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Harry Truby

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Harry Garvin Truby
(Bird Eye)

  • Bats Unknown, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 185 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Harry "Bird Eye" Truby played in the majors in 1895 and 1896. His minor league career was from 1888 to at least 1904. Truby was the only major leaguer with that last name until Chris Truby came up in 2000.

Harry was born in Kittaning, PA, but lived most of his life and died in Ironton, OH, in far southern Ohio near Ashland, KY. In 1888 he played for Rockford, and while in 1889 he moved far to the South to play in Austin, TX, in 1891 he came far north to play in Fond du Lac, WI.

The book When Panthers Roared: the Fort Worth Cats and Minor League Baseball says that in 1890 Austin thought Truby was going to manage for them, while Fort Worth thought Truby was going to play for them; the league didn't let him play for either team.

His minor league career also involved playing for teams in the South before he made his major league debut for Cap Anson's 1894 Chicago Colts. Harry got playing time with the Colts because he was hitting, and ended up with a .336 batting average in 119 at-bats (albeit without power), while the regular second baseman that year, Ace Stewart, hit .241. Truby was the same age as teammates Clark Griffith and Bill Dahlen.

Truby came back in 1896 but hit much lower, .257, and was sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates in July. He played in only 8 games for them and then after the season was part of a major trade in which the Pirates also traded Jake Stenzel and got Steve Brodie. Truby also spent a little time in Canada toward the end of the 1896 season, playing for Toronto.

Harry continued to play in the minors through 1904, in the Western Association, Interstate League and elsewhere. Sporting Life from April 22, 1905 said he had accepted terms with Jackson, MS.

The book Iron Man McGinnity: A Baseball Biography says that Peoria played a 21-inning game on June 26, 1898 against St. Joseph with McGinnity pitching for Peoria. In the 21st inning, Truby hit a two-run triple. It was thought to be the second-longest game in baseball history at that time.

Truby also managed. A news article in 1897 said he was managing Rockford, and at various times he also managed at Youngstown, Lima and Independence.

The Pittsburgh Press, on February 11, 1910, carried the following note: "Umpire Harry Truby, formerly of the National League, has signed to officiate in the Tri-State League". Previous articles in Sporting Life mentioned other minor leagues in which he umpired.

In addition to Truby, Joe Willis also died in Ironton, OH.

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