Harry Wright

From BR Bullpen


William Henry Wright

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1953

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Harry Wright.jpg

"(He was) the most widely known, best respected, and most popular of the exponents and representatives of professional baseball, of which he was virtually the founder." - Henry Chadwick, the father of baseball, about Harry Wright

"He did more than any other man, more than any number of men, to bring base ball to its present high standing . . . it is not easy to overestimate the vast beneficial influence exercised by this truly great and good man in his chosen sphere . . . " - from the obituary of Harry Wright appearing in Sporting Life, October 5, 1895

Harry Wright was one of baseball's great pioneers. In addition to playing and managing in the National Association and in the National League, he organized the first truly professional baseball team - the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. Wright managed the club, played center field and, according to The Relief Pitcher, also served as the team's "change pitcher" or relief pitcher. He also served as an umpire for a few games in both the National Association (1 game in 1875) and the National League (3 games between 1876 and 1885).

Wright, born in 1835, was already the second-oldest player in the league when the National Association formed in 1871. He had begun playing cricket professionally in 1857 and had started playing baseball that same year. He played for the Knickerbockers in New York City for several years and then for the Gothams. In 1866, when he left to play cricket professionally in Cincinnati, OH, he helped to form the Cincinnati baseball club which later became so famous. Over the years, he played center field, third base and pitcher on his amateur teams. Later, as a player in the National Association, he was primarily a center fielder and pitcher.

He had 3 saves to lead the National Association in its first year of existence, 1871.

Wright managed for 23 years in the National Association and in the National League. His last team was the 1893 Philadelphia Phillies, which featured, among other players, the 25-year-old Ed Delahanty. His career major league managerial winning percentage was .581.

He is the brother of George Wright and Sam Wright.

SABR has a biography of Wright, which says that Wright's father was a cricket star. Harry dropped out of school, worked as a jeweler and then as a cricket player, and turned to baseball. He joined the New York Knickerbockers in 1857. Wright went temporarily blind as a result of an eye illness in 1890, but recovered part of his sight later. He died from a lung illness in 1895.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 3-time NA Saves Leader (1871, 1872 & 1874)
  • NA Pennants: 4 (1872-1875)
  • NL Pennants: 2 (1877 & 1878)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1953

Preceded by
Boston Red Stockings Manager
Succeeded by
John Morrill
Preceded by
Blondie Purcell
Philadelphia Quakers/Phillies Manager
Succeeded by
Arthur Irwin

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Pennant Notes
1867 Cincinnati Red Stockings National Association of Base Ball Players 16-1 10th
1868 Cincinnati Red Stockings National Association of Base Ball Players 36-7 4th
1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings National Association of Base Ball Players 57-0 1st Posted Best Record
1870 Cincinnati Red Stockings National Association of Base Ball Players 67-6-1 2nd 84-game winning streak
1871 Boston Red Stockings National Association 20-10-1 3rd
1872 Boston Red Stockings National Association 39-8-1 1st League Champs
1873 Boston Red Stockings National Association 43-16-1 1st League Champs
1874 Boston Red Stockings National Association 52-18-1 1st League Champs
1875 Boston Red Stockings National Association 71-8-3 1st League Champs
1876 Boston Red Caps National League 39-31 4th
1877 Boston Red Caps National League 42-18-1 1st League Champs
1878 Boston Red Caps National League 41-19 1st League Champs
1879 Boston Red Caps National League 54-30 2nd
1880 Boston Red Caps National League 40-44-2 6th
1881 Boston Red Caps National League 38-45 6th
1882 Providence Grays National League 52-32 2nd
1883 Providence Grays National League 58-40 3rd
1884 Philadelphia Quakers National League 39-73 6th
1885 Philadelphia Quakers National League 56-54 3rd
1886 Philadelphia Quakers National League 71-43 4th
1887 Philadelphia Quakers National League 75-48 2nd
1888 Philadelphia Quakers National League 69-61 3rd
1889 Philadelphia Quakers National League 63-64 4th
1890 Philadelphia Phillies National League 36-30 3rd replaced by Jack Clements on May 22/
replaced Jack Clements (13-6), Al Reach (5-6)
and Bob Allen (24-11) on August 7
1891 Philadelphia Phillies National League 68-69 4th
1892 Philadelphia Phillies National League 87-66 4th
1893 Philadelphia Phillies National League 72-57 4th

Further Reading[edit]

  • Christopher Devine: "Harry Wright: The Most Important Figure of the 19th Century?", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Number 31, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2003, pp. 35-38.
  • Christopher Devine: Harry Wright: The Father of Professional Base Ball, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2003. ISBN 978-0-7864-1561-8

Related Sites[edit]

This manager's article is missing a managerial chart. To make this person's article more complete, one should be added.