Samuel W. Barkley
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11½", Weight 180 lb.
- Debut May 1, 1884
- Final Game July 12, 1889
- Born May 24, 1858 in Wheeling, WV USA
- Died April 20, 1912 in Wheeling, WV USA
Sam Barkley played six seasons in the major leagues primarily as a second baseman with four teams. He was also player-manager for about half a season in 1888. His batting average went down steadily from 1884-1888 but went up in his last season, 1889.
In 1884 he had by far the highest batting average on the Toledo Blue Stockings, a team that batted .231 while Barkley batted .306. He was 9th in the league in batting average and first in doubles. The Toledo team was the one on which Fleet Walker and his brother Welday Walker, two black players, appeared. Fleet, at .263, had one of the highest batting averages on the team.
Toledo and the St. Louis Browns made an arrangement in the off-season for a trade of several players, but the trade broke down after the waiting period and only Barkley and one other player actually played with St. Louis. A lawsuit came out of it all, and it was estimated that Barkley had been valued at $800. Chris Von der Ahe later said that Barkley's value was $1,000, but that may have been the asking price.
In 1885 Barkley moved to the St. Louis Browns, who won the pennant, and he appeared in post-season play with them. His batting average of .268 was higher than the team average of .246, and his slugging percentage of .380, boosted by 10 triples, was well over the team average of .321.
In March 1886, the American Association suspended Barkley for signing with Pittsburgh before the details of his sale had been worked out. Denny McKnight, president of the Association and one of its co-founders, lost his job over his handling of the Barkley case.
He played for Pittsburgh in 1886, posting roughly the same numbers with a team that hit roughly the same as his previous team. In 1887, though, he moved to first base and his batting and slugging fell off.
The Wheeling Daily Register from March 30, 1888 carried this about him (Barkley was from Wheeling):
Kansas City, of the Association, is making a big effort to secure Sam Barkley, and the wires were burthened with telegrams regarding the affair. Barkley has been signed with Pittsburg, but it is understood that that club is anxious to release him. All the clubs in the League will have to consent to his release . . .
His last two years were with the Kansas City Cowboys in 1888 and 1889. His .216 average in 1888 is misleading, because the team hit .218. His .309 slugging percentage was higher than the team average of .288. The next year he appeared in only 45 games, hitting a good .284 on a team that hit .254. He hit for the cycle on June 13, 1888.
- AA Doubles Leader (1884)