Kitty Bransfield

Kitty Bransfield

1B, C
January 7, 1875
5' 11"
207 lbs
Major League Debut:
8-22-1898 with BSN

Even Though Kitty Bransfield’s career was short as a Pirate, it was nonetheless a very interesting one for the slick fielding first baseman.

After nine at bats with Boston in 1898, the muscular Bransfield, who was named Kitty, ironically due to what was considered a femine hair style, came to the Bucs in their first National League championship season of 1901, immediately taking over the reigns at first.  Bransfield came out of that season with his greatest offensive year of his career, hitting .295 while knocking in a career high 91 runs.


Kitty was also involved in the middle of a controversial game that year when he was called out in the bottom of the ninth in a disputed call at first during a 4-3 loss to the Reds by former Pirate, now turned umpire, Bert Cunningham.  He called Kitty out at first and had Cunningham called Bransfield safe, the Bucs would have tied the game.  In anger, about 2,000 rabid fans chased Cunningham off the field, as he had to be protected by manager Fred Clarke and the great Honus Wagner.

Career Decline

Kitty would hobble through the next two campaigns as he hit a career best .305 in 1902 while suffering from a knee injury, before slumping to .265 in 1903 as he was playing on very bad legs.  The decline would continue in 1904, with Bransfield’s average dropping to .223 and Kitty was shipped to the Phillies in the off-season with 2 other players for minor league first baseman Del Howard

Although Bransfield resurrected his career with Philadelphia, playing seven more seasons, his departure would inflict the infamous “Bransfield Curse” on the club as the team was unable to sufficiently replace the 5’11” 207 pound first baseman, going through total of 12 players at first over a 15 year period.

Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia

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