Robert Lincoln Lowe
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 150 lb.
- Debut April 19, 1890
- Final Game October 6, 1907
- Born July 10, 1865 in Pittsburgh, PA USA
- Died December 8, 1951 in Detroit, MI USA
"The greatest second baseman was your husband." - Nap Lajoie, speaking to Lowe's wife after she had complimented him on being the greatest second baseman (quoted in the Bill James New Historical Baseball Abstract)
Bobby Lowe, famed for hitting four home runs in a game before anyone else did, had a long career in the majors. He played 18 seasons in the big leagues, mostly with the Boston Beaneaters, one of the top teams of the 1890s. Bill James lists him as the #56 second baseman of all time in the Historical Baseball Abstract.
He was the first man to hit four home runs in a game, against Elton Chamberlain on May 30, 1894. Two years later, Ed Delahanty became the second, against Adonis Terry. Although 13 other players have since hit four home runs in a game, Lowe and Delahanty are still the only players to hit four against one pitcher. Decades after his feat, Lowe posed for a photo with Lou Gehrig after Gehrig hit four in a game.
In an article for the New York Times on March 14, 1911, written by Fred Tenney, Tenney chose Lowe as baseball's all-time best "utility man", not because he was a backup but rather because he was good at so many defensive positions as well as being a decent hitter. Tenney and Lowe had been teammates for years on the Beaneaters. The Tenney article says that Lowe "made a great record in the minor leagues", first as a catcher and then as an outfielder before coming to Boston in 1890. Lowe never played catcher in the majors, although he played a lot of left field, center field, third and shortstop as well as his many games at second base.
Sporting Life mentioned that he was playing amateur ball in 1885.
Lowe broke in when Paul Hines, a veteran of the National Association, was still playing for the Beaneaters, and Lowe's career lasted long enough that he was still playing with the Detroit Tigers in 1907, in the year when Ty Cobb won his first batting championship. Lowe not only had a long career but also a long life, living to 1951, the year in which Willie Mays broke into the majors.
His best year as a hitter was perhaps 1894 (a year when nearly everyone hit lots). He had 17 home runs, good for second in the National League, and was among the league leaders in a variety of other offensive categories. Lowe also stole over 300 bases in his career although he was never among the league leaders in any one year in that category.
He was esteemed enough that for the last eight years of his major league career he was able to keep playing while always being one of the ten oldest players in the league.
In 1908 he played in the minors at age 42 at Grand Rapids. He also managed the team and previously had managed part of a season in 1903 at Denver. He also managed in the majors for half a season with the Tigers in 1904, in the year before Cobb came up.
- NL At-Bats Leader (1894)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1894 & 1897)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (1893-1895)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1894)
|Detroit Tigers Manager
Year-By-Year Managerial Record
|1903||Denver Grizzlies||Western League||none||replaced Tom Delahanty|
|1904||Detroit Tigers||American League||30-44||7th||Detroit Tigers||replaced Ed Barrow (32-46) on July 26|
|1908||Grand Rapids Wolverines||Central League||68-71||5th||none|