Baseball History for December 21st


1858 Steve Dunn

A London, Ontario native, Steve Dunn played in nine games with the St. Paul White Caps in the Union Association in 1884, batting .250 with a couple of doubles. St. Paul was a late addition to the Union Association and didn’t survive very long at all.

Steve Dunn, the regular first baseman of the Milwaukee club, is described by one of the papers of that city as “a stout, muscularly built young man, about twenty-five years of age, five feet seven inches tall and weighs 170 pounds.

“Miscellanous.”, St. Paul Globe, 18 April 1884, Page 2.

Steve Dunn is playing first base for the Milwaukees with his old time energy, which means that he has thrown off the lethargy that attacked him before the close of the season of 1883.

“Base Ball Notes”, Port Huron Times Herald, 28 May 1884, Page 2.

Steve Dunn, first baseman of the Miwaukee club, has been nick-named “Loose-Jointed Steve.”

“Notes.”, St. Paul Globe, 30 May 1994, Page 5.

Steve Dunn, Milwaukee’s first baseman, has been released. He was severely injured in his Michigan trip, and will go to his home in Ontario for a few weeks. He is an excellent player, and will be a prize for some club as soon as recovered.

“Notes.”, St. Paul Globe, 29 June 1884, Page 7.

According to notes in the Globe on 10 July 1884, he injured himself at Grand Rapids on May 30th when he pitched for an inning and messed up his arm. By mid August, he was with St. Paul but playing as a catcher when St. Paul played a long home and home series against Minneapolis. He later appeared in a couple of games against Milwaukee, where the local fans appreciated seeing their old first baseman.

“The St. Paul Team.”, St. Paul Globe, 19 August 1884, Page 4.

“Cushman Corraled Them”, St. Paul Globe, 05 September 1884, Page 4.

1859 Bill Traffley

Traffley was briefly a catcher for Chicago in 1878, then after a run through the minors, he returned to play in the American Association from 1883 to 1886. Likely the first major leaguer from Staten Island, he spent a long time playing for and managing teams in Des Moines before succombing to Tuberculosis in 1908 in that city. Just digging a little through newspapers, I saw him called “Wild Bill” and “Appetite Bill” (Detroit Free Press, 04 Jan 1899, Page 6.)

According to his childhood friend, John Ullrich, his family left Staten Island for Chicago in the 1860s, beginning his career in the early 1870s on a city team “…that was then the whirlwind of the town. It was called the ‘Onwards’ and was one of the fastest corner lot teams that Chicago ever saw play… When he was young he worked in a rolling mill. He made $4.50 a day. His duty was to guide the great ladle when they poured the molten iron… Often times when Billy’s father thought he was working in the mill he was out on the common playing ball…

“…A. G. Spaulding was at that time pitching on the Chicago team and
‘Silver Vance’ was the catcher. One time, ‘Silver’ was taken down sick and Spaulding sent for ‘Billy to take his place… Not a ball got past him and from then on his reputation as a ball player was established… In those days they wore no mitts. They caught everything right off the bat with never a flinch.

“…Billy used to have lots of money but he spent it all on his first wife who was an invalid.”

“Boyhood Friend Tells of Traffley”, Des Moines Register, 25 June 1908, Page 10.

“Bill Traffley, the old Cincinnati and Baltimore catcher, used to be considered the biggest eater in the profession. Bill could go through a $4-a-day hotel bill of fare like a small-pox rumore through a village…”

“Champion Eaters.”, Nebraska State Journal, 15 November 1891, Page 14.

As told by Ed Hickey…

“Bill had a peculiar way of giving signals. He always put his hands to the side of his mask before making the signal. If he wanted a straight ball he had a way of puckering his lips, and if a curve, he would open his mouth. It made no difference to him what sort of curve the pitcher threw. Lots of times, when old Bill would open his mouth for a curve ball, his hands up at his face like blinkers on a bridle, the pitcher would make Bill open his mouth wider. Still sometimes the pitchers wouldn’t see, and I’ve actually seen old Bill open that mouth of his until I could see one corner of it where I stood on third. The pitcher could have thrown the ball into that mouth and the ball wouldn’t have scraped the sides in entering…”

“Jay Andrews Fooled ‘Em”, Buffalo Times, 22 November 1900, Page 10.

“Des Moines, Ia., July 10. – The passing of “Bill” Traffley, former manager of the Baltimore and Des Moines teams, in this city last Wednesday evening, ended the lifeof one of the men connected with the game in the farmative days.

“Traffley was a catcher in the days before catchers wore a mask, a breast protector, or even globves, and his death from tuberculosis was induced, according to the physicians who attended him in his last months, from the blows of balls which hit him in his earlier days as a catcher. The constant hammering of foul tips weakened the bones of the chest, affecting the lungs, and ending in the attack of the “white plague.”

