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Solly Hofman

From BR Bullpen


Arthur Frederick Hofman
(Circus Solly)

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Arthur "Circus Solly" Hofman played 14 seasons in the big leagues, including several years as a regular on the great Chicago Cubs teams of the early 20th Century.

Hofman began his big league career with a cup of coffee with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1903. After playing with the Des Moines Prohibitionists in the Western League, his contract was purchased by the Cubs the following August. He spent his first several years in Chicago as a utility player, appearing mostly as a second baseman in 1905 and splitting time between the infield and outfield from 1906 to 1908, as the Cubs won three straight National League pennants and the 1908 World Series title. Late in the 1908 pennant race, he was involved in the Merkle Bonehead Play.


In 1909, Hofman took over as the Cubs regular centerfielder after Jimmy Slagle finished out his career the previous year. He had his best season at the plate the next year, when he was among the leaders in most offensive categories and his Adjusted OPS+ was tied for second in the league as the Cubs won another pennant.

Hofman was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates midway through the 1912 season. He jumped to the Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the Federal League in 1914 (for whom he was mostly a second baseman) and played for the circuit's Buffalo Blues the next year (primarily as an outfielder). He finished his big league career in 1916, hitting .302 in 11 games with the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs

In all, Hofman appeared in center field 557 times, right field 79 times, left field 77 times, second base 198 times, first base 187 times, shortstop 63 times and third base 25 times.

Some say he got the name "Circus Solly" because of his circus-like acrobatic catches in the outfield. Others say he was named that after a comic strip character from the early 1900's named Circus Solly. Sporting Life referred to him mostly as Artie or Arthur, and once said it was the bleachers that called him Circus Solly.

Hofman was the uncle of Bobby Hofman and his brother Oscar Hofman reached the high minors as well.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Related Sites[edit]