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Joe Simmons

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Joseph S. Simmons (born Joseph S. Chabriel)

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[edit] Biographical Information

Joe Simmons appeared with four teams in the early days of major league baseball.

He was born in New York City in 1845, shortly before Alexander Cartwright invented the modern game of baseball. The book When Johnny Came Sliding Home indicates that Simmons was working as a driver in Chicago in 1869 when discovered by a Rockford backer, who arranged for a job for Simmons in Rockford so he could play for the Rockford team. Simmons, says the book, had previously played in New York and for the Chicago Excelsiors.

Twenty-six years after his birth, Simmons was an outfielder on the Chicago White Stockings during the first year of the National Association, 1871. The team did well, finishing in 2nd place, while Simmons hit only .217 on a team that hit .270. Simmons was 26 years old, on a team that averaged 25 years of age.

The following year, 1872, he played for a less successful team, the Cleveland Forest Citys, hitting .256 on a team that hit .291. This time he was a first baseman. He was 27, on a team that averaged 24 years of age.

Three years later, with the Keokuk Westerns, a team which went 1-12, he was the manager and also played outfield, hitting .170 on a team that hit .180. He was now 30, on a team whose average age was 24.

Nine years after that, he again managed a team, the 1884 Wilmington Quicksteps of the short-lived Union Association. His team went 2-16. On the day of the team's last home game, there are no fans in the stands, so Simmons decides to forfeit the game. The team then disbands.

The Quicksteps had actually started the season as a minor league team, and won the championship of their league, averaging about 400 fans per home game. The team played a number of exhibitions against major league teams looking for additional revenue. After the season ended the Union Association invited them into their league.

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