Jimmy Barrett

From BR Bullpen


James Erigena Barrett

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 7", Weight 170 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Jimmy Barrett LOC crop.jpg

Jimmy Barrett was an outfielder who played ten years in the big leagues (1899-1908).

He was born on March 28, 1875, in Athol, MA. From there, he enlisted in the Ninth Infantry of the regular army in 1894. He was in Company A under Lieutenant Yates, who had opened the regular army recruiting station in Springfield, MA two years prior. Barrett joined the company baseball team as soon as he entered the ranks, playing shortstop during the three years (1894-1896) (NP). After playing for a semi-pro team in Brattleboro, VT, in 1897, he was hired by Oswego of the New York State League in 1898. He was a good hitter, but had a knack for committing errors, and after a time was moved to third base and then the outfield where he found a permanent home. He was extremely fast and his infielder's throwing arm was also an asset. He hit .332 with a slugging percentage near .500 in his first professional season. He moved up to Detroit of the Western League in 1899 and batted .331 with 117 runs scored under manager George Stallings. His contract was bought by the Cincinnati Reds at the end of August.

Barrett was 24 years old when he broke into The Show on September 13, 1899. He played for the Reds (1899-1900; 1906); Detroit Tigers (1901-1905) and the Boston Red Sox (1907-1908). His final game was on May 13, 1908, at age 33. A solidly built left-handed hitter, Barrett had an exceptional arm and led outfielders in assists in three of the first four American League seasons. The expert bunter led his team in Win Shares four times and once ranked second only to a pitcher, twice leading the league in drawing walks. He made his first Baseball Card appearance in the rare and valuable 1903 E107 Breisch Williams set.

Jimmy jumped from the Reds to the Tigers in 1901 and outfield-mate Sam Crawford followed him in 1903. He had his best year in 1903, leading the AL in walks and on-base percentage while batting .315 and scoring 95 runs. In 1904, he set a record that would hold until the 1961 expansion, when the schedule was lengthened: on October 8, 1904, despite a 154-game schedule, Barrett became the first man to play in 162 games, as the 7th-place Tigers closed their home season, splitting with the Cleveland Naps before 400 spectators. The Tigers set a season record with 10 tie games that year, eight of which were replayed.

His career was derailed on April 26, 1905, when he twisted a knee. He tried to come back too soon and was continually bothered by leg injuries after that, diminishing significantly his value as a player. He returned to the lineup in early July, but was soon relegated to a part-time role, prompting the Tigers to bring up the 18-year-old Ty Cobb, who would stake a claim on center field the next two decades. The Tigers then acquired another outfielder, Davy Jones, during the following offseason, further reducing Barrett's value to the team. He was sold to the Cincinnati Reds in May 1906 without having played a game for Detroit, but then was returned after he showed up with his new team with a limp and went hitless in 12 at-bats. He was sent to Dayton of the Central League, where he was briefly a player-manager, then was released and ended the year with Rochester of the Eastern League, hitting .277 in 74 games.

In late May 1907, he signed with the Boston Red Sox and became the team's regular left fielder, although he only hit .244 in what was the height of the Deadball Era. He was released by the Red Sox on May 15th of the 1908 season and went back to the Eastern League with Providence but re-injured his leg when sliding into home on August 17th, ending the season with a .251 average and 55 runs scored in 82 games. He finished his career with three seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association from 1909 to 1911, serving as player-manager the last year.

Let go after the 1911 season, he became a senior partner in the real estate firm of Barrett & Walsh in Detroit, MI. He was a very prosperous man when he died from a stroke of apoplexy at his office on October 21, 1921, at age 46 and is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Detroit.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL On-Base Percentage Leader (1903)
  • 2-time AL Bases on Balls Leader (1903 & 1904)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1900 & 1901)

Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1906 Dayton Veterans Central League -- none replaced John Thornton;
replaced by Hub Knoll
1911 Milwaukee Brewers American Association 79-87 5th none


Principal sources for Jimmy Barrett include newspaper obituaries (OB), government records (VA,CM,CW), Sporting Life (SL), Baseball Digest, The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs (none) (WW), old Baseball Registers (none) (BR), TSN's Daguerreotypes (none) (DAG), The Historical Register, The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase(PD), The Baseball Library (BL); various Encyclopediae including The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball by Turkin & Thompson (T&T), MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia (Mac), Total Baseball (TB), The Bill James Historical Abstract (BJ) and The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (LJ); Retrosheet (RS), The Baseball Chronology (BC), Baseball Page (BP), The Baseball Almanac (BA), Baseball Cube (B3) and obituaries at deadballera.com (DBE) as well as research by Reed Howard (RH), Pat Doyle (PD) and Frank Hamilton (FH).

Further Reading[edit]

  • Paul Wendt: "James Erigena Barrett", in David Jones, ed.: Deadball Stars of the American League, SABR, Potomac Books, Inc., Dulles, VA, 2006, pp. 531-532.

Related Sites[edit]