Roger Bresnahan

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Roger Philip Bresnahan
(The Duke Of Tralee)

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1945

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Biographical Information[edit]

Roger Bresnahan.jpg

Known for his fiery nature, Roger Bresnahan was one of the top catchers in baseball in the first decade of the 1900s and a key member of the New York Giants club that won the 1905 World Series.

Bresnahan began his career playing for a team in Lima, Ohio, and was an eighteen year old pitcher for the 1897 Washington Senators, going 4-0 with a 3.95 ERA in six appearances. After playing with the Toledo Mud Hens for a time, he returned to the majors with the 1900 Chicago Orphans, appearing in two games as a catcher. He spent the next season and a half with the Baltimore Orioles, splitting time between the outfield and behind the plate.

Midway through the 1902 campaign, Bresnahan, pitcher Joe McGinnity, and manager John McGraw jumped from the Orioles to the New York Giants of the National League, the club with which he would have his greatest seasons. He hit .350 and stole 34 bases with the team in 1903 and was a member of the 1905 world champs. In the 1905 World Series, he caught a record four shutouts (three by Christy Mathewson) while batting .313.

After the 1908 season, Bresnahan was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, whom he was also given the opportunity to manage. The club finished in the second division in each of his four years at the helm, and he saw only part-time duty on the field. He was then sold to the Chicago Cubs, whom he also managed in 1915, his final season as both a big league player and skipper.

Bresnahan returned to his hometown and purchased the Toledo Iron Men (later known as the Mud Hens) in 1916. He appointed himself president of the franchise until he left in 1925 and also served as manager, coach, and player. He later was a Giants coach (under skipper John McGraw) from 1925 to 1928 and a member of the Detroit Tigers staff in 1930 and 1931.


Painting showing Christy Mathewson pitching, Roger Bresnahan is the catcher. Bresnahan is tagging out the Philadelphia Athletics runner while Manager John McGraw, far right, looks on

Bresnahan is credited with inventing shin guards and was the first catcher to use them, while he was playing for the Giants. He also developed a leather batting helmet in 1908 after he was severely injured by a beaning.

Bresnahan was nicknamed "The Duke of Tralee" because he told people he was born in Tralee, Ireland. In reality, he was born and died in Toledo, Ohio, and is the only Toledoan to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He was also the first catcher elected to Cooperstown, and he was also highlighted in Heroes Behind the Mask as one of the top catchers of all-time.

In 1901, Bresnahan lost a game as a pitcher. He was the last bona fide catcher to lose a game until Jamie Burke in 2008.

His great-nephew was Dave Bresnahan.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Preceded by
John McCloskey
St. Louis Cardinals Manager
Succeeded by
Miller Huggins
Preceded by
Hank O'Day
Chicago Cubs Manager
Succeeded by
Joe Tinker

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1909 St. Louis Cardinals National League 54-98 7th St. Louis Cardinals
1910 St. Louis Cardinals National League 63-90 7th St. Louis Cardinals
1911 St. Louis Cardinals National League 75-74 5th St. Louis Cardinals
1912 St. Louis Cardinals National League 63-90 6th St. Louis Cardinals
1915 Chicago Cubs National League 73-80 4th Chicago Cubs
1916 Toledo Iron Men American Association 76-86 6th none
1917 Toledo Iron Men American Association 57-95 8th none
1918 Toledo Iron Men American Association 23-54 8th none League suspended operations on July 21
1919 Toledo Mud Hens American Association 37-44 7th none replaced Rollie Zeider (22-47) on July 15
1920 Toledo Mud Hens American Association 87-78 3rd none
1922 Toledo Mud Hens American Association 0-2 -- none replaced Fred Luderus (3-19) on May 12/
replaced by Al Wickland (15-3) on May 26

Related Sites[edit]