Providence Grays all-time roster

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Twelve members of a baseball team are posing for a photograph, consisting of three rows; five men standing, four sitting in a chair or bench, and three sitting on the floor
1879 National League Champion Providence Grays

The Providence Grays were a Major League Baseball franchise based in Providence, Rhode Island from 1878 to 1885.[1] During the team's eight seasons in the National League (NL), which then comprised eight teams, they finished third place or higher in the final standings seven times, and won the league championship in both 1879 and 1884.[1] Providence played their home games at the Messer Street Grounds, which was located in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence.[2][3] The Grays were officially organized on January 16, 1878 by Benjamin Douglas, who became the team's general manager. Henry Root was hired as the team president‚ and Tom Carey was initially hired to be the on-field captain, whose duties were similar to the modern-day manager.[4] On January 21, 1878, Providence applied for membership in the NL, and was officially approved on February 6.[4] On April 10, Root took over ownership of the team, fired Douglas for incompetence and insubordination, and hired Tom York to replace Carey as captain.[4][5]

Providence was successful in signing several star players for their inaugural season: Paul Hines had played the previous four seasons with the Chicago White Stockings; Tom Carey was signed after the Hartford Dark Blues folded; Doug Allison was the catcher for the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, who had an 84-game winning streak from 1869 to 1870; and John Montgomery Ward, who was playing his first season in the major leagues.[6][7][8][9][10] Ward had a win–loss record of 22–13 and Hines led the league in home runs, runs batted in (RBIs), and batting average as the Grays finished in third place among the six teams in the NL for the 1878 season, with a record of 33 wins, 27 losses, and 2 ties.[6][11] The Grays won the NL championship in 1879, placing first among the league's eight teams with Ward winning 47 games as their starting pitcher, and the leadership of George Wright, who played second base and also managed.[6][12] The team had a strong hitting line-up with Hines' league leading .357 batting average, as well as new additions Jim O'Rourke and Joe Start, who both had batting averages over .300.[6] William Edward White, a Brown University player who played one game for the Grays on June 21, 1879, may have been the first African-American to play at the major league level;[13] according to Peter Morris of the Society for American Baseball Research, the evidence for White is strong, but not conclusive. If this claim is true, then White pre-dated both Moses Fleetwood Walker and his brother Welday Walker, who both played for the 1884 Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association (AA).[13][14] In 1880, the Grays finished in second place among the eight NL teams, with Ward winning 39 games.[15][16] On June 17 of that year, Ward pitched the second perfect game in major league history.[17]

For the 1881 season, the Grays signed pitcher Charles Radbourn, who split the starting duties with Ward over the next two seasons. Radbourn won 25 games in 1881 and 33 more in 1882, while Ward won 18 and 19 respectively.[18][19] In 1882, the Grays hired Harry Wright to be their manager, who brought back his brother George to play shortstop.[19][20] They placed second in the NL standings, behind the White Stockings, for the third straight season.[21][22] In 1883, the team dropped to third place, though Radbourn was credited with 48 victories and on July 25, he threw a no-hitter.[17][23][24] Harry Wright left the team before the 1884 season, and was replaced by Frank Bancroft. On June 7, 1884, pitcher Charlie Sweeney struck out 19 batters in a nine-inning game, the unofficial record that stood until Roger Clemens surpassed that total with 20 in a game on April 29, 1986.[25][26] On July 22, manager Brancroft wanted to replace Sweeney in the line-up with right fielder and alternate pitcher Cyclone Miller, but Sweeney refused the move and left the game.[4] He was suspended without pay, but quit the team instead and signed to play for the St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association (UA).[4] Without any other viable long-term pitching options, this result forced Radbourn to pitch nearly every game for the remainder of the season.[4] Not only did Radbourn finish with 59 victories, an all-time record, but he also led the league in many pitching categories including strikeouts and earned run average, winning the triple crown.[27][28] His leadership on the field led the team to their second and last NL championship; later besting the New York Metropolitans 3 games to zero in the 1884 World Series.[29][30] The Grays' final season was in 1885, a season in which they finished at their lowest position in the standings in their history, as well as having their worst winning percentage.[1] Following the 1885 season, the owner of the Boston Beaneaters, Arthur Soden bought the team and its players for $6000.[31]

Keys[edit]

Players[edit]

