- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 4", Weight 145 lb.
- Debut May 3, 1881
- Final Game August 2, 1890
- Born January 1, 1858 in Campsie, Scotland
- Died June 27, 1921 in Lafayette, IN USA
"A marble cutter by trade, Nicol thought himself to be the strongest 5 ' 4 " man in the country. Cynics supposed the Browns kept him around because he was the only man on the team smaller than Von der Ahe." - from the book The Beer and Whisky League
Hugh Nicol played 10 seasons in the majors and set the single-season record for stolen bases (at a time when a "steal" was defined differently than it is today).
Nicol was born in Scotland. As early as 1879 he was playing pro ball for Rockford, and by 1881 he was up in the majors with the Chicago White Stockings managed by Cap Anson, who had once played for Rockford.
Hugh was not a big man, being listed at 5' 4" and 145 lbs. Nicol was not much of a hitter but he stayed with the White Stockings in both 1881 and 1882, years in which they won the pennant both times.
In 1883 the St. Louis Browns bought him for $50 and he spent four years with them in the American Association. The Browns won the pennant in 1885 and 1886.
Nicol, although he sometimes played second base or shortstop, was primarily a right fielder with a good fielding percentage. Although he hit decently in 1883 and 1884, his batting was usually well below average.
After the 1886 season he was traded to the Cincinnati Red Stockings, and he spent the rest of his major league career with teams in Cincinnati. He set his stolen base record in 1887 with 138, beating Arlie Latham by nine.
He continued to play minor league ball for several years after his major league days, mostly with Rockford. He eventually became a player-manager. He also umpired three National League games in 1894
Nicol was a minor league manager for 8 seasons between 1894 and 1906, with his longest stint coming with the Rockford Red Sox in the Three-I League from 1901 to 1904, including a pennant in 1902. He also managed the St. Louis Browns for part of the 1897 season.
He became the head coach at Purdue University in 1906 and continued in that position until 1914. He was also athletic director and continued in that role through 1916. Purdue is in West Lafayette, IN, and one day Hugh asked one of the local prominent citizens why the area did not have a golf course. Out of that conversation eventually came the Lafayette Country Club and a golf course.
In 1906 his son Lyle died after being kicked in the abdomen during a football game. Lyle was said to have been a phenomenal athlete with tremendous speed.
|St. Louis Browns Manager
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
|1894||Des Moines Prohibitionists||Western Association||--||none||replaced by Bill Traffley|
|St. Joseph Saints||Western Association||6th||none||replaced Bill Kneisley|
|1895||Rockford Forest City||Western Association||66-60||4th||none|
|1896||Rockford Forest City||Western Association||44-37||4th||none||Team disbanded on July 25|
|1897||St. Louis Browns||National League||8-32||--||St. Louis Browns||replaced Tommy Dowd (6-22) on May 28/|
replaced by Bill Hallman on July 17
|1901||Rockford Red Sox||Three-I League||57-55||4th||none|
|1902||Rockford Red Sox||Three-I League||74-52||1st||none||League Champs|
|1903||Rockford Red Sox||Three-I League||58-60||6th||none|
|1904||Rockford Red Sox||Three-I League||--||none||replaced by Jack Meek|
|Rock Island Islanders||Three-I League||6th||none||replaced Kahley Miller|
|1905||Peoria Distillers||Three-I League||--||none||replaced by Henry Simon|
- AA Stolen Bases Leader (1887)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1887 & 1888)
- 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 3 (1887-1889)
- 100 Stolen Bases Seasons: 2 (1887 & 1888)
Stolen bases, season, 138, 1887
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