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Frank Bancroft

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Francis Carter Bancroft
  • Bats Unknown, Throws Unknown

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[edit] Biographical Information

Frank Bancroft managed major league teams in nine seasons. He was perhaps the first American to head a baseball tour of Cuba, visiting there on December 21, 1879 with a club called the Hop Bitters, which beat a local squad. He was "business manager" for the Cincinnati Reds for 30 years, getting some credit for inventing "Opening Day" as a special event deserving of special hoopla.

Bancroft was born in 1846. He never played major league baseball, although one source calls him an early "legendary player". He would have been 25 when the National Association was formed in 1871. A second source claims he got his start organizing military games during the Civil War. A third source claims he got his start in professional baseball in 1878 when he managed the minor-league New Bedford, MA team in 1878. The source says he had run what became the "Bancroft House" in New Bedford starting in 1876, and also opened a roller rink in 1884 in the town. The team had a record of 83-44 in 1878 with the lowest payroll in the league.

He managed seven different teams in his nine years in the majors. Only twice did he manage more than a single season. He started with the 1880 Worcester Ruby Legs, who he managed the whole season to a record of 40-43. Even though the home field was a strong hitters' park, the pitching staff had a staff ERA of 2.27.

In 1881 and 1882 he managed the Detroit Wolverines the whole season each year. Both teams played roughly .500 ball. Several of his Worcester players came over to Detroit.

In 1883, he managed the 1883 Cleveland Blues the whole season to a record of 55-42. In 1884 and 1885, he managed the Providence Grays. In 1884, the team had a record of 84-28, and won the first post-season match-up that could be more-or-less considered a World Series. Charley Radbourn was his star pitcher, with 59 wins. In 1885, with many of the same stars, the team finished under .500.

In 1886 he managed Rochester Maroons in the International Association.

In each of 1887, 1889, and 1902, Bancroft managed part of a season. In 1910 he managed a team of mostly major league players called the "All Nationals" in exhibition games after the regular season.

[edit] Year-by-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Playoffs Notes
1880 Worcester Ruby Legs National League 40-43 5th
1881 Detroit Wolverines National League 41-43 4th
1882 Detroit Wolverines National League 42-41 6th
1883 Cleveland Blues National League 55-42 4th
1884 Providence Grays National League 84-48 1st World Series Champs
1885 Providence Grays National League 53-57 4th
1886 Rochester Maroons International Association replaced by Lon Knight
1887 Philadelphia Athletics American Association 26-29 -- replaced by Charlie Mason on June 30
1889 Indianapolis Hoosiers National League 25-43 -- replaced by Jack Glasscock on July 22
1902 Cincinnati Reds National League 9-7 -- replaced Bid McPhee (27-37) on July 11
replaced by Joe Kelley on July 31

[edit] Related Sites

1922 Spalding Guide Obit

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