This Day in Baseball History: July 16th, 1897

Remember Cap Anson. For more, go here.

On July 16, 1897:

Cap Anson becomes the first major-league player to net 3,000 hits.

When talking about the great players of baseball history, Cap Anson is often left out. Mostly, it’s because he played his entire 27-year career (yes, 27) before the turn of the century. But make no mistake, he could rake (hey, that rhymes). For his career, he hit .333/.393/.445 for a 141 OPS+, and he was one of the premier hitters of his era. On the other hand, he didn’t field very well as he holds the major-league record for errors with 657, but remember, he didn’t have a glove and he did play for 27 years.

Other than just being a really good player, Anson was also extremely influential. After becoming the player-manager of the Chicago White Stockings, he created some of the tactics that are commonplace now but revolutionary at the time — the hit and run (he says), spring training, the third-base coach, signals, and backing up fielders. He was so good that Adrian Constantine Anson received the nickname “Cap” for captain. When he was fired after the 1897 season, the White Sox were momentarily called the “Orphans” because of the loss of direction. Anson also helped promote baseball, and he joined Albert Spalding in organizing and executing a World Tour in 1888, investing almost $4,000 in the venture.

Anson was also known for being racist, but that wasn’t peculiar for the time. He once (at least) refused to play a team that had a black player, but again, that wasn’t peculiar for the time. However, many believe that he was one of the key players in the gentleman’s agreement to keep African-Americans out of the major leagues. Still, I’m not sure how much more racist he was than the rest of the country at the time. I feel that we often retroject our values on a different time and then judge people accordingly. Yes, Anson was probably racist, and while extremely regrettable, he was just a product of his time. Had he been born today, he would probably not be the same man. Just remember that when people continually bring up racism and older players. Unfortunate but understandable.

Anyway, back to the 3,000 hits. His place as the first isn’t exactly in cement. Prior to the 1887 season, walks were also counted as hits. He also garnered 423 of his hits in the National Association. So, do you count those or not? If you don’t, then he ends up with a grand total of 2,995 hits, and he is not the first to 3,000 hits. But remember, Anson is likely to come beat the crap out of you if you take them away. Just sayin’.

Trivia Time
True or False? Anson still holds numerous Cubs franchise records including RBI, runs, hits and doubles.

Yesterday’s Answer –> Honus Wagner

Special All-Star Answer –> Maury Wills


One Response to “This Day in Baseball History: July 16th, 1897”

  1. Brad Wackerlin Says:

    Very nice little article. I enjoyed reading it. If you or your readers are interested in a detailed look at Cap's life, I invite you to visit the website I created for him at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: