September 14, 1856|
|Died: October 11, 1916
|April 19, 1875, for the New Haven Elm Citys|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 5, 1884, for the Kansas City Cowboys (UA)|
Henry T. Luff (September 14, 1856 – October 11, 1916) was a Major League Baseball player. In four seasons, he played for six different teams in four different leagues. While he played in a total of just 117 games, he managed to play at least 10 games at four different positions, including pitcher, and at least one game at every position except catcher.
Luff's major league career began in 1875 with the New Haven Elm Citys of the National Association. He was in the starting lineup for the franchise's inaugural game on April 19 against the defending champion Boston Red Stockings, batting third and playing in right field.
The New Haven club spent much of the year in dire financial circumstances, and in August and September it played a series of exhibitions in New York City and Canada in an effort to control the financial bleeding. During this trip, the team stayed in London, Ontario's Tecumseh House hotel. When the team checked out, the hotel's owners noticed that Luff and his roommate Billy Geer seemed to have more luggage than they'd had when they checked into the hotel. An investigation revealed that several valuable items of clothing, including a fur coat, were missing, and when the hotel contacted the New Haven team, they turned the matter over to the police. The stolen items were discovered in Luff and Geer's shared room in a New Haven boarding house, and both players were arrested by the police and released from their contracts by the Elm Citys. Luff subsequently claimed that the items had been taken by Geer, and that he had no knowledge of the thefts. After the arrests, stolen items from a hotel in Scranton, Pennsylvania at which the team had previously stayed were also discovered in Geer's room.
Luff was unusual among players of his time, in that he had a college degree and prospects of a career outside baseball, and played baseball simply because he enjoyed the game. Before the start of his playing career, he worked as a clerk, and after his retirement as a player, he became a civil engineer.
- Arcidiacono, David. Major League Baseball in Gilded Age Connecticut: The Rise and Fall of the Middletown, New Haven and Hartford Clubs, McFarland, 2009, p. 117. ISBN 0786436778
- Arcidiacono, p. 119.
- Arcidiacono, pp. 143-144
- Batesel, Paul. Players and Teams of the National Association, 1871–1875, McFarland, 2012, p. 84. ISBN 0786490764
- Miller, Randy. Harry the K: The Remarkable Life of Harry Kalas, Running Press, 2011, p. 309. ISBN 0762441100