It’s perhaps fair, insofar as he died of pneumonia years before self-appointed “Gardener of Human Happiness” Joseph Stalin began his reign of terror over the USSR, it’s perhaps fair to say that it was Stalin who resembled very popular and successful ballplayer King Kelly. Even more appropriate is to use the remainder of this entirely brief post to make note of some compelling other truths about Kelly as stolen from his SABR biography.
Truths such as:
- Referring to his father’s death, Kelly wrote that he (i.e. his father) “passed over to the great silent majority,” i.e. a conspicuously praiseworthy euphemism.
- A teenaged and orphaned Kelly found employment at a real 19th century coal factory, where his job literally was to “carry a bucket of coal.”
- Upon being dropped to the floor from a stretcher during the illness that would kill him days later, Kelly apparently announced, “This is my last slide.”
Kelly image from August 11, 1907, edition of the San Francisco Call.