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Dave Birdsall

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David Solomon Birdsall

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[edit] Biographical Information

Dave Birdsall is pictured in a woodcut shown in Harper's Weekly Magazine from 1867, as part of the Union Base-ball Club of Morrisania, NY. He is a very slender, jaunty-looking fellow, perhaps a bit shorter than some of the other ballplayers in the picture. He looks very much like he could be the speedster he apparently was in his prime.

Birdsall was a member of the legendary 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings team before he played in the National Association.

When the National Association started in 1871, there were only two players on the Boston Red Stockings who were older than 26. One was the player/manager Harry Wright, who was 36, and the other was Dave Birdsall, who was 32.

Birdsall was apparently the first player in the National Association to steal three bases in a game.

The next season, the same thing was the case - Wright and Birdsall were the only players older than 26, because the team had parted ways with the only player from 1871 who had been 26 years old. In the game of May 7, 1872, Birdsall batted cleanup.

Birdsall played briefly in 1873 as well, at the age of 34, when he and Wright were still far older than any other players on the team.

Birdsall was an outfielder and catcher who was second in the league in runs scored in 1871.

He served in the Civil War, from 1861 to 1865 according to the 1890 veteran's census.

When King Kelly died in Boston in 1894, Birdsall attended the funeral.

"The Once Famous Birdsall Still in the Land of the Living. . . David S. Birdsall, one of the old and historic Boston Red Stockings, is a clerk for John Benson of this District . . . 'Dave', as he is still called, looks back to his ball playing days with a great deal of pride, and he does not try to conceal the fact that he is older to-day than he was when he with others was engaged in laying the foundation of Boston's greatness as a base ball centre. But he does object, and that most decidedly, when a white-haired man of sixty-five or seventy winters raises up and delivers himself of such remarks as this: 'Dave? Dave Birdsall? Old Dave? Why I used to go see Dave play when I was a boy.' " - Sporting Life, August 22, 1891

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