Slate has an article about William Edward White, the first black major leaguer, who played in one game in 1879 and lived his life as a white man. It’s an interesting piece, even though his family didn’t even know he played major league baseball, and it’s not clear he even thought of himself as black…
But it doesn’t compare to the saga of Harold Partridge Outfielder, baseball’s first infielder, who lived his entire life believing he was playing the outfield. See, Harold was born in 1652, and was taught that the outfield started just behind second base — and that from there to the lip of the grass was in fact outfield, not infield. So when Outfielder played a deep second base, he believed he was acting as an outfielder, not as an infielder. He played one inning for the New Amsterdam Van Stuyvesants in 1675 and then fell victim to dropsy and was never heard from again. His existence will always be merely a footnote to a footnote to a footnote in major league history. But his legacy lives on here, in the virtual pages of NotGraphs.
Also, he was a gay Jewish woman.
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