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Pud Galvin


Position: Pitcher
Teams: Buffalo Bisons, 1879-1885; Pittsburgh Alleghenys, 1885-1892; St. Louis Browns, 1892
Manager: Buffalo Bisons, 1885
Managerial Record: 7-17

Pud Galvin
Pitcher James Francis "Pud" Galvin
was also known as "Gentle Jeems."

One of the most colorful performers in the 19th century, Pud Galvin is the only pitcher in history to win 20 or more games on 10 different occasions without ever playing on a pennant winner.

Owing partly to this piece of bad luck and partly to never being a league leader in any of the three top pitching departments -- wins, strikeouts, or ERA -- Galvin was not elected to the Hall of Fame until 1965 despite collecting 361 career victories, more than any other hurler who played exclusively in the 19th century.

James Francis “Pud” Galvin (1856-1902) reportedly got his odd nickname because he made a hitter look like a pudding, a 19th-century slang term for a dud. In addition, he was called “Gentle Jeems” because he was a mild, unassuming individual who rarely drank or questioned umpires.

Born in St. Louis on Christmas Day in 1856, Galvin broke in with the first professional team in the Mound City, the St. Louis Reds of the National Association, in 1875. Pud then pitched for teams in Pittsburgh and Buffalo for the next three years before returning to the major leagues in 1879 when Buffalo, his 1878 club, became a member of the National League.

During his six full seasons with Buffalo, Galvin won 206 games and threw two no-hitters. The first gem came in 1881 when the pitcher’s box was only 45 feet from the plate. His second masterpiece came in 1884 after the box had been moved to a 50-foot distance.

But the Bisons, while a respectable team, never quite became a contender. Part of the problem was that Buffalo in the 1880s was a small city in a poor climate and thus faced the dual handicap of skimpy attendance and frequent postponements. Late in the 1885 season, with the franchise on the rocks, Galvin was sold to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in the American Association for $2,500.

A weak team before acquiring Galvin, Pittsburgh almost immediately became competitive. Teaming with southpaw sensation Cannonball Morris, Galvin led the Alleghenys to a second-place finish in 1886. The team then opted to cast its lot in the National League. The move proved a mistake. Although Galvin was a workhorse for several more seasons, Pittsburgh never again finished in the first division while he was still with the club. A finger injury and soaring weight finished Pud in 1892. He tried umpiring in the NL and then pitched a while for a minor-league team in Buffalo.

Here are Pud Galvin's major league totals:

W L ERA G CG IP H ER BB SO
361 308 2.87 697 639 5,941.1 6,352 1,894 744 1,799

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