Bill Hunter (huntebi01)
William F. Hunter
- Bats Right, Throws Unknown
- Height 5' 7", Weight 160 lb.
- Debut May 2, 1884
- Final Game May 9, 1884
- Born 1855 in London, ON CAN
- Died April 12, 1918 in Chicago, IL USA
Bill Hunter was first heard of as a player for the London Tecumsehs in 1877, after having presumably played for a team in St. Thomas, ON in 1876. A catcher, he was active for 8 years before playing a couple of games for the Louisville Eclipse of the American Association in May of 1884.
With St. Thomas, he formed a battery with future major league pitcher and umpire Bob Emslie. Other minor league stops included Saginaw, MI and Hamilton, ON. In 1886, he played for Denver, then Duluth in 1887. That was apparently the end of his professional career, but he continued to play in the semi-pro Chicago city league after that. However, his trace was then lost for over a hundred years.
SABR researchers found a person who was likely the future ballplayer listed in the 1861 Canadian census as a six-year-old living in London, ON, and in the same place in 1871. He was the son of Hamilton Hunter, an immigrant from Ireland. This man was then found on an ancestry web site, where it was indicated he worked as a carpenter, never married, and died in Chicago, IL in 1918. It seemed that most of his family had moved to Chicago as well (he had three full siblings and some half-siblings by the time of the 1871 census). His younger brother James had been the first to move there, around 1880, and was quite successful, becoming the head of a furniture business, apparently convincing other members of his family clan to try their luck in the Windy City as well. The eldest of the family, Hamilton Jr. was a commercial traveler for the furniture company, and William is listed as a cabinet maker or a carpenter in various city directories, including for a time when he shared a home with Hamilton. For some reason, however, William never appeared in U.S. census records.
- "William Hunter Found", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, January/February 2017, pp. 1-4