James John Hart
- Bats Both, Throws Unknown
- Height 5' 9½", Weight 180 lb.
- Debut June 6, 1901
- Final Game August 24, 1901
- Born November 27, 1875 in St. Paul, MN USA
- Died August 31, 1926 in Los Angeles, CA USA
Jimmy Hart played in the first year that the American League was a major league. He got into 58 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 1901, hitting .311 as the most-utilized first baseman on the team.
According to the book Early Exits, Hart was suspended for ten days due to punching umpire John Haskell on August 5th. The book The Washington Senators: 1901-1971 points out that two days later Hugh Duffy, a big star, also punched an umpire but was not suspended. In any case, Hart returned to action after serving out his suspension, but quit his team on August 24th when the Orioles refused to reimburse him the $25 fine levied by the league over the incident. Over his final two games, he went a combined 7 for 8. He never again played in the majors after that.
He also played for Wheeling in 1901, hitting .364.
Hart was long listed in the Baseball Encyclopedia as James Burton Hart, a man who lived in Seattle, WA, where he was a railroad clerk, and died in Sacramento, CA in 1921. However, that identity is problematic, as the player Hart was in all sorts of minor league teams in the eastern U.S. until 1911, at a time when the person should have been working on the other side of the country. However, SABR researchers uncovered a record kept by the Association of Professional Ballplayers of America which lists his full name as James John Hart and a date and place of birth of 1875 in St. Paul, MN (the other James Hart was also born in Minnesota, but in 1870 and in a different part of the state, which may have caused the initial confusion). The ballplayer died in Los Angeles, CA in 1926 and was buried in Eau Claire, WI, where he had played in 1902, after his stint with Baltimore. Contemporary newspaper accounts also indicate that the player was known as "Jimmy" and not as "Burt" or "James" as listed elsewhere.
While it is not listed in his record, Hart played in at least one game for the St. Paul Saints in their 1911 American Association season opener, played April 16th at Toledo's Swayne Field. Batting third in the St. Paul lineup, Hart did not have a hit in the game, but he scored one run as the Toledo Mud Hens defeated the Apostles, 10-9 that day. A newspaper account from the Toledo News-Bee of April 17th (p. 10) reports St. Paul manager Mike Kelley having an interest in giving Hart a tryout in the outfield. (Note: please bear in mind that reporters used the two names for the St. Paul team, Saints and Apostles, interchangeably.)
- "Hart Trouble", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, September/October 2012, p. 1.
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