Happy Birthday, Bill Kellogg!

Born on 25 May 1884, William (Bill) Dearstyne Kellogg – the middle name was his mother Mary’s maiden name – would spend a year as a utility player for the Cincinnati Reds in 1914.

Kellogg was a New York baby, born to Frank Kellogg, a day laborer in various pursuits, and Mary (Dearstyne) Kellogg in Albany.  Kellogg’s baseball life until then had been spent playing semi-professional baseball in the Baltimore area and spending at least one year in a low level minor league.  He was 30 years old when Reds player-manager Charles Herzog repaid a favor.

When Charlie Herzog, the Reds’ manager, was first breaking into the game a man named Kellogg gave him a job with a semi-pro team.  And Charlie was very grateful.  It was his first real chance.  So last spring when the Reds went south he got in touch with Kellogg. He discovered that his old-time benefactor was working as a station agent in Chicago. Herzog invited him to go south with the team and while Kellogg wasn’t quite as spry as he was of yore, he showed that he could still play ball.  And Charlie has given him a contract and kept him with the club.  He takes part in a regular game occasionally, too. And his circumstances are somewhat better than they were when he was a station agent in Chicago.

The Port Huron Times-Herald, 13 July 1914, Page 9.

Many people who saw Kellogg play – already approaching 30 years old and likely out of the game at least a year – were still interested in acquiring the mobile and versatile Reds bench player.  The owners and managers at Columbus and Memphis tried to get Kellogg to play regularly for their minor league clubs.

“Notes of the Game”, Cincinnati Enquirer, 20 August 1914, Page 10.  (Bobby Quinn – Columbus)
“Notes of the Game”, Cincinnati Enquirer, 02 April 1914, Page 8.  (Mike Finn – Memphis)

However, Herzog balked and kept his friend around. Usually, Kellogg would pinch run or pinch hit or play a couple of innings as a back up at any of a number of positions.  He was particularly good at the first sack.  So, though he had played very little heading into July, when Dick Howblitzell and Fritz Mollwitz went down with injuries, Kellogg was pressed into duty.  At first, it took a little while for Kellogg’s bat to get started, but he got his rhythm going in the final month of the season.

Bill Kellogg continues to play superb ball at first base, so good that Manager Herzog simply cannot take him out of the game to give Tiny Graham a trial.  Bill is a bear at handling all kinds of throws and his work on grounders is accurate to the limit.  It was very fortunate for the team that he was on hand when Mollwitz was injured.  If he hadn’t been ready the team would doubtless be in last place today.

“Notes of the Game”, Cincinnati Enquirer, 25 August 1914, Page 10.

…Bill Kellogg, who has spent most of the summer cleaning his finger nails on the bench, was thrown violently into action. Bill was there with a brand of goods that was superfine. He fitted on first base like a bumble bee in the heart of a sunflower, and when Mr. Graham arrived from Virginia there didn’t seem to be anything more immediate in store for him than a chance to gaze at the scenery. Bill not only gathered in the assists as if they were comb honey, but he displayed an ability to field without stepping on his own feet. From a “sub” who had been under the ban of the censor for all year Bill found himself right in the news as a living, swatting issue, with a chance to stick around and hold the first baseman’s job.

Mulford, Jr., Ren. “Doings in Redland”, Sporting Life, 29 August 1914, Page 7.

He appeared in 77 games, just 126 at bats, and got 22 hits (one triple) – but he stole seven bases and was frequently asked to bunt.  Kellogg’s days riding trains between National League cities ended after that season – he would return to the rails, but in a different role.

Bill Kellogg, who finished the season at first base for the Cincinnati Reds, is working for a railroad company in New York this Winter.  Bill is an expert ticket-seller and his services are always in demand.

“National League Notes”, Sporting Life, 12 December 1914, Page 4.

He, too, would marry a Mary – Mary Davis – and they would spend their days together until her death in 1932.  Death claimed Kellogg at the ripe age of 87 on December 12, 1971.

Bill Kellogg’s Stats – Baseball-Reference.com


3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Bill Kellogg!

  1. Pingback: Baseball History for May 25th | Mighty Casey Baseball

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