October 17, 1873|
|Died: September 12, 1931
|September 8, 1899, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 8, 1904, for the Brooklyn Superbas|
|Runs batted in||116|
Frank Edward Dillon (October 17, 1873 – September 12, 1931), known in later years as Pop Dillon, was an American baseball player and manager. He played 22 seasons in professional baseball from 1894 to 1915, including five years in Major League Baseball, as a first baseman with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1899–1900), Detroit Tigers (1901–1902), Baltimore Orioles (1902), and Brooklyn Superbas (1904). He appeared in 312 major league games and compiled a .252 batting average. He was later a player and manager for the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) from 1903 to 1915. He led the Angels to PCL pennants in 1903, 1905, 1907 and 1908.
Dillon was born in 1873 in Normal, Illinois. His father, Levi Dillon, owned a business breeding and selling Percheron horses. Dillon attended the University of Wisconsin and played for the Wisconsin Badgers baseball team from 1892 to 1894. Dillon was a cousin of Hall of Famer Clark Griffith.
In 1894, Dillon figuratively worked both sides of the temperance movement by playing professional baseball for both the Peoria Distillers and the Des Moines Prohibitionists of the Western Association. Over the next four years, he played for Ottumwa in the Eastern Iowa League, Bloomington in the Western Interstate League, Dubuque, Rockford and Rock Island in the Western Association, Scranton in the Atlantic League, and Buffalo in the Western League.
In 1899, Dillon made his major league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He appeared in 30 games as a first baseman for the 1899 Pirates and compiled a .256 batting average in 121 at bats. He returned to the Pirates in 1900, but appeared in only five games.
In 1900, Dillon was sold by Buffalo to the Detroit Tigers of the American League, at that time still a minor league. Dillon appeared in 123 games for the 1900 Tigers and compiled a .291 batting average.
In 1901, Dillon played first base for the Tigers during their first season as a major league club. On April 25, 1901, he hit a major league record four doubles in the Tigers' first major league game. He hit two of his doubles in a 10-run rally in the ninth inning to give the Tigers a 14-13 victory over Milwaukee at Bennett Park. He compiled a .288 batting average in 281 at bats with the 1901 Tigers.
In March 1902, Dillon failed to report for spring training with the Tigers, and a story circulated that he had been hospitalized with appendicitis. The Detroit Free Press reported on March 12 that the story about the appendicitis was a canard and that Dillon was feeling well at his home in Normal, Illinois. He rejoined the Tigers and appeared in 66 games for the club during the 1902, though his batting average dropped 80 points to .206. He was turned over to the Baltimore Orioles during the 1902 season and appeared in two games with that club.
Los Angeles Angels
In October 1902, Dillon was hired to be player-manager in 1903 for the newly reorganized Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League (PCL). In 1903, Dillon led the Angels to the PCL pennant with a 133–78 record and ranked third in the league in batting with a .360 batting average.
After leading Los Angeles to the PCL pennant, Dillon signed in December 1903 to play in 1904 with the Brooklyn Superbas of the National League. In January 1904, Dillon attempted to renege on his Brooklyn contract to remain in Los Angeles. However, and arbitration award in March 1904 awarded him to Brooklyn for the 1904 season. Dillon appeared in 135 game as Brooklyn's first baseman in 1904, compiling a .258 batting average and a .313 on-base percentage.
Return to Los Angeles
In March 1905, the Los Angeles club paid $1,700 to Brooklyn for the return of Dillon. The sum paid by Los Angeles was reported to be "the biggest price ever paid by a minor league club for the purchase of a big league player." Dillon helped lead the 1905 Los Angeles club to the PCL pennant. He compiled a .271 batting average in a career high 216 games and 778 at bats during the 1905 season.
Dillon remained with the Angels where he served as the player-manager through the 1915 season. He helped lead the Angels to pennants in 1903, 1905, 1907, and 1908. He was released by the Angels at age 42 in late November 1915.
After his playing and managing days he was the treasurer of the Association of Professional Ball Players of America. He also operated an apple orchard in Yucaipa, California, and a company that sold 12,000 apple pies per year.
- "Pop Dillon Major League Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
- Roger Cushman (April 23, 2011). "Remembering ... Frank Dillon". The Pantagraph. p. 16 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Pop Dillon Minor League Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
- "Ten Runs Won in the Ninth". pp. 1, 10 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Doubles Records: Game Records". baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- "Reds Hope To Play Detroit: Story of Frank Dillon's Illness Another Canard". Detroit Free Press. March 12, 1902 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Sporting News Notes". San Francisco Chronicle. August 9, 1902. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Sporting News Notes". San Francisco Chronicle. August 15, 1902. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Dillon Leads in Batting Average". San Francisco Chronicle. December 14, 1902. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
- "New Hand For the Los Angeles Club". Oakland Tribune. October 15, 1902. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Official Averages of Pacific Coast League". The Oregon Daily Journal. December 28, 1903. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Report Is Confirmed". Oakland Tribune. December 16, 1903. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Frank Dillon Jumps Brooklyn Contract". Detroit Free Press. January 14, 1904. p. 7 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Base Ball". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. March 6, 1904. p. 48 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Frank Dillon Brings Best Price Ever Paid By Minor League Club". Detroit Free Press. March 4, 1905. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Pennant In Sight For Frank Dillon". Freeport (IL) Journal-Standard. October 9, 1908. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Frank Dillon Is Out, Callahan To Lead Angeles". The Oregon Daily Journal. November 26, 1915. p. 15 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Frank Dillon Dies". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. September 20, 1931. p. 31 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Pop Dillon Says Angels Will Win". San Bernardino News. September 7, 1916. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com.