Tom Loftus

From BR Bullpen


Thomas Joseph Loftus

  • Bats Right, Throws Unknown
  • Weight 168 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Tom Loftus.jpg

" . . . 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.

Preceded by
Jimmy Williams
Cleveland Blues/Spiders Manager
Succeeded by
Gus Schmelz
Preceded by
Gus Schmelz
Cincinnati Reds Manager
Succeeded by
Charlie Comiskey
Preceded by
Tom Burns
Chicago Orphans Manager
Succeeded by
Frank Selee
Preceded by
Jim Manning
Washington Senators Manager
Succeeded by
Malachi Kittridge

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Notes
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

Further Reading[edit]

  • 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.

Related Sites[edit]