1889 baseball card of Denny
|Born: March 16, 1859|
New York City
|Died: August 16, 1927 (aged 68)|
|May 2, 1881, for the Providence Grays|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 10, 1894, for the Louisville Colonels|
|Runs batted in||667|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jeremiah Dennis Denny (born Jeremiah Dennis Eldridge; March 16, 1859 – August 16, 1927) was a third baseman in Major League Baseball. He played for the Providence Grays (1881–1885), St. Louis Maroons (1886), Indianapolis Hoosiers (1888–1889), New York Giants (1890–1891), Cleveland Spiders (1891), Philadelphia Phillies (1891), and Louisville Colonels (1893–1894). After leaving the major leagues, Denny continued playing minor league baseball until 1902. He was the last major league position player (non-pitcher) to play his entire career on the diamond without wearing a fielding glove.
Eldridge attended St. Mary's College, Phoenix, Arizona, in the late 1870s, and wanted to play semi-professional baseball during the summer months, when he wasn't playing for the college as an amateur. He used the pseudonym "Jerry Denny" to hide his professional play from the college.
In 1884, Denny helped the National League champion Grays defeat the New York Metropolitans of the American Association in the major leagues' first post-season championship match-up. That season, he was the Grays' leader in home runs (six, and one in the championship series) and runs batted in (59), and second in extra-base hits (37).
Unconventional fielding technique
At the time Denny began his professional career, fielding gloves had not yet become standard equipment, other than padded mitts for catchers and first basemen. Fielding gloves gradually gained acceptance between 1885 and the mid-1890s, but Denny refused to adapt. He was one of the few ambidextrous major league players; although he threw primarily with his right arm, he could also toss with his left. This gave him a defensive advantage at his customary field position—in ranging to his left on a ground ball, if he saw a play at second base, instead of having to transfer the ball to his right hand while pivoting and repositioning his body (as third basemen would customarily do), Denny could dispatch the ball to second with his left hand. This skill contributed to his refusal to wear a glove in the field, long after most players considered gloves essential.
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