- P, OF, 3B, 2B
- Smiling Tim, Sir Timothy
- January 1, 1857
- 5' 10"
- 185 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 8-06-1880 with TRN
- Allstar Selections:
- 1888 TC
- Hall of Fame:
"Smiling Tim" Keefe was loved by fans and feared by opponents. He won 342 games in the days when pitchers worked every other day and threw 50 feet from the batter. Keefe began his career as an underhand thrower and later adopted the side-arm and overhand deliveries that became vogue in late 19th century baseball. He teamed with fellow Hall of Famer Mickey Welch for eight full seasons as one of the first great pitching duos in baseball history.
Keefe won the pitching triple crown, which almost certainly wasn't even called that or recognized as that at the time. He led the National League with 35 wins, 335 strikeouts, and a 1.74 ERA. He did this one season after he suffered a nervous breakdown when he hit a batter in the head with a pitch. It didn't seem to weigh on his mind much after that: he won close to 80 games the next five years.
Keefe's rookie season (1880) was the last in which pitchers hurled from 45 feet, and his final season (1893) was the first where hurlers threw from 60 feet, six inches.
His nerves; Keefe entered a sanitarium during the winter of 1887 after he had hit several batters with pitches during the previous season. Like Walter Johnson and Nolan Ryan after him, Keefe was very wary of hitting a player in the head, afraid that he might kill them.
On June 4, 1890, Keefe won his 300th game, becoming the second pitcher to reach that milestone. The first to reach 300 wins was Pud Galvin, in 1888.
Keefe won 30 or more games in six consecutive seasons (1883-1888). During that span he captured 222 of his 342 career victories.