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Old Mar 30th 2007, 8:58 am
ChinMusic22's Avatar
ChinMusic22 ChinMusic22 is offline
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Player Bio March 30th: Cap Anson

One of the originals...

Cap Anson
Adrian Constantine Anson
Pop, Uncle, Captain

Born: April 11, 1852, in Marshalltown, Iowa
Died: April 14, 1922, in Chicago, Illinois
Elected to Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee in 1939, Player

ML Debut: 5/6/1871
Primary Position: First Baseman
Bats: R Throws: R

Played For: Rockford Forest Citys (1871), Philadelphia Athletics (1872-1875), Chicago White Stockings or Colts (1876-1897)
Primary Team: Chicago Cubs

Managed: Philadelphia Athletics (1875), Chicago White Stockings or Colts (1879-1897), New York Giants (1898)

Post-Season: 1885 World Series, 1886 World Series


A major figure in 19th century baseball, the strong-willed Adrian “Cap” Anson played at the major league level for 27 years, mainly at first base with the Chicago National League squad. He batted over .300 during 20 of those seasons, and accumulated over 3,000 hits during an illustrious career. When he retired, he owned records in numerous categories, including games, hits, at-bats, doubles and runs. He also served as a player-manager for Chicago, earning over 1,200 wins and accumulating five National League pennants.

Beginning in 1866, Anson spent two years at the high-school age boarding school of the University of Notre Dame after being sent there by his father in hopes of curtailing his mischievousness. His time away did little to discipline him, and soon after he returned home his father sent him to the University of Iowa, where his bad behavior resulted in the school asking him to leave after one semester. Anson played on a number of competitive baseball clubs in his youth and began to play professionally in the National Association (NA) at the age of 19. His best years in the NA were 1872 and 1873, when he finished in the top 5 in batting, OBP (leading the league in 1872), and OPS. His numbers declined slightly the following two seasons, but he was still good enough that Chicago White Stockings Secretary-turned-President William Hulbert sought him to improve his club for the 1876 season. Hulbert broke league rules by negotiating with Anson and several other stars while the 1875 season was still in progress and ultimately founded the new National League to forestall any disciplinary action. Anson, who had married a Philadelphia native in the meantime, had second thoughts about going west, but Hulbert held Anson to his contract and he eventually warmed to the Windy City.

The White Stockings won the first league title, but fell off the pace the following two seasons. During this time, Anson was a solid hitter, but not quite a superstar. Both his fortunes and those of his team would change after Anson was named captain-manager of the club in 1879. With Anson pacing the way, the White Stockings won five pennants between 1880 and 1886. They were helped to the titles using new managerial tactics, including the rotation of two star pitchers. After the expression first became popular, in the 1890s, he retroactively claimed to used some of the first "hit and run" plays, and, especially aided by clever base runner Mike Kelly in the first half of the 1880s, had his players run the bases in a way that forced the opposition into making errors. In a modern sense of going South right before a season, he shares credit as an innovator of spring training along with then-Chicago President Albert Spalding. An aggressive captain and manager, he regularly helped players play better, and his contributions helped make baseball a higher-quality sport, while at the same time making it more popular with fans. On the field, Anson was the team's best hitter and run producer. In the 1880s, he won two batting titles (1881, 1888) and finished second four times (1880, 1882, 1886-87). During the same period, he led the league in RBIs an incredible seven times (1880-82, 1884-86, 1888). His best season was in 1881, when he led the league in batting (.399), OBP (.442), OPS (.952), hits (137), total bases (175), and RBIs (82). He also became the first player to hit three consecutive home runs, five homers in two games, and four doubles in a game, as well as being the first to perform two unassisted double plays in a game. He is one of only a few players to score six runs in a game, a feat accomplished on August 24, 1886.

Anson was well known to be a racist and refused to play in exhibition games versus dark-skinned players. Despite this, Anson remained very popular in Chicago while playing for the White Stockings, which were increasingly known as the Colts starting with an influx of new players in the mid-1880s. Anson signed a ten year contract in 1888 to manage the White Stockings (which, because of a typographical error he failed to spot, ended after the 1897 season instead of the 1898 one), but his best years were behind him. He led the league in walks in 1890 and garnered his eighth and final RBI crown in 1891, but declined precipitously thereafter. On the managerial front, he failed to win another pennant. He also mellowed enough that his nicknames became "Uncle" and "Grandpa." When he was fired as manager after the 1897 season, it also marked the end of his 27-year playing career. The following season, the Colts were called the Orphans to reflect Anson's departure.

There is much controversy as to whether he became the first player ever to get 3,000 hits in a major league career; for many years, recognized statistics credited him with precisely that total. Researchers in the 1990s argued that he was incorrectly credited with extra hits in 1887, when bases on balls were counted as hits. Eliminating the 60 walks Anson received that year would drop his hit total to 2,995 according to statistics officially recognized by Major League Baseball. However, if one counts his 423 earlier hits in the NA, the major leagues' predecessor (which Major League Baseball does), he is well over the mark. He was, by any standard, the first player to make 3,000 hits in his professional career. Major League Baseball recognizes him as seventh all time in hits.

Anson briefly made a return to baseball managing the New York Giants in June and July of 1898, but fully retired afterward. After a number of failed business attempts, he was later elected city clerk of Chicago in 1905[5] and then, after serving one term, failed in the Democratic primary to become sheriff in 1907. After an unsuccessful attempt at owning/managing a semi-pro team, Anson began touring on the vaudeville circuit, which lasted up until about a year before his death. He first appeared in vaudeville in 1913 doing a monologue and a short dance. He next appeared in 1921 accompanied by his two daughters in an act written by Ring Lardner with songs by Herman Timberg. Following a glandular ailment, Anson died at the age of 69 in Chicago, Illinois and was interred at the Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago.

Anson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939, one of the first 19th-century players selected. Over 100 years after his retirement, he still holds several Cubs franchise records, including most career RBI, runs, hits, singles, and doubles.

Pop Culture Reference: Anson was mentioned in the Simpsons episode Homer at the Bat, by Mr. Burns, while looking for professional ringers for his power plant softball team.

"He was the greatest batter that ever walked up to hit at a baseball thrown by a pitcher. I have seen them all from his day to this. I played against him and I know. He was a fine, big, honorable man on and off the baseball field."
— Charles Comiskey

Did You Know... that Cap Anson was one of the earliest managers to take his club south for pre-season conditioning, a practice we now call "Spring Training?"

Career Stats:

G- 2523
H- 3418
2B- 584
3B- 142
HR- 97
RBI- 2076
SB- 276
CS- 16
BA- .333
One of the greats. He actually has a website, Real informative and detailed...
The Orphan
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Old Mar 30th 2007, 9:39 am
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ryno4ever ryno4ever is offline
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Thanks for putting that on here!
Baseball season's underway...
So you'd better get ready for a brand new day
Hey Chicago whattya say?
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