Positions: Catcher; Outfielder; Infielder
Teams: Cincinnati Reds, 1878-1879; Chicago White Stockings, 1880-1886; Boston Beaneaters, 1887-1889, 1891-1892; Boston Reds, 1890; Cincinnati Kellys, 1891; Boston Reds, 1891; New York Giants, 1893
Manager: Boston Beaneaters, 1887; Boston Reds, 1890; Cincinnati Kellys, 1891
Managerial Record: 173-148
Because his career was shortened by alcoholism and a general disinclination to take care of himself, Mike Kelly is viewed by many historians as a colorful but vastly overrated performer whose press clippings far exceeded his deeds on the diamond.
Mike Kelly was the most popular player
in each city in which he played.
The following season, playing mostly as a third baseman, Kelly hit .348 and drew the interest of Chicago White Stockings player-manager Cap Anson. When
Kelly was an instant sensation in
Although never really the regular catcher for the White Stockings, Kelly was usually behind the plate in big games. Part of the reason was his remarkable ingenuity. Kelly is credited with being the first backstopper to use signals that alerted his infielders to the type of pitch being thrown; the infielders, in turn, positioned themselves accordingly.
Kelly’s high living and penchant for gambling, however, caused Anson, something of a Puritan, to grow disenchanted with him despite the five pennants the White Stockings won in Kelly’s seven seasons with the club.
Called "The $10,000 Beauty," Kelly served on two National League pennant winners in the Hub. He also piloted the Boston Reds to the Players League title in 1890. By 1892, however, Kelly’s lifestyle had robbed him of his skills, and he could hit only .189 in 78 games. Kelly was named to the Hall of Fame in 1945.
Here are Mike Kelly's major league totals:
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- Baseball Hall of Fame Overview
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- How a Person is Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame
- List of Baseball Hall of Fame Members
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- Negro Leagues Hall of Fame Members
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