Joe Kelley

From BR Bullpen

Joe Kelley.jpg

Joseph James Kelley

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1971

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

"Kelley was one of the greatest outfielders of all time. He was rated the kingpin of the Orioles outfield. He covered a lot of ground and was one of the best hitters in the league." - Dutch Brennan, former major league scout

Joe Kelley was a top hitter for a long time, hitting .317 lifetime in the majors. He was frequently among the league leaders in several offensive categories, especially in triples, but rarely led the circuit in any category, which perhaps led to his not being named to the Hall of Fame until many years after his death.

Originally a pitcher, Kelley played for the Lowell Lowells of the New England League in 1891 and was 10-3 while hitting .331 with 21 stolen bases. He reached the majors in the later portion of that season as a 19 year old outfielder. He began 1892 back in the minors with the Omaha Omahogs and hit .330 before being purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Late in the year, he was traded to the Ned Hanlon's Baltimore Orioles for George Van Haltren.

Kelly (far left) with Willie Keeler. John McGraw, and Hughey Jennings in 1905.

Kelley was the Orioles regular centerfielder in 1893 before being moved to leftfield the next season. That year, he hit .393 and had an on-base percentage over .500 for a 161 OPS+ while scoring 165 runs (but still finishing a distant second behind Billy Hamilton's 192 runs). He had one of the finest days in baseball history on September 3rd, going 9-for-9 in a doubleheader with four doubles and a triple.

Two years later, in 1896, Kelley had a 164 OPS+ with a .364/.469/.543 batting line in a less friendly offensive environment and led the National League with 87 stolen bases. After hitting .352 in his six full seasons with Baltimore, he was sent to the Brooklyn Superbas prior to the 1899 campaign, and the team went on to capture pennants in 1899 and 1900.

After the 1901 season, Kelley jumped to the Baltimore Orioles of the American League. However, after the Orioles were purchased by NL owner John T. Brush, Kelley was released and joined the Cincinnati Reds as player-manager for the next three and a half seasons. After remaining with the club as a player in 1906, he managed the minor league Toronto Maple Leafs in 1907. He returned to the majors for one more year in 1908 as player-manager of the Boston Doves.

Following his big league days, Kelley managed the minor league Toronto Maple Leafs again from 1909 to 1914, was a New York Yankees scout from 1915 to 1925, and was a member of the Brooklyn Robins coaching staff in 1926.

Although no player is truly similar to Kelley, the three most similar players (as of October 2008) are all Hall of Famers: Hugh Duffy, Kiki Cuyler and Edd Roush. Duffy was a contemporary.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL Stolen Bases Leader (1896)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 5 (1894-1898)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 6 (1893-1897 & 1899)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 2 (1895 & 1896)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1971

Preceded by
Bid McPhee
Cincinnati Reds Manager
Succeeded by
Ned Hanlon
Preceded by
Fred Tenney
Boston Doves Manager
Succeeded by
Frank Bowerman

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1902 Cincinnati Reds National League 34-26 4th Cincinnati Reds Replaced Bid McPhee (27-37) and Frank Bancroft (9-7)
on July 31
1903 Cincinnati Reds National League 74-65 4th Cincinnati Reds
1904 Cincinnati Reds National League 88-65 3rd Cincinnati Reds
1905 Cincinnati Reds National League 79-74 5th Cincinnati Reds
1907 Toronto Maple Leafs Eastern League 83-51 1st none League Champs
1908 Boston Doves National League 63-91 6th Boston Braves
1909 Toronto Maple Leafs Eastern League 79-72 4th none
1910 Toronto Maple Leafs Eastern League 80-72 4th none
1911 Toronto Maple Leafs Eastern League 94-59 3rd none
1912 Toronto Maple Leafs International League 91-62 1st none League Champs
1913 Toronto Maple Leafs International League 70-83 7th none
1914 Toronto Maple Leafs International League 74-70 4th none

Records Held[edit]

  • Hits, doubleheader, 9, 9/3/1894 (tied)

Related Sites[edit]