Bill Merritt

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William Henry Merritt

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Biographical Information[edit]

"Billy Merritt . . . did . . . phenomenal catching for Chicago last season under Anson . . . Merritt has the making of one of the best and leading catchers in the country before many seasons shall pass." - Sporting Life, Nov. 28, 1891

" . . .the star catcher of the Louisville League team . . ." - Sporting Life, Nov. 5, 1892

Catcher Bill Merritt played eight seasons in the National League during the 1890s.

Merritt was born and died in Lowell, MA. He attended the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts; his time there overlapped with that of several other future major leaguers, including Tommy Dowd and Jack McCarthy.

After he left college in 1891, he played for Woonsocket in the New England League and came to the majors in August 1891. He was briefly back in the minors with Memphis in 1892, but otherwise was a major leaguer through 1899. After his major league days he continued to play pro ball in the New England League.

Bill had seven stops in the majors, including twice with the Pittsburgh Pirates and twice with the Boston Beaneaters. He typically had a couple hundred at-bats per season, with a high of 318 in 1895. In his best season, he hit .348 in 141 at-bats in 1893.

According to a history of Western Canada baseball, Merritt was manager of Calgary for a month in 1907. The Calgary team had largely been formed in Lowell, MA and had played exhibition games on its way to Canada.

The book The New England League: A Baseball History, 1885-1949 says Merritt in the late 1920s bought the bankrupt Salem team and moved it to Lowell.

"Merritt could scrap better than ninety per cent of the players in the old league." - Sporting Life, Dec. 30, 1905, remembering Bill's ability as a fighter

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