- 1B, OF
- July 23, 1876
- 5' 8"
- 190 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-21-1899 with PIT
He was a stocky man who was nicknamed for his striking red hair as Ginger Beaumont was not only one of the fastest men in baseball at the time, but was also noted as the first man ever to bat in a World Series game. Beaumont sometimes would be labeled as lazy because of the way would act, his lazy appearance, dragging his bat to home plate, but in reality he was an exciting hustling player who used speed to his advantage.
Beaumont was a catcher by trade as he played the position at Beloit College in Wisconsin, but when he arrived at the major league level the year before the turn of the 20th century, Pirate manager Patsy Donovan put him in left field first before moving him over to center. Ginger would hit .352, sixth in the league while having the distinction of going 6 for 6 in a game on June 22nd in which he displayed his incredible speed, which was time as 3 seconds from home to first, by getting all six hits while never hitting a ball out of the infield. It got so bad that on his final at bat, Beaumont claimed the first baseman came to within 10 feet of the plate and he still got a bunt single.
His averaged dropped over 70 points the following year as Ginger would develop leg injuries that would hamper him for most of his career, but Beaumont scored 105 times in 1900 marking the first of five consecutive times that he would go over the century mark in that statistic.
After finishing 10th in the circuit in 1901 with a .332average, Ginger enjoyed his best campaign ever in 1902, becoming the second Pirate ever, the first being Honus Wagner in 1900, to win a National League batting crown. He turned the trick with a .357 mark, while leading the league in hits and finishing third in runs and fourth in stolen bases.
Following up his marquis season in 1902, he hit .341 in 1903, breaking the 200 hit plateau for the only time, with 209 for his second of three consecutive hit titles in helping lead the team to a spot in the first ever World Series. Beaumont got the honor of leading off for the team in game one, which made him the first batter in the history Fall Classic. Ginger flew out to Chick Stahl in center on that historic at bat, and went on to hit a disappointing .265 in the eight game tilt that the Bucs lost.
Despite the fact he played a full season in 1904, his leg problems cropped up again, although he was able to lead the league in hits with 185, although his average dropped to .301.
The speedy red head spent one more full season in Pittsburgh before his was shipped to Boston midway in 19065 with second baseman Claude Ritchey and Patsy Flaherty for infielder Ed Abbaticchio. Although his injured legs were part of the reason for the trade, owner Barney Dreyfuss felt that since Ritchey and Beaumont had accumulated wealth outside of baseball, with Ginger owning a very successful dairy business in Wisconsin, they may no longer be inspired to work hard as ballplayers.
Beaumont tried to prove Dreyfuss wrong and had a fine 1907 campaign in Boston with a .322 average and league high 187 hits, but his best years were behind him and he ended things in Chicago three years later in 1910. Overall Beaumont is one of the all-time Pirate greats as he went on to hit .321 in his eight Pirate seasons, almost 50 points over the league average of .272, a stat that makes big red one of the best hitters the steel city has ever seen.
- Ginger Beaumont