The city of Rochester, NY had used many names for its minor league teams prior to 1899. That year they settled on the Rochester Bronchos, a name that was used through 1911. Rochester's first year as the Bronchos was an impressive one. After being forced to move the prior two seasons due to financial or stadium reasons and a last-place finish the prior year, the 1899 club won the Eastern League title. Managed by Al Buckenberger, they went 72-43, thanks to a balanced offensive attack (pitching statistics are unavailable, so we do not know if anyone had a great year on the hill). Buckenberger's team fell to second place the next season with a 77-56 record.
Some sources list the team as the Hustlers in 1901; that club won another title at 89-49. OF Billy Lush (.310, 50 SB) led the EL in triples (22) and runs (137 in 132 games), OF George Barclay (.339, 46 SB, 112 R) led in hits (194), 1B Hal O'Hagan (.320, 113 R) led in steals (51) and two others players scored 100. John Malarkey (26-11) led the league in wins. With Buckenberger getting a job in the majors, Ed McKean (.314) and O'Hagan (.288) took turns at the helm the next year, but the club fell to 6th place and 57-74. Malarkey, Lush and Barclay were all playing regularly in the majors and the team lacked the talent of the prior season.
The 1903 Bronchos slipped all the way to last place with a 34-97 mark. Arthur Irwin, Abbie Johnson and George Smith all tried managing; the club finished 61 games behind the Jersey City Skeeters. Johnson hit .167 and slugged .184 as the primary 2B, while Frank Leary (8-29) lost the most games in the league. With Smith at the reigns full-time, the club was 59 1/2 games out and went 28-105 in 1904 as one of the worst teams in league history. George Schultz (6-22) led the league in defeats.
With Buckenberger back after being let go by the Boston Beaneaters, Rochester climbed back to 7th place (51-86). Schultz (13-21) again paced the EL in losses. The team continued to improve in 1906 and they finished fourth, at 77-62. Barclay returned and hit only .190, but former big-leaguer Charlie Case went 17-9 on the mound and the offense improved to third (492 runs in a low-scoring season in the league). Buckenberger's boys fell back to 7th in 1907 (59-76) and Al was replaced as manager during the '08 campaign by John Ganzel. The team was last in 1908 (55-82), though 3B Ed Lennox (.274, 26 SB) led the league with 25 doubles.
In 1909 Ganzel's club was the second Rochester team in 11 years to go worst-to-first as they won the pennant with a 90-61 season. Ganzel, playing first base, hit .305, and 3B-1B-OF Hack Simmons (.299) led the league with 8 homers. Cy Barger went 23-13 to lead the staff. Rochester had the top offense in the EL that year, scoring 559 runs. They ere second in homers (26), third in steals (210) and tied for second in average (.243).
Ganzel's team won another pennant the next season, going 92-61 and again beating out the Newark Indians. 2B-3B Whitey Alperman hit .258 and led the EL with 16 triples; OF Fred Osborn (.302) led with 176 hits and OF Danny Moeller (.269) led in steals (47) and runs (96); Moeller's stats count time that year with Jersey City. Ed Lafitte (23-14), George McConnell (19-12), Jim Holmes (17-10) and Pat Ragan (16-11) formed a fine rotation.
A third straight title came their way in 1911 (some sources list them as Hustlers this year as well). They won 98 and lost 54, edging the Baltimore Orioles by 3 and a half games. OF Herbie Moran (.289/~.377/.362, 43 SB) led the league with 109 runs, while utility man Simmons batted .312/~.363/.435 as one of five players with 10+ triples. McConnell was extremely impressive (30-8, 0.98 WHIP, 193 K) and finished two wins behind Baltimore's Rube Vickers for the league lead in wins. Holmes (16-10), Kaiser Wilhelm (14-7), Tom Hughes (15-12) and Vernon Manser (14-9) provided strong support for the 30-game winner.
By 1912 all sources list the club as the Rochester Hustlers and the franchise history is continued on that page.
|1902||57-74||7th||Ed McKean / Hal O'Hagan|
|1903||34-96||8th||Arthur Irwin / Abbie Johnson / Heinie Smith|
|1908||55-82||8th||Al Buckenberger / John Ganzel|