A baseball player is standing, facing the camera, with the top of a baseball bat in his right hand, and the bottom resting on the ground
First baseman Tim Murnane later became an award-winning baseball writer for The Boston Globe.
Player Position Seasons Notes Ref
Allison, DougDoug Allison C 18781879 In 1878, he was the back-up catcher to Lew Brown, and played in one game for the 1879 team. [6][7]
Andrus, WimanWiman Andrus 3B 1885 His major league career consisted of a single game for the 1885 team. [32]
Arundel, HarryHarry Arundel SP 1884 He pitched one game for the Grays, an 11–2 win over the Cleveland Blues. [33][34]
Bassett, CharleyCharley Bassett IF 18841885 Bassett was used as a back-up infielder during his two seasons in Providence. [35][36]
Bradley, GeorgeGeorge Bradley 3B / SP / RP 1880 During his lone season with the Grays, he was the starting third baseman, and was used as the alternate pitcher when John Montgomery Ward needed a rest. [15][37]
Brown, LewLew Brown C 18781879, 1881 He was the starting catcher for the 1878 Grays, as well as 1879, until Emil Gross took over as the starter. Brown was sent to the Chicago White Stockings late into the 1879 season, and returned to the team as a reserve catcher in 1881. [6][38]
Carey, TomTom Carey SS 1878 He was the starting shortstop for the 1878 Grays, batted .237, and scored 30 runs. [6][8]
Carroll, CliffCliff Carroll LF 18821885 He began his career for the 1882 Grays, and became the starting left fielder for the 1884 Grays. He stayed in that position through the 1885 season. [39][40]
Cassidy, JohnJohn Cassidy RF 1883 In 1883, he played his only season in Providence, and was the starting right fielder. [24][41]
Cattanach, JohnJohn Cattanach SP 1884 He pitched in one game for Providence, and two for the St. Louis Browns during his only season in the majors. [39][42]
Conley, EdEd Conley SP 1884 He pitched in eight games for the 1884 Grays, and had a 4–4 win–loss record, with a 2.12 earned run average. It was his only season in the majors. [39][43]
Corey, FredFred Corey SP 1878 In his first major league season, Corey pitched in five games for the 1878 Grays, and played two other games at second base. [6][44]
Crane, EdEd Crane LF 1885 Although he was known as a pitcher, he played left field in the only game he played for the Grays. [45]
Daily, ConCon Daily C 1885 Daily, in his only season for the Grays, was the back-up catcher to Barney Gilligan. [35][46]
Denny, JerryJerry Denny 3B 18811885 During his five seasons for the Grays, he led all NL third basemen in several fielding categories; in games played twice, putouts twice, and fielding percentage once. [47]
Dorgan, MikeMike Dorgan§ RF 1880 Dorgan started in right field, and finished the season as their manager, with the team winning 26 of the final 39 games under his leadership. [15][48]
Farrell, JackJack Farrell§ 2B 18791885 Farrell was the starting second baseman for the Grays from 1880 to 1885. In 1883, he led the league in fielding percentage among second basemen. [49]
Fisher, CherokeeCherokee Fisher SP 1878 In his only game with the Grays, he pitched a complete game loss against the Cincinnati Reds on July 9. This was the last game he played at the major league level. [50][51]
Foley, JohnJohn Foley SP 1885 Foley pitched a complete game loss against the St. Louis Maroons on September 18, his only major league appearance. [52][53]
Gilligan, BarneyBarney Gilligan C 18811885 After splitting time at catcher with Emil Gross in 1881, he became the starter in 1882 and held the position through the 1885 season. [18][54]
Gross, EmilEmil Gross C 18791881 After splitting time at catcher with Lew Brown in 1879, he became the starter in 1880 and led the league in games played. He played another season in Providence, splitting time with Barney Gilligan. [6][18][55]
Hague, BillBill Hague 3B 18781879 In 1878, he was a starter while leading the league in assists and fielding percentage as a third baseman. [6][56]
Hallstrom, CharlieCharlie Hallstrom SP 1885 Hallstrom pitched a complete game loss, on September 23 against the Chicago White Stockings. He is credited as the first person born in Sweden to play in the major leagues. [57][58][59]
Healey, TomTom Healey SP 1878 He pitched in three games for Grays before finishing the season for the Indianapolis Blues. It was his only season in the major leagues. [6][60]
Higham, DickDick Higham RF 1878 In his last full season as a player, Higham was the starting right fielder, and led the league in doubles and runs scored. [6][61]
Hines, MikeMike Hines C 1885 In a four-season career, he played mainly for the Boston Beaneaters, but during the 1885 season, he played in one game for the Grays. [35][62]
Hines, PaulPaul Hines CF 18781885 Hines played in each season the Providence Grays franchise was in the league. He is the Grays' all-time leader in games played with 705, and nearly all offensive categories. In 1878, he led the league in home runs, RBIs, and batting average, known later as baseball's triple crown. [9][63][64]
