Positions: First baseman; Third baseman
Teams: Rockford Forest Citys, 1871; Philadelphia Athletics, 1872-1875; Chicago White Stockings, 1876-1897
Manager: Philadelphia Athletics, 1875; Chicago White Stockings, 1879-1897; New York Giants, 1898
Managerial Record: 1,292-945


Cap Anson
As a player-manager, Cap Anson
led Chicago to five pennants.

Born in Marshalltown, Iowa, Adrian Constantine Anson (1852-1922) was one of the very few early stars whose father encouraged him to pursue a career in professional baseball. The elder Anson even wrote a letter to the Chicago team in 1869 recommending his son. The letter was ignored, and Anson instead entered Notre Dame in 1870. A year later, he left school to join the Rockford team in the newly formed National Association.

The following year, Anson signed with the Philadelphia Athletics and remained with them through 1875. When the National League was formed in 1876, he deserted Philadelphia along with several other Athletics stars.

Anson cast his lot with the Chicago White Stockings seven years after his father had tried to interest a Chicago team in him. For the next 22 seasons he was a fixture there, setting a 19th-century loyalty record for the longest stint by a player with one team.

Still primarily a third baseman when he first came to the White Stockings, Anson moved to first base when he became the club’s manager in 1879. Fielding was never Anson’s strong point. It was at the plate that he excelled. Only three times in his 27-year career did he bat below .300, and he was the first player to accumulate 3,000 career hits. Although a line-drive hitter, Cap also could hit with power, and he was particularly dangerous with men on base.

Anson led the National League in RBI no less than nine times in the 12-year period between 1880 and 1891. Furthermore, he topped the loop three times in batting average and four times in slugging average. As a player-manager, Anson led Chicago to five pennants.

Anson was not without flaws, however. His language on the field was often so vile that it evoked fines from umpires, and rival fans called him “Crybaby” Anson because of the way he whined and moaned when events did not go his way. Moreover, Anson was a racist, believing the major-league game should be the province only of white players. Because of his threat to organize a strike, several black performers were clandestinely barred from the major leagues before the 1885 season, a ban that lingered, albeit unofficially, until 1947.

After the 1897 campaign, White Stockings president James Hart demanded that Cap resign his manager’s seat. Anson was summarily fired when he refused. The White Stockings, minus Anson for the first time in their 23-year history, became known as the Orphans. In 1939, Anson was elected to the Hall of Fame.

Here are Cap Anson's National League totals:

BA
G
AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
.329
2,276
9,108
1,719
3,000
528
124
96
1,715
247

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