Thomas Joseph Loftus
- Bats Right, Throws Unknown
- Weight 168 lb.
- Debut August 17, 1877
- Final Game May 13, 1883
- Born November 15, 1856 in St. Louis, MO USA
- Died April 16, 1910 in Dubuque, IA USA
" . . . one of the great builders-up of the national game." - Al Spink
Tom Loftus was a veteran minor league ball player of the 1870s and 1880s who played briefly in the majors before becoming a manager, owner and league president.
Loftus earned his first taste of the majors in 1877, playing briefly for the St. Louis Brown Stockings. At the age of twenty-two, he became the player-manager of a minor league franchise, the Peoria Reds the following year. He later played in the minors with Charlie Comiskey. They were also briefly teammates on the St. Louis Browns in 1883, and the pair formed a lifelong friendship.
Loftus later managed the Dubuque entry in the Northwestern League in 1895. He also managed several teams in four different major leagues (the Union Association, American Association, National League, and American League) and was, for a time, a part owner of the Washington Senators from their founding in 1901 until 1904. He was also President of the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League in 1908.
He was one of the key movers who turned the minor league Western League into a second major league, the American League, alongside Comiskey and Ban Johnson. Unfortunately because he died young, his role was largely forgotten, but he was one of the most respected baseball men in the nation in the 1890s and 1900s. He moved his Grand Rapids Furniture Makers into the abandoned Cleveland, OH market after the 1899 season, them negotiated with the Chicago Orphans to receive agreement to have a rival team installed in the Windy City in 1900. After he did so (and was named the Orphans' manager), Comiskey was able to move the St. Paul Saints into the city, where they became the Chicago White Sox. Adding these two large cities put the re-named American League much further along to being considered a major league, a status it achieved a year later, in 1901.
His time as a manager in Dubuque allowed Loftus to develop business interests in that city. He made it his home and died there of throat cancer in April 1910.
|Cleveland Blues/Spiders Manager
|Cincinnati Reds Manager
|Chicago Orphans Manager
|Washington Senators Manager
Year-By-Year Managerial Record
|1884||Milwaukee Cream Citys||Northwestern League||41-30||1st||replaced Jim McKee|
|Milwaukee Cream Citys||Union Association||8-4||5th||Joined league on September 27|
|1885||Milwaukee Cream Citys||Western League||22-13|
|1888||St. Louis Whites||Western League||10-18||Team disbanded on June 20|
|Cleveland Blues||American Association||30-38||6th||Replaced Jimmy Williams (20-44) on July 17|
|1889||Cleveland Spiders||National League||61-72||6th|
|1890||Cincinnati Reds||National League||77-55||4th|
|1891||Cincinnati Reds||National League||56-81||7th|
|1898||Columbus Senators||Western League||--||Replaced by George Tebeau|
|1899||Columbus Senators/Grand Rapids Furniture Makers||Western League||--||Replaced by George Tebeau|
|1900||Chicago Orphans||National League||65-75||6th|
|1901||Chicago Orphans||National League||53-86||6th|
|1902||Washington Senators||American League||61-75||6th|
|1903||Washington Senators||American League||43-94||8th|
- John T. Pregler: "Tom Loftus: The American League's Forgotten Founding Father", in Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 49, Nr. 1 (Spring 2020), pp. 26-36.