Harry Stovey

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Harry Stovey
Harry Stovey Baseball Card.jpg
Outfielder / First baseman
Born: (1856-12-20)December 20, 1856
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: September 20, 1937(1937-09-20) (aged 80)
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 1, 1880 for the Worcester Ruby Legs
Last MLB appearance
July 29, 1893 for the Brooklyn Grooms
Career statistics
Batting average .289
Home runs 122
Runs batted in 908
Teams

As Player

As Manager

Career highlights and awards

Harry Duffield Stovey (December 20, 1856 – September 20, 1937), born Harry Duffield Stowe, was a 19th-century Major League Baseball player and the first player in major league history to hit 100 home runs. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Stovey played for 14 seasons in the majors and was appointed player-manager on two separate occasions during his career.1

Known today as both a prolific home run hitter and base-stealer, he led the league in both categories multiple times in his career, including a season record of 14 home runs in 18832 and a league-leading 97 stolen bases in 1890. From 1880 to 1891 he appeared in the top 10 in home runs every year except 1887, and led the league five times.3 He was the first to wear sliding pads and among the first to slide feet first.4

Baseball career

Worcester

Harry began his career as an outfielder / first baseman in 1880 for the Worcester Ruby Legs under the surname of Stovey instead of his birth name of Stowe due to his desire to keep his family from discovering he was making his career at baseball, which was seen at the time as not a respectable profession.5 He made an immediate impact that first season, leading the league with 14 triples and six home runs, while also finishing in the top ten in many other offensive categories.3 On July 17, he hit his first major league home run off Jim McCormick of the Cleveland Blues.6

For the 1881 season, his offensive numbers did not slow down, again finishing in the top ten in several offensive categories, though he did not lead the league in any this time around.3 On August 17, 1881, Worcester suspended Captain Mike Dorgan‚ and Stovey took over the position for the remainder of the season. Lee Richmond‚ who had quit because of conflicts with Dorgan‚ rejoined the team after this switch.6

In 1882, his last season for the Ruby Legs, his batting average saw an increase, up to .289 from the .270 the year before, but his numbers in relation to the rest of the league took a slight dip. He ranked third in the league in runs scored, with 90, and fourth in the league in home runs, with five.3

Philadelphia

For the 1883 season, Stovey moved on to play for the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association, and it was during the next seven years when he had his best years, and made his greatest impact on the game. His first season in Philadelphia saw him set the single season record for home runs with 14, breaking the old mark of nine set by Charley Jones in 1879. He kept this record for only one season, as Ned Williamson set a new mark the very next season with 27.2 Not only did he set the home run record, he batted .306, and led the league in runs scored with 110, doubles with 31, and games played with 112, while also finishing in the top five in most offensive categories.3

The offensive explosiveness continued throughout his stay in Philadelphia, leading the league in runs scored four times, doubles once, triples three times, and home runs three times. The accumulation of home runs led to him becoming the career home run leader, overtaking Charley Jones2 with his 51st career homer on September 28, 1885.6 He held onto the career lead for a season until he was passed for a short period of time by Dan Brouthers for the 1886 and the 1887 seasons. Stovey regained the lead, and held it until Roger Connor passed him in 1895.2

Boston and the Players' League

In 1890, the Players' League, a rival league to the National League and the American Association, began, and it attracted many of the game's star players, including Stovey who "jumped" to the Boston Reds.1 He had a good season, batting .299, hit 11 triples, and 12 home runs.3 On September 3, 1890, Stovey became the first player to hit 100 homers for a career, off of Jersey Bakely in a game against Cleveland, a significant milestone in a day when home runs were relatively rare.6

Staying in Boston

After the 1890 season, the Players' League folded with many of the players returning to their former ballclubs. Stovey‚ who played with the A's in 1889, was not claimed by that club through a clerical error, so on February 5, 1891, he signed with the Boston Beaneaters of the National League.6 He led the league that season with 16 home runs, and 20 triples, while also hitting .279 with 31 doubles as well. It proved to be last great season of his career.3

Baltimore / Brooklyn

He played only 38 games for the Beaneaters in 1892, before he was released on June 20, but he was quickly signed by the Baltimore Orioles. He finished the season with a .272 batting average with the Orioles and hit 11 triples,3 including three in one game on July 21 in a 10–3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.6

The 1893 season was Stovey's last season in the majors. He was released by the Orioles on May 22 after only eight games, and was signed three days later on May 15 by the Brooklyn Grooms. He finished the season with Grooms and retired after the season was over.3

Post-career

After his career, Stovey became a police officer in New Bedford, Massachusetts.7 Stovey died at the age of 80 in New Bedford, and is interred at Oak Grove Cemetery.1

The Nineteenth Century Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research named Stovey the Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legend for 2011 — a 19th-century player, manager, executive or other baseball personality not yet inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Harry Stovey's career stats". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Progressive Leaders & Records for Home Runs". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Harry Stovey's career stats". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  4. ^ "Harry Stovey's Biography". baseballlibrary.com. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  5. ^ "This annotated week in baseball history: July 22-July 28, 1890". by Richard Barbieri, July 27, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Harry Stovey Chronology". baseballlibrary.com. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  7. ^ "Home run expert is always on the fence". by Mel Antonen, USA TODAY, July 24, 2007. July 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Oscar Walker
American Association Home Run Champion
1883
Succeeded by
Long John Reilly
Preceded by
Long John Reilly
American Association Home Run Champion
1885
Succeeded by
Bid McPhee
Preceded by
Long John Reilly
American Association Home Run Champion
1889
(with Bug Holliday)
Succeeded by
Count Campau
Preceded by
Charley Jones
Career home run record holder
1885-1886
Succeeded by
Dan Brouthers
Preceded by
Dan Brouthers
Career home run record holder
1889-1894
Succeeded by
Roger Connor
Preceded by
Charley Jones
Single season home run record holder
1883-1884
Succeeded by
Ned Williamson
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Mike Dorgan
Worcester Ruby Legs Manager
1881
Succeeded by
Freeman Brown
Preceded by
Lon Knight
Philadelphia Athletics (AA) Manager
1885
Succeeded by
Lew Simmons







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