Houck, SadieSadie Houck LF 1880 Houck played in 49 games with the Grays, and had a batting average of .201, while playing mostly in left field. [15][65]
Irwin, ArthurArthur Irwin SS 18831885 Irwin played three seasons for the Grays as their starting shortstop. In 1883, he collected 116 hits and had a batting average of .286; both were his career highs. He broke a finger during the 1885 season, which he protected with a padded fielding glove. It is believed to be the first glove used in league play, other than ones used by catchers and first basemen. [66][67]
Kemmler, RudyRudy Kemmler C 1879 Kemmler played in two games with the 1879 Grays, and collected one hit in seven at bats. [6][68]
Kimber, SamSam Kimber SP 1885 In his only game for the Grays, he pitched a complete game loss against the Detroit Wolverines on September 29. It was his last game in major league play. [69][70]
Knight, LonLon Knight RF 1885 [35][71]
Lyons, DennyDenny Lyons 3B 1885 In the first of his 13-season career he played four games at third base, and collected two hits in 16 at bats. [72]
Manning, TimTim Manning SS 1882, 1885 Manning had two different stints in Providence. He played in 21 games in 1882, and 17 in 1885. Combined, he collected 10 hits in 111 at bats for a .090 batting average for the Grays. [73]
Mathews, BobbyBobby Mathews SP 1879, 1881 Mathews played a full season for the Grays in 1879 and had a win–loss record of 12–6. He then returned for a partial season in 1881, winning four games against eight losses. [74]
McClellan, BillBill McClellan SS / RF 1881 He was the starting shortstop during his only season with the Grays. [75]
McCormick, JimJim McCormick SP 1885 McCormick collected one of his 265 career wins while playing for the Grays. He was sold to the Chicago White Stockings by early July. [76]
McGeary, MikeMike McGeary§ 2B / 3B 18791880 He played two seasons with the Grays. In 1879, he led the National League in games played, then was named player-manager for the 1880 season. Soon after the season began, McGeary was replaced as manager and released from the team. Later in the season, the Cleveland Blues hired him as both player and manager. [77]
Miller, CycloneCyclone Miller SP / RP 1884 In 1884, Miller was a well-travelled pitcher, with Providence being the second of three major league teams he played for that season. During his time with the Grays, he pitched in six games, had a win–loss record of 3–2, and a 2.08 earned run average. [78]
Mulvey, JoeJoe Mulvey SS 1883 In the first of Mulvey's 12 major league seasons, he appeared in four games, and had a .125 batting average. [79]
Murnane, TimTim Murnane 1B 1878 In his only season with the Grays, Murnane was their starting first baseman. This was his last major league season before reappearing with the Boston Reds of the Union Association in 1884. He later became a long-time sportswriter for The Boston Globe and was enshrined into the Honor Rolls of Baseball by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946. [80][81]
Murray, MiahMiah Murray C 1884 He played in eight games, and had a .185 batting average. [82]
Myers, HenryHenry Myers SS 1881 He played in one game for the Grays, and had no hits in four at bats. [83]
Nava, SandySandy Nava SS 18821884 He played three seasons for the Grays as their back-up catcher. Nava is the first known Mexican American and second Hispanic baseball player to play at the major league level. [84][85]
Nichols, TrickyTricky Nichols SP 1878 In his only season playing for Providence, Nichols had a 4–7 win–loss record and a 4.22 earned run average. [86]
O'Leary, DanDan O'Leary RF 1879 O'Leary played in two games for the Grays, and collected three hits in seven at bats. [87]
O'Rourke, JimJim O'Rourkedagger RF / 1B 1879 Baseball Hall of Famer O'Rourke had a batting average of .348, and led the National League with a .371 on-base percentage during his only season with the Grays. [88]
Peters, JohnJohn Peters SS 1880 During his only season with the Grays, Peters led all National League shortstops in games played, putouts, and fielding percentage. [89]
Pike, LipLip Pike 2B 1878 He played in five games for the Grays, and had a batting average of .227 in 22 at bats. [90]
Radbourn, CharlesCharles Radbourndagger SP / RF 18811885 Baseball Hall of Famer Radbourn is the Grays' all-time leader in nearly all major pitching categories. He played 5 seasons for the Grays, during which he led the NL in several seasonal pitching categories, including an all-time leading 59 wins in 1884. [63][91][92]
Radford, PaulPaul Radford RF 18841885 He was the Grays' starting right fielder for two seasons. [93]
Reilley, CharlieCharlie Reilley C 1882 He played in three games for the Grays, and had a batting average of .182 in 11 at bats. [94]
Richmond, LeeLee Richmond LF / SP 1883 A starting pitcher during the bulk of his career, he played mainly in left field for the Grays. [95]
Seward, EdEd Seward RP 1885 Seward pitched six innings in relief on September 30, his only game for the Grays. [96]
