November 16, 1883|
Cass County, Indiana
|Died: September 12, 1967
|April 14, 1910 for the Chicago White Sox|
Last MLB appearance
|September 11, 1918 for the Chicago Cubs|
|Runs batted in||253|
Career highlights and awards
Rollie Hubert Zeider (November 16, 1883 – September 12, 1967) was a professional baseball player. An infielder (playing over 100 games at all four infield positions in his career), he played nine seasons in Major League Baseball for the Chicago White Sox (1910–13), New York Yankees (1913), Chicago Chi-Feds/Chicago Whales in the Federal League from 1914–15, and lastly the Chicago Cubs (1916–18). He is one of only a few players to play for three different Chicago teams in his career, and one of two to do it in the 20th century. He is the only player to hit home runs for all three Chicago major league teams in the twentieth century. Along with Dutch Zwilling he is the only 20th century player to play in the same city in three different major leagues (American League (White Sox), Federal League (Chi-Feds/Whales), and the National League (Cubs).
Strangely, Zeider contributed to another odd record along with Zwilling. The 1916 Cubs were one of the few teams in history, and the most recent until 1999, to have three players whose last names begin with "Z": Zeider, Zwilling, and Heinie Zimmerman. The 1999 Texas Rangers were the first and only since then with Jeff Zimmerman, Todd Zeile, and Gregg Zaun.
His nickname Bunion was the result of a spike wound when Detroit Tigers outfielder Sam Crawford spiked his "bunion" during a play. Zeider's bunion became a news item when he was traded after the injury and his new club, the New York Yankees, later protested that the White Sox had not informed them that Zeider was injured at the time of the trade.
Zeider began his professional career in 1905, which he split between the Crookston Crooks and Winnipeg Maroons of the Northern League. In 1909, he played third base for the minor-league San Francisco Seals. On August 17 of that year, Zeider was acquired from the Seals by the White Sox for $5,500 and two players.
The right-handed Zeider was one of the fastest players in the game, even at the time. With the White Sox, as a rookie, Zeider accomplished what would end up being his career-high in stolen bases with 49. Not only that, but his 49 stolen bases stood as the record for stolen bases by a rookie until 76 years later, when John Cangelosi, another White Sox player, broke it in 1986 with 50.
He reached the top 5 in stolen bases twice (1910, his rookie season, and 1912). Besides those two season, Zeider's early career came as a utility player. Not until 1914 did he begin to play regularly every year. By that point, his speed had decreased, but he still came in eighth in the league in steals with 35 that year (tied with Tom Downey and Baldy Louden). It was also, arguably, his best full season.
In a nine-season career, he batted .240 with 5 home runs and 253 RBIs in 941 games. He stole 223 bases in his career and scored 393 runs. He had 769 hits in 3210 at bats. In his only World Series appearance (1918 with the Cubs), Zeider had two plate appearances and walked twice.
Zeider was born in the small town of Hoover near Logansport in Cass County, Indiana, where his father was a farmer, and grew up in Auburn, Indiana, where his father took a job in a sawmill. Zeider was married twice, first to Alberta Doyle, who died of tuberculosis in 1916, then to Margaret Pilgrim.
After retiring from professional baseball, he ran a restaurant in Garrett, Indiana, called Polly's Tavern. ("Polly" was his local nickname.) He moved to Orland, Indiana, in neighboring Steuben County in 1959. Zeider was inducted into the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association Hall of Fame in 1965.
Zeider died in a hospital in Garrett, aged 83, and was interred beside his first wife in Woodlawn Cemetery in Auburn.
Notes and references
- Some newspapers dressed up the story by saying it was the notorious Ty Cobb that spiked Zeider, but according to the 7-26-1913 issue of Sporting Life, the protest from club owner Frank Farrell to the AL President says: "Zeider has informed [manager] Chance that ... he was spiked by Crawford in Detroit."
- MiLB.Com: 1909 San Francisco Seals
- Toledo Mud Hens: Players that have Played at Fifth Third Field
- List of Major League Baseball leaders in career stolen bases
- Wrigley Field: Weeghman Park and the Federal League (1913–1915)
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Baseball Library:Rollie Zeider
- Federal League Player Statistics for the 1914–1915 Season: Rollie Zeider
- Weeghman Park (Wrigley Field) Federal League Firsts
- Find A Grave Profile