Jake Beckley

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Jake Beckley
MLB-Jake Beckley.jpg
First baseman
Born: (1867-08-04)August 4, 1867
Hannibal, Missouri
Died: June 25, 1918(1918-06-25) (aged 50)
Kansas City, Missouri
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
June 20, 1888 for the Pittsburg Alleghenys
Last MLB appearance
June 15, 1907 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Career statistics
Batting average .309
Hits 2,930 [1]
Runs batted in 1,578
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Induction 1971
Election Method Veteran's Committee

Jacob Peter Beckley (August 4, 1867 – June 25, 1918), nicknamed "Eagle Eye", was a Major League Baseball player at the turn of the 20th century. He was born in Hannibal, Missouri.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Jake Beckley began playing semi-pro baseball while still a teen in his native Hannibal. A former Hannibal teammate, Bob Hart, suggested the 18-year-old Beckley to the Leavenworth Oilers (Leavenworth, Kansas) of the Western Association.[3]

After splitting two seasons between Leavenworth and a team in Lincoln, Nebraska, Jake Beckley's contract was sold to the St. Louis Whites in the Western Association before he was purchased (along with Harry Staley) by the Pittsburgh Alleghenys for $4,500 midway through the 1888 season.[4] After playing one and a half seasons for the Alleghenys, Beckely and eight of his teammates jumped to the Pittsburgh Burghers,[4] a team in the newly formed Players League (PL). Manager Ned Hanlon crossed over as well. Beckley stated he was willing to go to the PL because after all, "I'm only in this game for the money anyway."[3] The league lasted only one season, and Beckley spent the next five and a half seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.[4]

His days in Pittsburgh finished, on July 25, 1896, Beckley was traded to the New York Giants for Harry Davis and $1,000.[4] Beckley was released by the Giants the following season on May 22, and he signed as a free agent with the Cincinnati Reds five days later.[4] In his first season with the Reds, Beckley was unsuccessful in getting rookie Honus Wagner out with the hidden ball trick, a tactic he had been known to use against the opposition. But later when Wagner's Louisville Colonels came to play at Cincinnati, Beckley was successful in getting Wagner out, employing a strategy that involved the use of two baseballs.[5] Against the St. Louis Cardinals, Beckley belted three home runs in the same game on September 26, 1897, a feat not again matched until 1922 by Ken Williams.[3] He played with Cincinnati for seven seasons and was later purchased by the St. Louis on February 11, 1904.[4] Beckley retired after the 1907 season with 2930 career hits, second only to Cap Anson, the Major League leader at the time.

As of the 2012 season, Beckley holds the all-time best batting average amongst Pirates first basemen (.300).[6]

After his Major League career ended, Beckley became a player/manager for Kansas City in the American Association in 1908-1909, Bartlesville in the Western Association in 1910, and Hannibal in the Central Association in 1911. After his playing career, he served as an umpire in the Federal League in 1913 and also served as a baseball coach at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri.

Personal life[edit]

Jake Beckley was the son of Bernhart and Rosina (Neth) Beckley. He was twice married but had no children, his first wife Molly dying just months after their 1891 wedding.[3][7] In addition to his umpiring and coaching after retirement from professional play, Beckley operated a grain business in Kansas City. Jake Beckley died of heart disease[8] in Kansas City, Missouri at the age of 50.[2] He was interred at the Riverside Cemetery in Hannibal, Missouri.[2]

Highlight and awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Baseball Hall of Fame - Jake Beckley". Baseballhall.org. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Jake Beckley Stats". Baseball-Almanac.com. Retrieved 2006-11-21. 
  3. ^ a b c d Fleitz, David (2003). "The Baseball Biography Project - Jake Beckley". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Jake Beckley". Retrosheet.org. Retrieved 2006-11-21. 
  5. ^ Smith, Ira L. (1956), "Baseball's Famous First Basemen", Baseball Digest (New York, New York: A.S. Barnes & Co.), retrieved 23 July 2012 
  6. ^ "Pittsburgh Pirates Statistics at MLB.com". MLB.com. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Diamond Dirt: Searching for Hall of Famer Jake Beckley". Hannibal Courier-Post. 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  8. ^ "Jake Beckley". TheDeadballEra.com. Archived from the original on 2006-12-16. Retrieved 2006-11-21. 
  9. ^ "Pirates Hall of Fame". Pittsburgh.Pirates.MLB.com. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Reds Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2014". Cincinnati.Reds.MLB.com. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Jake Beckley". BaseballHallOfFame.com. Retrieved 2008-09-08. [dead link]

External links[edit]