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  • Ned Williamson

    Ned Williamson was injured in Europe during Al Spalding’s world tour following the 1888 season. He was forced to pay his own medical expenses while laid up in a London hospital. Williamson couldn’t play again until August 1889 at which time Spalding presented him with a bill for $500 for Mrs. Williamson’s expenses during the tour. He had already lost $800 in salary. Needless to say, Williamson and Spalding no longer associated.

  • #2
    That's a bunch of crap :grouchy

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    • #3
      And wasn't Ned Williamson the best HR hitter of his day?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
        That's a bunch of crap :grouchy
        I've sent a message to a guy who has a book coming out on the Spalding tour. I don't think Mr. McKenna is one to parrot "urban legends" -- but let's get a view from an independent source that should be an authority.

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        • #5
          i don't remember where i got it from - it's been in my files for a long time
          Last edited by Brian McKenna; 03-01-2006, 06:55 PM.

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          • #6
            I got my reply already from the author, whose book on Spalding's tour will be released in April. There's info up on Amazon now. He says:

            "Though I'm not sure of the dollar amounts off the top of my head, the basic
            facts of the story are, I believe, true."

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            • #7
              Edward Nagle "Ned" Williamson:

              Born: October 24, 1857, Philadelphia, PA
              Died: March 3, 1894, Mountain Valley Springs, AR, at the age of 36, from liver/heart illness.

              NL 3B/SS: 1878-1890

              Played 8 seasons at 3rd, then 4 at SS, and finished with 52 g. at 3rd/21 at SS. Great glove, led league once each at doubles, HRs, Walks. In 1894, Reach Guide cited a 9 person poll, and James Hart, James O'Rourke and Arthur Irwin called Ned Williamson the games greatest player.

              Cap Anson put him on his all time team in Jan., 1918, and Tim Murnane, a former 1st baseman, turned sports writer, put him on his team, in 1914, but at 2B!

              He was also named in a 1938 article in Spalding Guide as one of the best ever 3Bmen.
              --------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Ned's Relative Stats:

              ---Relative BA-----Rel.Slg.---Rel.Onbase----Rel.ISO-------OPS+
              --------0.95---------1.06---------107---------------------113 (545th)

              BB Ref---BB Library bio---Bill Burgess' write-up---Wikipedia Article

              ---6 baseball cards of Ned Williamson, Chicago White Stockings (Cubs), SS 1886-89--------------------------------Ned Williamson, 1877
              ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Pittsburgh Allegheny


              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-19-2009, 01:32 PM.

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              • #8
                BB Library bio

                Cap Anson called Williamson "the greatest all-around ballplayer the country ever saw." Williamson led National League third basemen or shortstops in assists seven times, double plays six times, fielding average four times, and putouts twice. Though an unremarkable hitter, he used the short rightfield fence in Chicago's Lake Front Park to set a major league record for doubles, with 49 in 1883, when balls hit over that fence counted for only two bases. In 1884, when the ground rules were changed, he set a ML home run record with an unprecedented 27, nearly doubling the record of 14 set the previous year. The record stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. (FIC)

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                • #9
                  Wikipedia article:

                  Edward Nagle Williamson (October 24, 1857 - March 3, 1894) was a Major League baseball player for the Indianapolis Blues (1878), Chicago White Stockings (now the Cubs) (1879-1889), and Chicago Pirates (1890). He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

                  In 1883, Williamson set the single season double record with 49 using the short dimensions of Chicago's Lakeshore Park, which fences were 180' in left field, 300' in center field, and 196' in right field. If a ball was hit over the fence it was counted as a double until 1884, which it then became a home run. His double record stood until Tip O'Neill of the St. Louis Browns hit 52 in 1887.

                  In 1884, Williamson set the single season home run record with 27 in a 112-game season, besting the record of 14 set by Harry Stovey the previous year. This record stood for thirty-five years, finally topped by Babe Ruth in 1919, when he hit 29 for the Boston Red Sox in a 140 game schedule. On May 30th of that year, he became the first major league baseball player to hit 3 home runs in one game. Historians look upon Williamson's records skeptically, due to those all-too-friendly dimensions of Lakeshore Park.

                  Williamson died at the age of 35 of dropsy complicated by consumption[1] in Willow Springs, Arkansas. He was laid to rest at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.[2]

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                  • #10
                    Baseball Reference Bullpen writeup

                    Ned Williamson had a thirteen year career in the big leagues, mostly at third base and shortstop. He spent most of his career with the Chicago White Stockings, and was the long-time teammate of Cap Anson.

                    He was the all-time single season HR leader with 27 until 1919 when Babe Ruth hit 29. The record was later increased to 54, 59 and 60 by Ruth and then broken by Roger Maris with 61, Mark McGwire 70, and Barry Bonds 73.

                    The main cause of Williamson's record-setting season was his playing in Lake Front Park, where right field was only 196 feet away. Williamson hit 25 of his 27 HR in his home park. His career high other than 1884 was 9 HR.

                    Prior to 1884, balls hit over the right field fence were ground rule doubles. In 1883 under the old rules, Williamson hit a then-record 49 2B.

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                    • #11
                      In browsing Proquest, doing research, I stumbled across this article by Ted, from 1912. I thought it was interesting enough to post. Enjoy!

