Hugh Daily in 1882
July 17, 1847|
|Died: After 1923|
|May 1, 1882 for the Buffalo Bisons|
Last MLB appearance
|August 21, 1887 for the Cleveland Blues|
|Earned run average||2.92|
Career highlights and awards
Hugh Ignatius Daily, born Harry Criss (July 17, 1847 – after 1923), nicknamed "One Arm" Daily, was an Irish American professional right-handed pitcher who played six seasons, for seven different teams; the Buffalo Bisons, the Cleveland Blues, and the St. Louis Maroons of the National League, Chicago Browns and Washington Nationals of the Union Association, and the Cleveland Blues of the American Association. He was known for having a surly disposition and was not well liked by baseball executives, which occasioned his frequent change of teams. However, he was a favorite of fans wherever he played.
Daily was successful as a starting pitcher early in his major league career. In 1883 and 1884, he won 20 or more games each season, while finishing in the top ten among league leaders in major pitching categories such as earned run average (as calculated retroactively, since E.R.A. was not an official statistic at the time), innings pitched, complete games, and strikeouts. Daily established the pitching record for strikeouts in a season (later surpassed), tied a record by tossing two consecutive one-hitters, broke the record for one-hitters in a season, and threw a no-hitter. After his initial three years of success, the final three years of his career were marked by quick decline in his seasonal numbers, and he was gone from organized baseball shortly thereafter. Today he remains a mysterious figure, as there is little record of his activities after his career. It is unclear where he lived and where he died.
Nickname and disposition
His nickname, "One Arm" Daily, is a reference to his left arm; he had lost his left hand to a gun accident earlier in his life. To compensate for this injury, he fixed a special pad over the affected area and caught the baseball by trapping it between the pad and his right hand. Sometimes, after long games of having to catch baseballs this way, his stump would become sensitive – so sensitive in fact, that he once punched his catcher for not heeding his warning to throw the balls back to him softer.
Daily was well known for having a bad disposition, he has been described as surly, and having a volatile temper. Other sources add to that: mean, contemptuous, and uncommunicative. While this behavior was not well liked by the baseball establishment, he was popular with the home crowds because of his verbal tirades against umpires and opposing players alike.
Some theories attempt to explain Daily's tempestuous behavior, one of which was put forth by Frank Vaccaro in his 1999 edition of The National Pastime. His theory explains that, in Daily's day, except in cases of injury, for a pitcher to be relieved from his position, another player already in the game would have to relieve him, and the pitcher would have to take a position in the field. His physical condition did not allow him many opportunities to play any other positions, so this compelled his managers to leave him in the game longer, even when his performance was declining. He was allowed to play in the field on several occasions, when the situation warranted it, as he is credited as playing three games in the outfield, two at second base, and one at shortstop.
Born in Ireland, Daily first began playing baseball professionally around the Baltimore area, often receiving more lucrative offers to play in more prominent leagues, all of which he declined, preferring to stay in the local area. His reputation, along with actions such as verbally assaulting umpires and fans, forced him to move on to other teams, which landed him in New York City playing for the Metropolitans, which was an all-professional club but had yet to join a major league; they later joined the National League in 1883. He became the team's ace pitcher, winning 38 games, including notable victories against Cap Anson's Chicago White Stockings, and most of the other top professional teams in the country at the time.
Major league career
Daily's performance that season caught the eye of Major League teams, and he signed with the Buffalo Bisons for the 1882 season. Although he shared starts with future Hall of Famer Pud Galvin, he was able to pitch in 29 games, winning 15 of them. He was playing for the Cleveland Blues of the National League when he pitched a no-hitter on September 13, 1883 against the Philadelphia Quakers, a 1–0 victory. He finished the season with a 23–19 win–loss record, and finished in the top ten in several pitching categories. He finished second in the league with two shutouts, fifth place with a 2.42 earned run average, seventh in strikeouts with 171, and ninth in the league in wins, games pitched, and games started. However, he did lead the league with 99 walks – a remarkable total, given that in 1882 and 1883 walks were issued after seven balls rather than four.
For the 1884 season, he feasted on the upstart Union Association's lack of talent, pitching for the Chicago Browns (which became the Pittsburgh Stogies), and for the Washington Nationals later in the season. He finished with a 28–28 win–loss record, but did have a low 2.43 ERA, and set a few records in that lone season for the Association. Daily struck out a total of 483 batters that season, a record that was surpassed only in 1886 by both Matt Kilroy (513), and Toad Ramsey (499). Among the season totals, he struck out 19 batters in a game, on July 7, tying Charlie Sweeney. Unofficially, his reported 19 strikeout game was upgraded to 20 when it was discovered that one batter had struck out but reached first base when the pitch got away from the catcher. This meant that Daily did not just tie the record, but broke it instead (Roger Clemens then unofficially tied the mark in 1986). Daily added one more record that season; he set the record for most one-hitters in one season, with four, two of them back to back, which was also itself a record at the time. The record was later matched by Grover Cleveland Alexander in 1915.
When the Union Association dissolved, Daily had to pay a $500 fine to regain his major league eligibility for the 1885 season, as did all the players who jumped to this new league and were subsequently blacklisted. He joined the St. Louis Maroons of the National League, where he only pitched in 11 games, and had a record of 3 wins and 8 losses. The rest of his career included short stints with the 1886 Washington Nationals, and the 1887 Cleveland Blues of the American Association. He played his final major league game on August 21, 1887.
Very few facts are known about his personal life or where and when he died. In 1910 United States Census, he was living in Baltimore with two sisters, working as a clerk for a custom house. According to the 1920 United States Census, he was living with his sister, and was a clerk for a hotel. His last known location was 1923 in Baltimore, living on Washington.
- List of Major League Baseball pitchers with 18 strikeouts in one game
- List of Major League Baseball no-hitters
- "Hugh Daily's Stats". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
- "Hugh Daily's Stats". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
- "The Ballplayers: Hugh Daily". baseballlibrary.com. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
- Swaine, p. 19
- Swaine, p. 22
- Swaine, p. 20
- Swaine, p. 23
- "Chronological List of No-Hitters". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
- "Strikeout Records". nocryinginbaseball.com. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
- Thorn, p. 737
- "Baseball Historian: Koufax Strikes Out 18, Dodgers Win 10-2... April 24, 1962". April 24, 1962 - Newspaper Clipping (AP). Retrieved 2008-04-09.
- Roer, p. 273
- "1-Hit Games Records". baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
- Swaine, p. 21
- "1910 United States Federal Census about Hugh Daily". ancestry.com. Ancestry.com. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- "1920 United States Federal Census about Hugh Daily". ancestry.com. Ancestry.com. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- "U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 about Hugh Daily". ancestry.com. Ancestry.com. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Roer, Mike. 2006. Orator O'Rourke: The Life of a Baseball Radical. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-2355-2.
- Swaine, Rick. 2004. Beating the Breaks: Major League Ballplayers Who Overcame Disabilities. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-1828-1.
- Thorn, John. 1997. The Complete Armchair Book of Baseball: An All-Star Lineup Celebrates America's National Pastime. Galahad. ISBN 1-57866-004-1.
September 13, 1883