Introducing Charles J. Ferguson: Born: April 17, 1863, Charlottesville, VA Died: April 29, 1888, Philadelphia, PA, at age of 25, of typhoid fever BB/TR; 6'0, 165
He attracted attention while pitching for the independent Richmond, VA team. He shut out Boston's ML team on 4 singles.
In 1884, he signed with the Philadelphia Nationals.
In 1884, he went 21-25 for them. 3.54 ERA;
In 1885, he was 26-20. 2.22 ERA. In 61 games, he hit .308, .368, .379
In 1886, he was 30-9. ERA - 1.98. Finished with 11 straight wins.
In 1887, he was 22-10. 3.00 ERA; In 72 games, he hit .337, .417, .470, which included 14 doubles, 6 triples, and 3 homers, in only 264 ABs.
Now one might say that he was a fairly good pitcher, but others were even better. And you would be right. But, . . . pitching wasn't all of Charlie's talents.
He was a superlative player in the field too. In fact, when he wasn't pitching, he was doing duties elsewhere, and very well at them too.
He played OF 53 games, 2B 27 games, and 3B 8 games. His versatility was rare, even for a league in its formative stages, where specialization hadn't locked in yet, and many players were noted for their ability to be plugged in to a variety of utility positions, including pitching.
Twice he hit over .300 with power. He covered CF with good speed.
At the end of 1887, his team had the chance to finish 2nd. So Charlie played 2B for the final 17 games, when he wasn't pitching. He won 7 games, hit .361 and fielded .963. His team won 16 of its last 17 games and came in 2nd.
Bill Hanna had this to say about Charlie, in a June, 1924 article for Baseball Magazine.
"Ferguson belongs in the "twenty-five" because he was the game's best all around player. There have been men who could look after as many positions, but none who could play them all so well. Ferguson was a good (garbled) regular of any ball club of the present; he was a good second baseman, not just a fill-er-in, but good: he could play the outfield well enough to make the absence of the regular no handicap, and he was a first class batter. There hasn't been an all around man since his day to equal him."
Wilbert Robinson had this to say about Charlie. In June, 1931, rated him 5th greatest player of all time. "Hans Wagner was one. Back in the old, old days the Phillies had a man who could pitch like a streak and play the infield, too. His name was Charley Ferguson. You can't leave him off. There's Hughey Jennings, too. He was an unbeatable shortstop. As I said before, it's unfair to name just a few. Think of the many good ones I've never seen! But if I have to name the best five you can put down Cobb, Keeler, Ruth, Wagner and Ferguson for me."
Last Edit: Feb 15, 2007 18:50:07 GMT -5 by basenoc