Cap Anson

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Adrian Constantine "Cap" Anson (April 17, 1852, Marshalltown, Iowa - April 14, 1922, Chicago, Illinois) was a professional baseball player in the National Association and Major League Baseball for the Rockford Forest Citys, Philadelphia Athletics, and Chicago White Stockings.
Missing image
Cap-anson.jpg
Anson in 1888

Anson spent a year at the University of Notre Dame before he started playing professionally in 1871 in the National Association. His best years in the NA were 1872 and 1873, when he finished in the top 5 in batting, OBP (leading the league in 1872), and OPS both years. He fell off a little after that, but was still good enough that he was sought by White Stockings Secretary-turned-President William Hulbert as he strove to improve his club for the 1876 season. Hulbert broke league rules by negotiating with Anson and several other stars while the 1875 season was still in progress, ultimately founding the new National League to forstall any disciplinary action. Anson, who had married a Philadelphia native in the meantime, had second thoughts about going west, but Hulbert held Anson to his contract and he eventually warmed to the Windy City.

The White Stockings won the first league title, but fell off the pace the following two seasons. During this time, Anson was a solid hitter, but not quite a superstar. Both his fortunes and those of his team would change after Anson was named captain-manager of the club in 1879. With Anson pacing the way, the White Stockings won five pennants between 1880 and 1886. They were helped to the titles using new managerial tactics, including the rotation of two star pitchers. After the expression first became popular, in the 1890s, he retroactively claimed to used some of the first "hit and run" plays, and, especially aided by clever base runner Mike Kelly in the first half of the 1880s, had his players run the bases in a way that forced the opposition into making errors. In a modern sense of going South right before a season, he shares credit as an innovator of spring training along with then-Chicago President Albert Spalding. An aggressive captain and manager, he regularly helped players play better, and his contributions helped make baseball a higher-quality sport, while at the same time making it more popular with fans. On the field, Anson was the team's best hitter and run producer. In the 1880s, he won two batting titles (1881, 1888) and finished second four times (1880, 1882, 1886-87). During the same period, he led the league in RBIs an incredible seven times (1880-82, 1884-86, 1888). His best season was in 1881, when he led the league in batting (.399), OBP (.442), OPS (.952), hits (137), total bases (175), and RBIs (82). He also became the first player to hit three consecutive home runs, five homers in two games, and four doubles in a game, as well as being the first to perform two unassisted double plays in a game. He is one of only a few players to score six runs in a game, a feat he accomplished on August 24, 1886.

Unfortunately, Anson was well known to be a racist. While baseball would have become segregated without him, his regular refusal to play in exhibition games versus dark-skinned players helped to usher in segregation. Despite this, Anson remained very popular in Chicago while playing for the White Stockings, which were increasingly known as the Colts starting with an influx of new players in the mid-1880s. Anson signed a ten year contract in 1888 to manage the White Stockings (which because of a typographical error he failed to spot ended after the 1897 season instead of the 1898 one), but his best years were behind him. He led the league in walks in 1890 and garnered his eighth and final RBI crown in 1891, but declined precipitously thereafter. On the managerial front, he failed to win another pennant. He also mellowed enough that his nicknames became "Uncle" and "Grandpa." When he was fired as manager after the 1897 season, it also marked the end of his 27-year playing career. The following season, the Colts were called the Orphans to reflect Anson's departure.

There is much controversy as to whether he became the first player ever to make 3,000 hits in a major league career; for many years, recognized statistics credited him with precisely that total, but researchers in the 1990s argued that he was incorrectly credited with 20 extra hits in 1879, dropping him to 2,995 according to statistics officially recognized by Major League Baseball. However, if one counts his 423 earlier hits in the NA, the major leagues' predecessor (which Major League Baseball does not), he is well over the mark. He was, by any standard, the first player to make 3,000 hits in his professional career.

Anson briefly made a return to baseball managing the New York Giants in June and July of 1898, but fully retired afterward. He was later named president of a new American Association, but he scuttled the venture at the first sign of trouble, leaving him a laughingstock. He was later elected city clerk of Chicago in 1905, and failed in the Democratic primary to become sheriff in 1907. After going bankrupt, he toured in vaudeville and as late as 1920 had delusions of becoming commissioner of baseball. Anson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939, one of the first 19th-century players selected. Over 100 years after his retirement, he still holds several Cubs franchise records, including most career hits and runs. In addition, the White Sox owe their name to the team he made famous, the White Stockings of the 19th century and Anson, in part motivated by his dislike for the current management of the Chicago National League club, played an unorthodox role in helping Charles Comiskey place the White Sox in Chicago for the 1900 season.

Cap Anson died in 1922 and was interred in the Oak Woods Cemetery, Chicago.

