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Ed Swartwood

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Cyrus Edward Swartwood

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 198 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

"That man Swartwood can hit anything." - the Courier-Journal in 1881, when Swartwood played for Akron

Ed Swartwood was a top hitter for a couple years in the American Association and an above-average hitter for several more years.

Swartwood was born in Rockford, IL, an early hotbed of baseball. He was born in 1859, the same year that Charlie Comiskey was born in Chicago, IL, 84 miles away. Prior to his major league career, Swartwood played three years with the Akrons.

Swartwood broke into the National League with the 1881 Buffalo Bisons who featured several players who were or would become famous: Dan Brouthers, Pud Galvin, Davy Force, Jim O'Rourke, and others. He went 1-for-3 with a walk. The following two years he was one of the top players in the first years of the American Association, playing for Pittsburgh. In 1882 he was third in the league in batting average as well as second in the league in Adjusted OPS+. In 1883 he was first in both categories. In 1884 he dropped off a bit, but still hit well.

In 1885 he moved to Brooklyn, where he played for three years at a somewhat lower level than he had in Pittsburgh.

Swartwood apparently saved his earnings and was reputed to have several thousand dollars. After the 1887 season he tended bar and got a percentage of sales because he was so well-known. In 1888 and 1889 he played for the Hamilton, ON team. The team ran into financial trouble, and when Swartwood tried to sign with Detroit, Detroit was accused of tampering by Hamilton. Detroit and Swartwood won the case, though, when it went to arbitration.

After being out of the majors for two years, he came back to play well in 1890 with Toledo in the year of three leagues.

In 1891 he played for Sioux City. In proof that non-major-league teams were sometimes as good as the big league teams, Sioux City played post-season exhibition games against the Chicago Colts of the National League, winning four of six, and against the St. Louis Browns of the major league American Association, winning all five of the games. In 1892 he came back to the National League, where he hadn't played since 1881, and finished out his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was four years older than teammate Connie Mack.

After his major league playing days, he was in the minors with Rochester and Providence. Thereafter, he was an umpire in the National League and in the Eastern League for several years. Afterwards he worked as a cigar salesman, ran some small businesses, and was a deputy sheriff. Both Ed Swartwood and Doc Gessler died in 1924 in Pittsburgh, PA.

One key source: A Fine-Looking Lot of Ball-Tossers: The Remarkable Akrons, which has a chapter on Swartwood.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • AA Batting Average Leader (1883)
  • AA On-Base Percentage Leader (1883)
  • AA OPS Leader (1883)
  • AA Runs Scored Leader (1882)
  • AA Hits Leader (1883)
  • AA Total Bases Leader (1882)
  • AA Singles Leader (1883)
  • AA Doubles Leader (1882)
  • AA Bases on Balls Leader (1886)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1890)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 1 (1890)

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