Mike McGeary

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Michael McGeary.jpg

Michael Henry McGeary

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 7", Weight 138 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Mike McGeary spent 11 seasons in the big leagues, from 1871 to 1882. He was the first base-stealing champion in an organized league, stealing 20 bases in 29 games for the Troy Haymakers in 1871 to lead the National Association. McGeary, 20 years old at the time, had been the catcher the previous year for the 1870 Troy team before the National Association was formed.

McGeary's best year with the bat was in 1872 when he hit .360 with the Philadelphia Athletics, good for 5th in the NA.

McGeary played more second base than any other position, but he tended to play more catcher at the start of his career, second base in the middle, and third base toward the end. He was primarily a shortstop in 1873, but usually played more at other positions.

In his major league career (nearly 2,500 at-bats), he never hit a home run and rarely hit a triple. One explanation for the lack of power could be that he was only 5' 7" tall and weighed 138 lbs. He was also a contact hitter who almost never struck out, so hitting for power was not in his game plan.

McGeary was the first of two managers for the Philadelphia Whites in 1875, first of three for the Providence Grays in 1880, and first of two for the Cleveland Blues in 1881. he also umpired a couple of National Association games, in 1872 and 1875.

Peter Morris' website [1] listed him as one of the "Cold Cases of the Diamond" because the circumstances of his death were unknown for a long time. He had made a lot of money playing baseball and was a professional poker player for a time. He later worked in construction when his luck with ran out and then became destitute, making his final whereabouts hard to trace. He did give an interview to sportswriter Stan Baumgartner of the Philadelphia Inquirer in August of 1933. He died less than two months later but the event went unreported at the time, and by 1962 he was listed in Baseball Digest as a "missing player". Morris put all the pieces together in 2014, confirming his birth and death details.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NA Stolen Bases Leader (1871)

Further Reading[edit]

  • "Michael McGeary", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, July/August 2014, pp. 4-5.

Related Sites[edit]

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