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baseballhistory

Cap Anson



Cap Anson

b. April 17, 1852
d. April 14, 1922


Anson not only batted over .300 in 24 of his record 27 major league seasons, he managed the Chicago NL team to five pennants. He was also the first player to collect 3,000 hits and the first baseball player to write his autobiography.

After attending Notre Dame for a year, Anson joined the Rockford team in the National Association in 1871, the first year of its existence, then spent the next four seasons with the association's Philadelphia Athletics.

When the National League was formed in 1876, Anson joined its Chicago team. Originally used primarily as a catcher and outfielder, he moved to first base in 1879 and stayed at that his position for the rest of his career. He also became the team's captain, the equivalent of playing manager, in 1879, earning the nickname "Cap." As he continued playing well into his forties, he became known as "Pop."

A poor fielder with little mobility, Anson was an outstanding hitter and an innovative manager. He led the Nl in hitting with a .399 average in 1881 and a .344 average in 1888, and was the RBI leader from 1880 through 1882, 1884 through 1886, and in 1888 and 1891.

He's often credited with inventing the hit and run play; he certainly used it frequently. In 1885, Anson became one of the first managers to take a team south for spring training, and he was a tough disciplinarian who fined players for being overweight, for drinking, and for missing curfews at a time when players weren't often disciplined.

While Anson is sometimes blamed for the banning of black players from organized baseball, it's unlikely that he was that powerful. He was a bigot who protested vehemently when the Newark Little Giants wanted to start a black pitcher, Harry Stovey, in an 1887 exhibition game against Chicago; as a result, Stovey was held out of the game. Given the temper of the times, however, blacks probably would have been banned even without Anson's outburst. A short time before, the minor International League had formally voted to prohibit black players.

Anson guided Chicago to pennants from 1880 through 1882 and in 1885 and 1886. He was fired by a new owner after the 1897 season, then went to New York to manage the Giants, but he lasted less than a season there.

In 22 seasons as a major league player, Anson batted .329 with 2,995 hits, including 528 doubles, 124 triples, and 97 home runs. He scored 1,719 runs and drove in 1,879. As a manager, he had a 1,296-947 record for a .578 winning percentage.

(copied/pasted from Hickok Sports)
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