Shaw, DupeeDupee Shaw SP 1885 Shaw pitched in 49 games during his only season with the Grays. He completed 47 of his 49 starts, had an earned run average of 2.47, struck out 194 batters in 399.2 innings, and a 23–26 win–loss record. [97]
Smith, EdgarEdgar Smith SP / LF 1883, 1885 During Smith's two seasons with the Grays, he played in a total of three games. [98]
Start, JoeJoe Start 1B 18791885 Start was the starting first baseman for the Grays for the final seven seasons of the franchise. He twice led NL first basemen in putouts and fielding percentage. [99]
Stellberger, BillBill Stellberger SP 1885 Stellberger pitched a complete game loss on October 1, against the Detroit Wolverines, his only game with the Grays. [52][100]
Sullivan, DennyDenny Sullivan 3B 1879 He played his first of two major league seasons for the Grays. In five games played, he batted .263 in 19 at bats. [101]
Sweasy, CharlieCharlie Sweasy 2B 1878 He played his final season in the major leagues for the Grays. In 55 games played, he had a .175 batting average. [102]
Sweeney, CharlieCharlie Sweeney SP 18821884 Sweeney had a 17–8 win–loss record when he left the field and later quit the team for being relieved from the game as the pitcher. His absence from the team for the remainder of the season left Charles Radbourn as the only viable starting pitcher on the team. Radbourn finished the season with all-time record for wins in a season with 59. [103][104]
Troy, DasherDasher Troy SS 1882 He played in four games during his lone season with the Grays, and batted .235 in 17 at bats. [105]
Ward, John MontgomeryJohn Montgomery Warddagger§ SP / IF / RF 18781882 The first five seasons of Ward's Hall of Fame career were spent with the Grays. He led the NL in earned run average in 1878, and in 1879, he led the league in pitching wins. [10][63]
Ward, JohnJohn Ward SP 1885 He pitched in one game for the Grays, a complete game loss on September 19 to the St. Louis Browns. [106]
Wheeler, HarryHarry Wheeler SP 1878 During his lone season with the Grays, he pitched in seven games, completed all six of his starts and had a 6–1 win–loss record. [52][107]
White, William EdwardWilliam Edward White 1B 1879 He played in one game for the Grays, and had one hit in four at bats. Evidence suggests that White was the first African-American to have played in the major leagues, pre-dating the Walker brothers, who played for the Toledo Blue Stockings in 1884. [13][14]
Whitney, ArtArt Whitney SS 1882 During his lone season with the Grays, he collected three hits in 40 at bats, and was released from the team in June. [108]
Wright, GeorgeGeorge Wrightdagger§ SS 1879, 1882 The first of Hall of Famer George Wright's two, one-year, stints with the Grays was in 1879, when he was the team's player-manager for its first NL championship season. He then left the team, but returned in June 1882, the final season of his career. [12][109]
York, TomTom York§ LF 18781882 York was the Grays' left fielder for the first five seasons of their existence, and had two different stints as their player-manager. [110]

References[edit]

General
Specific
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  46. ^ "Con Daily". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved June 16, 2009. 
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  49. ^ "Jack Farell". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved June 18, 2009. 
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  51. ^ "Cherokee Fisher". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved June 18, 2009. 
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  71. ^ "Lon Knight". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved January 9, 2011. 
  72. ^ "Denny Lyons". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 7, 2009. 
  73. ^ "Tim Manning". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 10, 2009. 
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  83. ^ "Henry Myers". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 12, 2009. 
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  88. ^ "Jim O'Rourke". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 12, 2009. 
  89. ^ "John Peters". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 12, 2009. 
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  97. ^ "Dupee Shaw". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 12, 2009. 
  98. ^ "Edgar Smith". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 12, 2009. 
  99. ^ "Joe Start". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 12, 2009. 
  100. ^ "Bill Stellberger". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 12, 2009. 
  101. ^ "Denny Sullivan". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 12, 2009. 
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  107. ^ "Harry Wheeler". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 13, 2009. 
  108. ^ "Art Whitney". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 13, 2009. 
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  110. ^ "Tom York". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet, Inc. Retrieved November 11, 2009. 

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