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  1. Once his time with the Bridegooms expired, Oyster Burns has made his legend known by turning up on the undersides of a unfortunate buffalo.

    Comment by samuelraphael — April 19, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

  2. It seems that his nickname is a matter of some dispute!

    Oyster Burns, to me, always had one of the more unusual nicknames in baseball. I chose him for this year’s biography just to find out how he got the name. I still don’t know how he got his name.

    Some sources claim that he got the name because he worked on an oyster farm during the off season. While other sources, such as Bill James, claim that this nickname was bestowed upon Thomas P. Burns by historians to distinguish him from another Tom Burns that played in the 1880’s and 90’s. When he died in 1928 there was no mention in his obituary of his molluskian moniker. (Molluskian is not a real word, but it should be.) Both baseball cards that I could find of him has him listed as just Burns. So during his playing days he may have just been Tom Burns, but to me he’ll always be Oyster.

    Comment by Alex Remington — April 19, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

  3. Wow, this is a heck of a story. Being the original Oyster, is an honour like being the original T-Bone, or Spike.

    He seemed to be a hell of a hitter. 16 Home Runs is unheard of pre-20th century.

    There are a lot of oysters on Brooklyn/Long Island, it is geographically plausible.

    There is a citation on wikipedia to a book, which claims he sold oysters in the offseason, and was a loudmouth.

    Comment by samuelraphael — April 19, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

  4. I’m also curious if the Orioles thru 1899, are considered the precursors to the modern yankees. They folded and switched leagues, but when they were born in the new AL in 1901, they retained John McGraw, providing some continuity. Does that year off technically make them a separate franchise?

    Comment by samuelraphael — April 19, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

  5. Yeah — Burns led the team in RBI in 1890, 1891, and 1894. He wasn’t the best hitter on the team, though. In 1890 it was probably third baseman George Pinkney, who led the team with a .411 OBP (Burns’s was just .359). In 1892, they got Big Dan Brouthers, who is in the Hall, and though Dan was 34, he was easily their best hitter that year.

    Oyster’s 13 homers and 128 RBI in 1890 were both league-leading figures. His RBI were by far the most; 38-year old Cap Anson was in second place with 107. But in homers he was tied with Walt Wilmot and Silent Mike Tiernan. Tiernan was a real bopper; he led the major leagues with 16 homers in 1891, and cranked another 14 in 1893. Tiernan hit 106 homers before 1900. He’s tied with Brouthers for the fourth-highest total among 19th-century major leaguers.

    Comment by Alex Remington — April 19, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

  6. Basically no. The old Orioles were basically folded into the Superbas. In 1900, the twelve-team National League contracted into an eight-team superleague, with a number of teams like the Superbas composed of the best players from other teams. In 1901, the American League appeared and the major leagues were suddenly composed of 16 teams. The new Baltimore Orioles, who became the New York Highlanders and later New York Yankees, are certainly related to the same baseball tradition in Baltimore that produced Hanlon’s team, but they’re generally seen as a distinct franchise.

    Comment by Alex Remington — April 19, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  7. Conan’s old timey baseball skit was clearly transformative for you, Alex.

    Great stuff, and while I know you will deny it, I will choose to believe that you threw in the fWAR crap about Caruthers because Cameron originally refused to post without it.

    Comment by Paul — April 19, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

  8. Both the Giants and the Dodgers have 21 pennants, not 20 and 19 respectively.

    But on that subject, with just a little research, I was astonished at how close the Giants/Dodgers rivalry is. Both teams have 6 world series victories, and 21 pennants. Both started in New York and moved out to California in 1958. The all time record between them lead by the Giants 1098-1083 (Giants w/ a .503 winning percentage). They competed in two of the most classic pennant races in 1951 and 1962. The two franchises are almost identical.

    Comment by Jack — April 19, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

  9. Hah! Cameron has never told me what to write. He’s a great boss.

    Comment by Alex Remington — April 20, 2012 @ 12:04 am

  10. And yes, I totally agree: the Giants/Dodgers rivalry is one of the most perfect in all of sports. But just to be clear, I’m only talking about league championships: in other words, I’m just counting World Series appearances. I’m not counting division championships or playoff appearances. The Giants have appeared in 20 World Series and won eight of them (two of them pre-modern, in 1888 and 1889); the Dodgers have appeared in 20 World Series, won six, and tied one (in 1890, of course).

    I have corrected the above.

    Comment by Alex Remington — April 20, 2012 @ 12:07 am

  11. Thanks so much, this is a fascinating post.

    Comment by samuelraphael — April 20, 2012 @ 5:09 am

  12. The Bridegrooms and the N.Y. Giants faced each other in the 1889 “World’s Series,” with the Giants, led by Buck Ewing, prevailing. Brooklyn won the 1890 N.L. pennant despite injuries to outfielder-captain Darby O’Brien and centerfielder Patsy Donovan as manager McGunnigle alternated pitchers Adonis Terry and Bob Caruthers in left field and even sent catcher Doc Bushong to center. In researching my book When the Dodgers Were Bridegrooms, I never found any mention of the team being called the Atlantics or the Grays. It was the “Brooklyns,” until 1888, and then Bridegrooms. Trolley Dodgers and even Dodgers actually began appearing in the 1890s. Dodgers was officially adopted in 1932.

    Comment by Ron Shafer — April 22, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  13. Ron, that’s very interesting — thank you very much! In that case, the information on is incorrect. I’m sure Sean Forman would be glad to know.

    Comment by Alex Remington — April 22, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

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