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Harry Steinfeldt

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Harry M. Steinfeldt

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 9½", Weight 180 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

"He was a fine fielder, but his chief claim to distinction was his ability as a hard, consistent and timely batsman." - from an obituary in Sporting Life, August 22, 1914, perhaps understating Harry's prominence as a fielder, and perhaps overstating a bit his consistency with the bat - the next week's issue spent more time remembering his strong arm

Harry Steinfeldt was the unofficial MVP of perhaps the greatest team in history, the 1906 Chicago Cubs who won 116 games and lost only 36. He led the league in RBI that year.

Harry Steinfeldt was the fourth member of the Tinker-Evers-Chance infield. As a player, he was the equivalent of Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers - Chance was a cut above - but never received any Hall of Fame consideration, unlike his more famous teammates. There is a picture of Tinker, Evers, and Chance that is often seen, but what is not widely known is that Steinfeldt was part of that picture but frequently cropped out.

Steinfeldt played 14 seasons in the major leagues, of which 8 were with the Cincinnati Reds. However, his four World Series appearances were all with the Cubs between 1906 and 1910. He played a lot of second base in the early years, but gradually spent more and more time at third.

Sporting Life in 1899 said that Steinfeldt was one of the few players who kept in shape and also practiced his throwing arm in the off-season.

His batting had sharp ups and downs over the years. Other than 1906, his best year was 1903, when he led the league in doubles, and was 5th in the league in slugging and RBI. In 1907 and 1908, he was in the top 10 in the league in RBI.

Manager Frank Chance was ready to let him go in 1911. An article in the New York Times of March 18, 1911, claims that Chance was ready to trade him for Al Mattern, but that manager Fred Tenney didn't want to let Mattern go. The Cubs then sold Steinfeldt to St. Paul in April, and St. Paul traded him to Boston in July for a couple of players who did not include Mattern.

Steinfeldt died shortly before age 37. Noodles Hahn and Jesse Tannehill were pallbearers. His obituary says that he had been ill for several years, but that the illness had only recently turned serious. He was survived by his widow. As a comparison, Tommy Leach was born the same year as Steinfeldt, and played through 1918 - in 1914, the year of Steinfeldt's death, Leach was playing for Steinfeldt's old team, the Cubs.

"Harry Steinfeldt . . . in the Lone Star state . . . outranks all the second basemen . . . Steinfeldt led the Texas League in second basemen, having 573 chances, and his fielding average being .989. He batted .320 this year . . ." - Sporting Life, Dec. 26, 1896, about the young Steinfeldt, and also publishing a drawing of his face at that age
"The Washington Club is anxious to secure Harry Steinfeldt from Cincinnati . . . Steinfeldt has now played every position on the Cincinnati infield. That's a record held by no other Leaguer." - Sporting Life, October 1, 1898
"It would be absurd to say that Joe Quinn is as fast a man at second base as Harry Steinfeldt. . . When Steinfeldt was on second that whip of his enabled him to figure in more double plays than were credited to any other player in the League." - Sporting Life, August 11, 1900
"Something out of the ordinary for Harry Steinfeldt to lay up with a lame arm. For years the Texan possessed the iron wing of the land . . ." - Sporting Life, June 10, 1905

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • NL Hits Leader (1906)
  • NL Doubles Leader (1903)
  • NL RBI Leader (1906)
  • Won two World Series with the Chicago Cubs in 1907 and 1908

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