Kid Gleason

While researching some things, I came across Kid Gleason’s stat line one season.  You may remember Gleason as the manager of the Chicago White Sox during the Black Sox scandle. He was the likable manager in the movie Eight Men Out who told Charles Comiskey he thought the series might be fixed.  He was played by John Mahoney, Kelsey Grammer’s father in the sitcom Frasier.

William J. Gleason began his career in 1888 as a 21-year-old pitcher with the Philadelphia Quakers (Phillies).  He played a little at other positions, but primarily pitched for four years before being traded to the St. Louis Browns.  He saw increased playing time as a fielder and didn’t pitch after the 1895 season.  He concluded his 21-year playing career as a second baseman for six years back with the Phillies 1903-08.  Although, he did add a year to his career by playing 3.0 innings at second base for the White Sox in 1912.

What caught my eye was his stat line for 1890.  He pitched in 60 games, 55 as a starter.  He threw 54 complete games and tallied 506.0 innings pitched.  He had a 2.63 ERA and 38-17 record.  He threw 6 shutouts and saved a league-leading 2 games.  None of his other stats led the league.  He gave up 479 hits, 8 HR, 167 walks, and struck out 222 batters.  He faced 2163 batters, hit 15, balked once, and threw 11 wild pitches.  He posted a a 1.277 WHIP, 139 ERA+, and a 3.32 FIP.

Gleason’s 506 innings pitched was only third highest in the National League that season.  Bill Hutchinson of the Chicago Colts threw 603.0 innings.  The eight teams played 132-game seasons.  Half carried just 6 pitchers.  The Phillies had a 10-man staff.  Others had 9, 12, and the 23-win Pittsburgh Alleghenys used 22 pitchers during the season.

Gleason coached the White Sox from 1912 until he was elevated to manager before the 1919 season.  He retired from managing in 1923.  He returned to baseball two years later as a coach for the Philadelphia A’s and retired for good after the 1931 season.  He was part of the coaching staff for the great A’s teams from 1929-31 that went to the world series three time and won twice.

14 thoughts on “Kid Gleason

    1. Can you imagine what those would have been back in those days?

      I think from one of his quotes that the distance from the pitcher’s box to home plate was shorter than the current 60’6″.

      1. Pitchers threw from 50′ until 60’6 was introduced in 1893. Note that mounds were of varying heights until they were limited to 15″ in 1904, later lowered by 5″ in 1969.

    2. Kid Gleason has nothing on Old Hoss Radbourn, who decided to pitch every game after the team’s other pitcher quit/got kicked off the team.

      I did a quick check on Radbourn to make sure I remembered him correctly. Hhe is the apocryphal namesake of the Charlie Horse as well as possibly the first person to ever be photographed giving the middle finger!


      1. Also, between him and his younger brother, George ‘Dandy’, apparently, they were the first brother combination to get to 300 wins. Though, George only had one win in baseball.

  1. Eight Men Out is my favorite baseball movie. Great ensemble cast! 2nd is Moneyball, followed by Field of Dreams, which was only marred by the fact that they had Shoeless Joe (Ray Liotta) batting right handed when he batted left. Lame. But nonetheless a great ending pull away shot of miles of cars lined up to arrive at the ball park.

    1. I would have guessed naturally Roy Hobbs’ movie would be in there somewhere at the top of your list.

  2. As an aside, what is the over / under on the number of baseball games we’ll see this season and will they be played in either empty or partially filled stadiums? And what, no love for, A League of Their Own or Major League?

  3. Just my opinion, but I see no reason to play professional sports without allowing fans in the stands. I understand the TV money angle, but again, there is no reason to play professional sports if you are not allowing fans in the stands.

    Anyway, the season may start so late as to make the playoff and World Series winners meaningless.

    1. It’s important to recognize how much of a diversion and release following sports is in this culture, be it right or wrong, necessary or not. People with mental health issues are cracking under these conditions, and my heart goes out to those who don’t have basic support systems in place. While I don’t prefer watching sports without fans in attendance to help create the atmosphere and drama we enjoy normally, I can certainly tolerate it for the time being.

  4. Jim’s allusion to Kid Gleason and Eight Men Out stirs some thoughts on all the baseball movies that have been made, good and not so, fiction and nonfiction.

    I love Tommy Lee Jones but he was way, way too old to play Ty Cobb. It made that movie less watchable despite his seeming ability to channel the Georgia Peach’s personality.

    William Bendix was miscast as Babe Ruth, and the movie is so dated, while the John Goodman version was like a comic book character.

    Gary Cooper was a decent Lou Gehrig, but the movie was ‘eh’.

    Tony Perkins as Jimmy Piersall? Please…the only thing they had in common was mental illness.

    And has there ever been a better comedy routine than Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?”
    TRIVIA QUESTION: In which 1940 film did they first perform the routine, stealing the movie in supporting roles?

    Major League was head and shoulders the best baseball comedy. (Dennis Haysbert’s “Ah, Jesus. I like him very much…but he can’t help me hit a curve ball” is as classic as it gets.) Most of the other wacky, slapstick productions were…well, Angels in the Outfield…really?

    Ken Burns’ series back in the 90’s was an excellent tutorial on the history of the game. Bought it on VHS, should have transposed it to DVD but…

    What are your favorite movies? Performances? Least?
    I think it makes for a nice diversion thread while we’re under confinement….

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