John Coleman (outfielder/pitcher)
March 6, 1863|
Saratoga Springs, New York
|Died: May 31, 1922
|May 1, 1883, for the Philadelphia Quakers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 18, 1890, for the Alleghenys|
|Earned run average||4.68|
|Career highlights and awards|
From 1883 through 1890, Coleman played for the Philadelphia Quakers (now the Phillies), the Pittsburgh Alleghenys (now the Pirates), and the now-defunct Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association.
Remarkably, in his rookie season, he pitched in 65 games, but accumulated a record of only 12-48 (the team's season record was 17-81, with its batting average of only .240, lowest in the league). He appeared in another 32 games as an outfielder and second baseman. As of 2010, his 48 losses, 772 hits given up, 510 runs allowed, and 291 earned runs allowed over that 98-game season remain single-season major-league records. These records stand out by large margins, as his nearest contenders are Will White with 42 losses and 404 runs allowed; Ted Breitenstein with 238 earned runs; and Bobby Mathews with 693 hits. His difference between wins and losses, 36, is also the largest ever, dwarfing George Cobb's 27. His 61 games started, 59 complete games, and 538⅓ innings pitched remain Phillies single-season records as well.
After that season, Coleman played mainly as an outfielder, but occasionally filled in at first and second bases and on the pitcher's mound. His career pitching record was 23-72, and his career batting average was .257.
Coleman died after being hit by an automobile in Detroit, Michigan.
Jamie Moyer, Phillies pitcher in 2007, the year the team became the first sports team of any kind to reach 10,000 losses, on being asked what his forebear Coleman might have said after suffering the very first loss in that long chain, 4-3 to the Providence Grays in 1883, replied: "I hope this doesn't start a trend!"
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference