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Kid Nichols

Kid Nichols

Position(s):
OF, P, 1B
Born:
October 14, 1869
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 10"
Weight:
175 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-23-1890 with BSN
Hall of Fame:
1949

Kid Nichols


Charles "Kid" Nichols was one of baseball’s first successful power pitchers, firing his fastball on his way to 361 career wins, a total surpassed by just six pitchers in the history of the game. An immediate success after he was signed at the urging of Boston manager Frank Selee in 1890, Nichols won 20 or more games in his first ten seasons in the major leagues. His given name Charles soon gave way to “Kid” – the nickname tagged on him by his Boston teammates because of his youth and slight build (he was just 5’9” and 155 pounds in his rookie season). But his small frame belied his powerful arm. Nichols pitched more than 400 innings five times, and more than 300 in all but one season. His total of seven 30-win seasons is a record that will likely stand forever.

Career Batting Stats
G AB H R HR RBI SB AVG SLG OBP OPS OPS+
649 2086 471 273 16 278 19 .226 .300 .277 .577 82.6

Quotes From Kid Nichols

"In my day, the Nineties, if you won only twenty games the club owner would say 'You didn't do so good this year, we're going to cut your salary next season.'"

Teams Kid Nichols Managed

St. Louis Cardinals (1904-1905)

 

Where does Kid Nichols rank among baseball greats?

Kid Nichols ranks among the Top 50 all-time at SP. Rankings ?

Best Season: 1898
Nichols posted a 31-12 record, completing 40 of his 42 starts, and spinning five shutouts. He walked just 85 batters in 388 innings, allowing 316 hits. His 2.13 ERA was the second-lowest of his career.

 

Counting the Gate
Long after he had retired, Nichols recalled what it was like for pitchers in 19thc entury baseball: "Pitching wasn't the only job pitchers had in the Nineties. The day after we had pitched a game it was our duty to stand at the gate, and afterwards to count the tickets. I remember counting 30,000 tickets one day at the Polo Grounds in New York. That was a tougher assignment than pitching a ull nine innings."

The More Things Change…
It's common today for fans of the game and former players criticize the attitude of the modern ballplayer. But file that under the more things change, the more they stay the same. Here's a quote from a former big league pitcher: "Players have a different philosophy toward the game of baseball. They want to make a lot of money and retire… We played for the love of the game; there were few holdouts. We wanted to pitch every day; to win more games than the other guy - not for the money, but for the glory of winning. It's different today." Who said those words? A star pitcher from the pre-free agent years? How about Bob Feller, that guardian of the game's golden age? No on both counts. That quote is from Kid Nichols, who That quote is from Kid Nichols, who pitched his last game in 1906, and enjoyed his prime years in the Nineties - the 1890s. Nichols made that statement in 1947 about the "modern" ballplayers of the post-war years. pitched his last game in 1906, and enjoyed his prime years in the Nineties - the 1890s. Nichols made that statement in 1947 about the "modern" ballplayers of the post-war years.

Where He Played
Starting pitcher: Nichols failed to earn a decision in just 20 games he started in his entire career.

As a Manager
One of the quaint practices of the 19th century was that a pitcher would be assigned the duty of handling the gate for road games he wasn’t starting. The pitcher would watch the gates, count the tickets, and ensure that his team received the proper share of receipts. Nichols, like other pitchers, had performed this duty for years in the 1890s. But, as player/manager for the Cardinals in 1905, he was asked to perform this duty by team ownership for home games. Nichols refused, which helped lead to his dismissal early in the season.

 

He earned the name “Nervy Nick” (for his ice-cold nerves) after defeating Baltimore twice late in the 1897 season to wrap up the pennant.

 

Similar Players
None

 

Hall of Fame Voting
Year Election Votes Pct
1936 Veterans 3 %
1938 BBWAA 3 1.1%
1939 BBWAA 7 2.6%
1942 BBWAA 5 2.1%
1945 BBWAA 5 2.0%
1946 Nominating Vote 1 .5%
1949 Old Timers   %

Post-Season Notes
Nichols was 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in three starts against the Cleveland Spiders in the Championship Series. In Game One, he battled Cy Young to an 11-inning scoreless tie.

Milestones

  • July 7, 1900: 300th Win...

Best Strength as a Player
His throwing arm, which was one of the strongest of his time. He never really developed an off-speed pitch, relying on his fastball throughout his 15-year career. Nichols was also a competent hitter, and hit 16 homers in his career.

Largest Weakness as a Player
None

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Tagged:
1949 Hall of Fame, 300 wins, Amos Rusie, Baseball History, Boston Braves, Kid Nichols, Polo Grounds, St. Louis Cardinals, Western Association

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