William Frederick Dahlen
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 180 lb.
- High School Fort Plain High School
- Debut April 22, 1891
- Final Game October 12, 1911
- Born January 5, 1870 in Nelliston, NY USA
- Died December 5, 1950 in Brooklyn, NY USA
Bill Dahlen played 21 seasons in the major leagues, split between the 19th and 20th centuries, and also managed four years. Primarily a shortstop, he committed 975 errors at the position (largely due to his long career) but was considered to have good range at the time.
Recommended by former big leaguers Tom York and Joe Battin to manager Cap Anson, Dahlen joined Anson's Chicago Colts in 1891. He soon developed into an excellent hitter, batting .357 with 107 RBIs for the club in 1894, while putting together a 42-game hitting streak. He hit .352 two years later and finished second in the National League in slugging percentage that season.
Sent to the Brooklyn Superbas prior to the 1899 campaign, Dahlen's offensive numbers dropped, but he provided solid defense at short for the Brooklyn teams that won the NL pennant in 1899 and 1900. He was traded to the New York Giants following the 1903 season, and in his first year with the Giants, he led the NL with 80 RBIs. He played in the 1905 World Series, going hitless in 15 at-bats while drawing three walks, stealing two bases, scoring a run, and driving in another.
Following the 1907 season, Dahlen was swapped to the Boston Doves as part of an eight player deal. He played two years there before returning to Brooklyn as manager of the Superbas (soon to be renamed the Dodgers). He made a handful of appearances as a player in his first two years at the helm there. Overall, he led the Dodgers (who featured young players Zack Wheat and Casey Stengel) for four seasons, never finishing above sixth place.
During his career, Dahlen had 2,461 hits, and scored 1,590 runs. Every player with at least 1,589 runs scored is in the Hall of Fame, except for Jimmy Ryan, George Van Haltren, and Dahlen (along with a few players still active or recently retired). Seven of the ten most similar players (based on similarity scores) are in the Hall, with the most similar player being George Davis, his contemporary. In 2008, he was on the pre-1943 Veterans Committee ballot for Hall of Fame consideration, and again made it to the final ballot in 2013, this time among a group of candidates from the pre-integration era. He fell just shy of election, as he received 10 out of 16 votes, with 12 being needed.
- NL RBI Leader (1904)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1894)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 6 (1891-1896)
- 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 2 (1892 & 1896)
- Won a World Series with the New York Giants in 1905
|Brooklyn Superbas Manager
- Triples, inning, 2, 8/30/1900 (tied)
- Most errors by a National League shortstop (972)
- Lyle Spatz: Bad Bill Dahlen: The Rollicking Life and Times of an Early Baseball Star, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2004. ISBN 978-0786419784