“Throughout the west Traffley will always be known as the manager who was at the head of the Des Moines team when it made the world’s record of twenty-five games won in succession…

“For the last few years, Traffley had been out of the game, working in a number of the buffets of the city. Last year, when his health began to fail, he secured the management of the Granger, Ia., independent team and spent the larger part of the summer there in the hope that the outdoor life would benefit him. This failed, however, and while his last illness was short, he was seen but little after he returned to the city.

“Traffley was 48 years old at the time of his death. He left a wife and five children.”

“Bill Traffley Dead”, Wichita Daily Eagle, 12 July 1908.

Des Moines later played an exhibition game against Omaha in early September to raise money for a monument in his memory.

“Will Honor Bill Traffley”, Des Moines Tribune, 01 September 1908, Page 5.

William Franklin Traffley married Ella Groome of Maryland, and by 1900 had four children, Ella, Nettie, Lily, and William, Jr. He was listed as a base ball manager, with three of the four kids in school. Son, Harold, came later, after they moved back to Des Moines. In fact, the birth locations give you a sense of his minor league treks, too. Nettie was born in Iowa, Lillian in South Dakota, William in Illinois, and Harold in Iowa.

1900, 1910 US Census
Iowa Marriage Records

1861 Harry Maskrey
1861 Dell Darling
1865 Frank Zinn
1869 Joe Harrington
1878 Warren Gill
1882 Bert Weeden
1884 Steve White
1887 Cy Williams
1897 Hal Haid
1897 Pete Scott
1900 Doc Hamann
1905 Fred Koster
1907 Freddie Muller
1911 Josh Gibson
1911 Nino Bongiovanni
1913 Heinie Heltzel
1920 Bill Werle
1922 Jay Difani
1925 Kent Peterson
1925 Bob Rush
1927 Jack Daniels
1930 Danny Kravitz
1936 Howie Reed
1936 Ralph Lumenti
1941 Paul Casanova
1942 Pete Charton
1947 Elliott Maddox
1948 Dave Kingman
1949 Larry Bradford
1950 Jim Wright
1952 Joaquin Andujar
1957 Tom Henke
1960 Andy Van Slyke
1960 Roger McDowell
1966 Paul Swingle
1970 John Hope
1972 LaTroy Hawkins
1972 Dustin Hermanson
1976 Tony Cogan
1977 Freddy Sanchez
1977 Buddy Carlyle
1977 D’Angelo Jimenez
1978 Dicky Gonzalez
1980 Royce Ring
1982 Philip Humber
1983 John Mayberry
1983 Taylor Teagarden
1985 Brian Schlitter
1985 Ed Easley
1985 Matt Mangini
1987 Khris Davis
1988 Cody Stanley
1988 Danny Duffy
1988 Asher Wojciechowski
1989 David Rollins
1990 Kendall Graveman


1909 Jack Keenan
1912 Jim Gilman
1912 Jim Conway
1933 Louie Heilbroner
1936 Fred Gunkle
1942 Ira Davis
1943 Jack Warner
1943 Jim Cudworth
1946 Bill Evans
1949 Teddy Kearns
1950 Dad Lytle
1957 Marty Berghammer
1963 Happy Townsend
1963 Harry Williams
1964 Delos Brown
1970 Chubby Dean
1976 Walt Lynch
1978 Joe Mathes
1980 Tony Jacobs
1985 Joe Genewich
1987 Joe Sherman
1988 Willie Kamm
1989 Blackie Schwamb
1993 Ernie Kish
1993 Ham Schulte
2005 Elrod Hendricks
2007 Jack Lamabe
2011 Bud Bloomfield
2012 Boyd Bartley


1960 Chicago owner Phillip Wrigley announces the Cubs will not have a manager for the 1961 season, but will use a “college of coaches” that includes Charley Grimm, Harry Craft, Ripper Collins and others in rotation.


1954 Baltimore signed free agent infielder Johnny Pesky.

1977 Montreal signed free agent pitcher Ross Grimsley.

1982 San Diego signs free agent first baseman Steve Garvey.

1995 Kansas City sends Wally Joyner and Aaron Dorlarque to San Diego for Bip Roberts and Bryan Wolff. Meanwhile, the Yankees re-signed free agent pitcher David Cone and Baltimore signed free agent second baseman Roberto Alomar.

2001 Johnny Damon signs free agent outfielder Johnny Damon.

2007 Cincinnati trades Josh Hamilton to the Rangers for Edinson Volquez and Danny Herrera.


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