- OF, SS, 3B, 1B, 2B
- November 23, 1878
- 5' 9"
- 175 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-14-1897 with BRO
Sheckard was one of a handful of Pennsylvania Dutch to play in the majors. Though chiefly remembered for his years with the Cubs, for whom he played in four World Series, Sheckard had his best years with Brooklyn. He batted .353 while leading the league with 19 triples and a .536 slugging percentage for the 1901 Brooklyn Superbas; his 11 HR and 104 RBI were career highs. In 1903 his nine HR were enough to capture the NL title, and he tied for the league lead with 67 stolen bases. (With Baltimore in 1899, he had led the NL with 77 stolen bases.) With the Cubs, he embarassed himself in the 1906 World Series; boasting that he would bat .400 against White Sox pitching, he instead went 0-for-21 as the Sox upset the Cubs in six games. In 1911 he set a Cub record for most walks (147), leading the NL for the first of two straight seasons. He also scored an NL-high 121 runs that year.
Samuel James Tilden "Jimmy" Sheckard (November 23, 1878 - January 15, 1947) was an American left fielder and left-handed leadoff hitter in Major League Baseball who played for the Brooklyn Bridegrooms/Superbas (1897–98, 1900–01, 1902–05), Baltimore Orioles (NL) (1899), Baltimore Orioles (AL) (1902), Chicago Cubs (1906–12), St. Louis Cardinals (1913) and Cincinnati Reds (1913).
Sheckard was born in Chanceford Township, York County, Pennsylvania. Standing 5' 9", he broke in with Brooklyn in 1897. He played well in 1897 and 1898, showing some power, With Baltimore in 1899, Sheckard led the league with 77 stolen bases before returning to Brooklyn in 1900.
He enjoyed a great 1901 season with the Superbas, hitting .353 with 11 home runs and 104 runs batted in, and leading the league with 19 triples and a .536 slugging average. In that season Sheckard became the first and so far only player to hit inside the park grand slams in two consecutive games. He also hit grand slams in consecutive days, an amazing feat, especially in the Deadball Era. It would be 77 years until another National Leaguer, Phil Garner, matched the accomplishment.
Sheckard was also the first man to lead the league in homers and steals in the same season (1903). Ty Cobb (1909) and Chuck Klein (1932) are the only other players to do so in the majors. He also hit .332, in 1903.
Sheckard joined the Chicago Cubs from 1906-12, which was their greatest era. He played in four World Series with the Cubs, winning championships in 1907 and 1908; and he led the league in 1911 with 121 runs and 147 walks – a major league record until broken by Babe Ruth in 1920, and still a team record.
He finished out his career in 1913, split between St. Louis and Cincinnati.
Sheckard was also an excellent outfielder. He holds the all time single season major league record for double plays at two separate positions. His 12 double plays as a left fielder in 1911 for the Cubs is 2 more than any other left fielder in history. And in 1899, while playing for the Baltimore Orioles, Sheckard played right field and set the record for double plays by a right fielder with 14. See related article on All Time Double play leaders.
In his 17-year career, Sheckard hit .274, with 56 home runs, 813 RBI, 1296 runs, 354 doubles, 136 triples, and 465 stolen bases in 2122 games played.
Bill James has pointed out that Sheckard was a very talented player who at different times in his career did many impressive things. However, he could not consistently put those talents together for a whole career. Early in his career he led the league in stolen bases (in 1899 and 1903), once he was in the top 5 in batting average (in 1901), once he led the league in triples (in 1901), once he led the league in home runs (in 1903), whereas in the middle of his career he twice led the league in sacrifice hits (1906 and 1909), and late in his career he led the league in walks twice (1911 and 1912), and in runs scored (in 1911).
Jimmy Sheckard died at age 68 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania from injuries suffered when he was hit by a car while walking to work along a highway.
". . .he was a bigger cog in the old invincible Cub machine than he ever received credit for being." - Johnny Evers
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- Jimmy Sheckard