Happy Birthday, Rit Harrison!

Washington Ritter (Rit) Harrison played in one game for New Haven in the National Association in 1875.  According to the Hartford Courant of 21 May 1875, Harrison gave a rest to Studs Banker (or Bancker) behind the plate.  “Rit” went two for four with an RBI, then moved to shortstop in the ninth inning when Sammy Wright left with a sprained ankle. (The box score, included in the New York Clipper a week later, showed that he batted eighth, but makes no mention of Wright’s leaving the game.)  His catching mustn’t have left a good enough impression, it was Harrison’s only game. 

Ritter was born 16 September 1849, the fifth of seven children born to Isaac and Elizabeth (Small) Harrison. He must have been more regularly known as Rit or Ritter as that was the name listed for him in the 1850 US Census and, later, his Baseball-Reference.com record. Born in Haverstraw, New York, the family moved to New Jersey and eventually returned to his father’s home of Connecticut. (His mother was an English immigrant.) Ritter “ritturned” to being a shop foreman at a brass shop in Bridgeport, CT, (his father and his son were also in metal jobs for their careers) where he married Arabelle Gertrude Shelton. They had two children, Theodore and Sarah in 1878 and 1880, respectively. Like his baseball career, Harrison’s life was brief – he passed away in Bridgeport at 39 on 7 November 1888. Arabelle took in boarders to help pay the bills and would live with Theodore (and Theodore’s family) until both passed away in the 1930s.



1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1930 US Censuses

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