- OF, P, SS
- Pud, Gentle Jeems, The Little Steam Engine
- December 25, 1856
- 5' 8"
- 190 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 5-22-1875 with SL2
- Hall of Fame:
John “Pud” Galvin was certainly one of the greatest pitchers before the turn of the 19th century in baseball history who threw the first minor league shutout in history, 2-0, while playing with Pittsburgh of the International League in 1877, and had the distinction of pitching for Pittsburgh teams in three different major league leagues during his career.
Galvin, who finished his 14 year career with the second most innings pitched in major league history behind Cy Young, and seventh in wins with 360, began his career in 1879 with Buffalo of the National League winning 37 games and began a streak of 6 consecutive seasons in which the stocky 5’8” 190 pound won at least 20 games including emerging victorious in both games of a doubleheader in 1882 and tossing two no-hitters. His best seasons during that streak were in 1883 when he went 46-29 with a league high 76 games pitched, 72 complete games, 5 shutouts and 656 innings pitched, and 1884 with a 46-22 mark and 1.99 ERA.
After a disappointing 13-19 start in 1885, Pud or “Gentle Jeems” and “the Little Steam Engine that could” as he was also called, was sold to the Pittsburgh Allegheny’s of the American Association for $5,000 in June of 1885. After going 3-7 the rest of the way, he picked up back where he left off in 1886 with a 29-21 mark and an Association 5th best ERA of 2.67. The hard throwing hurler, who threw a scorching fastball, also had a tremendous pick off move as was evidenced in a game on September 23rd, 1886 when he walked the first three batters of the game and then proceeded to pick off each and every one.
Gentle Jeems came back the following season to fashion another strong record finishing at 28-21, 4th in the league in wins and a .299 opponents on base percentage, the fifth best in the circuit as he led Pittsburgh’s first entry in the National League.
1888 would prove to be a disappointing 23-25 campaign before Galvin came back at 23-16 in 1889, again cracking the top 5 in wins. After the season, Pud joined numerous Allegheny’s who jumped to the new Players League as he played with the Pittsburgh entry, the Burghers.
Following the league’s collapse, he rejoined the newly named Pirates going 15-14, before ending his career in the Steel City following a 5-6 start in 1892 when he was shipped to St Louis in mid season.
While 1892 would mark Pud’s last season in the majors it also would bring with it a historical match up as Galvin faced Tim Keefe on July 21st. The reason the dual was so momentous was, it would be the last battle between two 300 game winners until Phil Niekro went up against Don Sutton 94 years later in 1986.
Pud tried his hand at umpiring soon after he retired, but unfortunately the father of 11 would pass away penniless 10 years later in 1902 at the young age of 46. Pirate fans would generously contribute to the cause, paying for the former greats burial.
63 years after his death, the Veterans Committee to the Hall of Fame, voted the St Louis native in to the Hall of Fame in 1965. His election would be disputed by some including A’s owner Charlie Finley who made the statement that it was stupid for a veterans committee to elect a player that has been dead for 63 years. The only thing that was misguided was Finley’s opinion and the fact it took 63 years to officially recognize his place as one of the all-time greats. Galvin certainly is worthy of entrance into the hallowed doors of Cooperstown.
Pub Galvin - Ped use from Bleacher Report:
Galvin, however, is also known for being the first Major Leaguer ever to publicly admit using performance-enhancing drugs.
During the 1889 season, Galvin openly used the Brown-Séquard elixir, an injectable substance derived from testosterone from animal testicles. It wasn’t the same as an anabolic steroid (which had not been invented yet), but is considered a steroid precursor.
And here’s the thing: Galvin was actually praised by the media for doing so, with the Washington Post hailing Galvin’s work as proof in the value of using the elixir (which tells you how different the times were in the 1880s).
It cannot be determined if Pud Galvin used the elixir (or other PEDs) before 1889, or if other players did so before him, or even if these PEDs actually enhanced his performance (Galvin was a demonstrably better pitcher in 1888).
But it is certain that Galvin took the elixir in 1889, and he did so in order to play baseball at a higher level than he otherwise would have done