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Cap Anson Photo   Cap Anson
"Cy Young's too green to do your club much good, but I believe if I taught him what I know, I might make a pitcher out of him in a couple of years. He's not worth it now, but I'm willing to give you a $1,000 for him."

Full Name: Adrian Constantine Anson
Nickname: Pop
 
Physique: 6' 0", 127 lbs
Right-Handed Hitter
 
Born: Apr 17, 1852, Marshalltown, IA
Died: Apr 14, 1922  (70 years old)
 
Ranking: #21 All-time ( #20    All    #22 )
.329
career average

3,418 hits

Chicago Whitestockings
1871 - 1897

Hall of Fame: 1939



A seminal figure in the growth of organized baseball, Cap Anson was a superstar in the 19th century. A hard-hitting slugger and an innovative first baseman, Anson led the National League in runs batted in eight times, and copped two batting titles. As a dominant force in the birth of the Senior Circuit, Anson's bigotry contributed to the exclusion of blacks from the game, but as historian Bill James has poited out, his persuasive personality also helped save the league when it proved shaky in the early days. After an amazing 27-year career as a player, player/manager, and manager, Anson retired to Chicago in 1898. he was one of the first men inducted into the Hall of Fame, in 1939.

The first white child born into a town his father founded, in a slave state nearly a decade before the Civil War, Adrian Constantine Anson was shaped by his environment. By the time he was a teenager, he was a bigot, and those warped attitudes led to an infamous showdown in Toledo, Ohio, in August of 1883.

Anson's White Stockings had shceduled an exibition game against the minor league Toledo team for August 10. When Anson arrived, he learned that Toledo's catcher, Moses Fleetwood Walker, was black. Unaware that Walker was not scheduled to start the game, Anson refused to play the contest with Walker in uniform. When Toledo's manager heard of this, he defiantly inserted Walker into center field for the game and threatened Anson with legal action to recoup the gate receipts. Anson capitulated, but he secured an agreement the following season, that ensured that Walker and his brother, Welday, would not be on the field to play his club.

This incident is often cited as the genesis for the unofficial ban of blacks from major league baseball. But the truth is far more complicated. In order for blacks to be barred, team ownrs, league officials, the press, and government officials had to conspire and fail to act.


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