Robert Stevens

From BR Bullpen

Robert Edward Stevens

  • Bats Unknown, Throws Unknown

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Biographical Information[edit]

Robert Stevens played one game as the rightfielder for the Washington Nationals of the National Association on May 4, 1875. He went 1 for 4 and made one error on two chances in the outfield.

There was one Robert Stevens listed in the Washington, DC city directory at the time, a man who died in Seattle, WA in 1900, but there was no clear evidence confirming that he was indeed the ballplayer. However, SABR Researcher Richard Malatzky dug into the facts known about this person and was able to confirm his identity.

Robert Stevens was the grandson of Edward Dickinson Baker, a United States Senator from Oregon who was killed in the Civil War. His father, Colonel Robert Julius Stevens, was a participant in the California Gold Rush in 1849 and later became superintendent of the San Francisco, CA mint. He was the Union Army paymaster for the state of California during the Civil War, then moved to Washington, DC where he served as secretary to the House of Representatives committee on appropriations. His family, including son Robert Edward, who was born in 1855, accompanied him to the Nation's capital. In 1884, Stevens was named United States Consul in Victoria, BC. At that time, his family, including son Robert, settled in nearby Seattle, WA. Robert senior died in Seattle in 1889, and his son in the same town in 1890.

While the ballplayer's ancestors were well-known personalities, it was not the case of the son. However, there is evidence that he was active on the Seattle baseball scene in the late 1880s as he is on the team photo of the Seattle Reds, a local amateur club, in 1886. In 1889, he was the team's manager, but by the next year, his name disappeared from newspaper reports. Before that, he had been noted for his baritone singing voice and had taken part in several theatrical performances, both in Washington, DC and in Seattle. In 1881, he had been reported as being seriously ill, but apparently recovered, although in 1884 a man with his name was reported to have been found in San Francisco, ill from the consumption of drugs, after stepping off a ship coming from Victoria. In 1890, another paper reported he had been institutionalized in an insane asylum, his condition having apparently been worsened by the consumption of narcotics. He was let out, but in 1893 was institutionalized again, this time in Seattle, then was released in 1897 to the care of his mother. He died in Seattle three years later, but his obituary was very quiet about his accomplishments and focused on those of his more famous father, understandable given how he had spent his last decade.

Further Reading[edit]

  • "Robert Stevens Found", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, September/October 2016, pp. 1-2.

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