dread them.

Remember Hughie Duffy was a member of our team, so I did not face him. In my opinion, Duffy was the greatest hitter.

In 1902, I asked for my release from Boston to manage the Kansas City Club in the Western League. 

[Under Nichols, the Kansas City Blue Stockings went 82–54, beating the Omaha Indians (84–56) by three percentage points. Nichols, by the way, was his own best pitcher. His 27 victories and .794 winning percentage were both league highs. Interestingly, the Milwaukee Creams, managed by former Nichols teammate Hugh Duffy, finished third, one game behind Kansas City and Omaha. Nichols managed Kansas City again in 1903, but the Blue Stockings (65–61) fell to third place, 18 games behind Duffy’s Creams.] 

This they granted, and I retuned to my home town and won the Pennant.

In 1903, The Big Flood of this district, caused financial losses. So the Western League consolidated with the American Asociation and I lost out.

I then went to St. Louis Nationals, which I managed and played with in 1904.

In 1905, Difficulties with one of the owners. Caused me to ask for my release in mid year.

I then signed up with Philadelphia Nationals whose player manager was Hugh Duffy.

In 1906 I developed pleurisy and was unable to get into condition.So I asked for my release and obtained it.

So ended my Major League Career.

Click here to read the full document:

Originally published: July 10, 2012. Last Updated: July 10, 2012.