Robert Matthew Byrne
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 145 lb.
- Debut April 11, 1907
- Final Game September 4, 1917
- Born December 31, 1884 in St. Louis, MO USA
- Died December 31, 1964 in Wayne, PA USA
"Byrne is always a dangerous man for the reason that at all times he is cool, nervy and smart" - Alfred H. Spink
Byrne was a top amateur soccer player before joining a semipro baseball team and then his first professional baseball team in 1904. He played in the minors from 1904-1906, then broke in with the 1907 St. Louis Cardinals, playing in 149 of their 153 games as a rookie. He took over from 1906 second baseman, Harry Arndt, who appeared at third base in only three games in 1907, his last year in the majors. Byrne had good range factors in his nearly three seasons with the Cardinals. He was traded near the end of August 1909 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in time to take part in the World Series. Having been second in the league in walks that season (with 78), Byrne was the leadoff batter in the series, batting ahead of Tommy Leach, Fred Clarke, and Honus Wagner. The Pirates won in seven games.
Byrne led the senior circuit in hits (178) and doubles (43) with his best line as a big leaguer in 1910, batting .296/.366/.417 and scoring 101 runs. Between the 1912 and 1913 seasons, he had two serious health issues. First, in November, he was in a car accident, running into a telegraph pole, and developed a jerking pain in his side that confined him to bed. Then, after he recovered, he played in an exhibition game in March 1913 where he was beaned by Smokey Joe Wood. Byrne was knocked unconscious and and was out of action for a week, but returned to play 132 games that season. Near the end of August, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, and in 1914 became their second baseman, a position he had never previously played in the majors. He appeared in 101 games in 1914 with an average range factor, only playing one more game there. He broke his hand in 1915 and staggered to a .209/.290/.245 season, his final season with over 100 games. When the World Series came around, he appeared in only one game. In 1916 he appeared in 48 games and in 1917 he appeared in 13 games for the Phillies before being selected off waivers in September by the Chicago White Sox, for whom he appeared in only one game, missing their World Series win in his final season.
He managed the Miami franchise in the 1921 Southwestern League and the Saginaw franchise in the 1922 Michigan-Ontario League after his playing days. He worked for the city of St. Louis, the U.S. government and a steel company. He also owned a bowling alley in St. Louis and bowled a 300 game. He was a solid golfer, shooting a 74 when he was 74 years old. Two of his sons became World War II fighter pilots and played minor league ball, one of whom was Bobby Byrne Jr. Born on December 31st, Byrne died on his birthday 80 years later.
- NL Hits Leader (1910)
- NL Doubles Leader (1910)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1910)
- Won two World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1909) and the Chicago White Sox (1917; he did not play in the World Series)
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
|1921||Miami Indians||Southwestern League||59-84||7th|
|1922||Saginaw Aces||Michigan-Ontario League||74-58||3rd||Lost League Finals|