April 21, 1855|
Clarksboro in East Greenwich Township, New Jersey
|Died: January 14, 1931
Utica, New York
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|May 1, 1879 for the Buffalo Bisons|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 10, 1892 for the New York Giants|
|Career highlights and awards|
Abram Harding "Hardy" Richardson (April 21, 1855 – January 14, 1931) was a second basemen and outfielder mostly, who played in the Major Leagues for a number of teams throughout the 19th century. Most of Richardson's career was with the Buffalo Bisons (1879–85). He batted and threw right-handed.
Richardson played every position at some point, but was known for his play at second base with Buffalo when he was a member of the "Big Four," a star infield that consisted of Richardson and his teammates Dan Brouthers, Jack Rowe, and Deacon White. It was a desire to secure the services of the "Big Four" that led the Detroit Wolverines to purchase the Bisons franchise for $7,000 in 1885. They won Detroit the National League pennant and the World Series in 1887.
Richardson's best season probably came in 1890 with the Boston Reds of the Players' League, when he had 181 hits in 555 turns at bat, a .326 batting average, while also compiling a career-high 13 home runs and 146 RBIs. He also picked up 42 stolen bases and score 126 runs.
In a game against Philadelphia on July 20, 1883, both Richardson and Rowe were memorably credited with home runs when outfielder Conny Doyle was unable to find balls they hit into a deep section of grass in the left field corner.
Richardson was involved in another unusual circumstance in a game against the Chicago White Stockings on August 13, 1884. Chicago's George Gore singled to lead off the game, and Chicago manager Cap Anson instructed him to avoid the double play at all costs. Accordingly, when King Kelly followed with a ground ball, Gore tackled Richardson at second base before he could complete the relay throw. The umpire called both the batter and the runner out, and Anson protested the ruling so strenuously and stridently that the umpire forfeited the game to Buffalo. This ruling was met with disapproval by the Chicago crowd of approximately 2,000, and after extensive discussions, the two teams agreed to resume a game which had been postponed earlier in the season, as a way of placating the dissatisfied fans. In this second game, Anson decided to give his players a personal demonstration of the right way to break up the double play. He reached first base, and when the next batter hit a ground ball to Richardson, Anson shouted and waved his arms while running to second in an effort to interfere with Richardson's throw. Possibly flustered by this display, Richardson in turn struck Anson square in the head with his throw, which was delivered hard enough that it bounced all the way into the grandstands. A woozy Anson was forced to leave the game.
In a 14-season career, Richardson compiled a .299 batting average with 70 home runs and 822 RBIs in 1331 games. He had 205 career stolen bases and 1120 runs scored. Richardson had 1688 career hits in 5642 at bats.
- Led the league in hits in 1886 (189)
- Led the league in home runs in 1886 (11)
- Top 10 in the league in triples 7 times in his career (1879, 80, 81, 85, 86, 87, 89)
- Led the league in RBIs in 1890 (146)
In Popular Culture
- Richardson was referenced in the October 31, 2010 episode of Boardwalk Empire by the fictional character Nucky Thompson as having an autographed catcher's mitt signed by Richardson when he was a child. It was stolen from him by other older, bigger kids. After his father made him fight two older boys to get it back Nucky was beaten unconscious and spent 11 days in the hospital.
- 1887 Detroit Wolverines season
- List of Major League Baseball players with 100 triples
- List of Major League Baseball players with 1000 runs
- List of Major League Baseball leaders in career stolen bases
- List of Major League Baseball home run champions
- List of Major League Baseball RBI champions
- James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, Simon and Schuster, 2003, p. 513. ISBN 0-7432-2722-0
- Fleitz, David L. Cap Anson: the grand old man of baseball, McFarland, 2005, pp. 122-123. ISBN 0-7864-2238-6