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View Full Version : Historic Detroit Baseball non-Tiger # 2 - Charles "Lady" Baldwin



redshark63
01-19-2006, 09:23 AM
In the spirit of Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, I present Charles "Lady" Baldwin from the same Detroit Wolverines. He had one outstanding season and one outstanding postseason and that was about it.



http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d179/IdahoBert/1bannerbottom.jpg
Today's Featured Wolverine Player

http://www.rainfall.com/posters/images/baseballcards/0178fu.jpg
--Charles "Lady" Baldwin --
(http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/baldwla01.shtml)(1885-1888)
(click on name for statistics)



The following is another very fine writeup from the SABR publication, “Nineteenth Century Stars”, this one by Joseph Overfield:
http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/bookinfo/3835.html
http://www.sabr.org




[b]The baseball life of Charles Baldwin is a tale of two seasons and a curious nickname.

With a modest record of 73-41 in six major league seasons (three that were mere cups of coffee), the left-handed Baldwin probably would not merit inclusion here [in the book] were it not for his remarkable year with Detroit (NL) in 1886 and his feat of winning 4 games in the post-season series between Detroit and the St. Louis Browns in 1887. And then there was his nickname, "Lady".

Baldwin was born in Ormel, N.Y., a tiny hamlet about 60 miles southeast of Buffalo. When he was 18, his family moved to Hastings, Michigan, where he learned the rudiments of the game. He started professionally with Grand Rapids (Northwest League) in 1883 before joining Milwaukee of the same circuit the next season. In 1884, he also appeared in seven games with Milwaukee in the ill-fated Union Association. He was a mature 26 when midway through the 1885 season he joined the Detroit Wolverines (NL) and teamed up with Charlie Bennett, who was one of the greatest catchers of the day. Baldwin's 1885 record was an unprepossessing 11-9, but his ERA was a dazzling 1.86.

The failure of the 1886 Detroits to win the pennant was not the fault of Lady Baldwin. He won 11 of his first 12 starts; he pitched one 1-hitter, five 2-hitters and five 3-hitters, and had 7 shutouts, which was best in the league. He started 56 games and completed 55, hurled 487[!!] innings and struck out 323 and wound up with a 42-13 (.764) record and an ERA of 2.24.

The Wolverines followed their second place finish in 1886 with a pennant in 1887, but it was a bittersweet year for Baldwin. His arm, overworked in 1886, never was at full strength. Additionally, he had trouble adjusting to the new rule requiring the pitcher to keep one foot on the back line of the box and take only one step in delivering the ball [note: distance to plate was 50 feet prior to 1893 and pitchers pitched from a box area rather than a slab]. He was so bad that on July 27 he was sent home without pay, (His salary was a princely $ 3,200 [pretty darn good for the era]). Baldwin improved after rejoining the team in August, winning 7 of his last 8 games.

In the 15 game challenge series between Detroit and the St. Louis Browns (AA), precursor to the World Series, Baldwin won 4 of 5 starts, including the clinching game, and held the Browns to a feeble .155 batting mark.

As far as major league stardom is concerned, that was it for Baldwin. His arm dead, he pitched a few games for Detroit in 1888 and for Brooklyn (NL) and Buffalo (Players League) in 1890 before retiring.

The nickname? The mystery is not how he acquired it, but how he managed to survive in base ball as long as he did while bearing such a handle. He earned the name not because he was effeminate, but because he behaved the way ladies were supposed to behave: he did not smoke, swear, or imbibe. In an interview he gave in 1934 when he was 74, he said he had yet to taste alcohol or tobacco.

After retiring from teh diamond, Baldwin operated a farm in Hastings, Michigan, until 1910 when he sold out and moved into town. In 1919, he started a real estate business at which he enjoyed great success. In 1937, the man they called Lady died in Hastings. He was 77.


He also pitched in two games for Grand Rapids in 1894.

[/URL]

http://www.thedeadballera.com/GravePhotos/Baldwin.Charles.Grave.html

http://www.thedeadballera.com/Obits/Baldwin.Lady.Obit.html (http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/B/Baldwin_Lady.stm)

[url]http://www.netshrine.com/vbulletin2/archive/index.php/t-12518.html

DaYooperASBDT
01-19-2006, 10:51 AM
Man they ALL wore their socks high !!!!!!!!!

DaYooperASBDT
01-19-2006, 10:54 AM
I suppose I could look it up, but I'm wondering what year were hurlers first allowed to pitch overhand? IIRC all pitchers were once required to use an underhand delivery ??

IdahoBert
01-19-2006, 11:04 AM
"The failure of the 1886 Detroits to win the pennant was not the fault of Lady Baldwin. He won 11 of his first 12 starts; he pitched one 1-hitter, five 2-hitters and five 3-hitters, and had 7 shutouts, which was best in the league. He started 56 games and completed 55, hurled 487[!!] innings and struck out 323 and wound up with a 42-13 (.764) record and an ERA of 2.24."
487 innings! Even from 50 feet that's a lot...:shocked:

IdahoBert
01-19-2006, 11:10 AM
Once again, thanks for doing this redshark63. This is very, very cool stuff.

redshark63
01-19-2006, 11:18 AM
I suppose I could look it up, but I'm wondering what year were hurlers first allowed to pitch overhand? IIRC all pitchers were once required to use an underhand delivery ??

Try here:

http://www.19cbaseball.com/rules4.html

DaYooperASBDT
01-19-2006, 11:54 AM
Try here:
http://www.19cbaseball.com/rules4.html

Thanks !! So by mid-1885 all pitchers were allowed to throw over-handed. I wonder how many guys changed their delivery as a result of the rule change, or whether it took a couple years before the deliveries became generally over-hand ?? Interesting stuff !!

Tigeraholic1
01-19-2006, 01:39 PM
I grew up a hop and a skip from Hastings, in Nashville. Never of this guys story pretty cool.

Casimir
01-19-2006, 07:09 PM
I don't think I'd call the P "Lady" from 66 feet (& change) away from me, let alone 50 feet away from me.