Oscar Bielaski

From BR Bullpen

Oscar Bielaski.jpg

Oscar Bielaski

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 170 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Oscar Bielaski, later an early ballplayer, tried to enlist in the army in 1864. Once it was discovered that he was underage, he was discharged. In 1866, now of age, he enlisted in the Navy. When enlisting in 1864, he had claimed his occupation was printer. The story is that he learned baseball during the war. His father was a captain who gave his life in the Civil War in 1861. After military service he became a government clerk.

Bielaski came to the National Association in 1872, its second year. First, he played for the Washington Nationals, who went 0-11 in 1872. Then he played for the Washington Blue Legs, who went 8-31 in 1873. Bielaski's .283 average was second-highest among the regulars. The following year, he was with the Baltimore Canaries, who went 9-38 in 1874. His batting average was only three points below the team average, but he had no extra-base hits at all in 187 at-bats. He also umpired one game that season, and would do so again the following year. The next year, with the Chicago White Stockings who went 30-37 in 1875, he managed one extra-base hit (a double) in 201 at-bats. Finally, in 1876, he played with a pennant winner, appearing in 32 games with the White Stockings. He and Bob Addy each played about the same number of games in right field that year. Paul Hines was on every one of his teams in the National Association and National League except in 1874.

A nephew of Bielaski became the head of the FBI. He is considered the first Polish-American to play major league baseball.

One source: SABR research on Civil War veterans who played baseball.

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