YEAR TEAM         AGE G    AB    R    H    2B  3B  HR   HR%   RBI  BB   SO   SB   CS  AVG   SLG  OBA   OPS
1876 Cubs         24   66   309   63  110   9   7   2   0.65   59   12    8    0   0  .356  .450  .380  .830 
1877 Cubs         25   59   255   52   86  19   1   0   0.00   32    9    3    0   0  .337  .420  .360  .779 
1878 Cubs         26   60   261   55   89  12   2   0   0.00   40   13    1    0   0  .341  .402  .372  .775 
1879 Cubs         27   51   227   40   72  20   1   0   0.00   34    2    2    0   0  .317  .414  .323  .737 
1880 Cubs         28   86   356   54  120  24   1   1   0.28   74   14   12    0   0  .337  .419  .362  .781 
1881 Cubs         29   84   343   67  137  21   7   1   0.29   82   26    4    0   0  .399  .510  .442  .952 
1882 Cubs         30   82   348   69  126  29   8   1   0.29   83   20    7    0   0  .362  .500  .397  .897 
1883 Cubs         31   98   413   70  127  36   5   0   0.00   68   18    9    0   0  .308  .419  .336  .755 
1884 Cubs         32  112   475  108  159  30   3  21   4.42  102   29   13    0   0  .335  .543  .373  .916 
1885 Cubs         33  112   464  100  144  35   7   7   1.51  108   34   13    0   0  .310  .461  .357  .819 
1886 Cubs         34  125   504  117  187  35  11  10   1.98  147   55   19   29   0  .371  .544  .433  .977 
1887 Cubs         35  122   472  107  164  33  13   7   1.48  102   60   18   27   0  .347  .517  .422  .939 
1888 Cubs         36  134   515  101  177  20  12  12   2.33   84   47   24   28   0  .344  .499  .400  .899 
1889 Cubs         37  134   518  100  161  32   7   7   1.35  117   86   19   27   0  .311  .440  .414  .854 
1890 Cubs         38  139   504   95  157  14   5   7   1.39  107  113   23   29   0  .312  .401  .443  .844 
1891 Cubs         39  136   540   81  157  24   8   8   1.48  120   75   29   17   0  .291  .409  .378  .788 
1892 Cubs         40  146   559   62  152  25   9   1   0.18   74   67   30   13   0  .272  .354  .354  .708 
1893 Cubs         41  103   398   70  125  24   2   0   0.00   91   68   12   13   0  .314  .384  .415  .800 
1894 Cubs         42   83   340   82  132  28   4   5   1.47   99   40   15   17   0  .388  .538  .457  .995 
1895 Cubs         43  122   474   87  159  23   6   2   0.42   91   55   23   12   0  .335  .422  .408  .830 
1896 Cubs         44  108   402   72  133  18   2   2   0.50   90   49   10   24   0  .331  .400  .407  .808 
1897 Cubs         45  114   424   67  121  17   3   3   0.71   75   60    0   11   0  .285  .361  .379  .740 
     TOTALS          2276  9101 1719 2995 528 124  97   1.07 1879  952  294  247   0  .329  .446  .395  .841 
     LG AVERAGE            8359 1362 2250 336 133  59   0.71 1044  602  618  307   0  .269  .362  .322  .685 
     POS AVERAGE           8577 1424 2462 403 166  73   0.85 1263  635  545  251   0  .287  .398  .341  .739 
YEAR TEAM          RC   RCAA  RCAP OWP   RC/G   TB   EBH  ISO   SEC  BPA  IBB HBP SAC  SF GIDP OUTS  PA   POS
1876 Cubs           78   29   26  .709  10.19  139   18  .094  .133  .470   0   0   0   0   0   199   321  3B
1877 Cubs           58   20   26  .696   8.92  107   20  .082  .118  .439   0   0   0   0   0   169   264  3B
1878 Cubs           59   22   24  .707   8.92  105   14  .061  .111  .431   0   0   0   0   0   172   274  LF
1879 Cubs           45   12    7  .642   7.55   94   21  .097  .106  .419   0   0   0   0   0   155   229  1B
1880 Cubs           81   36   27  .756   8.92  149   26  .081  .121  .441   0   0   0   0   0   236   370  1B
1881 Cubs          113   64   51  .827  14.26  175   29  .111  .187  .545   0   0   0   0   0   206   369  1B
1882 Cubs          101   56   41  .821  11.83  174   38  .138  .195  .527   0   0   0   0   0   222   368  1B
1883 Cubs           87   15   -3  .592   7.91  173   41  .111  .155  .443   0   0   0   0   0   286   431  1B
1884 Cubs          138   62   39  .757  11.35  258   54  .208  .269  .569   0   0   0   0   0   316   504  1B
1885 Cubs          114   40    7  .698   9.26  214   49  .151  .224  .498   0   0   0   0   0   320   498  1B
1886 Cubs          173   89   54  .795  14.19  274   56  .173  .339  .640   0   0   0   0   0   317   559  1B
1887 Cubs          138   47   26  .688  11.65  244   53  .169  .354  .623   0   1   0   0   0   308   533  1B
1888 Cubs          135   66   52  .778  10.38  257   44  .155  .301  .591   0   1   0   0   0   338   563  1B
1889 Cubs          133   44   27  .682   9.69  228   46  .129  .347  .568   0   5   0   0   0   357   609  1B
1890 Cubs          134   45   39  .689  10.04  202   26  .089  .371  .562   0   6   0   0   0   347   623  1B
1891 Cubs          114   18   16  .589   7.74  221   40  .119  .289  .510   0   1   0   0   0   383   616  1B
1892 Cubs           96   17    0  .597   6.13  198   35  .082  .225  .448   0   4   0   0   0   407   630  1B
1893 Cubs           90    9    7  .556   8.57  153   26  .070  .274  .503   0   1   0   0   0   273   467  1B
1894 Cubs          100   26   28  .645  12.09  183   37  .150  .318  .634   0   3   7   0   0   215   390  1B
1895 Cubs           99   10   15  .558   7.85  200   31  .086  .228  .508   0   3  13   0   0   328   545  1B
1896 Cubs           85    8   15  .554   8.07  161   22  .070  .251  .522   0   3   5   0   0   274   459  1B
1897 Cubs           71   -5   -8  .480   5.92  153   23  .075  .243  .467   0   4   9   0   0   312   497  1B
     TOTALS       2242  730  516  .679   9.49 4062  749  .117  .249  .525   0  32  34   0   0  6140 10119 
     LG AVERAGE   1426    0    0  .500   6.04 3029  528  .093  .202  .443   0  52  31   0   0  6140  9044 
     POS AVERAGE  1660  232    0  .575   7.03 3416  642  .111  .214  .471   0  69  25   0   0  6140  9306 

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