James Joseph Stafford
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 165 lb.
- Debut August 27, 1890
- Final Game October 12, 1899
- Born January 30, 1868 in Thompson, CT USA
- Died September 18, 1923 in Worcester, MA USA
"Jim Stafford is regarded a valuable man, capable of being used as an in or outfielder. . ." - Sporting Life, Jan. 8, 1898
Jim "General" Stafford played eight years in the majors, appearing at many games in both the outfield and infield, and also pitching.
Stafford played three years for Worcester before coming to the Players League in 1890 primarily as a pitcher (12 games as pitcher and four in the outfield). He played minor league ball again in 1891-93 with three different teams and then found a home with the New York Giants for part of 1893 through part of 1897.
Stafford, who had been a pitcher in 1890, was exclusively an outfielder with the Giants in 1893, played more third base than anything else in 1894, was the team's everyday second baseman in 1895, was again an outfielder in 1896, and became the everyday shortstop when traded to Louisville in 1897.
When Stafford came to the 1897 Louisville Colonels, he became a teammate of Fred Clarke and Honus Wagner. He spent part of the 1898 season with Louisville, playing more second base than anything else, and then was with the 1898 Boston Beaneaters for the rest of the season, used mostly as an outfielder. When Boston released him in August 1899, he came to the 1899 Senators who used him at second base and shortstop and third base, in that order.
In 1900 he played for Providence, and was again with them in 1903.
His brother John "Doc" Stafford was in the minors from 1890-98, and played with General for Worcester in 1890. Doc came to the majors briefly in 1893. The two were not, however, related to long-timer minor leaguer Robert Stafford, who was a contemporary.
"Stafford says -- and no one who knows will doubt him -- that the Giants' left field, when the sun is shining, is as difficult to cover as right field here in Washington. 'Late in the season', he says, 'it is almost impossible in left field to see a pitched ball, and then when a line ball is hit in that direction the fielder seldom gets a glimpse of the ball until it has passed the infield, when it is often too late to get his hands and body in position for a catch. Fielders cannot cover ground in that field as they do elsewhere, and it's all because they fail to see the ball and do not start when it is hit." - Sporting Life, Nov. 21, 1896, quoting Jim Stafford