Happy Birthday, Charlie Kalbfus!

Charlie Kalbfus played on the Washington Nationals in 1883 and 1884, but only one of those games counts as a major league game (a Union League game in 1884). One of his teammates with the Nationals was infielder Tom Evers, who was Johnny Evers uncle.

Born and raised in Washington DC, Kalbfus was not just a player but, having some means and education (and connections), he was elected treasurer of the National Club of Washington, which ran a very good semi-professional baseball team. Prior to joining the Nationals, he played on a semi-professional team called The Orientals where he played second base. Upon joining the Nationals, he was moved to center field or catcher from time to time.

In 1884, the amateur team became professional as a member of the Union Association. Kalbfus started in right field on 18 April 1884 getting a hit in five at bats in the first game played at Capital park between Washington and Baltimore. He scored a run in what turned out to be a losing effort. An article describing his lone game adds this about Capital Park: “The condition of the grounds was an agreeable surprise. As now arranged, very few balls will be batted over the fence, and after sodding the field will be in excellent shape… Increased accommodations will be provided to-day for spectators, so that all can have seats.”

Anyway… He moved to the mound in amateur circles and never approached playing professionally again. Kalbfus was active in other circles – he was a private in Company B of the Washington Light Infantry in 1883.

Charles Henry Kalbfus was born 28 December 1864, the first of four children, to Thomas and Mary (Thomas) Kalbfus. Thomas was a publisher of the Washington Sun-Herald. Not long after playing his lone professional game, he married Josephine Mallory and they had three children. He worked for years as a clerk for the United States Post Office. He passed away on November 18, 1941.


“Base Ball.”, Washington Critic, 23 August 1881, Page 3.

“Pertinent Paragraphs”, Washington Critic, 17 September 1881, Page 4.

“Local Base-ball.”, Washington Critic, 24 April 1882, Page 3.

“Columbia Boat Club Fair”, National Republican, 24 November 1882, Page 1.

“Diamond Dust.”, Boston Globe, 28 January 1883, Page 12.

“Base Ball.”, National Republican, 08 May 1883, Page 8.

“An Expedition to the Sea.”, Washington Evening Star, 18 August 1883, Page 8.

“Base Ball.”, National Republican, 19 April 1884, Page 1.

“Out-Door Sports.”, Washington Critic, 03 June 1885, Page 4.

1850, 1860, 1880, 1900, 1910 US Census
Washington (DC) Marriage Index


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