                      TED SULLIVAN SPEAKS OUT FOR OLD-TIMERS---(Anaconda Standard, Anaconda, Montana, Sunday, January 14, 1912, pp. 24.)

                      Chicago, Jan. 13.—Winter always brings on gossip of both magnates and players. There must be something left over from the menu of the summer baseball table to appease the baseball appetite of the ravenous fans. The latest fad is picking out the greatest ball players of the game-both past and present. Comparisons are always odious, but they are 10 times more so in the national game. Among the million of fans—every one of them has his idea what player of the entire list of the great army of baseball experts should be numbered among the immortal 20. Before I would pay attention to any of those selectors of the immortal 20, writes Ted Sullivan, he would have to be a man who has been a follower of the game—more than 25 years—and he would have to be a man also who handled players and developed them. The player of the great 20 should be, in my estimation, a man who always took the initiative in crises of a game to win for his side, without a guide being sent around with him to show him the route.

                      In a neck game this brand of player—no matter what team he is on—will rise to the situation and do something to win for his team. Men that were of such caliber of the past were George Wright, Mike Kelly, Curt Welch, Comiskey, Latham and John Ward and the men of modern years. Hugh Jennings, Keeler, McGraw and Jack Doyle of the old Baltimores and the men of today like Cobb, Evers, Callahan, Tinker and Chance and others of like genius.

                      Remember, I am not picking out any 20 great ball players, I am only pointing out the class of men who had the perception of the past and who have the perception of today—and possess the dash and impetuosity that enables them to go through the gate of victory at any time the opposition lets it ajar in their defense.

                      Ty Best—Only Now
                      In the past year I have seen where some magnates and laymen of the game assert that Ty Cobb was the greatest ball player in the entire history of the game. I make an allowance for the magnates to say so, but I do know that one or two of them who said so know better; but I think their opinions were slightly governed by the declaration that the ball player living draws better at their parks than any one that is dead. I want the public to understand that I do not want to take one gem from Cobb's baseball crown, nor do I want to take an ounce off the scale of his great baseball skill to lesson his ability in the eyes of the baseball public.

                      As Cobb stands today he is the best run getter of the entire baseball fraternity, and he is the stimulant and flavor of any ball team he plays on. What I mean by run-getter, is a man who can execute on the bases what he conceives, and that player that can get around those bases in making the run after he once gets to first, no matter how he got there, is the player that will always be a winner for a ball club. Cobb stands alone in that respect. Base running has ever been the spectacular part of a man's ball playing, and the player who excels in that, with all other things equal, will be always popular. I stand second to none in saying that Cobb today is the best batter and base runner in the game. He has also the get away dash and magnetism of the winner, but I will stop right here and say no more. For me to say that this player was the general and versatile ball player of the type, or any way near the counterpart in general baseball ability, of Ned Williamson, Buck Ewing and Mike Kelly, would indicate that I had an eclipse of my sight when I saw those three men in action in the zenith of their fame.

                      The Stalwart Three
                      I did not get my impression of those men by reading a story in the Ledger, but I got my impression of those stalwarts of the game when I was manager
                      of them; in both the American Association and the National league. I saw Williamson on the threshold of his greatness, when he came from the Indianapolis club to Chicago in 1879 and I also saw the great Kelly when he came from Cincinnati to Chicago in the same year. Just think of a player like Williamson, a man symmetrically built, about 6 feet tall, with ability of good kind, that could play third base, catch and pitch, and one of the greatest base runners of his time. William (Buck) Ewing was one of the best, if not the best, general ball players and catchers of all times—who possessed all the attributes of a ball player. Ewing could play infield, and play it well, and excelled in every essential of the game. He began as third baseman of the Troy club of the National league.

                      Now we come to the immortal Mike Kelly, the acknowledged Napoleon of all baseball strategists, a player who could catch (and a brainy one at that) and could play also the in and out field—a man whose head was a casket of baseball gems and whose magnetism in his style of playing made many a man make an error that he otherwise would not. Kelly, cold, mechanical player—and to think, with all his dash and vim in sliding into bases, he never spiked or injured a fellow player. No! There was but one Mike Kelly in baseball, one Napoleon in military science, one John L. Sullivan in pugilism, one Shakespeare in dramatic literature, one Angelo in sculpture and one Rembrandt in painting.

                      To compare Outfielder Cobb to any of these three men, especially Kelly, would be making a sculptor the equal of a stone cutter; then, again, it is hard lo compare an outfielder with an infielder in the line of fielding duties they are called upon. The positions are entirely different. An outfielder may not average two or three chances to a game and the chances may only come in intervals of 10 or 25 minutes, while an infielder is in perpetual action when he once takes the field, and the plays are always coming up in a complicated form, and unless he is a quick-witted fellow he will be lost in a baseball fog. To try to bring any ball player of today up to the standard of Ned Williamson, Buck Ewing and Mike Kelly in general versatility and mechanical skill would be like making the press-made dress-suit actors of today the equals of Booth, Barrett and John McCullough. This last comparison may be a bad simile, but I'll stand for it just tho same. (Anaconda Standard, Anaconda, Montana, Sunday, January 14, 1912, pp. 24.)

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