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Deacon White and Jack Rowe

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  • Hoyfan
    Deacon White and other non-HOFers

    Deacon White has been bypassed for the same probable reason that the Veterans' Committee has bypassed Jack Glasscock and George Van Haltren...a lack of interest in 19th-century players because no one alive ever saw them play.

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  • SABR Steve
    White belongs in the Hall of Fame. I'd like to know why the Veterans Committee has ignored him.

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  • Brian McKenna
    started a topic Deacon White and Jack Rowe

    Deacon White and Jack Rowe

    Deacon White was one of the first stars of the National League and was well respected among his peers. His nicknamed derived from the fact that he didn’t smoke, drink or gamble a rarity for a ballplayer in those days. In 1877 the barehanded catcher led the National League in hits, triples, road home runs, total bases, RBI, batting average and slugging average. White was a big RBI man who led the National League in its first two campaigns. Thirteen times the slugger eclipsed a .300 batting average.

    White had previously caught Al Spalding from 1873-75 in the old National Association. Developing a rudimentary glove and mask, Deacon was one of the first catchers to set up behind home plate. He would later be the first man to formally challenge the reserve clause.

    Jack Rowe was a catcher and shortstop who four times batted over .300 and notched 70+ RBI. His friendship with White would lead him into the middle of a few union battles.

    Both were long-time National League players and two of the biggest supporters of the Brotherhood, a players’ union formed in October 1885 and led by John Montgomery Ward and Tim Keefe. In early 1889 the pair bought into the Buffalo franchise of the International League. Plans were made to join Buffalo as player-owners. One problem, they had been sold from NL Detroit to owner William Nimick in Pittsburgh and were restricted by the reserve clause. Nimick demanded their services. The National League and American Association even threatened to blacklist anyone who played for or against the pair. They could not even play for the team they owned. Relenting, White and Rowe reported to Pittsburgh at midseason. They fulfilled their obligation and returned to Buffalo at season’s end. Ironically, their Buffalo franchise joined the Players League the following year and they became major league owners themselves.

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